Sept. 21, 2016 – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner sees a bright future for the city of Houston, with the University of Houston as a strong partner in that development.
Turner, a 1977 UH graduate, spoke to University of Houston Law Center alumni at a breakfast Tuesday at Maggiano's Little Italy in the Galleria area. The event was hosted by the UH Law Alumni Association's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
"This is a great city," Turner said. "It is the most diverse city in the country. We speak 142 languages in this city. There are 92 consulates. This is not a city where people are fleeing from; it's a city where people are coming. Over the next 15 or so years, we're expecting about 3 million to be moving into Houston in the region."
Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes echoed Turner's sentiments about inclusion. He cited the Law Center's recent INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine's 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, and the need for a diverse student body.
"The state of Texas, the nation and our city are very diverse," Baynes said. "We plan to embrace it. It makes us stronger and better. It prepares our students to be cultural ambassadors and work in every environment."
"The University of Houston has provided so many opportunities on so many different fronts," Turner added. "I'd like to applaud the University of Houston Law Center for the many accomplishments that have been made."
While Turner said he is pleased with the changing perceptions of Houston and UH, he is optimistic for a continued upward trajectory.
"We have always been a city of challenges," he said. "But we've always dreamed big and made big things happen. What we can do by working together is make our future much better than our past. Being on the campus of the University of Houston, you see that every day.
"We've had to overcome a lot of challenges to be where we are today. Building a university is not so much different from building a great city. I strongly believe that our best days are in front of us and not behind us."
Baynes said Turner's career is symbolic of the enterprising nature of University of Houston and Law Center graduates.
"Mayor Turner's story is so emblematic of the University of Houston, and shows how education and legal education change lives," Baynes said. "I'm very proud that Mayor Turner agreed to speak to our alumni about his vision for the city and how the University of Houston fits into that vision."