UHAA Board Advocacy Committee members Carl Glaw (’77) and the Honorable Martha Wong (M.Ed. ’76, Ed.D. ’83) headed a successful campaign to secure 20 UH alumni participants at the University of Houston System Day at the Capitol on February 23, 2015. Attendees began the day with breakfast at the O’Quinn Great Hall and then boarded buses to Austin.
Cougar Advocates for Texas (CATS) volunteers, including alumni, students, faculty, staff and community supporters, together with the other system campuses, met with legislators and their associates at the State Capitol. UHAA provided a sweet start to the day by having Round Rock Donuts delivered to each legislator’s office.
While in Austin, the group sought to maximize funding for the University of Houston System (UHS). The 84th session of the Texas Legislature concluded in June, and thanks to the combined efforts of lawmakers and their staffs, the University of Houston System Board, administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni, it was a productive session for UHS. Our issues were heard, and our optimism and hard work have been rewarded.
Some highlights from the 84th legislative session include:
Capital Construction Bonds (previously called TRBs) The bill authorizing $3 billion in bonds for the construction of much-needed buildings at universities throughout the state was approved by both the House and Senate and has been sent to the governor for his approval.
All seven UH System project requests were included in this crucial bill.
Higher Education Fund Increase The state’s Higher Education Assistance Fund (HEF), which funds building maintenance and infrastructure improvement, received a 50 percent increase, which goes into effect in FY 2017. Once signed by the governor, this legislation will provide an increase of $26 million every year to our universities in the UH System.
Governor’s University Research Initiative At the governor’s request, the legislature created the new University Research Initiative, which will provide matching funds to recruit the top research professors (Nobel Laureates, members of the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and their equivalents) to our state universities. This is of particular benefit to UH, where such efforts have already been underway.