June 1, 2009
I want to share some very, very good news with you today. After all of our hard work in letter writing, testifying, visiting legislators in Austin, and earning community support, we can declare victory in our efforts to secure a pathway for the University of Houston to attain Tier One status.
Late last night, the Texas Legislature passed two historic bills – the Constitutional amendment that creates the fund needed to finance top-tier research by UH and all the state’s emerging research universities, and the enabling legislation that provides a pathway to access those funds. The enabling legislation still awaits the Governor’s signature before it becomes law.
The Constitutional amendment will be put to a state-wide vote in November 2009, and we plan to engage the support of our alumni, our community leaders, and the UH System family in a drive to educate voters on what additional Tier One universities will mean in terms of economic growth for Texas. We are hopeful voters will pass the amendment.
My admiration and gratitude go to members of our UH System Board of Regents, most notably Chairman Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., and Regent Nelda Luce Blair, who devoted many hundreds of hours of their own time to be in Austin at crucial times during the session. I also want to congratulate our legislative team in Austin – Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations Grover Campbell and Assistant Vice President Laura Calfee – for their steadfast commitment, brilliant leadership, and considerable talents in presenting our case before our legislators.
And I especially want to thank our legislative delegation. They stood strongly with us and provided invaluable leadership and support that made passage of these two key bills possible.
Building upon this constitutional and legislative foundation, the University of Houston will be in the strongest position ever to complete our Tier One journey.
I want to thank all of you who wrote our legislators, or called them, or helped in any way. I am proud of you and your efforts. Now, let’s set our sights on getting the constitutional amendment passed next November.