Pictured (left to right) are hotel General Manager Steve Cunningham, Dean Dennis Reynolds, Provost Paula Myrick Short, President Renu Khator and Regent Doug Brooks (’75). Photo: Ben Corda
HOUSTON – July 2021 – On June 30, College and University leaders, along with faculty, staff and representatives from the Dean’s Advisory Board, Eric’s Club, Alumni Board and Dean’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Council, gathered for a groundbreaking photo op to officially kick off construction of the Hilton University of Houston’s new hotel tower. Complete with hard hats and commemorative shovels, this milestone moment marks the beginning of “A New Era of Hospitality” at Hilton College.
In addition to a new five-story hotel tower, this building project includes renovation of the Eric’s Club Center for Student Success and a dynamic new space for our student-run Cougar Grounds coffee shop in the College’s West Wing. When complete, it will be a game changer for the College and its students.
“This changes everything! It is monumental and will help define our future,” Dean Dennis Reynolds said. “We’ve always provided a good student experience, but these new facilities will allow us to offer fantastic opportunities like no other.”
Budget constraints require value engineering on any construction project, but Reynolds said the team has “stuck to their guns” to ensure that what students experience at our Hilton hotel is on par with what they will see in the real world. “This has to be done correctly,” he said.
“President Khator, Provost Short and the UH regents have all been extremely supportive of this project,” Reynolds added. “And the fact that so many faculty and staff showed up to our groundbreaking all wearing red really underscores that our new tower and adjacent student success facility upgrades are important to all of us, not just the administration. We’re all in this together and we’re successful because of everyone’s efforts.”
As a symbol of the future and gratitude for this unwavering support, the commemorative shovels used for the groundbreaking were placed in individual shadow boxes and gifted to the President and Provost. One shadowbox is also in the Dean’s office, and the fourth will be displayed in the hotel lobby until it is renovated as part of this construction project. Faculty and staff also received mini keepsake shovels.
Construction and renovation of these facilities will be concurrent with opening slated for late 2022.
Hilton College Communications