POLI SCI PROF AT UH TO HOLD BOB LANIER
CHAIR IN URBAN PUBLIC POLICY
Richard Murray Will Lead Research on the Nation’s Urban Challenges
HOUSTON, Sept. 15, 2004 – Richard Murray, political science
professor and noted authority on Houston and Texas politics, will
hold the Bob Lanier Endowed Chair in Urban Public Policy at the
University of Houston.
“This appointment will help us examine crucial urban challenges
such as rapid population growth, increasing racial and ethnic diversity,
and building and maintaining the vast infrastructure required in
major metropolitan areas such as Houston,” said John Antel,
dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at UH. “With
Richard Murray’s reputation as a leading expert on Houston’s
politics and metropolitan issues, he will bring invaluable experience
and leadership to the table.”
The creation of the position was announced in April 2002. The $500,000
endowment was fully funded through donations from individuals and
foundations. The endowment’s earnings will augment the work
of a tenured UH professor of political science who will initiate
research and community outreach through the UH Center for Public
“Bob Lanier, in my opinion, was one of the three greatest
American mayors of the 20th century, along with New York’s
Fiorello La Guardia and Chicago’s Richard M. Daley,”
Murray said. “Elected in a highly racially polarized contest
in 1991, Mayor Lanier quickly built a broad racial and ethnic coalition
that supported his successful policies of reducing crime, improving
inner-city neighborhoods, and improving city services generally,
without significant tax increases. Mayor Lanier successfully defended
Houston’s affirmative action program for minority and female
businesses, and left office in 1998 with an 80 percent plus approval
rating from voters. I am honored to fill a chair bearing his name.”
Murray has taught at UH since 1966 and is director of the UH Center
for Public Policy. His academic interests are in Houston and Texas
politics, focusing on campaigns and elections, political parties
and interest groups and public opinion. Murray has conducted numerous
polls for the Houston Chronicle, other media and local governments.
In addition, his analyses and commentary have been carried by television
and radio, as well as print media such as The New York Times, Washington
Post, L.A. Times and the Houston Chronicle. He holds a bachelor’s
degree of arts and master’s of arts from Louisiana State University
(1962, 1963) and a Ph.D. in political science from the University
of Minnesota (1967).
“Elyse and I are proud that the Lanier Chair will be at the
University of Houston, and that Dick will be the first professor
to hold this title,” Lanier said. “His love of teaching
and research at the university and its Center for Public Policy
can now be expanded to the benefit of students, businesses and government.
He has a great mind, a quick wit and unrivaled knowledge and insights
into local governmental policy and politics. His historical, as
well as current, perspectives in this area are just invaluable.
He has also a great love and knowledge of the University of Houston.”
Lanier served as mayor of Houston, the nation’s fourth largest
city, from 1992-1998, during a period of unprecedented growth. Texas
Monthly magazine named him one of the three top Texas mayors of
the 20th century. Lanier manages his real estate properties, lectures
several times a year, and participates in various civic, academic
and political activities. He remains on call sharing his wisdom
and advice “whenever and wherever I might be useful”
with those in Houston and across the country.
About the Center for Public Policy
The Center for Public Policy identifies and evaluates major public
policy issues affecting the Houston metropolitan area and the state
of Texas. The Center is an active source for impartial research
regarding regional political, economic, and demographic issues.
For more information about the CPP, go to http://www.uh.edu/cpp.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.