2019–20 Annual Report - University of Houston
Skip to main content


Many of the programs and activities within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services could not be possible without the generosity of our supporters. Investing not only in UH, donors also commit to helping the talented and diverse students who succeed academically, personally and professionally because of the very programs funded by their gifts.

Cougar Emergency Fund helps students financially during COVID-19

piggy bank

When COVID-19 first began to spread across the United States, it didn’t take long for the University of Houston to realize students were going to need financial help.

It turned to an emergency fund that had helped ease unexpected financial hardships before: The Cougar Emergency Fund. Since relaunching the fund in March, the university has raised more than $1 million from private donations and a matching gift to help students stay enrolled and on track despite any financial setbacks caused by the pandemic.

“While I’m proud to see how our students adapted to this new normal of social distancing and online classes, we are sympathetic to their financial struggles and remain committed to providing the necessary support, financial or otherwise, to see them through,” said Richard Walker, UH vice president for student affairs and enrollment services.

The Cougar Emergency Fund offers as much as $1,500 in support to eligible students to pay for:

  • Costs related to loss of wages (past due utilities, unpaid rent, childcare)
  • Medical expenses
  • Food
  • Housing (deposits, unexpected moving expenses and emergency lodging)
  • Utilities (application, initiation and deposit fees)
  • Technology (internet costs, increased data needs, software)
  • Tuition assistance (including summer sessions)
  • Course materials (textbooks and other required materials)

The Cougar Emergency Fund had originally been created in 2015, and UH reinstated it in 2017 to help students struggling after Hurricane Harvey.

Students who were helped from the fund said they were grateful for the donors who helped ease their financial burden during the pandemic.

Akinola Akinlawon, a management information systems major, said he lost his financial support from sponsors abroad when COVID hit, and he began to worry about paying rent, buying food and making tuition.

“I am grateful to everyone who contributed one way or the other to the realization of the Cougar Emergency Fund,” Akinlawon said. “It is relieving to know that there is a safety net provided by the school in sudden times such as this. I am a proud UH Cougar knowing fully well that my school's got my back.”

Read more student stories.

When UH relaunched the fund, it received a $500,000 matching challenge from the UH Foundation and the James Wade Rockwell Fund, a private foundation seeking to promote positive community change in the Greater Houston area, to match donations dollar-for-dollar. The matching gift and donations from 1,311 private individuals and foundations contributed $1,041,500 in support to the Cougar Emergency Fund.

So far, UH has distributed $783,679 of the Cougar Emergency Fund to 730 eligible students.

Eligible students include those currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate courses who are in good standing, with priority given to those enrolled full time. The fund is administered through the UH Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. 

UH will continue to award money to students until the funds run out.

Students get the “Cougar Experience” with housing scholarship

students laying in grass student playing billiards

Joe Pogge got his first taste of college life — and being on his own — in 1974 when he first stepped into Room 312 in Taub Hall. A thousand miles from home, Pogge threw himself into campus life. He became a resident advisor, Lone Star Brewery Campus Representative and eventually the residence halls programming director.

“My Cougar Experience was fantastic,” the 1979 graduate says. He wants to make sure other students get to have that same on-campus involvement, so as the University of Houston Alumni Association president, he worked with UH President Renu Khator to establish the Cougar Experience Scholarship, which provides up to $4,000 a year to eligible students to live in the Cougar Village 2 residence hall.

A strong supporter of the program, Pogge says that living on campus gives students “the opportunity to experience a sense of independence, while also ensuring they can immerse themselves in campus programs to discover all that the University of Houston has to offer.”

Established in 2014, the Cougar Experience Scholarship continues to help students be part of a living-learning community, access to special advising, and participation in various programs and activities across campus that they might otherwise be unable to afford.

The scholarship program offers first-time freshmen $2,000 for fall and spring semesters, each. Students must have a financial need and submit a short essay to apply for the program, and they must actively participate in campus life through various activities, like joining a student organization or obtain an on-campus job.

UH research has shown that students who live in residence halls are overall more successful in their students, retain class information longer, and have higher GPAs. These students are also more willing to take extra credit hours and are less likely to withdraw than students who do not live on campus.

Scholarship recipient Hannah Matthews said it gave her the safety net she really needed her first year at UH.

“As a student from outside Houston, I received the mentorship and resources that my family wasn’t able to give me,” Matthews said. “My first week of college, I met my best friend during a field trip downtown, plus the Cougar Experience Scholarship provided me the financial resources I needed to actually attend UH and live on campus.”

Donor Listing


  • Mr. and Mrs. Andrew L. Diamond


  • Cullen Trust for Higher Education


  • Agrawal Charity Fund of the FCGF

$25,000 - $49,000

  • Jeffery & Melinda Hildebrand Fund GHCF
  • The Powell Foundation

$10,000 - $24,999

  • C. T. Seaver Trust of FCGF
  • Cougar Cookers, Inc.
  • Latin Women's Initiative
  • The John M. O'Quinn Foundation
  • Wayne Duddlesten Foundation

$5,000 - $9,999

  • Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., LP
  • Mark and Judy Cook
  • Mr. and Mrs. Michael S. DeCourcy
  • Dreamers Scholarship Fund
  • Ms. Munizeh Zaheer Jan
  • Mr. and Mrs. Walter F. Jones
  • Mr. Steve Stephens and Mrs. Anne-Laure Stephens
  • Ms. Rebecca F. Upchurch

$2,500 - $4,999

  • AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Mike Carden
  • Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Cowan
  • Mr. Scott D. Eastman
  • Mr. Andre J. Hal, Jr.

$1,000 - $2,499

  • Association of Corporate Counsel Houston
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jerry A. Ballard
  • Bay Area Recovery Center
  • Dr. Mary Beth Bean and Dr. Stephen L. Kelly
  • Mr. Jeffery O. Beauchamp
  • Mr. Robert L. Boblitt, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Paul L. Broussard
  • Ms. Alejandrina Campanella
  • Chevron Corp.
  • Dr. Randolph B. Cooper
  • Mr. and Mrs. Larry M. Eshleman
  • Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Garson
  • Gregg & Anna Rockett of the FCGF
  • Dr. and Mrs. Eric J. Hoggard
  • Mr. and Mrs. Craig Jones
  • Mr. Brian J. Knoll
  • Professor and Mrs. Russell G. Larsen
  • Ronald and Jane Lerner
  • Ms. Mary J. McKerall and Mr. Richard P. Steele
  • Ms. Priscilla G. McLeroy
  • Ms. Erin Meisel
  • Katherine V. Nogan, C.P.A.
  • Ms. Alyssa R. Parks and Ms. Jamie Gonzales
  • Mr. Jon Reed and Dr. Joan W. Appleyard
  • Ms. Megan L. Robertson
  • Serenity Light Recovery
  • Mr. Ayodele A. Shofoluwe
  • Paula Myrick Short, Ph.D.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Spencer
  • Mr. and Mrs. Stuart West Stedman
  • Ms. Samantha Grace Theige
  • Dr. and Mrs. James H. Thurmond
  • Dr. Luis R. Torres-Hostos and Mrs. Coley-Torres
  • Mr. and Mrs. Timothy J. Turner
  • Mr. and Mrs. David Milton Underwood, Jr.

$500 - $999

  • Mr. and Mrs. Aaron T. Becker
  • Mrs. Eloise Dunn Brice
  • Mr. and Mrs. Chris Chamberlain
  • Dr. Jeffrey Church
  • Mrs. Rosanette S. Cullen
  • Mr. Russell Dunlavy
  • Mr. Lawrence P. Ferguson
  • Mr. and Mrs. Mike Garvin
  • Mr. Brian Goetsch
  • Mr. Kim K. Guarino
  • Mr. Robert L. Hilliker
  • Dr. Karl Ittmann and Mrs. Lorri White
  • Dr. David R. Jackson and Mrs. Christine Allen-Jackson
  • Mr. Christopher Sean Joseph
  • Mr. Christian D. Kelleher and Mrs. Theresa Clarke
  • Davidson Family Fdn of USCGT
  • Kettlebell Kings
  • Luna Recovery Services
  • Mr. Bruce K. Mosher
  • Ms. Michele Mosher
  • Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Pogge
  • Mr. David R. Pokorny
  • Mr.and Mrs. Simm A. Powell, Jr.
  • Ms. Marcia D. Kistner and Mr. John K. Roberg
  • Mr. and Mrs. David Lynn Roland
  • Ms. Toni J. Sanchez and Mr. Blaise J. Benoit
  • Ms. Sue S Schaefer
  • Dr. Barbara Reid and Dr. Dan K. Seilheimer
  • SK Foundation
  • Suter-Snypes Fidelity Charitable Fund
  • Dr. Michele M. Verma and Mr. Dheeraj Verma
  • Mr. and Mrs. Scott Wilson
  • Mr. Kei-Mu Yi

$250 - $499

  • Mrs. Mara Affre
  • Mr. and Mrs. Dion Edwin Bledsoe
  • Ms. Vicki S. Blythe
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Charles Bode
  • Mr. Stephen Bridges
  • Mr. and Mrs. Collin Scott Campbell
  • Mr. and Mrs. Damien F. Carey
  • Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Charles Casto
  • Certainty Home Loans, LLC
  • John and Kim Clarke
  • Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Cohan
  • Ms. Charlene Dailey
  • DaSilva Property Group, LLC
  • Mr. Johnathan M. Dazey
  • Thomas and Elaine Ebner
  • Mr. and Mrs. Harish Gandhi
  • Dr. and Ms. David W. Gardner
  • Ms. Veronica Garcia and Mr. James M. Grace, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Trevor Graham
  • Hastings-James Giving Fund of FCGF
  • Dr. Kathryn V. Horn
  • Mr. Harold Andrew Hurry
  • Professor Holly M. Hutchins
  • The Honorable Steven E. Kirkland
  • Mr. Robert F. Leaumont
  • Mr. Robert N. Livermore
  • Mr. and Mrs. Richard Harry Martin
  • Capt Reginald E. McKamie, Sr, USN (Ret)
  • Miss Michelle Mendez
  • Dick and Deloris Moore
  • Dr. and Mrs. Emerson Perin, M.D.
  • Mr. Michael H. Rasmussen
  • Dr. Patrick N. Reber
  • Mr. and Mrs. Edward John Rogan
  • Ms. ReNae Scott
  • Mr. and Mrs. John T. Sedberry
  • Mrs. Susan R. Stromatt
  • Mr. Leonard P. Trombetta
  • Mr. and Mrs. Randall C. Tuller
  • Ms. Cherie K. Turner
  • UH College of Liberal Arts & Soc Sci
  • UH Technology Alumni Association
  • Ms. Amanda S. Vavilala
  • Mr. Gerald William Walrath
  • Ms. Bonnie J. White and Mr. Douglas R. Little

By the Numbers

The generosity of our supporters helped fund programs and activities for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. This is a sample of the many gifts made to the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services.

  • 772 Individual donors

  • 1,011 Unique donations

  • $1.6 million In donations

  • $1+ million Donated to the Cougar Emergency Fund, which relaunched in March to help students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • $100,000 Matching Challenge established by philanthropists Andy and Andrea Diamond to establish the Diamond Emergency Fund to support all UH Students who have experienced time in foster care.

  • $100,000 Donated by the Cullen Trust for Higher Education to Cougar Cupboard to combat food insecurity among UH students

  • $25,000 New endowed Rachel Shiar Davis Memorial Scholarship for Cougars in Recovery

  • $25,000 New endowed Erik D. Richards Memorial Scholarship for Cougars in Recovery