“Here, We Go” Campaign Takes UH to New Heights

Record $154M Raised in 2017; Eclipses 75% of Campaign Goal

December 1, 2017

The University of Houston System raised a record $154 million in fiscal year 2017, signaling an extraordinary start to the public phase of its $1 billion “Here, We Go” Campaign. As of October 1, 2017, $777.2 million had been raised by more than 162,000 donors since the campaign officially began its quiet phase in 2012.

The funds, secured via the University of Houston’s most ambitious philanthropic initiative ever come in the form of private gifts and grants, largely in support of the campaign’s five strategic priorities: student success/scholarships; recruitment/retention of distinguished faculty; enhanced facilities; a healthy Houston economy/community; and strengthening nationally relevant athletics programs.

A Banner Year for UH System

UH System’s four institutions – which include UH, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Victoria – have more than 283,000 living alumni, with over 154,000 graduates from UH who reside and work in the Gulf Coast and Greater Houston area. Year-end philanthropic commitments to the system’s flagship, University of Houston, exceeded $138 million – an all-time record. Eighty-five percent of the contributions were less than $1,000, illustrating the depth of UH’s donor base. UH System institutions also recorded banner fundraising years: UH-Downtown raised $13,041,096; UH-Clear Lake, $2,386,138; and UH-Victoria, $1,111,309.

UH currently is educating more than 45,000 students with 2,600 faculty and staff at its colleges and research centers – fueling $5.3 billion into the Greater Houston economy each year. The “Here, We Go” Campaign will continue through 2020. UH-Downtown and UH-Victoria recently launched their respective campaigns this fall.

“Since our last major fundraising effort 25 years ago, UH has attained Tier One status, has been accepted into Phi Beta Kappa, and is growing at an unprecedented rate, both in size and prestige,” said Eloise Brice, vice chancellor/vice president for University Advancement. “Now we’re taking those achievements to the next level. Gifts this past year came from more than 64,000 donors. We will honor their generosity by having the greatest possible positive impact on our community, state and world.”

Major Gifts Sustain Major Endeavors

Brice cited several gifts and student success initiatives that advanced fundraising efforts:

UH Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts – $20 million naming gift
This major gift from the John P. McGovern Foundation to name the UH Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts creates an endowment to support student scholarships, fellowships, faculty endowments, facility upgrades and community outreach.

Houstonian Kathrine McGovern (FS ’61), who studied art and design at UH, initiated the gift on behalf of her foundation to help UH students and faculty play an even bigger part of Houston’s transformation into a nationally prominent arts destination and training hub.

Marilyn Davies College of Business at UH-Downtown – $10 million naming gift
Marilyn Davies, a native Houstonian and CEO of Bailey Banks Seismic, a proprietary seismic company, made a $10 million gift to the UH-Downtown college to support its growing programs, exceptional faculty and student resources. Her gift is the largest in the downtown university’s history. It is also the first business college in the state to be named for a woman and only the fourth nationally to hold this distinction.

United Health Foundation – $2 million grant to UH for local obesity and diabetes solutions
The United Health Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to UH to jumpstart a long-term, sustainable effort for preventing and treating obesity, type 2 diabetes and eventually other ailments faced by people in two of Houston’s underserved communities. The three-year grant to professors Ezemenari Obasi and Dan O’Connor, fellows at UH’s HEALTH (Helping Everyone Achieve a Lifetime of Health) Research Institute, focuses on Houston’s Third Ward in the first two years and will expand to the East End in the third year. Additional funding is possible if certain benchmarks are reached and improvements made. The goal is to reach more than 5,000 Third Ward residents.

UH Dominic and Ellen Ng Academic Center for Excellence – $1 million naming gift
The Ng Academic Center for Excellence assists student-athletes in completing their degrees. It also offers two 50-person classrooms, five six-person group study rooms, and 16 individual tutoring areas. Houston alumni Dominic Ng (’80), chairman and CEO of California-based East West Bank, and Ellen Wong (’83, M.B.A. ’85) gifted $1 million to create a space that would elevate UH’s national status in academics achievement among its student athletes.

Located in the UH Athletic/Alumni Center, the space is designed to assist more than 425 active student-athletes in 17 sports through daily proactive appointments, tutoring (group and individual), access to learning labs (all of them staffed by writing, science and math specialists), and weekly visits by a library liaison.

Gerald and Barbara Hines – $1 million gift for the construction of the Advanced Media Technology Laboratory at UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design
The gift allows students to research, design and fabricate prototypes using the latest advanced technologies, all while working with renowned faculty in a space dedicated to material research and design methodologies.

Marvin and Mariloli Odum – $1 million gift to support UH scholarships
Marvin E. Odum III (M.B.A. ’95), former president of Shell Oil Company, and his wife, Mariloli Odum, donated $1 million to create an endowment to provide scholarships. Half of the annual distributed income from the Odum Scholarship Endowment will be used to provide scholarships for UH students based upon the University’s priorities; half will provide scholarships to graduates of select Houston high schools who plan to attend UH.

A. Ronald and Jane H. Lerner – $1 million gift to UH Honors College
Montana couple A. Ronald (’68) and Jane H. Lerner (’68, M.B.A. ’71, J.D. ’79) gave $1 million to UH to support several areas within the Honors College, including scholarships, study abroad, faculty fellowships, programmatic funding for new initiatives and a fellowship for Honors staff who are also current students. The Honors College is rated among the top 10 programs in the nation. As an intellectually stimulating learning community and a vibrant, leading presence within the university, the Honors College attracts talented and motivated students and educators to a collegial environment that engages them in challenging interdisciplinary curriculum and one-on-one mentoring. The Lerners’ son, Jeffrey (’06), also attended the Honors College.

Houston Endowment – $1 million gift to UH Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW)
The Houston Endowment provided a $1 million grant to UH GCSW in support of a groundbreaking strategic plan charting a five-year vision that provides the next generation of social workers the means “to achieve social, racial, economic and political justice, local to global.” It is a plan designed to outline to the community the strengths and characteristics that make it a singular College of Social Work in the fourth-largest city in the U.S.

Jeanie and Marshall R. Smith III – gift in support of the UH indoor football practice facility
Jeanie and Marshall Smith’s foundational gift allowed UH Athletics to jump-start construction on the $20 million multi-purpose space. As a result of the Smith’s vision and generosity, the facility will now be ready in time for 2018 spring practice. The project includes the construction of a pre-engineered steel exterior with a full-size synthetic turf field and an area dedicated for a football-only weight room.

Anonymous $250,000 gifts to the UH Cougar Emergency Fund in support of Hurricane Harvey relief
In response to current students impacted by Hurricane Harvey, two anonymous “challenge” gifts of $250,000 were donated to the UH Cougar Emergency Fund by two local donors to help students remain in school in spite of financial hardship brought on by the recent natural disaster. The emergency fund has received $880,000 in total donations in response to Harvey’s devastating flooding in Houston, the Coastal Bend and southeast Texas. Over 350 students to date have been approved for the Harvey relief grants.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 45,000 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

About the “Here, We Go” Campaign

The “Here, We Go” Campaign is the University of Houston’s first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years. Gifts made from 2012 to 2020 contribute toward the university’s goal of raising $1 billion to support University priorities, including scholarships, faculty support and strengthening the university’s partnership with Houston.