The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) has had the privilege of outstanding leadership, which has set the stage for the University's continued growth and development for more than four decades. Meet UHD's Past Presidents:
Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D. 2020-2021
Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D., served as the University of Houston-Downtown's Interim President from June 2020 through March 2021. During his tenure, UHD's enrollment grew during summer, fall, and spring semesters. Tillis developed a partnership with the Office of the Mayor that is providing students with internship opportunities at City Hall. He also launched several new initiatives, one of which included the creation of a university-wide Diversity Taskforce. Tillis serves as Dean for the University of Houston's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) and is the MD Anderson Professor in Hispanic Studies. Before joining the UH System, he served as Dean of the School of Languages, Culture, and World Affairs at the College of Charleston; Chair of African and African American Studies at Dartmouth College, and the inaugural Chair of Latin American and Latino Studies at Purdue University. Dr. Tillis holds a Ph.D. in Latin American literature with an Afro-Hispanic emphasis from the University of Missouri, a Master of Arts in Spanish Literature from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Spanish from Vanderbilt University.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, 2017-2020
Appointed as UHD’s sixth president in 2017, Dr. Muñoz expanded the institution’s reputation in Houston and the region. During his tenure, UHD posted its largest enrollment in school history and its highest graduation and retention rates. Under his leadership, UHD launched new academic programs including Data Science and Nursing. Additionally, he cultivated partnerships with area school districts and community colleges and led UHD’s participation in the Houston Guided Pathways for Success collaborative. He also was on hand for the opening of the $73 million College of Sciences & Technology Building. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; a Master of Arts in Mexican-American Studies with an emphasis in literature from California State University, Los Angeles; and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied Curriculum & Instruction in the Division of Urban Schooling.
Michael A. Olivas, 2016-2017
Dr. Olivas was selected by University of Houston System (UHS) Chancellor Renu Khator to take the helm as Interim President at UHD in 2016 and early 2017. He played a major role in projects that transformed the University, including a $10 million gift that named the Marilyn Davies College of Business; the purchase of a 17-acre land parcel north of the campus' One Main Building; and articulation agreements with Houston Community College and Lone Star College aimed at helping students transition from a community college to a university setting. He earned a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center; a Master of Arts in English and Doctor of Higher Education in Organizational Theory from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Pontifical College Josephinum.
William V. Flores, 2009-2016
Prior to joining UHD, Dr. Flores served as interim president and provost at New Mexico State University, following six years as its executive vice president and provost. He led efforts that: transitioned UHD from an open-admissions institution to one with freshman and transfer admission standards; increased online enrollment and degree offerings; established new undergraduate and graduate degrees, especially an MBA program that became the largest AACSB-accredited MBA in the Greater Houston Region; expanded the University's Downtown footprint with a satellite campus in Northwest Houston. Also, UHD was named to the U.S. President's Honor Roll for Community Service and was designated a "Military Friendly School." Dr. Flores earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master's and a doctorate from Stanford University.
Max Castillo, 1992-2009
Dr. Castillo served as president of San Antonio College for 10 years before taking the helm at UHD. During his 17-year tenure at the University, his leadership resulted in the expansion of UHD's physical campus with four new buildings and increased enrollment and faculty growth. He also secured UHD's federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Minority Serving Institution. Dr. Castillo actively pursued community partnerships and the Carnegie Foundation for the advancement of teaching for which the University was recognized for those efforts with a Community Engagement classification—a recognition bestowed to select universities for community involvement. Dr. Castillo earned a bachelor's and master's degree from St. Mary's University in San Antonio and a doctorate in education from the University of Houston.
Manuel T. Pacheco, 1988-1991
Dr. Pacheco held various faculty and administrative positions before joining UHD as its third president. After his three-year tenure at the University, he helmed the University of Arizona as its 17th president, from 1991-1997. He was recognized as President Emeritus by the University in 1997 .In 2012, Dr. Pacheco was appointed interim president of New Mexico State University, where he previously served at NMSU in 2009. He also served as president of the four-campus University of Missouri system and director of Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and a charter member of the National Security Education Program and the University of Arizona Science and Technology Research Park. . Dr. Pacheco earned a bachelor's degree from New Mexico Highlands University and a master's degree and doctorate from The Ohio State University.
Alexander F. Schilt, 1980-1987
For more than two decades, Dr. Schilt served as president or chancellor in four universities in three states. Before joining UHD as president in 1980, Dr. Schilt served as chancellor of Indiana University East. After his tenure at UHD, he helmed Eastern Washington University as president, but returned to Houston, nine years later, to become chancellor of the University of Houston System (UHS). As chancellor, he was instrumental in completing UH's first-ever successful development campaign by raising nearly $400 million for the University's endowment. After six years as chancellor, Dr. Schilt became UH faculty member as a professor in the Department of Education Leadership and Policy Studies. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and a master's and doctorate degree from Arizona State University.
J. Don Boney, 1975-1979
Dr. Boney was an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Houston, from 1967 to 1969, and an associate dean of graduate studies, 1970-1971. He preceded William I. Dykes as president of the newly created UH-Downtown College (UHDC) as president in 1975. Before UHDC, Dr. Boney 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 of Science degree from Prairie View A&M University in 1948; and a master's and doctorate degree in education from The University of Texas at Austin.
W. I. Dykes, 1974-1975
Dr. William I. Dykes was born in western Oklahoma on a homestead in Roger Mills County
on February 26, 1907. He received his bachelors from Oklahoma Christian College in
Cordell, Oklahoma, and his MS in mathematics (not doctorate) in 1936 from Oklahoma
A&M, and was one of the first professors of the South Texas Junior College in its
inaugural year of 1948 as a math and physics professor. He became dean by the mid-1950s,
obtained the first accreditation of the College through the Southern Association of
Colleges and Universities, and concurrently earned a doctorate of education (EdD)
at the University of Houston, finishing in 1963 (we have his original dissertation,
which was written about how to improve the South Texas Junior College). When the Colleges
formally split in 1967, he led the institution to it’s final home at the Merchants
and Manufacturers Building and raised record-breaking sums of money to refurbish the
new space for classrooms. He presided over the integration of the College in 1967
as well, and negotiated the sale of STJC to the UH System in 1974, serving as its
first chancellor at the request of the University of Houston until 1975, before retiring
to care for his wife Lottie as she struggled with illness.
The University of Houston-Downtown Library was renamed for Dr. Dykes during a dedication ceremony October 7, 1979. He passed away on June 13, 1984.