UHD's past presidents have provided outstanding leadership and set the stage for the university's continued growth and development. The past presidents are:
William V. Flores 2009-2016
Dr. William Flores served in various faculty and administrative positions before accepting the position of president of UHD, including executive vice president and provost of New Mexico State University and deputy secretary for the New Mexico Higher Education Department. During his six-year tenure at UHD, Flores led efforts to successfully transition the university from an open admissions institution to one with freshman and transfer admission standards, while maintaining a student profile which reflected Houston's diversity. He grew online degrees from two to 19, establishing new undergraduate and graduate degrees. Among these was an MBA, which during his tenure became the largest AACSB-accredited MBA in the Greater Houston Region. During Flores' six-year tenure at UHD, the University grew online enrollment, expanded partnerships with community colleges, and added new facilities — expanding its downtown footprint and opening a satellite campus in northwest Houston. The University was named to the U.S. President's Honor Roll for Community Service and was designated a "Military Friendly School" by G.I. Jobs Magazine from 2011 to 2016. Dr. Flores left the presidency in February 2016 for a position as research fellow in the Institute for Educational Policy Research and Evaluation (IEPRE) in the College of Education at University of Houston. Flores earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and two degrees from Stanford University - a master's in political science and a doctorate in social theory and public policy.
Max Castillo, 1992-2009
Dr. Max Castillo was president of San Antonio College for 10 years before coming to UHD. During his 17-year tenure, his leadership resulted in expansion of UHD's physical campus, rapid enrollment growth, and the additions of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Enrollment increased from 8,092 students to 12,283 students; the UHD budget grew from $32.3 million to $100.5 million; full-time faculty increased from 168 to 311; construction was completed on four new buildings, and he secured UHD's federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Minority Serving Institution. He actively pursued community partnerships and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized those efforts with its Community Engagement classification, a recognition given to select universities for community involvement. Dr. Castillo earned bachelor's and master's degrees from St. Mary's University in San Antonio and a doctorate in education from the University of Houston.
Manuel T. Pacheco, 1988-1991
Dr. Manuel Pacheco held various faculty and administrative positions before accepting the UHD presidency including serving four years as president of Laredo State University. After leaving UHD, he served as president of the University of Arizona, president of the four-campus University of Missouri system and director of Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Dr. Pacheco earned a master’s degree in Spanish and a doctorate in foreign language education from Ohio State University.
Alexander F. Schilt, 1980-1987
Dr. Alexander Schilt was chancellor of Indiana University East before coming to UHD as president in 1980. After his tenure at UHD, he went to Eastern Washington University as president, but he returned to Houston as chancellor of the University of Houston System in 1989. Dr. Schilt left his position as chancellor in 1995 and remains on the UH faculty as a professor in education. His bachelor's degree is from the University of Wyoming; his master's and doctorate degrees are from Arizona State University.
J. Don Boney, 1975-1979
Dr. J. Don Boney came to the newly created UH-Downtown College as president in 1975. Before UHDC, Dr. Boney had served as president of the Houston Community College System and Acting General Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. He remained in his position as UHDC president until his untimely death in 1979. He earned a bachelor's degree from Prairie View A&M and master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Texas.