The Houston Chronicle reports that the University of Texas system will in fact be making its presence known in Texas’ largest city. UT will be paying $450 million over a period of 30 years for a 300 acre campus just south of the South 610 Loop. The land is likely the largest open parcel that close to central Houston and is surrounded by several other slightly used tracts that could be used for expansion. The purchase has raised outcries from University of Houston supporters who are feeling the heat of real Tier One university coming to town. For a city its size, Houston is severely under-universitied. Houston has UH and Rice as major universities and then a small number of other players including UH-Downtown, the University of St. Thomas, Texas Southern University and Houston Baptist University. Six real universities for a city of over 4 million is totally inadequate. Red welcomes UT to town. UT System Chancellor William McRaven said he wants to “astound people with our boldness.”
Perhaps this offends the powers that be at UH – who are more accustomed to astounding people with corruption and ineptitude. If they had any vision, they would see that adding another major university center to Houston can only benefit UH by making Houston a university city and expanding opportunities for cooperation. But they are too busy attempting to build walls to protect their fiefdoms, building expensive stadiums that are underutilized, and covering up any hint of scandal.