University of Houston: UH Athletics Launches Big 12 Conference Fundraising Campaign

The University of Houston Athletics Department announced Thursday that it has officially launched a comprehensive fundraising campaign centered on competitive excellence in the Big 12 Conference.

Titled HOUSTON RISE, the $150 million fundraising campaign follows the recent announcement that Houston will formally begin competition in the Big 12 Conference in July 2023. HOUSTON RISE will also be an integral component of an overall, university fundraising initiative designed to position the University of Houston as a Top 50 public research institution.

Through HOUSTON RISE, the Athletics Department will address essential capital priorities including the construction of a state-of-the-art facility to house Cougar Football.

Fundraising for the Football Development Center (FDC), the future home of Houston Football, began FDC Renderingin January. Over the past six months, the Athletics Department has been actively engaging donors and key stakeholders to support this needed project.

Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen, on the heels of a 12-win season, was one of the first to answer the campaign call. Holgorsen will contribute $1 million to HOUSTON RISE in support of the Football Development Center.

“When I returned to the University of Houston nearly four years ago, I had a vision for what Cougar Football could become,” Holgorsen said. “We are getting there. We are coming off a 12-win season, excited about the prospects for this upcoming year, preparing to enter the Big 12 in 2023, and building one of the best football facilities in the country. Houston has been committed to me, and I am committed to Houston and, as part of that commitment, I am honored to do my part to help make the new operations building a reality. My hope is that this small gesture may generate further excitement for the HOUSTON RISE campaign.”

In addition, Houston Athletics intends to use funds generated through HOUSTON RISE to modernize the aging Athletics-Alumni Center for use by Houston’s Olympic sports programs, complete important enhancements to the Guy V. Lewis Development Facility (Men’s and Women’s Basketball) and make improvements to other existing athletics facilities as funding/needs are identified.

“President Khator has made it clear that we enter the Big 12 to win,” Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman said. “We need to elevate to a Power 5 standard to provide our coaches and student-athletes the tools they need to compete for championships in our new conference. This is the mission of HOUSTON RISE.”

“Through the years, we have been blessed by the amazing generosity of a strong core of ardent Cougars, but the time is now to diversify and grow our support base,” Senior Associate Athletics Director John Gladchuk said. “We owe it to the benefactors responsible for the foundation we stand on today to expand engagement and incentivize those currently on the sideline to rise and be counted.”

HOUSTON RISE is a call to action for all Cougars, including anyone who calls Houston home, to participate in the rise of Houston Athletics to the top of the Big 12. More specifically, HOUSTON RISE will emphasize factors that demonstrate community confidence, namely active donor membership and season-ticket holder accounts. These focal points drive life-changing scholarship support for Houston student-athletes.

“Membership in the Big 12 is the result of exceptional leadership, unwavering courage and relentless drive – all qualities that define a Houston Cougar,” Pezman said. “This campaign embodies that spirit while reminding us that our journey has only just begun. We are a year away from Big 12 competition and assuming our place in the Power 5. We’ve worked for three decades to get to this point. Rest assured that we will rise to this ultimate challenge.”