OUR UNIVERSITY

I just ran across this on another site where someone had posted an inquiry “what is the University of Houston like?”
If this is the wrong forum our moderators will move this but since it involves the the image of our university which directly (at least IMO) ties into athletics and since this forum gets the most traffic I thought this would be the best spot for this discussion. I do not know the person who authored this and I might disagree at the margins but I do believe he has captured the essence of some criticisms of our university and a considered answer to those. I look forward to any comments.
"The University of Houston isn’t very good at giving great first impressions. When I first walked on campus, the climate was humid, the students seemed spiritless, and the architecture looked as if a developer randomly selected designers to do whatever they want within a small, frugal budget.

Having attended the university for four years now, I can confidently assert that all of the above can seem true.

The climate on campus is the way it is because we live in what feels like the nations most humid, bipolar city for weather. You could literally be walking from around campus (2.3-ish miles) and experience four different seasons. I am now convinced that experiencing drastic changes in Houston’s weather the most adaptable college students in the continental United States.

Students on campus seem spiritless because they are exhausted. Having taken classes in almost every college, I can assure you that students at the University of Houston have a strong work-ethic. Most work a part-time or full-time job. Many older students have kids and many younger students are taking care of their parents and/or siblings.

Just yesterday I remember spending dinner talking with a friend about our life plans. Xavier (name changed for privacy) lost his mother when he was a child. His father hasn’t been able to work for almost eight years now. Xavier worked for several retail company’s for a low wage and when the time was opportune, he enrolled in college. He’s maintained a 3.9 GPA in MIS and is graduating in a few semesters. We discussed his internships at two Big 4 companies and while I was talking about my life goals by the age of 30, he stopped me. He said, “I’ve never really planned a decade out”. You see, he takes care of his father and has always concerned himself about tomorrow and the day after. Not years out.

And you might think, “Well, he’s just an anomaly”. Surprisingly, no. Xavier is among thousands of other students at the university with similar stories. Students that juggle school while managing a job, a kid, and being involved in school. And this isn’t something that is unique to our recent past. My mom took care of her brother with Muscular Dystrophy while attending college (he passed away half way through her sophomore year). My grandfather attended for his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering as a ticket to a better, more prosperous life in the United States. He left everything he knew to immigrate to a country that had just passed the Civil Rights Act. Thousands of students at the University of Houston manage to persevere every day. How could we ever expect students, with these weights on their shoulders, to walk with bubbly and happy spirits?

Of course, we’re also home to students that don’t have these burdens or responsibilities. In fact, we’re home to thousands of them. The University of Houston is where classes, races, religions, genders, sexualities, nationalities, and personalities come together for a common cause: to pursue prosperity.

And because UH has and always will serve the working class, it’s budget is constrained. It takes time for the university to create a class of alumni that have the ability to donate millions and millions of dollars. We definitely have our fare share of millionaires and billionaires, but we don’t have the masses of “$100,000” donors that private and other state-universities have in the state.

When the university was founded, it had this impeccable masterplan. The university was to grow in a nicely cut-cutter university. Trees and all. But something important happened. World War II ended. And we opened our doors to thousands of WWII veterans that wanted to redeem the promises of the GI Bill. This doubled the capacity of the university in a matter of months! The university quickly became a public state institution and had to grow faster than the budget could afford. Because of this, the university had to let go architecture. It had to build fast in order to serve its mission. In the 70s, the institution opened its doors to all ethnicities. In the 80s, immigrants began to call UH home. And recently, the institution hit a population of 42,000! And honestly, I have found the art and architecture on campus to reflect a journey of hard work and persistence, rather than an inherited sense of prestige.

How can we expect a university that serves its mission so well to be perfect? Graduating does take longer. More than half of our students are commuters. We don’t have the best buildings. We don’t have thousands of billionaire alumni. Because we’re busy opening doors to those that need an opportunity. An opportunity for prosperity.

With that being said, we are a tier-one, nationally ranked university that is home to excellent business, law, engineering, art, creative writing, physics, architecture, and restaurant management schools. We welcome 30-or so national merits every year, enroll 700-or so honors students, and our undergraduates have recently been extremely successful in winning competitions against some top-notch schools in the North East (MIT, Harvard, etc…). We’re also host the second highest population of on-campus residents (8,000+). Our students go on to become successful like Elizabeth Warren, Jim Parsons, and Tilman Fertitta (to name a few). They defy the odds and apply their consistency, work-ethic, and open-minded attitude to live the American dream.

So to answer your question concisely, my review of the University of Houston is: It is an excellent institution that serves as a bridge for all that aspire to realize the American dream and expand our perception of what is possible."

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This is a great write-up on our university. Admittedly, the way it started, I thought it was going to be a bash fest about how awful UH is. This turned out to be the complete opposite.

I attended UH because I couldn’t afford to go elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, when I finally got on campus I grew to appreciate it, but if I’m being honest, it wasn’t my first choice. Echoing what the writer said, you learn fairly quickly that the typical UH student works part-time or full-time, has other obligations that take them away from the traditional college experience and oftentimes, at least when I attended, the first in their family to go to college.

There was a young man I met at UH who crossed the border from Mexico into the US when he was a kid. He settled with his mother in Houston. He was a decent student, but showed tremendous drive. He works at NASA now.

Another student, with a similar story was a lab partner of mine in chemistry class. He’s now an optometrist.

And another student, again, with a similar story, proudly served in the Army after graduating. He was an integral piece to US operations in Central America and was commended for his service. He’s now a middle school teacher. All of them used UH as a spring board to greater opportunities and as the writer mentions, a bridge to the American Dream. All of them are proud Coogs and routinely attend games (I’ve caught a few with them throughout the years).

Great post Coog63, thank you for sharing.

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This has literally nothing to do with football. This thread should be on the satellite or academic excellence subforum.

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The campus is awesome with all the oak trees

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Not to mention that UH dedicates a percentage of all construction costs to art work on campus. The collection is out in the open and not locked up in some museum. The collection is quite impressive, so much so that I fear it is taken for granted.

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UH is ranked #39 in “social mobility”, “The degree to which, in a given society, an individual’s, family’s, or group’s social status can change throughout the course of their life through a system of social hierarchy or stratification”.
https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/social-mobility

It is also ranked in World’s top 100 universities for producing millionaires

Those hard working students are doing well.

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As the oldest of six children from a family with no college grads, The University of Houston served as my personal bridge to a good life. Combined with military service the University facilitated me getting a BS in Mechanical and a Master’s in Civil Engineering . All you have to do to succeed is work hard and do not let anyone get in your way. There are plenty of people around in your life that say you cannot do it . I think misery loves company . Be somebody !

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Very nice post,coog63…I enjoyed reading it very much and i am proud of how our school so reflects who we are as a school and what our mission is…

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Love, love, love this! So true in many ways, for many people — certainly in the past, anyway. A big thank you to the writer, whoever they may be. :pray:t4:

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I very much enjoyed reading this.

Nice write up and something we all know. UH is super underrated and its also fulfilling its mission to educate the sons and daughters of Houston. Making them successes. I see it all around Houston, lots of UH graduates succeeding in life. We are non traditional but our graduates are all the better for it, and so is the city. You know what they say, the best revenge is success and looks like we got revenge on all those that put us down and call us cougar high.

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UH has a great rep nationally it’s just in Texas we get bad pub bc of haters and jealousy by UT parents who feed them the negative. It’s why I want UT and OU on campus to see for themselves how we improved.

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OU alumni don’t care and UT alumni won’t admit it publicly. Who cares what they think? In my personal experience UT and BU alumni are pretentious for zero reason and OU and Tech alumni are okay. The world always has a way of making things “right”.

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Totally agree about what the rest of the world thinks.

Although I still have to contend with this:

“Hotel (Real Name), your team is on TV”

Me: My team is not playing today.

Looking at TV it is UT playing.

Others: “But, you attend the University of Texas”

Me: No, I attended the University of Houston.

Others: “Same thing, what’s the difference”

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I am enjoying the reflections of others about our university. So much of our academic and overall image comes from our athletic success (as it does for other universities). I am one of those who did not chose the University of Houston it chose me. Growing up dirt poor in Galena Park if there had not been a U of H I would never have been able to climb the educational ladder presented by a local university.
I have a new book on courtroom storytelling at the editor now and part of it includes the challenges I faced and references to my beloved university. Maybe one day I can post the appropriate sections if anyone would be interested.

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I do feel like we need a general UH Happenings/Comments thread in Football or so, to consistently post about what’s going on. Throwing this in a thread that isn’t viewed much doesn’t let the discussion roll.

That being said, UH is very blue collar mentality. Compared around to other schools, it’s just ‘get the degree and go’. UH is seriously a place where it is ‘strap up your boots up yo, get ready to dirty up and work’. The determination is absolutely there. This should not discount the work other students from other places do though. Just a different mentality

It sucks that UT System Students, and very few TAMU students at this point hickey dickey all over ‘COMMUTIN!!!’. We’re cool with OU, Tech, etc. Someone tried to let me know that UTD had less commuters than UH, making UH worse than UTD lmao

Who knows, the B12 move will definitely change it up.

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Jim…please let us know when this is published, and how we can purchase it…hopefully on Amazon.
Courtroom drama on TV has just become so ridiculous that only a monkey would find it interesting. I would rather read war stories out of a book for entertainment, especially from one of our own !

Ken, in addition to war stories and tips for advocates I have included a fair amount of reference to our proud university. In a bit of a tiff with my editor now who wants an exclusive “how to” tips book. I want it to be more story inclined.

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I would also like to add that I was at an Academy in the Spring area earlier today. I saw very little, if any, UH gear. Of course, there was plenty of gear for two other universities in TX. Just pitiful. I won’t be going back to that store any time soon!

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“How To” books are worthless without context. War stories give needed context, with a chance for humor and morality…

Your book would lend itself to actual courtroom strategy…a simple “How To” book is more of a Horne (law school) book, only useful in taking the bar exam…

You have my vote for war stories, and I bet you have some doozies…:smiley:

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