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Renaming UH-Downtown, take 2

As we know, UH-Downtown has been trying to rename itself for over a year and a half now. Its first attempt at picking a new moniker, which would have been Houston Metropolitan University, didn’t go well as nobody really liked the choices or thought there had been enough stakeholder involvement. They’re now trying again, with a new and limited set of options.

Two choices were unveiled today in the first of a series of campus meetings: City University and Houston City University.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni will have a chance to discuss the names over the next few months.


Campus officials started the process again after [University President William] Flores took office last summer, hiring a consulting firm and culminating in [Wednesday’s] meetings.

Chuck Reed, senior vice president at Stamats, the consulting firm, flashed the two prospective names on a screen, noting that “City University” would be his top recommendation.

“City is powerful and short,” he said.

It’s also kind of generic. I mean, which city? The City? Some other city? If these are my choices, I’ll take Houston City University, which at least makes it sound like it belongs here. (And I’ll give a shoutout to Mean Green Cougar Red, whose preference was Houston City University at the time the previous renaming process ground to a halt.) The decision will be made in the coming months, so we’ll see who agrees with me and MGCR and who agrees with the consultant dude. What do you think?

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  1. joypog says:

    I feel that if there isn’t a person worth naming the university after (other than the esteemed Sam Houston) I really don’t understand why UH-Downtown isn’t a good placeholder until someone worthy of the honor shows up (or donates ridiculous amounts of $$$)… It is after all part of the UH branch system….

    If they really want to change the name, maybe UH-Allen’s Landing?

  2. Ken says:

    The main CUNY is known as City College, so it is too close to that. I like the find someone with $50 million idea, though Houston City College is not that bad.

  3. Mainstream says:

    How about University on the Bayou, or University at Buffalo Bayou?

  4. racymind says:

    With these two names, a civil citation for lack of imagination should be issued.

  5. uhdprof says:

    I am a professor at UHD, and neither of these names are appealing, especially the laughably generic City University.

    The only winners in this bizarre and depressing process so far are Stamats and its unlamented predecessor from last year, who both collected a tidy fee for telling us what we already knew and suggesting names that anyone with some refrigerator magnets could have assembled. Nice work if you can get it.

    We all know that UHD is not UH and not Rice. At the same time, we are emphatically not HCC or the University of Phoenix. If you compare department by department, in more than a few cases UHD offers an equivalent if not superior classroom experience compared to other institutions, and at a much lower tuition. There are many talented and dynamic people on the faculty, no doubt about it.

    UHD is not without its problems, but it has been on an upward trajectory for over a decade, and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that UH is forcing the name change on us in order to put the brakes on our ongoing development. And make no mistake, UH has devised two rules to the name change game: first, the word “Houston” cannot come after “University,” and second, any new name cannot sound “too good.” Houston State University? Forget about it.

    Lastly: how many students at UH Victoria think they are at a branch campus of UH and not at a separately accredited university? I bet you there are plenty. And yet no name change is on the radar there. I wonder why….

  6. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the shoutout, Charles! Think of how much money UH-D could have saved in consultant fees had they listened to me…

  7. Robert Boyd says:

    I like City University. I don’t care that it’s “generic” (although I would say it’s more “nonspecific” than generic). Not too many people who aren’t from Houston attend UHD (I assume), so I don’t see a need to have Houston in its name. (That said, I don’t object to having Houston in the name–City University of Houston would work.)

    What I like about “City University” is that it emphasizes the urban nature of the school. Unlike any other college in Houston, UHD isn’t on a sprawling campus, but consists of three (I think) large, multi-story buildings. As the rail gets built out, UHD is going to be more and more a university used by mass-transit riders–how urban is that? I think the name “City” would be a proud declaration of its urban nature. And the name feels really distinct from all the other universities in town.

    I also like it because it recalls City College in New York. I’ve read that City College had an important role in the early to mid 20th century educating the Jews–especially those from the Bronx and Brooklyn–who despite their brilliance were largely excluded from the Ivies. In a way, UHD provides educations for people, often minorities, who for various reasons don’t fit (or can’t afford) other universities. I like that parallel.

    So my vote–for what it’s worth–is for City University.

  8. fordguyhtx says:

    There is often confusion between the University of Houston (UH) and University of Houston–Downtown (UHD). Most people confuse UHD as a branch or a satellite location of UH, but UHD is a freestanding university and confers its own degrees.

    Reasons for the name change:
    • To create a distinct identity and tradition;
    • To end confusion between UH and UHD;
    • To increase private fund raising;
    • To raise the university’s visibility;
    • To allow for expansion and growth.

    FACT 1: UHD is one of four distinct and separate universities in the University of Houston System (UH System).

    FACT 2: UHD is not a branch or satellite location of UH.

    FACT 3: UHD is not part of UH, but is part of the larger UH System.

    FACT 4: UHD and UH are affiliated through the UH System, but not with one another.

    FACT 4: UHD is under the governance of UH System (not UH).

    FACT 5: The correct and proper name of UH System’s oldest and largest university is the University of Houston. UH is a single-campus university located at 4800 Calhoun Rd, and it was formerly known as the University of Houston–University Park. There is no “central campus” or “main campus” because there is only one campus of UH.

    FACT 6: People who refer to UH as “central campus” or “main campus” are deemed confused. Again, there is only one UH campus.

    FACT 7: UH and UHD graduates do not get the same diplomas. UH’s diplomas read “The University of Houston” while UHD’s diplomas read “University of Houston–Downtown.”

  9. […] unsuccessful first attempt to get consensus, it’s trying again and seems to have settled on City University or Houston City University as its preferred replacement moniker. The consensus part, they’re still working on that. […]

  10. Willie Huggins says:

    Houston State University