Leaders have proposed changing the name to give the 34-year-old university a stronger identity, saying too many people think it is a satellite of the University of Houston, rather than a stand-alone campus with its own ambitions.
Longtime president Max Castillo will step down next year, leaving whoever is named to succeed him with all the promise and problems of a school designed to help educate the state's growing population of lower-income, minority students.
A new name could better reflect what the university offers and the students it serves, Castillo said.
The main campus is downtown, but it also offers classes through Lone Star College in Kingwood and Cy-Fair.
The UH governing board last summer authorized the school to explore a new name. A board committee will consider the options Friday, with a full vote possible the following week.
Among the suggestions: City University of Houston, Houston Metropolitan University, Southeast Texas State University and Hobby State University, a nod to the Hobby family's contributions to education.
A new name would help people to distinguish between UH-Downtown and the main campus, especially as UH pushes to improve its national ranking, said Madeline Johnson, a marketing professor at UH-Downtown.