Dear UHD Community,
Welcome back to campus. I hope all of you remained safe during the recent frozen weather that impacted our community. Delaying the start of the semester is challenging for faculty, staff and students. Your safety, however, is our top priority.
We began this semester, much like fall 2017, with a weather-related delay. Fortunately, this setback was not on the magnitude of last year’s historic storm. I applaud those of you who weathered last semester’s storm, and those of you who have returned to our campus this semester to continue your studies.
Still, we must make up for lost time this semester. I encourage faculty and staff to work with students who may have been impacted by this week’s weather. And I urge students to resume the semester with a sense of purpose. You are starting spring a few days behind schedule, so it’s imperative that you’re prepared to cover lost ground.
Although we begin this semester two days later than scheduled, we do so with a sense of momentum, following a year marked by significant awards and achievements. Last fall, we were recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) with a STAR Award, and we begin this semester with news that UHD received a Texas Affordable Baccalaureate degree grant from the same organization. This grant builds on our reputation of affordability, expands our partnership with Houston Community College and will provide affordable access to higher education for many Houstonians.
Among the great opportunities for those of us who work and study on a university campus is the sharing of ideas as we hear from scholars, business leaders and others. UHD is no exception. This semester, I hope you will take advantage of our Gator Grit Executive Speaker Series that will feature community and business leaders describing the personal qualities needed to respond to significant issues in our communities.
Next month, UHD’s O’Kane Gallery will feature a survey of the work of Floyd Newsum, one of our longest serving professors and a nationally recognized artist. Also next month, I am privileged to introduce my friend Astronaut Joe Acaba to the UHD community. He will speak to our students via satellite transmission from aboard the International Space Station in our Welcome Center. And, Dr. Bettina Love, Center for Critical Race Studies scholar-in-residence, will speak on issues related to social justice and civil rights.
I encourage you to take advantage of these and other opportunities to expand your thinking and your experiences. Great universities deliver academic programs that promote professional and intellectual growth, while hosting events that inspire and inform communities. UHD is achieving these things and much more with your support and engagement.
In spite of this week’s weather, 2018 is already off to a good start. I am confident that it will be a great year for you and for UHD.
Have a great spring semester.
Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz, UHD President