By Mike Emery, 713-743-7197
Paula Myrick Short’s legacy in higher education extends across the University of Houston campus, the UH System, and the nation. Recently, her accomplishments as UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost were particularly felt in the city of Sugar Land.
During a recent Sugar Land City Council meeting, friends and supporters gathered to pay tribute to Short before her retirement at the end of the month.
Sugar Land Mayor (and UH alumnus) Joe Zimmerman started the meeting with a “Go Coogs!” and proceeded to acknowledge her accomplishments as provost. He offered kudos for her critical role in launching the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts and the Hobby School of Public Affairs. Likewise, he acknowledged her efforts in founding the Data Science Institute, the UH Graduate School, Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy and Houston Guided Pathways to Success, among numerous other achievements.
“We recognize your many accomplishments but none more so than what you’ve done for UH at Sugar Land and the city of Sugar Land,” Zimmerman said.
Jay Neal, vice president and chief operating officer for UH at Sugar Land and UH at Katy, echoed his sentiment.
Neal offered insights on her passion for leadership and mentoring others. In his own career, he has learned much simply by observing Short.
“I am a strong believer that much of what we learn is caught and not taught,” he said. “And I’ve been watching Provost Short. I watched how she assembled her cabinet, coached them, and used them to help accomplish initiatives. I followed her lead in creating my own leadership team at UH at Sugar Land.”
Neal also discussed how she empowered him as a leader and provided much guidance during his career.
“If you’ve ever had a mentor that took you out of your comfort zone and showed you what you’re truly capable of accomplishing … that’s what Paula Short has done for me,” he said. “Thank you for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity to serve this wonderful community.”
Other UH faculty and staff on hand to honor Short included College of Technology Dean Tony Ambler, College of Education Dean Robert McPherson and UH at Sugar Land Associate Vice Provost for Outreach and Community Engagement Richard Phillips. Short’s husband Rick Short, UH-Clear Lake professor of psychology was also in attendance.
While Short has accomplished much at UH and in Sugar Land, Zimmerman said that more than anything, she’ll be remembered for being a friend to the community.
“To us, you’ve always been ‘Paula’ at the University of Houston, and that’s who you’ll always be,” Zimmerman said. “Thank for all that you’ve done for Sugar Land.”