Name and changed operation bump up its image
By Elsa Maxey
A bit of confusion and brand clarity, the expressed purposes behind the new university’s campus name, has it now going by the University of Houston Sugar Land. It’s official and although it’s been less than a year since the name took root, some in this area report that they are not totally clear about when, how, and why it happened. Back in November, a request from community leaders operating as an advisory group “met with the Chancellor and expressed interest in becoming more a part of the UH Houston main campus,” said Richard D. Phillips, Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President of both UH Sugar Land and the University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch.
The request, taken to the university’s board of regents which was approved, means the UH Sugar Land administration is now under UH Houston, the main campus, as opposed to being under a UH Houston system administration, explains Phillips. As such, the main campus will be directly overseeing the local university’s future growth “and a minimum of nine (additional) programs over the next three years,” he said. So, it’s part of the UH Houston main campus in more ways than just its name. It is the University of Houston period…and it’s in Sugar Land, hence the name.
Some may remember that the campus, referred to as a learning center, began in 1994 when college credit courses were offered in leased facilities in Sugar Land. That was about 28 years ago, when 200 students comprised the starting enrollment. “We have between two to three thousand students enrolled at the Sugar Land campus,” Phillips told the “Star” this week, “and another 2,500 in Wharton Junior College,” housed at the university site, which brings the total college student population to a range of about 4 to 5,000 students.
Remember when this college campus was also called the University of Houston at Fort Bend? That’s probably because most of the college students have been Fort Bend County residents, “those in a commuting distance, almost all within 30 minutes commuting time,” said Phillips. He also said that the Fort Bend community is credited for investing over $20 million to the Sugar Land campus to date, most notably the George Foundation, City of Sugar Land, and a number of private companies and individuals.
The Tier One standing of the UH main campus probably extends to UH Sugar Land, now that it is under its administration as virtually one in the same. The University of Houston joined the ranks of the top research universities in the nation with this designation. It is one of only three public universities in Texas, along with the University of Texas and Texas A&M to have earned the distinction. A private institution in this area, Rice University, is also among them.