From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
July 30, 2009

Contact: Logan Spence (512) 463-0107 or (512) 461-3448

Applauds Higher Education Coordinating Board's Approval of Northwest Houston University Center

AUSTIN — Senator Dan Patrick is proud to announce the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's (THECB) anticipated final approval of a new university center project in northwest Houston. The project, a coordinated effort between Lone Star College System, the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, Sam Houston State University, and Prairie View A&M University, creates a shared university center where community college courses will be offered, as well as upper-level courses.

Senator Patrick worked diligently with Lone Star and the universities for years to see this project implemented. "The population and demand for higher education has continued to grow in this vibrant area of Houston; yet only limited higher education opportunities have been available," Senator Patrick commented. "I am excited this area will finally have the quality education services available that are so desperately needed."

As the leader in the project, Lone Star College System anticipates 10,000 students to enroll within just a couple of years, with eventually 40-50,000 students filling the campus. Lone Star Chancellor Dr. Richard Carpenter stated, “The Lone Star College System is grateful to the THECB for their approval of the new university center in northwest Houston. We sincerely appreciate the tremendous community support for this effort, specifically the efforts of Dr. Glenn Wilkerson and State Senator Dan Patrick. These men are visionary leaders whose persistence and determination combined to turn a dream of many into a reality for all."

"This university center will serve as a model for the state. Not only will it benefit the 1.4 million people in the northwest Houston area, but it will also benefit the state of Texas by producing more work-ready graduates," stated Senator Patrick. "I hope we will see more of these higher education centers develop across the state."

"For some years now, the University of Houston System has been eager to address the clear need for additional higher education resources in the northwest area,” said Dr. Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston and chancellor of the UH System. “We look forward to working with our partner institutions in the region to provide a full range of academic opportunities to this underserved community. I want to thank the entire area legislative delegation, and Senator Patrick in particular, for their efforts in making this happen.”

"Texas Southern University’s decision to offer classes in northwest Houston through this new partnership with Lone Star College gives the university the opportunity to meet students where they are. This is one of the fastest growing areas in Houston and there are thousands of students interested in expanding their education in the Northwest corridor. This collaborative initiative, bringing together the community college with three other major universities, makes financial sense for students and the state. TSU will share services such as security, maintenance and library facilities. This also will help us bring a more diverse group of students to Texas Southern programs, particularly as we will offer a number of degrees that are not available at other universities in the area including aviation science, our new degree in Maritime Transportation and others,” said Texas Southern President John M. Rudley.

Texas State System Chancellor Charles Matthews praised the collaborative work involved. “This agreement is yet another example of what is possible when the educational needs of the students become the focal point of a collaborative effort. We are pleased with the outcome and for having the opportunity to contribute to a unique multi-institutional arrangement that may be the first of its kind in higher education.”