Doug Brooks: Giving Hospitality a New Meaning at Hilton College

Doug and Holly Brooks
Doug and Holly Brooks

For retired restaurateur and University of Houston alumnus Doug Brooks (’75), a visionary leader is all it takes to inspire people to a great undertaking.

He believes that President Renu Khator and Dean Dennis Reynolds of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management both display that type of visionary spirit – and that galvanizing Hilton College’s leadership in the hospitality industry is an endeavor worth investing in.

He and his wife, Holly, recently gave $1 million through their family foundation to create the Hilton College’s Center for Student Success, and in that way, became visionary and generous leaders, themselves. “Let’s make this happen!” says Brooks excitedly of the new Center for Student Success.

Brooks refers to the Center as a “visual marketing spot” where students can visit the first day they attend classes; alumni can gather; and hotel guests and college-related personnel can interact, bring about new ideas and generate even more industry greats.

‘A Place for Students to Mingle’

Brooks, who is a board member of Eric’s Club at the Hilton College and chairman of Dean Reynolds’ Advisory Board, maintains how proud he is to have attended UH. He remembers an exciting campus as a student when he worked at Moody Towers, bowled at the University Center in the evenings and took classes exactly where the new Center for Student Success will reside.

The plans to create a Cougar Grounds coffee shop on the patio facing the Student Center is one way Brooks believes the expansion of Hilton College will affect all students on campus. “Having a place for students to mingle is important,” says Brooks. “This vibrant area will showcase Hilton College as a place impactful to the entire student body.”

Leaving a Mark at UH

Brooks has been inducted into the UH Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor and received a UH Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2014. But he’s not done – he looks forward to many more projects at Hilton College, including its hotel expansion. His lifetime giving also puts him and his wife in the Ezekiel W. Cullen Society, an exclusive group of generous and loyal donors whose lifetime gifts to the University reach a minimum of $250,000. “It’s humbling to be part of an exclusive club of loyal donors,” he said.

Brooks feels that President Khator is a major factor in UH’s recent success. “The University has been transformed since President Renu Khator became its leader in 2008,” said Brooks. “I went to a ‘Here, We Go’ Roadshow event in Dallas where Khator spoke about the $1 billion campaign, and I was blown away!”

The hospitality industry already recognizes Brooks as an ambitious leader. As a proud Cougar and donor, he is inspiring students at the Hilton College to excel, as well.