May 1, 2008On May 4, Ted Estess will take center stage when faculty, staff, alumni and students gather at the Moores Opera House to pay tribute to his more than 30 years of leading The Honors College.
The event, which is open to the campus community, takes place at 7 p.m. at the opera house and commemorates Estess, who steps down as college dean at the end of the semester. Estess will remain on faculty as professor of English.
“Ted has been the most important academic leader at the University of Houston over the last 31 years,” said Bill Monroe, college executive associate dean and professor of English. “He has transformed the college from a small and disorganized program into a vital honors college that is essential not only to the university, but to the city. His longevity as director and dean has allowed him to bring a vision of excellence into being and to maintain that vision despite numerous challenges.”
Monroe noted the event “is not only a celebration of Ted and his work, but of his contributions he has made universitywide. That’s why we’re calling it the The Estess Years: An Honors College Celebration.”
Poetry readings and musical and theatrical performances will mark the evening, which also includes a dessert reception in the Moores Opera House’s foyer. Another private campus fête is planned in Estess’ honor.
In 1977, Estess took the reins of the Honors Program and was instrumental in expanding the program into a college and increasing enrollment from 300 students to approximately 1,200. The college also enrolls an average of 70 new National Merit Scholars a year.
Under Estess’ leadership, the college created and maintained numerous creative partnerships with the community and an ever-growing number of Honors alumni. Another major accomplishment was the relocation of the college from its 6,000-square-foot site in the library’s basement to its new home on the second floor of the recently remodeled M.D. Anderson Library.
Estess, who the Jane Morin Cizik Chair in the Humanities, also is an author of several books, including “Fishing Spirit Lake.” Nationally known for his work in the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the National Collegiate Honors Council, Estess has served as president of the Southwest Region of the American Academy of Religion and as program chair of the arts, religion, and literature section of the AAR. He is a Fellow of the Society for Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture.