Milestones By The Decade
1974: UHCL, known as University of Houston at Clear Lake City, welcomes more than 1,000 students and 60 faculty in 1974, stemming from the 1971 passing of House Bill 199 by the 62nd Texas Legislature to authorize the establishment of UH/CLC.
1974: It becomes clear to administrators, including founding Chancellor Alfred R. Neumann, who had been serving as chancellor for the two previous years to help establish the new university, that its one building, the Arbor Building, could not hold everyone. On May 1, 1974, UHCL breaks ground on the Bayou Building. The new building is added through Senate Bill 2, introduced by Sen A.R. Schwartz and Rep. Hawkins Menefee, which authorized the sale of $40 million tuition bonds to fund the construction.
1976: What would a 40th birthday special be without including an important fact about "40"? The number of alumni reaches 40 in 1976, during the same year the first formal commencement is held in Atrium II of the newly constructed Bayou Building. Sen. A.R. Schwartz serves as the keynote speaker. In addition to increasing the number of alumni that year, UHCL also promotes eight of its faculty for the first time.
1976: Curtain call? In 1976, UH/CLC's Bayou Building auditorium, now known as the Bayou Theater, becomes the perfect venue for musical groups such as the Houston Symphony, which presents the inaugural performance in the new facility. Further confirming the university's commitment to the arts, university students debut their own literary magazine called Bayousphere.
1977: Meet me at the sculpture out front? In 1977, world-renowned Spanish sculptor Pablo Serrano visits the university to supervise the placement of "Spiritus Mundi" on the front lawn of the Bayou Building. The bronze sculpture, cast in Madrid, Spain, symbolizes the juxtaposition and tension within every pairing in life. Known by a variety of informal names through the years, its actual name means Spirit of the World. 1978: A record-breaking 5,518 students register for classes in fall 1978. UHCL, still known as UH/CLC, boasts three schools including Human Sciences, Professional Studies, and Sciences and Technologies.
1978: Faculty make a name for themselves at UHCL and beyond. Professor of Literature Gretchen Mieszkowski becomes the first UHCL professor recognized as a Piper Professor. Beginning in 1958, the Piper Professor Program has recognized outstanding professors from public and private colleges and universities in Texas based on nominations by each college or university. Only one other UHCL professor has been named a Piper Professor – Professor of Economics William Rice in 1986. UHCL Distinguished Alumna Emmeline Dodd, a professor of biology at College of the Mainland, has also been recognized as a Piper Professor when she was honored in 1998.
1979: Again realizing the importance of growth and space, construction of the Developmental Arts Building is completed, housing a dance studio, gymnasium and more. That same year, the UH/CLC Dance Collective was formed, and theater professor Robert Everding established the Houston Shaw Festival in honor of playwright George Bernard Shaw.
1981: Alumni numbers grow and in response to this growth, UH/CLC forms the Alumni Association after a task force led by faculty recommend the creation of the association. Alumnus Micheal Reeves serves as its first president. The association continues today serving more than 59,000 alumni with an executive council that is appointed by UHCL President William A. Staples.
1981: Just as enrollment grows, so do faculty numbers, and they, too, need a voice in the university; thereby establishing Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate makes recommendations to the UHCL president concerning matters of interest to the faculty. Later, staff get more involved and, in 1987, they form the Support Staff Council. In 1990, the Professional and Administrative Staff Association is created after the support staff and professional/administrative staff decide to form separate organizations in order to provide distinct representation for the varying interests of the groups. Finally, in 1995, the Support Staff Council changes its name to the Support Staff Association.
1983: A rose by any other name ... University of Houston at Clear Lake City becomes University of Houston-Clear Lake after Gov. Mark White signs into law a bill officially changing the name.
1984: UHCL alumni celebrate the university's 10th anniversary and inaugurate its annual Bayou Ball. At the gala, UHCL alumni Marilyn K. Wiley and Elizabeth Finck Leibfried receive the first Distinguished Alumni Awards. Since that time, the UHCL Alumni Association has honored many others with the awards including, in 2004, the Leadership Service Award that was later renamed the Marilyn S. Sims Leadership Award. Its first recipient, The Honorable Marilyn Lunney, later receives the Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2005, Cris Curnutt Daskevich is honored with the first Early Achievement Award and by 2006, retired School of Science and Computer Engineering Dean Charles McKay is honored with the Outstanding Professor Award. To further honor alumni, UHCL dedicates Alumni Plaza in 2006 and includes a Distinguished Alumni Fountain and Distinguished Alumni Wall, a granite wall listing all recipients of UHCL's Distinguished Alumni Award.
1984: Under the leadership of UHCL President Thomas M. Stauffer, faculty and their research meet a major milestone in the university's history when they surpass the $1 million mark in grants and contracts for the first time.
1984: NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Director Gerald Duane Griffin is recognized by UHCL President Thomas M. Stauffer with the university's first honorary degree, the Doctor of Humane Letters, during the fall commencement. NASA JSC Director Aaron Cohen received an honorary degree during the spring 1989 ceremony, and Harvard University Higgins Professor of Physics Norman F. Ramsey is honored with one in 1990.
1987: UHCL opens what would be its first art gallery, located on the second floor of the Bayou Building. Ming porcelains are among some of the first exhibitions. Although the second-floor exhibit area would eventually close, the Art Gallery takes a step up – or rather a step down – when it is relocated to the first floor in 2006 in a renovated 440-foot glassed-in corner of the Bayou Building, prime real estate catching the eye of all entering through the main entrances.
1989: Recognizing the dedication of all who strengthen the university, UHCL honors Selma Neumann, wife of founding Chancellor Alfred R. Neumann, with its first Presidential Medal. A second is presented in 1990 to Robert B. Young, president of Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co. In 2012, Barrios Technology President and CEO Sandy Johnson accepts the medal of distinction.
1990: How much does UHCL contribute to the community? An Economic Impact Assessment completed by Associate Professor of Economics Robert Hodgin indicates that in the early '90s UHCL injects more than $22 million into the local economy.
1991: Located on a wildlife preserve, UHCL recognizes the importance of environment and creates the Environmental Institute of Houston to address regional environmental issues. Two years later, UHCL partners with University of Houston to expand the range of research and training available to the region's environmental constituents. Run jointly by the two universities until 2012 when the institute returns solely to UHCL, it continues to build partnerships in research, education and outreach. EIH community programs include School Habitats and Summer Nature Camps for local school children. Additionally, it hosts Texas Envirothon, the largest high school environmental competition, providing an integrated educational experience to enhance students' knowledge and environmental literacy.
1992: UHCL, under the leadership of President Glenn A. Goerke, receives major kudos when Texas State Comptroller John Sharp presents the state's first "Breaking the Mold" award to the university for innovative leadership and good stewardship of state dollars. That same year, IBM selects UHCL for one of eight Total Quality Management awards, with UHCL receiving the largest award of $2 million.
1992: New vistas? UHCL increases its acreage when the U.S. Department of Education grants 37 acres of natural land, expanding the campus to 524 acres, adding to the 487 acres of land originally donated by the Friendswood Development Company for the creation of the university.
1993: School of Human Sciences and Humanities Professor David Malin and School of Natural and Applied Sciences (now known as School of Science and Computer Engineering) Professor Sadegh Davari, recipients of the first patents at UHCL, are honored with the Figment Awards from the Office of Sponsored Programs. Malin and University of Texas Health Science Center's Malcolm Skolnick work together on research that involves a new chemical structure and its potential use in drug dependency and pain control, while Davari collaborates with researchers from Texas A&M for a patent on work that studies the acceleration of the speed in which computer networks process and transfer information.
1993: UHCL President Glenn A. Goerke welcomes Gov. Ann Richards and other state agency officials, thrusting UHCL into the spotlight when the university hosts "Capital for a Day," allowing community residents to visit with agency representatives who set up offices in the university's Bayou Building and to discuss concerns in a town hall meeting with the governor and other government leaders.
1993-1994: To celebrate its 20th anniversary, UHCL hosts festivities throughout the academic year culminating with the unveiling of "Academic Laurels," a commemorative quilt on permanent display in the Bayou Building. The quilt, which ultimately receives first place in the Group Quilts category at the 1994 International Quilt Festival, includes stitches by then Gov. Ann Richards and handiwork from two of UHCL's first ladies including the inspirational leader, project coordinator and first lady at the time, Joyce Goerke, and current first lady, Darlene Staples. Judy Cloninger, a nationally known quilt designer and wife of UHCL charter faculty member Dale Cloninger, is the designer of the quilt. Others quilters involved with "Academic Laurels" include UHCL staff Judy Chapmon, Naomi Dunaway, Janice Fisher, Diane Johnson, Jan Just, Anna Lowery, Pat Pate, Loretta Poston, Mary Ann Shallberg and UHCL Distinguished Alumna Elizabeth Leibfried, wife of Professor Ted Leibfried.
1994: UHCL launches Egret magazine. The magazine editor explains that the native egret is a fitting symbol of the university's natural surroundings. In a style reflecting the environmental essence of the university, Egret magazine is designed to inform and inspire readers.
1994: It's all about the green, blue (and black) when UHCL unveils its new official logo, which graphically reflects the image and identity of the university, and is based on input from faculty, staff, students and alumni in a series of focus groups. In 2014, UHCL begins celebrating these colors weekly with blue and green Wednesdays, urging the university community to wear clothing reflecting those colors.
1995: Commuter school? Not for everyone. UHCL opens its first on-campus housing complex with the University Forest Apartments. Privately owned, the complex offers residents a chance to swim and play tennis during study breaks as well as online connectivity to the university's computer network system.
1999: Faculty stay busy with research and then Associate Professor of Chemistry Ramiro Sanchez, now deceased, develops an air-purification process to rid toxins from the environment. Meanwhile, in the School of Human Sciences and Humanities, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience David Malin develops a vaccine which, in laboratory studies, is proven to reduce the effects of nicotine on the central nervous system.
2000: As the university prepares to move into the next century, its spring 2000 semester credit hours skyrocket to a record high of 58,787. International student enrollment grows by 27 percent, with UHCL welcoming its first two transfer students from the American-Bangladesh University in Dhaka Bangladesh and its first three students from the Universidad Technologico de Santiago, Dominican Republic. Having come a long way since its first international agreement in 1985, UHCL now has an international student population that represents 16 percent of the student body.
2002: Strengthening the opportunities offered to students, UHCL's School of Education partners with Clear Creek Independent School District to transform McWhirter Elementary School into a professional development laboratory school where UHCL field-based courses are to be housed. A second agreement in 2014 results in the Deer Park Independent School District's Parkwood Elementary School also becoming a professional development laboratory school, which offers School of Education students another opportunity for best practice learning experiences. Like McWhirter, it also provides ongoing professional development for educators.
2003: University friend Ben Mieszkuc memorializes his wife, community leader Marilyn Mieszkuc, by establishing the Marilyn Mieszkuc Memorial Professorship in Women's Studies Endowment, the first privately funded professorship at the university.
2003: Reaching out to all ages, UHCL launches the Clear Lake Association of Senior Programs and its "Visions In Our Midst" Distinguished Speaker Series. While originally designed to offer educational opportunities to seniors in the area, the series became popular among all ages. Retired Galveston County judge and UHCL alumna Marilyn Lunney (later named a UHCL Distinguished Alumna) is the visionary behind the series and still serves as chairwoman of the all-volunteer committee. The first session in the now long-running series includes a brown bag luncheon titled "Inspiration Behind the Space Heroes – A Conversation with NASA Wives" with experiences of NASA/JSC wives Bobbie Frank, Patty Leetsma, Jean Buchli, Dana Puddy and Lunney. Although not able to attend, Lee Kerwin shares her thoughts through a letter.
2004: More space for more students? Definitely! For the first time in its almost 30 years of existence, UHCL adds its first new building since the opening of the Bayou Building in 1976. The three-story, 160,000-square-foot Student Services and Classroom Building includes a one-stop Student Assistance Center, where students can enroll, register for classes, pay fees and find financial aid and scholarship opportunities. The building also houses a Writing Center, the Office of Student Life, Office of the Dean of Students and the Fitness Zone, which allows students, faculty and staff to work out during study breaks.
2004: Celebrating and honoring the gifts it has received, UHCL presents its Community Partnership Award to Houston Endowment Inc., which began its tradition of scholarship support at UHCL in 1974 with a $10,000 gift. Since that time, Houston Endowment has presented UHCL with many scholarship and programmatic gifts including a $1.5 million challenge grant in 2000 that becomes the largest gift of its kind for the university and propels the university into the Discovering Opportunities campaign. Participating in the initiative, 784 university friends enhance 50 existing endowments and create 47 new ones.
2005: Providing even more educational opportunities, the School of Science and Computer Engineering adds an engineering division, complementing the school's other divisions of natural sciences and computing and mathematics. The addition of the new division comes just three years after the school receives approval to change its name from Natural and Applied Sciences to Science and Computer Engineering. The addition of the engineering division highlights the school's undergraduate computer engineering degree and graduate computer, systems, software engineering degrees. Meanwhile, in 2005, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approves the School of Business and Public Administration name change to the School of Business, which more accurately reflects the school's mission, programs and curriculum.
2005: What better place for a future hospital administrator to study than in the Texas Medical Center? UHCL received approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to begin offering the joint Master of Healthcare Administration/Master of Business Administration in the Texas Medical Center beginning fall 2006.
2006: Doctor who? For the first time, UHCL adds a doctoral program to its roster of degree programs. The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, led by Associate Professor of Educational Leadership Lawrence Kajs, prepares educational leaders to take the next step in their career by providing extensive development in educational leadership and administrative practices. Six years later, in 2014, UHCL gains approval for its second doctoral program – the Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM-related focus.
2008: Ready to assist families of children with autism spectrum disorders, UHCL establishes a Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities under the direction of Professor of Psychology Dorothea Lerman, adding individualized training for children with autism spectrum disorders through a partnership with Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County. The collaborative initiative is funded by a $1.25 million grant from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.
2010: With much local support and approval by the state, UHCL opens its second campus. UHCL Pearland Campus officially welcomes its first students in fall 2010 with an enrollment of 530. The 30,659-square-foot modern facility built by the City of Pearland offers 22,616 square feet for use by UHCL and 8,043 square feet by the Pearland Economic Development Corporation. The campus includes classrooms, a library, a student lounge, teaching labs and a faculty suite.
2013: Welcome Hunter the Hawk! After a five-phase process that begins in 2010 and includes input from all UHCL constituencies, the university unveils the UHCL Hawk mascot art in 2012, then introduced the Hawk costumed character at the 2013 annual Chili Cook-Off, one of UHCL's most popular and long-standing traditions. Finally, in fall 2013, the mascot's name, Hunter, was announced at the annual I HEART UHCL festivities.
2014: UHCL may be celebrating its 40th birthday, but instead of getting older, it gets younger when it welcomes freshman and sophomore students for the first time. Approximately 600 freshmen and sophomores bring UHCL's total enrollment to an all-time high of 8,665. The transition to a four-year university had begun in 2011 when Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 324 as presented by State Sen. Mike Jackson. Similarly, House Bill 706 as presented by State Rep. John Davis had been approved by the Texas House of Representatives. The first semester was a success, and persistence rates show 89 percent of first-time-in-college students returning to UHCL in the spring.
2015: For the first time in its 40-year history, UHCL has been listed in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. The ranking in the Best Regional Universities in the West marks a major milestone for the university, which became a four-year university in fall 2014 by adding freshman and sophomore course work to its roster.
2015: Honoring the support and dedication of a longtime university friend, UHCL's Office of Veteran Services officially announces its renaming to the Capt. Wendell M. Wilson Office of Veteran Services. Wendell, married to UHCL Distinguished Alumna and Associate Professor Emerita Patricia Potter Wilson, says his connection with the university came through his wife. With the addition of the Office of Veteran Services to UHCL two years previously, Wendell felt an even more personal connection to the university. The Vietnam veteran knew how much an office like this could have helped him when he returned from the battlefield 40 years ago.
2016: UHCL renames its four academic schools effective Sept. 1 to the College of Business, College of Human Sciences and Humanities, College of Education and College of Science and Engineering.
2017: Ira K. Blake joins UHCL as the university's fifth president -- the first female and first African-American to serve in the role. Blake's says her first priority is to continue UHCL's evolution into a comprehensive four-year university, mission-focused on the delivery of high-quality educational experiences by outstanding faculty as we prepare all students for meaningful roles and satisfying careers in the Houston-Galveston metropolitan region, state, nation and beyond.
2018: UHCL President Ira K. Blake names Steven J. Berberich to become senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and Mark A. Denney as the next Vice President for Administration and Finance.
2018: Continuing to meet the needs of the growing student population, UHCL opens the new STEM and Classroom Building and Recreation and Wellness Center. The STEM and Classroom Building includes 15 teaching labs for physics, chemistry, geology, industrial hygiene, environmental safety classes as well as the new mechanical engineering degree program classes. Other highlights of the 121,575-square-foot building include an astronomy observation deck and specialty rooms for computer-aided drafting and 3-D printing. The 81,709-square-foot Recreation and Wellness Center includes a three-lane elevated indoor running track, two regulation-sized basketball courts and three state-of-the-art research labs. Other highlights include weight and cardio spaces, a multi-activity court, classrooms and open/private study spaces.
2019: UHCL Pearland welcomes students to its new three-story, $24.6 million Health Sciences and Classroom Building that will allow expansion of programs in nursing and other health care careers. The 69,539-square-foot building houses UHCL Pearland's health-science programs, specifically the RN-to-BSN and Licensed Professional Counselors programs, as well as a satellite office for UHCL's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
2019: Opened first on-campus residence hall.