Bilal Husain, University of Houston digital media student, eagerly shares one aspect about his wardrobe.

“It lives and breathes red,” he said. “I don’t even have classes on (Cougar Red) Friday, but it still counts wearing red to my evening job.”

Cougar Red now extends 20 miles southwest of the flagship campus to the University of Houston at Sugar Land, where Husain and nearly 2,300 other students are taking advantage of the 10 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs offered.

“We are answering a need for students who live in this area and for community stakeholders who have wanted a Tier One university in Fort Bend County,” said Jay Neal, assistant provost of academic affairs and operations. “Our enrollment is growing. Our parking lot is getting fuller. We are excited about our future.”

Located off Highway 59 and University Boulevard near the Brazos River, UH Sugar Land is newly part of the University of Houston (think one campus, two zip codes). As part of UH, students are Cougars and participate in commencement. The coming years will bring new building construction on the 375 acres in Fort Bend County and additional opportunities for public-private partnerships with industry.

“All of my digital media courses are taught right here,” said Estefany Ramon, a senior concentrating on motion media. “I enjoy the small community campus. You feel like you are part of something big.”

UH Sugar Land is home to several unique programs: biotechnology, digital media and nursing. Its education, social work, communication and political science classes, to name a few, answer a call from UH students spread out across the Greater Houston area—convenience.

For example, the Graduate College of Social Work has watched its Master of Social Work program at UH Sugar Land steadily increase in enrollment.

“Four years ago our admissions office determined the second largest group of MSW applicants came from Fort Bend County (Harris County was the first),” said Ginger Lucas, program director. “That’s when we started looking for ways to offer classes to students who wanted the convenience of taking classes there.”

To that end, other disciplines have begun offering classes—in traditional and hybrid formats—to further their reach.

“I chose to take classes here because of program availability, location and smaller class size,” said Roxanna de Leon Montalvo, a communication sciences and disorders major concentrating in speech-language pathology. “The campus is beautiful. I love the bookstore, and the program has amazing professors who have made the profession come to life.”

The Speech-Language Pathology Assistant certificate is the only one of its kind in Texas. Similarly, the biotechnology program is the first accredited biotechnology program in the country and the first in Texas to integrate nanobiotech, bioprocessing, bioinformatics and environmental biotech into one program.

“I really look forward to seeing UH Sugar Land grow on the campus and in the community,” Husain said. “It’s been fun attending school here. I mean it when I say ‘Go Coogs!’”