UT Plan Will Damage UH

By

Leonard Zwelling

         While I am an ardent fan of Chancellor McRaven, I believe
that his latest plan to create another UT campus in Houston on 332 acres of
land south of the TMC is not well considered. The headline in the Houston Chronicle on November 6
indicates why. This could be a major blow to the hopes of the University of
Houston (UH) to be the go-to major university in the fourth biggest city in the
country.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/UT-sets-its-sights-on-Houston-6614101.php

         Twenty years ago, I testified before a delegation of the
State Legislature that had visited MD Anderson. They asked what it would take
to create a biotech hub in Houston. I answered then, “$2 billion into the
University of Houston.” I thought the land was already there. The proximity to
the Texas Medical Center was at least as good as Mission Bay is to UCSF. All
that was needed was the talent and that could be recruited.

         Flash forward to today. That investment never got made. Today
it would have to be $4 billion to get the same bang for the buck. Even so, it’s
still a good idea. Creating a new UT-oid entity in the southwest of Houston,
3.5 miles from the TMC, that will not really be a free-standing UT campus, is a
terrible idea and will likely not come to fruition itself and undermine the
progress that has been made at UH on its own over the past 20 years. I will
readily admit to being bias as I have no degrees from UT, but do from UH.
Regardless, why bother recapitulating the necessary infrastructure, student
body, faculty and access roads that already excel on Cullen.

         I am a real fan of the Chancellor as I believe that he, and
only he, can get rid of DePinho and sell the FORDs off the lot on Holcombe and
lead MD Anderson from Mt. Nebo into Jericho. What the Chancellor will use in lieu of the Red Sea to get rid of the
tyrants has yet to be identified, but I feel certain this is coming as soon as
the Admiral gathers sufficient intelligence to do to The Ronald what he did to
The Osama. It’s midnight for the FORDs and Zero
Dark Thirty
is only a half hour away.

         That being said, I cannot support this latest proposal by
the Chancellor and the Regents. It undermines the work done by many people at
UH and the laudable progress they have made. More importantly, it fractures the
approach the city can take when competing with San Diego, San Francisco, New
York and Boston for scientific talent, engineering skills and venture capital.

         This
is simply a bad idea that ought to be reconsidered and the State ought to
support UH exactly as I suggested 20 years ago only this time with a lot more
money and with a sense of immediacy and urgency.

Leonard Zwelling