Veterans Thrive in Houston & at UH, Says UH System Regents Chair

Published on March 15, 2009
The University of Houston is a great fit for veterans looking to use the G.I. Bill to pursue higher education, said Welcome Wilson, chairman of the UH System Board of Regents.

The University of Houston is a great fit for veterans looking to use the G.I. Bill to pursue higher education, said Welcome Wilson, chairman of the UH System Board of Regents.

Self-discipline and leadership skills are natural byproducts of military service, according to Welcome Wilson, Sr., who is chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents and chairman and CEO of the GSL Welcome Group, L.L.C.

After serving two years with the U.S. Navy, Wilson came to UH and received his bachelor of business administration in 1949.

“If I were king of the world, I would require government service for every graduate of high school for at least one year,” Wilson said. “What makes you grow up in government service is the disciplined atmosphere.”

Wilson’s sense of determination pushed him to graduate first in his class in boot camp and to be commissioned as officer after only five months of service. “In the military, you have the opportunity to be a leader that would take you years to gain in civilian life,” he said. “You are thrown into it.”

Wilson applied these skills in the business world when he began his career and has been a real estate developer of subdivisions, industrial facilities, office buildings, shopping centers and apartment complexes since 1958.

He served as a five-state Director of Civil and Defense Mobilization for the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations and was appointed Special Ambassador to Nicaragua in 1966 by Lynden B. Johnson. In 1958, Wilson was selected as one of Ten Outstanding Young Men in Federal Service.

Today, he serves as the chairman of the UH System Board of Regents. He was elected chairman in both August 2007 and 2008, and was appointed to the board by Governor Rick Perry in 2006.

His commitment to the University highlights his value for education and a passion for learning. “No one needs employees who don’t have degrees anymore,” Wilson said. “The G.I. Bill is a program that no veteran should pass up.”

Although Wilson completed his education before entering the service, his brother Jack Wilson received the G.I. Bill after serving in World War II. Both brothers were able to live in Veteran’s Village while attending UH, and the G.I. Bill paid for Jack’s tuition, Wilson said.

“People who have bachelor’s degrees make $10,000 more a year and those with master’s degrees make $17,000 more a year than people without them,” he added. “It is worth the time to delay going to work because veterans will make so much more in their life time.”

Wilson also said that people looking for jobs in Houston, where there are more jobs than anywhere in the country, need to go to UH. He said 75 percent of UH graduates stay in Houston.

The number of veterans who are actually in any danger is a small percentage, said Wilson. He said the problem is being able to learn how to be a functioning member of society afterwards because veterans are young, and few of them had jobs before entering the service. They only know the military, he said.

“It’s an opportunity that if missed, you’ll spend the rest of your life regretting it,” Wilson said.

By Hannah Eastham

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.