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Houston Fearlessly Forward

The Call Toward Tomorrow Brings UST Together

There has never been a more interesting time to live in Houston.

I say that knowing full well this is the city that pioneered the way in manned space flight, and the city that still plays a leading role on the international stage when it comes to energy. No matter how great our past and present accomplishments may be, the fact of the matter is that our city is undeniably on the move again, and it’s moving fast. The population is booming, along with new construction and an expanding job market. Diverse communities are coming together in exciting ways, giving us a vibrant culture that expresses itself in a flourishing art scene, emerging downtown “super neighborhoods” and unparalleled culinary options.

The University of St. Thomas lies at the epicenter of all that change, in the middle of what has been dubbed the new “innovation corridor,” and only steps from the recently announced TMC3 research facilities. If you haven’t heard of TMC3 yet, I suggest you give it a Google. The center of the facility is shaped like a giant double helix, so large it will be seen from the skies as people fly over the city. The progress can be seen everywhere you turn, and the loudest rally cry behind it is coming from Mayor Sylvester Turner. Mayor Turner is leading the charge with an army of entrepreneurs and educators who seek to position Houston as a world leader in the arts, innovation and healthcare.

So how does a comprehensive Catholic university with a liberal arts core not only fit in with all that change, but stay true to its mission and thrive? Since shortly after my arrival, UST has been deeply engaged in an integrated planning process known as “The Call Toward Tomorrow” that will help determine that.

One thing that has become abundantly clear in this process is that the transformation of our city is a golden opportunity for UST to fulfill its mission. Playing an instrumental role in a bold new city will require a bold and unified outlook about our purpose and goals, and that is exactly what is happening. The committee recently reached consensus around a central and transformational goal to be realized over the next five years; to be known for having a fearless culture embracing positive change. Simple, but profound and empowering. It reminds me in spirit of our fearless Basilian Fathers when they established this university more than 70 years ago in the heart of Houston.

Operating through that fearless lens, the committee has now broken up into workgroups and is currently addressing five opportunities to be seized in the coming years. They include:

  • Ethos/Culture/Spirit
  • Academics & Organizational Structure
  • Enrollment
  • Infrastructure
  • Awareness

The goals established by each workgroup will be shared with me and the Board of Directors, and will usher UST into a new era. I look forward to sharing updates with you as the process comes to fruition. This work, being done by constituents from all corners of UST, is vital to our future and to the role we play in the future of our city. As I often hear from alumni, our mission has never been more relevant than it is today.

About the Author — Richard Ludwick

AvatarRichard L. Ludwick became the 9th president of the University of St. Thomas on July 1, 2017. He previously served as president of the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the nation’s oldest association of 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities enrolling more than 100,000 students. In that capacity, he led strategic initiatives in public policy at the state and federal levels, spurred innovative, intercollegiate collaborations, and successfully executed multi-million dollar philanthropic campaigns.

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