In 1974, the University of Houston acquired the assets of South Texas Junior College and opened the University of Houston-Downtown College at One Main Street as a four-year institution. By the end of the 1970s, the Texas Legislature had approved UHDC as a distinct university in the University of Houston System.
The early university focused on meeting the needs of Houston's diverse and dynamic work force. The college's first four-year degree was a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and resident students paid $4 per credit hour.
By the early 1980s, it was clear that UHDC was more than a college and the word, college, was officially dropped from the institution's name. UHD moved into the 1990s as the state's third fastest growing university and focused on becoming a premier, metropolitan university, appealing to traditional and non-traditional students as well as working professionals. The Weekend College Program began and a new Academic Building and the Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center opened.
UHD soon earned full approval from the Texas Legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer graduate programs, beginning with a Masters in Criminal Justice and then expanding to Masters in Security Management, Professional Writing and Education. Over time, the University would expand its partnerships with Lone Star College and offer select degrees and courses at UHD-Northwest at the LSC-University Center, LSC-Cy Fair, LSC-Kingwood and LSC-Atascocita. Articulation agreements with other community colleges were developed to create pathways for large numbers of transfer students to earn degrees at UHD.
UHD's expansion and physical growth continued in the late 1990s. The Willow Street Pump Station was renovated while the Commerce Street Building opened, providing a new home for the College of Public Service.
By 2007, fall enrollment climbed to a record 11,793 students and the Shea Street Building opened to greet returning students in August 2007 as the new home of the College of Business. In January 2012, UHD celebrated another milestone as it enrolled the first class of MBA students in the College of Business.
Today, UHD educates over 14,400 students annually and claims over 39,000 alumni. The University is noted nationally as both a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Minority Serving Institution - indicators of a diverse and vibrant student body, just like the city we call home.
Learn more about UHD's history through our digital archive.