UH Breaks Ground for Michael J. Cemo Hall
A robust summer breeze and construction activity from a nearby University of Houston campus building site complemented a celebration of the groundbreaking for yet another new addition to campus, Michael J. Cemo Hall.
The ceremony was a tangible step toward Chancellor and President Renu Khator’s vision of UH achieving top-tier status, as well as a celebration of the generosity and support of UH alum and Bauer benefactor Michael J. Cemo.
“Improving our facilities and enhancing the student experience at the University of Houston are key components in reaching top tier national status,” Khator said. “And although we are well on our way, I envision a lot more construction taking place.”
Cemo Hall, a 33,000 square-foot building, will house Bauer’s rapidly growing Global Business Minor program and the Rockwell Career Center. The two-story building will have classrooms, a lecture hall and auditorium.
Construction of the building “should be very special to us all and something we should all feel proud of,” Khator said in addressing the crowd. “Not only because we’ve reached another milestone in our journey toward top tier national status, but because, similar to the Calhoun Lofts, this project provides visual evidence that we are truly ‘building our future’ at the University of Houston.”
“Your generosity, commitment, and passion toward this university will never be forgotten,” she told Cemo and other donors.
“I also envision many more generous donors assuming the charge and helping to lead the way toward excellence,” Khator said. “Much like Houston Endowment, the Stubblefields, the Moores and the McNabbs, who have joined Mike Cemo in making Cemo Hall a reality.
“It makes me very proud that so many of you are on board and ready to forge ahead in building our future.”
Cemo, a former regent, was instrumental in connecting his one-time boss, the late Ted Bauer, to the Business College that took his name after Bauer’s remarkable $40 million donation in 2000. He also played a key role in launching the AIM Center for Investment Management, home to a student-managed private investment fund now worth around $8 million and some of the world’s best fund managers.
Cemo spoke to the window of opportunity that exists now for other alumni to pledge their financial and political support.
“Great universities are judged by the greatness and support of their alumni,” he said.
“That’s why it’s so important that all UH alumni come to the aid of the Chancellor if she is to be successful.
“Chancellor,” he continued, “we are behind you 1,000 percent.”
Cemo thanked the other donors who stepped forward to help fund Cemo Hall as well as Ted Bauer, “whose spectacular gift really moved this university forward.”
“I think Ted is up there shaking the tent, right now,” he joked, alluding to the wind that swept through the ceremony nearly non-stop. Bauer Dean Arthur Warga said Cemo’s “passion and enthusiasm” are contagious.
“Whether as a business leader, alumnus, regent, or friend, Mike has this innate gift to build consensus, excitement, and collaboration for the entire university,” Warga said.
“That’s why others have joined him.”
As the Bauer College has evolved into one of the nation’s finest business schools, rich in diversity and academic success, “Mike’s generosity is elevating global education to even higher standards,” Warga said.
“Mike’s support of Bauer creates excitement among our alumni and students. His and Ted’s style of philanthropy have created a new model for giving that’s based solely on making a difference in the lives of people.”
Board of Regents Chair Welcome Wilson, who also spoke at the groundbreaking, told Cemo and others gathered that “You have set a wonderful standard for us as UH alumni and regents. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the generous gift you’ve made to our institution.
“And to our other donors gathered here,” he added, “I thank you as well. Our students and faculty will be the beneficiaries for many years to come.”
By Julie Bonnin