The private opening celebration of the Fertitta Center will not only mark the beginning of a new era for University of Houston Athletics but also honor the man who made it possible. Globally recognized entrepreneur Tilman J. Fertitta will be inducted into the UH Athletics Hall of Honor during a private opening of the state-of-the-art collegiate sports facility that bears his name.
Hall of Honor members, alumni, donors and other dignitaries will join together at the Fertitta Center on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. for an invitation-only ceremony featuring a ribbon cutting at center court, 3D laser light display, video tribute and much more.
What: Fertitta Center Private Opening Celebration and Hall of Honor Induction
Who: Tilman Fertitta, chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29. (Media welcome until 8 p.m.)
Where: Fertitta Center, University of Houston, 3422 Cullen Boulevard, Houston, TX (Media parking available in the Stadium Garage located on the corner of Holman and Cullen; Enter Fertitta Center through Club Entry on Holman)
As chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents since 2014, Fertitta’s leadership and vision have been instrumental to the elevation of the UH athletic program, according to UH President Renu Khator. “Tilman has given our athletic program a new level of confidence,” she said. “His impact on the way we think about and approach athletics, and the way we go after big dreams is enormous.”
Fertitta’s $20 million gift - the largest individual donation ever to UH Athletics - helped transform the UH basketball arena into a modern-day sports venue. The former Hofheinz Pavilion was gutted beginning in spring 2017 and the $60 million transformation was completed in November 2018.
The refreshed facility features a premium club area and a courtside club. The reconfigured bowl has mid-court seating locations closer to game action with floor-level seating for UH students opposite the team benches. Renovations include a new audio system, sports lighting and video boards, as well as new concession stands and expanded restrooms.
“Tilman has a vision, but when he gets there it’s not enough and he has to make another vision,” said Bill Worrell, Rockets play-by-play announcer and member of the UH Athletics Hall of Honor (‘16), who will emcee the event. “The facilities since he’s been head of the Board of Regents are some of the great facilities in the United States.”
“Every sport seems to be taking off once again, and it’s all about leadership. Under Tilman Fertitta’s leadership, we have good people once again. He’s raised the bar,” said Clyde Drexler, member of the UH Athletics Hall of Honor (’98) and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (’04).
The UH men’s basketball team will host the University of Oregon at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in the first game played at the new Fertitta Center.
About Tilman Fertitta
Tilman J. Fertitta was appointed to the University of Houston System Board of Regents in 2015 by Governor Greg Abbott for a second six-year term and will serve through August 31, 2021. He has been chairman since 2014. A native of Galveston, he attended UH's Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. In 2016, Fertitta donated $20 million, the largest individual donation ever to UH Athletics, to help transform the UH basketball arena into a modern-day sports venue now called the Fertitta Center.
Fertitta is the sole owner, chairman and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, Inc., which owns both the restaurant giant Landry’s, Inc. and the Golden Nugget Casinos and is recognized as a world leader in dining, hospitality, entertainment and gaming industries. Landry’s operates more than 500 properties in 34 states and owns a number of international locations. It is also one of the country’s largest employers with more than 60,000 employees. Fertitta purchased the NBA's Houston Rockets in 2017. An influential business figure, Fertitta stars in his own reality TV show on CNBC called Billion Dollar Buyer.