Skip to main content

About Loren J. Blanchard

Loren J. Blanchard joined the University of Houston-Downtown as its seventh president on March 15, 2021.

In his first year as President of the University, Dr. Blanchard launched the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan: A New Paradigm, which has student success as its number one priority. Since then, UHD has continued to make progress toward fulfilling each of the plan’s goals through university-wide implementation and continuous monitoring. Major successes include improved graduation rates, strengthened partnerships, merit pay increases for faculty and staff, a growing operational portfolio, and elevated visibility in the media and throughout the larger Houston community.

Under Dr. Blanchard’s leadership, the University has more than doubled its annual fundraising portfolio through new gifts and pledges from foundations, corporations, and individuals, totaling more than $5.2 million from donors who support UHD’s vision, recognize its progress, and believe in its potential. Moreover, active faculty grant awards now surpass $24 million of local, state, and federal funding in support of the University of Houston-Downtown’s commitment to impactful knowledge creation and dissemination. In 2023, the Wall Street Journal recognized the University as one of America’s Best Colleges, ranking UHD No. 1 in diversity and No. 3 in student experience at the national level. Within the state of Texas, UHD rose to No. 5 in salary impact and No. 11 in social mobility. These rankings affirm President Blanchard’s commitment that UHD will remain “an exceptional value for students seeking a high-quality educational experience that will transform their lives and the lives of their families and communities.” For Dr. Blanchard, this commitment is a civic and moral imperative. He firmly believes that the university must work in reciprocal partnerships that address complex local issues — a belief that is consistently evident in his daily work with leaders within the UHD community, officials in government, business partners, and the community-at-large.

President Blanchard is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, as well as Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. He is the Governing Council Chair for Houston Guided Pathways to Success, a collaborative partnership between six universities and seven community colleges. He also serves on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s General Academic Institutions’ Formula Advisory Committee. His professional affiliations are many, including the Council of Texas Public University Presidents and Chancellors, Council of Presidents – University of Houston System, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Association of State Colleges and Universities' Millennium Leadership Institute, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and four professional honor societies: Kappa Delta Pi, Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, and Kappa Phi Kappa Professional Education Honor Society. He is the past National President of Kappa Phi Kappa.

President Blanchard previously served as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs at California State University (CSU), the largest and most diverse system of higher education in the United States. Before CSU, he served as Provost & Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana. Other past leadership positions include Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Multicultural Affairs at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and two roles within the University of Louisiana System: Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Vice President for Accreditation, Leadership & Accountability.

A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Blanchard holds a bachelor's degree in Speech Pathology Education from Xavier University of Louisiana, a master's degree in Education from McNeese State University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Georgia.

UHD President, Dr. Loren J. Blanchard