December 9, 2021
As we close out the year and I reflect on the past few months, I am in awe of you and grateful for the comeback we have had. The pandemic has been very challenging for all of us. Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine and your determination to make it happen, we made the full return to campus with success. We’re back!
The responsibility you’ve shown throughout the pandemic has made me so proud.
Not only did we return safely, but we also returned with our fighting Cougar spirit. Continuing our return to normal, this weekend, more than 5,100 of you will graduate through in-person commencements. Congratulations to those of you who will be participating. Graduation is always special. This fall, we have a mother and daughter who are both graduating from the College of Technology and our youngest graduate is receiving her master’s degree at age 18. How impressive!
Here are some additional updates:
Finals and Springing Forward: I know that you’ve been busy in your studies for final exams. I hope that you have done well and have taken advantage of our stress-free finals support services. Remember, it’s all about balance. Use the winter break to unwind and rejuvenate and come back with that fighting Cougar spirit. I look forward to seeing you back on January 18, ready to tackle the spring semester. I know that you can finish this academic year with shining colors — preferably, all red.
Football Team Goes Bowling: Our Cougar football has earned an invitation to the Birmingham Bowl against Auburn on December 28. The return of rowdy fans to TDECU Stadium and the exhilaration of an 11-win season marked a memorable return to campus. Overall, Athletics continues to break modern-day boundaries and make us proud to be Coogs. I am so excited about our new achievements. Between the NCAA Final Four, bowl games and so much more, the Athletics Division continued success will build a nationally competitive athletics program to further elevate our Cougar brand. For the first time since 1973, both Cougar football and basketball teams are nationally ranked at the same time — men’s basketball is ranked No. 14 and football is No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Building Excitement: New facilities are on the rise all around campus and there is more to come. As you may have already seen, the new College of Medicine building, the new John M. O’ Quinn Law Building and a second tower at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management are quickly going up. In the near future, we will have a dynamic Innovation Hub for you, which will house innovation and entrepreneurial-related programs, as well as maker space. Plus, Hobby School of Public Affairs and our Sugar Land site are getting new buildings, in addition to a new multimillion-dollar medical research facility in the Texas Medical Center. UH continues to expand and improve and buildings like these are concrete examples of that.
Keeping Up with COVID-19: The omicron variant’s exact effects are unknown, but its emergence serves as a reminder to stay on guard against this ever-changing coronavirus. Founding Dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs Dr. Stephen Spann gave sound guidance in an earlier communication, which I encourage you to read. As you leave campus for the winter break, please continue to be COVID safe. Our free COVID-19 Curative Testing kiosk is readily available for testing and will only be closed from December 24 - January 2 throughout the winter break.
I look forward to seeing you in the new year. Once again, thank you for making our full return to campus a success and for being the best students Texas has to offer. It’s your thirst for knowledge and tenacious attitude that makes this great University soar to even higher heights. May the joy of the season fill your hearts and grant you a bright beginning in 2022.
With warm regards,Renu Khator