Message from the Regents

UHS Regent Nelda BlairFor the past several months, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most esteemed leaders in Texas, including former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, the Greater Houston Partnership and others, to help support the effort to increase the number of Tier One universities in our state, including the University of Houston.

The opportunity to establish the National Research University Fund — a constitutionally dedicated fund available to the state’s seven emerging research universities — is a rare chance to provide a pathway for steady funding that would help elevate UH. NRUF would provide funding similar to that which has raised Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin to Tier One status. Creating more research powerhouses among our state’s universities would undoubtedly change the landscape of higher education in Texas forever.


Creating more research powerhouses among our state’s universities would undoubtedly change the landscape of higher education in Texas forever.


The University of Houston already meets several criteria necessary to be ranked Tier One. Key among those is a university’s amount of research expenditures. While we are ahead of the pack in this category among the seven universities, we still need to double our research expenditures to about $150 million a year. The NRUF will help UH attain that goal in four to five years and qualify for the Tier One ranking. At UH, research is the principal, but by no means the only beneficiary of this fund. Academic programs, student success and — in the long run — the value of a UH degree will be enhanced by the ripple effect that will flow from the Tier One designation. For the local and state economies, the benefits are more tangible. Economists estimate that every $10 million in research expenditures creates 334 new jobs, adds $8.6 million to the regional economy and generates $13.5 million in local sales.

I was privileged to travel to Austin many times during the last legislative session, along with Chairman Welcome W. Wilson, Sr. and Chancellor Renu Khator, to present our case for Tier One funding. I look forward to continuing to work with them and other state leaders as the university continues to advance toward its goal of becoming a nationally competitive Tier One university.

Nelda Blair (J.D. ’82)
Secretary
UH System Board of Regents