Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

September 15, 2004

Contact: Angie Joe
713.743.8153 (office)
713.617.7138 (pager)

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 Policy.

“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

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 university’s ‘Newsroom’ at