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The University of Houston–Downtown (also referred to as UH–Downtown or UHD) is a public four-year university in Houstonmarker. It is one of four separate institutions in the University of Houston Systemmarker. With an enrollment of 12,283 students, UHD is the fourteenth-largest university in Texasmarker.


Commerce Street Building
In 1942, the University of Houston'smarker College of Business Administration added a branch campus in Downtown Houston dubbed the "Downtown Business School". Located at 705 Fannin Street, it soon became known as simply "Downtown School".

On August 6, 1974, the University of Houston acquired the assets of South Texas Junior College, moved the Downtown School to the location and opened the "University of Houston Downtown College" (UHDC) as a four-year institution. South Texas Junior College's president, W.I. Dykes, later became the namesake of UHD's library. By 1977, the university had an enrollment of 4,500. In 1979, the Texas Legislature approved UHDC as a freestanding university from UH within the UH Systemmarker.

The college's first four-year degree was a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and resident students attended for $4 per credit hour. The school purchased its first and only dormitory in 1981. The dormitory, formerly the Harley Hotel located at 101 Main Street and known as the University Center, remained in the university's possession until 1991 when it was demolished in favor of renovation.

In 1983, the university changed its name to its current one by dropping the word "college" from its name. During this decade when Houston was booming, UHD succeeded in having the M & M Buildingmarker named to the National Register of Historic Places, degree programs continued to grow, and UHD's first Red Rose Ball became a signature fundraiser. Tuition increased in 1984 to $12 per credit hour.

In 1992, UHD president Max Castillo came from San Antonio College to lead the university. During the 1990s, UHD focused on becoming a metropolitan university—appealing to traditional students as well as working professionals. During the early 1990s, UHD also began key partnerships with community colleges and it moved to meet greater Houston's demand for qualified teachers when it added a teacher certification program in urban education. During this time, the Weekend College Program began and a new Academic Building and the Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center opened.

As the 1990s ended, UHD moved ahead again, earning full approval from the Texas Legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer graduate programs; the University's first master's degree in criminal justice was approved. UHD also began offering degree programs at Lone Star College–University Center in The Woodlandsmarker. By fall 1988, more than 8,300 students were enrolled on campus.

UHD's expansion and growth continued as a new millennium arrived. Master's degree programs in criminal justice and teaching were added. Physical growth also continued and the Willow Street Pump Station was renovated while a new, bricked-face Commerce Street Building opened at the corner of Commerce Street and Main Street—providing a new home for the College of Public Service. As UHD grew so did the number of students participating in commencement. In 2002, UHD became the first university to award degrees in Minute Maid Parkmarker. UHD won national recognition for its wireless campus and the Bachelor of Business Administration degree program in general business became the university's first on-line degree. In November 2007, the Shea Street Building opened as the new home of the UHD's College of Business.

Name change

Because the names are so similar, there is often confusion between University of Houston–Downtown (UHD) and the University of Houstonmarker (UH). Most people think of UHD as a branch or a satellite location of UH, but UHD is a separately accredited university and confers its own degrees. The University of Houston Systemmarker has been working to rectify this confusion and ensure separate identities by renaming UHD.

The name change had been approved by the UH System Board of Regents in December 2008. The challenge now is what will the name be, not whether if the name should change.

UHD is scheduled to begin discussions in fall 2009 that will eventually result in a short list of names, which will be forwarded to the UH System chancellor for consideration. The UH System Board or Regents will ultimately select a new name for UHD.

UHD is working with a consulting firm to assist in identifying possible new names. The selection process stipulates that UHD's new name "must not contain 'University of Houston,' or be so similar to the 'University of Houston' that it would cause confusion."

In August 2008, UHD hired a consulting firm that performed a research study regarding identity and name confusions between UHD and UH. The research also gauged different stakeholders in the Houston area regarding a new name for UHD.

The following themes emerged from the research survey about the name change: (1) The confusion about UHD and its role and relationship to UH is real. This was the first survey to verify quantitatively that the confusion exists. (2) Those who opposed the name change opposed it because they value the confusion with UH; and (3) those in favor of a name change desire that UHD stand on its own accord.

William Flores, UHD president, had made an official statement to the UHD community regarding the name change in the university's Fall 2009 edition of New Horizons. "Changing a university's name is always somewhat uncomfortable, but name changes are part of the growing process. While the thought of changing UHD's name will make some people uneasy, it will also let us fully assess our strengths, our weaknesses and what we want to be known for," Flores said.


The University of Houston–Downtown has an open admissions policy and the only criteria for entrance is a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate. Transfer applicants with 15 or more college semester hours are admitted without a minimun grade point average (GPA); however, applicants with less than a 2.0 GPA will be admitted on a probationary basis.

The university offers 42 undergraduate and four graduate degree programs in four academic colleges:
  • College of Business
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • College of Public Service
  • College of Sciences and Technology


The UHD campus is located in five buildings at the north end of Downtown Houston, next to the crossing of Interstate 10 and Main Street. One of the buildings in the complex is the former Merchants and Manufacturers Buildingmarker, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

UHD's student population consists of 36% Hispanic, 27% African American, 24% white, 10% Asian American, and 3% foreign nationals. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has designated UHD as a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), in recognition of the large number of Hispanic students enrolled at UHD.

Although UHD does not have an intercollegiate varsity athletics program, it does offer its students a number of club sports and intramural sports in addition to numerous fitness programs. The Department of Sports & Fitness coordinates these activities out of the Student Life Center located on the UHD campus. UHD's club sports teams are known as the Gators. The UHD mascot is known as Ed-U-Gator. The university and its community offer additional activities for students such as clubs, organizations, fraternities, and sororities.

The campus of UHD is served by METRORail's UH–Downtownmarker station—the northern terminus of the Red Line.

List of university presidents

Notable students & alumni



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