A UH-Downtown By Any Other Name

As we first reported back in August, UH-Downtown is trying very, very hard not to be UH-Downtown anymore.

The rumored change is more or less a done deal; all that's left is to decide what the new name will be.

Why give up the brand name of UH, especially as UH is embarking on an aggressive (if possibly quixotic) attempt to be one of those esteemed "Tier One" universities?

Because, UHD president Max Castillo tells Hair Balls, UHD is not part of UH.

"We are part of the UH System but we are not part of UH," he says. "We are a separate and unique university in the UH System. This university is not a branch, not a satellite, of UH."

Which sounds kind of inside-baseball to us, really. If you're a student hanging a diploma on your wall, or a faculty member doing research, wouldn't you want "UH-Downtown" instead of, say, "Houston Metropolitan University"? (That's one of the proposed new names.)

"You can't raise the profile of this institution in the future if there is the perception we are a branch of UH, and that's what we are pursuing," Castillo says.

Some faculty members grumble that main-campus bigwigs, like those at the Bauer School of Business, are eager to separate themselves from the not-as-selective UHD and are pushing for the name change.

Castillo says, by the way, that the widely disliked Houston Metropolitan University name is probably a non-starter. But whatever the new name is, it won't have "UH" as part of it.

"I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it makes sense to me," Castillo says.

The costs of changing the name would be handled by the $350,000 marketing budget already in place, he says.

-- Richard Connelly

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