If there’s a preferred ice cream in Brenham, it’s Blue Bell, the local creamery that so many Texans love.
And if you ask most kids heading off to college where they’re going, they’ll also respond with the region’s dominant higher education brand, Texas A&M University.
Eugene Hammons, president of the Brenham-area alumni group for the University of Houston, is doing his best to rewrite that tradition by bringing more Cougar red to an area southwest of Houston that’s more commonly colored maroon.
“We have found that people up here know very little about the University of Houston,” says Hammons. “And what they think they know is wrong.”
By staging fund-raising events and looking for opportunities to talk to groups of college-bound high school students, Hammons and other alumni are sharing a new vision of UH, and Bauer in particular.
“I tell them that UH is not just a commuter school, that they don’t turn the lights out at 9 p.m.,” Hammons says. “I tell them that 4,000 students live on campus, that there’s an active sorority and fraternity life and over 100 student organizations on campus. I tell them that if traffic will halfway cooperate, you can reach the central campus from the Brenham area in an hour and 15 minutes, and that the campus is as safe as any other big university campus.
“I talk about how 70 percent of the students have jobs and work their way through school, so consequently they don’t come out of school with five digit debt in student loans. I tell their parents that 70 percent of the students stay and work in the Houston area after graduation.”
As important as all that information is, Brenham-area alumni are also donating generously so that students who choose UH are supported. Megan Andrews, Morgan Parker and Abby deBolt were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship this year. Andrews is a student in the C.T. Bauer College of Business. The scholarship she earned is named for Joel M. Cummings Scholarship, a former UH regent and classmate and close friend of Hammons from Brenham who was instrumental in starting the Brenham-area group. Cummings died in 2003 and the fund was named in his honor.
Donors have given nearly $14,000 in cash contributions to the scholarship fund in its first two years, with a total of $19,000 in pledges, says Hammons, president of Creekside Investment Management, Inc.
By Julie Bonnin
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.
About the Bauer College of Business
The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.