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The University of Houston System (also referred to as UH System or UHS) is a state system of higher education which oversees and funds four independent, self-governing universities and two multi-institution teaching centers (MITCs, pronounced "mit-sees"). It also administers a radio station, KUHF, and a television station, KUHTmarker.

The flagship and oldest school of the system, the University of Houstonmarker, was founded in 1927. The other universities in the system began as part of the flagship campus, but each became their own separate institutions in the 1970s and 1980s. The last addition to the system was the founding of the multi-institution teaching center, University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch in 2001.

The University of Houston System is the fourth-largest university system in the U.S. state of Texasmarker. With more than 61,000 students and 4,000 faculties total from four universities, it is the largest metropolitan public system of higher education in Texas. As of 1997, the University of Houston System administration is located in the Ezekiel W.marker Cullen Buildingmarker on the University of Houston campus. The current Chancellor is Renu Khator, and the current Chairman of the Board of Regents is Welcome W. Wilson, Sr.


University of Houston System timeline
The University of Houston System was established by the Texas Legislature in 1977 as the University of Houstonmarker celebrated its 50th anniversary. Philip G. Hoffman became the first chancellor after serving as president for the University of Houston from 1961 to 1977. The original University of Houston System consisted of simply the University of Houston and its branch campuses. The branches, consisting of the University of Houston at Clear Lake City, University of Houston Downtown College, and University of Houston Victoria Center, were all part of the University of Houston as the same institution. In 1979, the University of Houston Downtown College became its own individual university, and changed its name to the University of Houston–Downtown. In 1983, the University of Houston at Clear Lake City and the University of Houston Victoria Center both also became autonomous institutions from UH as the University of Houston–Clear Lakemarker and the University of Houston–Victoria respectively, and also joined the system.

In 1997, the UH System and the University of Houston administrations merged. That same year, Arthur K. Smith became the first person to be both UH System chancellor and University of Houston president at the same time. Smith oversaw the successful merger of the UH System and UH administrations, the launching of the “Learning. Leading.” image campaign, the planning and construction of a number of major buildings at all four UH System universities, a dramatic growth in external funding for research, and an increase in student enrollment.

In 2007, the University of Houston System sought to purchase additional property in the northwest Houston. Prairie View A&M Universitymarker objected to this purchase, saying that it would lead to competition for students in the area. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the deal, but under stringent conditions. Subsequently, UH withdrew from the land purchase deal.

In November 2007, Renu Khator was selected as the eighth chancellor of the University of Houston System and thirteenth president of the University of Houston. Khator became the first female to hold the chancellorship position and took office two months thereafter in January 2008. In addition, she is the third person to hold the dual position of UH System chancellor and UH president.


The University of Houston System is governed by the UH System Board of Regents. The board consists of a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, and six other members. Every two years, the Governor of the State of Texas, subject to the confirmation of the Texas Senate, appoints three members to the Board of Regents. Each member serves a six-year term. Responsibilities for members are specifically listed in the bylaws of the Board of Regents.

The current Chairman of the Board of Regents is Welcome W. Wilson, Sr. who is a 1949 alumnus of the University of Houston. Wilson, a Texas-based real estate developer, also serves as Chairman of GSL Welcome Group. He was appointed in 2006, and will serve through August 31, 2011.

Also overseeing the University of Houston System is the UHS Chancellor. The chancellor, appointed by the UHS Board of Regents, has certain authorities that are specified in the regent bylaws. The chancellor has the option to delegate responsibilities to others such as the vice-chancellor, university presidents, and university athletic directors. Such delegations are subject to the board of regents bylaws and UHS policies.

Philip G.
Hoffman, first Chancellor of the University of Houston System
Since 1997, University of Houston System and University of Houston administration has been a single entity. Thus, the UHS Chancellor holds a dual role as the President of the University of Houston. As of 2008, the chancellor of UH System and president of the University of Houston is Renu Khator.

The administration of the system is located on the campus of the University of Houston in the Ezekiel W.marker Cullen Buildingmarker. The Chancellor's official residence is known as the "Wortham House". The house was designed by Alfred C. Finn, and built by Frank P. Sterling in 1925 as the "Sterling House". In 1948, the house was donated to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houstonmarker, and later sold to Gus and Lyndall Wortham in 1951. Upon her death in July 1980, Lyndall Wortham donated the property to the University of Houston. The house, located in the Houston neighborhood of Southampton, serves as a facility for small functions or gatherings of UH and UHS.


Current presidents

General universities

The University of Houston System has four distinct and separate universities, with each institution conferring its own degrees.

University of Houston

Founded in 1927, the University serves 37,000 students in 12 academic colleges and in the interdisciplinary Honors College on a campus southeast of Downtown Houston. UH offers 112 bachelor's, 135 master's, 54 doctoral, and three professional degree programs. It currently is the third-largest university in Texasmarker and twenty-third largest university in the United Statesmarker by enrollment, awarding more than 7,100 degrees annually.

The University of Houston is the largest and oldest institution in the UH System. The University of Houston is the System's flagship university. During the 1980s, the University of Houston changed its name to "University of Houston–University Park" to distinguish itself from the rest of the universities in the system. However since 1988, the institution has officially been known as simply the "University of Houston". Each other system university was, at one point in each of their histories, part of this institution.

University of Houston–Clear Lake

The University of Houston–Clear Lake is an upper-level university located on a campus with an enrollment of over 7,600 students. The university was founded in 1971 as the "University of Houston at Clear Lake City".

UHCL does not offer lower-level courses, and many of the student body attend area community colleges to complete their basic curriculum requirements. Each students is admitted to a specific degree program at the University of Houston–Clear Lake after he or she has obtained 54 semester hours of college credit with a minimum grade of C or if he or she has earned an associate's degree.

University of Houston–Downtown

The University of Houston–Downtown is a four-year college located in Houston's central business district. With an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, UHD is the second-largest institution of the University of Houston System.

The institution was founded in 1974 when assets of the private South Texas Junior College were acquired and transferred to the University of Houston. UH–Downtown opened as a branch campus of UH and by 1979, it had separated from UH as the Texas Legislature approved the new institution as a freestanding university within the UH System.

University of Houston–Victoria

The University of Houston–Victoria is a public university located in Victoria, Texasmarker. It was founded as an upper-level institution in 1973 as the University of Houston Victoria Center and became a permanent part of the University of Houston System in 1983. UHV is the smallest university by enrollment in the system.

The university shares facilities and some services with Victoria College and also works with Coastal Bend College, Wharton County Junior College and Houston Community College System. The student population has now grown to over 3,600 students, and has conferred 4,200 bachelor's and master's degrees.

Universities Campus land area (acres) Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Athletics affiliation
University of Houstonmarker 667 1927 37,000 Cougars Scarlet Red & Albino White NCAA Division I - Conference USA
524 1971 7,644 Egrets Blue & Green None
20 1974 12,742 Gators Blue & Orange NCBA Division II
20 1973 3,654 Jaguars Purple, Red, & Gold NAIA - Region VI

Multi-institution teaching centers

There are two multi-institution teaching centers serving all four UH System institutions: UHS at Cinco Ranch and UHS at Sugar Land.

The University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch was founded in 1980 as the "West Houston Institute" as a part of the University of Houstonmarker. In 2001, it was reorganized as a higher education teaching center of the University of Houston System located in northern Fort Bend County, Texasmarker near the city of Katymarker.

The University of Houston System at Sugar Land, often referred to as "UHS at Sugar Land" or "UHSSL", was founded in 1996 as a higher education teaching center of the UH System located in Sugar Land, Texasmarker. It was originally named the "Fort Bend Institute," and later the "University of Houston System at Fort Bend" prior to its current name.

Although not part of the UH System, two UH System universities (UH and UHD) offer distance education classes at the Lone Star College–University Center—a satellite distance education center of the Lone Star College System. LSC–University Center also works in conjunction with other Texas public universities to offer distance education courses and programs.


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