Dear Cougars and Friends,
A decade ago, something very important took place in my life. The Board of Regents of the University of Houston System selected me for the position of Chancellor and President. Since that day, I have gotten up every morning, and have gone to bed every night, being a Cougar, wearing red and thinking about the University of Houston. At my recent Fall Address, A Decade of Transformation, I had the opportunity to look back and put this wonderful experience in perspective.
I am sure you have heard people describe UH as a university undergoing a major transformation. Rarely a day goes by when someone does not express astonishment at the magnitude of this transformation. If he or she has not been on campus in a few years, the words typically are, “I can’t believe my eyes.” So, what is this transformation? And what does it mean for our future?
The story of the past 10 years is the story of our progress, our success and our determination.
Most notably, we are now a vibrant campus of more than 45,000 students, growing an average 3.1 percent each year during the past decade. Contrast that with the previous three decades when average growth was less than half a percent a year. During this past decade, we helped nearly 88,000 students realize their dream of obtaining a UH degree and, I’m proud to say, a considerable number of them were the first in their family to attend college and often came from under-privileged and low-income backgrounds.
Of course, our best story remains the story of graduation rates that have steadily improved each year—and I am certain they will continue to rise even faster. This improvement is not just good for the graduates; it means a more efficient use of tax payer money. Perhaps most important, our graduates on average earn nearly $50,000 during their early career years, notably higher than the nationwide average of $41,500.
Where we have been so far is remarkable. Where we are headed is incredibly exciting.
We will, of course, continue expanding and enhancing our University at every opportunity. Our plans for a much-needed medical college specializing in primary care physicians continue to advance. Our ambitious efforts toward improving the quality of life in our neighborhood, the Third Ward, are gaining ground. And, on a more immediate note, UH has been displaying amazing resilience in helping our campus and our city recover from Hurricane Harvey.
So, I invite you to join me in celebrating our past successes and help us make even bigger plans for the future. But let’s not forget that plans and programs do not bring transformation, people do. It will be up to us, each one of us, to launch the next great decade for the University of Houston.
With warm regards,
President, University of Houston