Introducing Rhonda Thompson
At the beginning of July, Rhonda Thompson arrived as the new associate vice president for university advancement. Learn about her perspective of the advancement team’s responsibilities, strategies for change and drive to fill some key positions on the team.
Thompson, who came to UHCL from the UH System flagship university, UH, has more than 15 years of management, fundraising and organizational development experience within higher education, nonprofit and health organizations. A resident of Seabrook, she has been quick to add more blue and green to her wardrobe and to appreciate the shorter Clear Lake commute. She’s excited to join UHCL at a time when the university is entering its 40th year and welcoming the first-ever freshman and sophomore students. “The associate vice president role is an opportunity to work in my community and help a good organization take it to the next level,” says Thompson. “We work across the university and with our alumni to serve our greater community and find more partners who want to support our students – our main mission.”
“This is an exciting time to be a UHCL Hawk and we’re making preparations,” says Thompson, who admits that her recent arrival means she has a bit of catching up to do. Eager to get started, Thompson met with senior administrators and key faculty members during her first few weeks at UHCL so she could learn about their work and gain perspective on how they are building centers of excellence and helping students succeed in ways that the community can be proud of.
Thompson offers praise for the university advancement team, which includes development, alumni and community relations, and communications, saying “it’s a strong, solid team that already has a lot of years of experience. Like a recipe, we have the main ingredients but we need to add more, in this case filling some key positions.”
“My vision for this team is to build an integrated, professional, service-oriented university advancement team that can nimbly respond to the many opportunities to advance our institution,” says Thompson.
Back to top
Reasons to celebrate
In addition to the anticipation of freshmen and sophomores starting at UHCL, did you know that the university is also turning 40 this fall?
In September 1974, UHCL and 60 charter faculty members welcomed the first-ever UHCL students to campus. The university was known then as University of Houston Clear Lake Campus and, at the time, was a satellite campus for the main UH location. More than 1,000 students attended UH/CLC in 1974.
Construction began earlier in 1974 on the university's first new classroom building, known as the Bayou Building, and the first section was completed in 1975. The second section of the building was finished a year later and was home to the campus’ first formal commencement ceremony.
Student life 40years ago involved 8-track tapes and only three network television stations. Barbara Streisand topped the Billboard charts with “The Way We Were,” and “All in the Family” was the top-ranked show on television. For the first time, a Super Bowl was played in Houston, though the venue was Rice Stadium since Reliant Stadium was years away from creation. Not long before UH/CLC opened, its neighbors were renamed from the Manned Spacecraft Center to NASA Johnson Space Center.
Today, as UHCL gets ready to enter another historic academic year, enrollment has grown to more than 8,100 students and almost 60,000 alumni. The university has expanded as has the Clear Lake community, and UHCL looks forward to continuing to be the clear choice for academic excellence on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Back to top