UH PRESIDENT MARGUERITE ROSS BARNETT 1942-1992

Marguerite Ross Barnett was never able to realize her vision of making UH the premier urban university of the 21st century, although her legacy will live on.

During her first year at UH, she spoke at more than 50 different functions. The community's support of Barnett was evident at her first "President's Report to the Community" last spring. She attracted a capacity crowd of 800 people, and more than 200 were turned away due to lack of space.

She created the Texas Center for University School Partnerships to assess national school reform efforts and disseminate information. To date, 37 universities and university systems across the country have joined TCUSP.

Research here gained national acclaim under her leadership, when in the Jan. 1991 issue of Nature magazine, UH was ranked 10th in the physical sciences. Also, 70 new National and University Merit Scholars enrolled at UH in 1990, earning the university a seventh-place standing among merit scholar enrollment nationwide.

During her administration, Barnett announced unprecedented gifts to UH -- $42.2 million in October of 1990 and John and Rebecca Moores' gift of $51.4 million in October of 1991.

Before arriving at UH, she was the chancellor of the University of Missouri-St. Louis for four years and the vice chancellor for academic affairs at City University of New York from 1983 to 1986. She has been a faculty member at the University of Chicago, Princeton, Howard and Columbia universities.

She is the author or editor of five books and 40 articles.

Barnett's book, The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India, won the American Political Science Association's award for the best work of ethnic and cultural pluralism in 1981.

Barnett was born in Charlottesville, Va., and graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from Antioch College in 1964. She received her master's degree in political science from the University of Chicago and received her Ph.D in political science from the University of Chicago.

She leaves behind her husband, Walter King, a real estate developer; daughter Amy Barnett, who graduated from Brown University last summer and now works for Chase-Manhattan Bank in New York; and her mother, Mary Eubanks, who lives in Houston.

 

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TASK FORCE'S REPORT TO STAY SECRET UNTIL RELEASE

by Michael D. Oeser

Daily Cougar Staff

UH administrators are making progress toward possible implementation of suggestions made by the Arrest Policy Task Force and foresee no pitfalls in eventually putting those suggestions into effect.

Pursuant to a request by interim President James Pickering, the task force put together a synopsis of the specific recommendations made in their 120-page report, including attachments, to be distributed to groups on campus for feedback.

Vice President for Student Affairs Elwyn Lee, primary draftsman of the original report, and Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Dennis Boyd distributed the resulting five-page discussion document to several constituents on campus.

These groups included all members of the task force, the President's Cabinet, all the deans of schools, Faculty Senate President Bill Cook, UH Police Chief George Hess, Students' Association President Michael Berry and Staff Council President Carol Barr.

The task force also sent copies of the original report to all the deans with instructions to make them publicly available, Boyd said. However, he pointed out the shorter document was distributed specifically to elicit discussion.

Pat Deeves, division administrator for administration and finance and an assistant to Boyd, said Boyd declines comment on the suggestions at this time for fear that any public statement may influence the free flow of ideas.

Deputy to the President Thomas Jones, a member of the President's Cabinet requesting the feedback, said, "I think they (the suggestions) are all workable. Everyone might not agree with everything, but they're workable.

"What we're trying to avoid is giving a student a criminal record unnecessarily," he said, adding that even arresting a student can put a blot on his record which is difficult to remove.

"It will take several months to work out. We can move relatively quickly once the summary is distributed because that is going to be the basis for discussion," he said.

Boyd said that amount of time required for implementation of the plan comes from the fact that it poses as many questions as it resolves.

He referred to such specifics as who and how a problem will be handled on campus once the police agree to let UH determine an offending student's restitution, and how assurances might be made to the department that an incident has been sufficiently dealt with.

He also said he couldn't see these changes requiring new personnel or incurring new costs.

UH Police Chief George Hess declined to comment on the suggested policy changes except to say he intends to cooperate completely with the goals of the administration.

 

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LADY COUGARS TO BATTLE TECH

BY JIM MOSLEY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The 21st-ranked Lady Cougars will be looking for revenge against the 18th-ranked, conference-leading Lady Red Raiders Thursday night in Hofheinz.

The game will be televised on HSE, and tip-off is at 7 p.m.

On Jan. 25, Texas Tech defeated the Cougars 79-64 in front of 6,750 hostile fans in Lubbock.

"Thursday is our `Pack the Pavilion Night,'" women's basketball Coach Jessie Kenlaw said. "Hopefully, we will have 6,000 warm and friendly bodies to cheer us on."

"`Pack the Pavilion' is a promotion sponsored by the Athletic Department," said Tressa Mogas, assistant director of athletic marketing and promotions.

"We are giving away tickets to civic groups so they can watch these two nationally-ranked teams play," she said.

The Lady Cougars are starting to heal after being plagued by injuries last month, causing them to field only eight players, all injured, at SMU and Texas.

"We have nine healthy bodies ready to go," Kenlaw said. "Sharon Bennett (who shoots 44 percent from the field) is healthy and will play Thursday night."

This is the biggest game of the season.

"The players always get up for the tough games," Kenlaw said. "We will play them close with intensity."

The Cougars have not beaten Texas Tech since 1990. The last home game was a hard-fought affair in which the Lady Cougars lost by one point, 68-69 on Jan. 19, 1990.

Texas Tech leads the series, which began in 1977, 20-14.

In their last meeting, the Lady Red Raiders went to the charity stripe 43 times and made 33 of them. Texas Tech turned the ball over only nine times that night.

"They do a good job of executing (their plays)," Kenlaw said. "Their half-court defense is very good."

The only high point of that game, for the Lady Cougars, was their three- point shooting. They made six out of 13 attempts, for 47 percent, their season high.

Tech's Sheryl Swoopes leads the conference in scoring (21.6 per game), steals (3.8 per game) and free-throw shooting percentage (81.5 percent).

Lady Cougar LaShawn Johnson is fourth in scoring in the SWC with an average of 16.4 points per game.

Texas Tech's record is 20-4, 10-1 in the conference, while UH is 18-5 and 7-3.

The Lady Cougars will play Texas A & M on March 1 in College Station. This game will also be televised on HSE.

They will then come home to face SMU on March 7.

 

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UH GREETS NEW SCIENCE CENTER

BY ADAM KING

NEWS REPORTER

Paul C.W. Chu and the university community dedicated the new $22.5 million University of Houston Science Center on Wednesday with a reception and open house.

The Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TCSUH), which Chu directs, and the Department of Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences will be housed in the new 119,000-square-foot building, replete with state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.

"The building was originally created to create knowledge through some of the best research on campus," Chu said. "And to propagate knowledge through educating young people and professionals, and to apply this knowledge to benefit mankind in general and the citizens of this state in particular."

Chu's work on high temperature superconductivity, the ability of a material to conduct electricity without resistance, is considered foremost in the nation and the world.

The Texas Legislature created TCSUH in 1987, and since then, it has received more than $19 million from the Governor's Energy Office to produce the center. The other monies came from the University of Houston and private donations.

Dorothy Alcorn, secretary for the UH Board of Regents, said the board initially voted to build the new science center because they considered it to be a worthwhile endeavor.

"I'm thrilled about it (the UH Science Center) because I saw the genesis of it," Alcorn said, "and it's very rewarding to see it reach completion."

UH System Chancellor Alexander Schilt said the dedication gathering at the center was "to celebrate an institutional climate. A climate that nurtures intellectual vitality and encourages the pursuit of excellence."

An untitled, black, Cambrian granite sculpture by New York artist Matt Mullican was unveiled at the ceremony. The work, in three parts, is on permanent display at the entrance to the UH Science Center.

Mayor Bob Lanier sent a proclamation making Wednesday, Feb. 26, UH Science Center Day.

 

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SEARCH FOR BARNETT'S SUCCESSOR RAISES QUERIES, COULD BE DELAYED

BY CROSBY KING

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Marguerite Ross Barnett's death leaves questions about the search for a replacement.

Bill Cook, president of the Faculty Senate, said the process may be complicated by the current hierarchy.

"We have one person (James Pickering) acting as two heads: an acting president and senior vice president for academic affairs," he said.

"Does this mean we should find another person and promote (Pickering)?" Cook asked. "Or let him do both jobs for a while?"

Committees seldom need to fill a position vacated by a person's death, and Cook could only speculate about the beginning date for the search.

"When should it be?" he asked. "Do we let Pickering get us through the critical part? Do we want a new president to be involved in the beginning of the new Legislature?"

George Magner, interim president of UH-Downtown, said UH would have a hard time mounting a search in the middle of the spring semester. He said the university would find it easier to begin in mid- to late summer.

The chancellor's office appoints the members of the presidential search committee.

Hugh Walker, vice president for external relations, said he has served on many search committees, and he said the search for a president takes between six months and a year.

He said the most difficult task for the group is organizing meetings of the various candidates.

Walker said having an acting president would facilitate the search process.

"That means you already have a structure in place," he said.

Walker said it was conceivable the chancellor would stay with the existing structure, retaining Pickering. As acting president, Pickering can be considered as a candidate for the post.

 

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HOOPS

BY JASON LUTHER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

In Tuesday night's 83-80 overtime win over Texas Tech in Lubbock, the Cougars showed that they possess what it takes to win the kind of games they will play in the SWC tournament and the NCAA tournament, should they be invited.

They came back from a double-digit deficit on the road.

The Cougars rallied from 12 points down in the second half to tie the game on a Sam Mack three-pointer with 25 seconds left.

They made their free-throws.

Houston (19-5, 8-3 conference) shot 78.6 percent from the charity-stripe, including 17 of 21 in the second half and their last nine.

But more importantly, they showed that a ball club sometimes needs something more than good coaching and talented players -- a little luck.

Not the kind of luck that Texas had to get Dexter Cambridge back to turn its season around.

The officials called two offensive fouls on Tech (13-11, 5-7) in the last four minutes and, in the eyes of Tech guard Lance Hughes, an unfavorable defensive foul on a Sam Mack 3-pointer with under a minute left that set up the tying basket for Houston.

Mack said the reason the Cougars got down is that they weren't mentally ready at the start of the game. It showed, as they shot a horrid 36 percent from the field in the first half.

By the half, Houston Coach Pat Foster was not a happy man.

"Since I've been here, that's the loudest I've heard him," senior guard Derrick Daniels said of Foster's halftime locker room address.

Apart from an early game with Texas A & M, Houston has showed very little in terms of pressure play on the road this season.

Foster said the game was a great comeback for the team, but added, "I hope we learned our lesson." Perhaps the most promising sign for the Cougars of late has been their improved percentage at the foul line.

More than one NCAA fan has commented on the lack of discipline in this fundamental aspect of the game this season. It seems that emphasis on free-throw shooting has gone out with the old "set shot."

However, the teams that convert their free-throws at better than 70 percent will have a considerable edge in post-season play.

If the Cougars can continue to improve in this area, they will have a much better chance in the SWC tournament.

The top seed in the SWC tournament will also have a considerable edge by facing the bottom seed, which will be A & M, in the first round.

Texas seems primed to take the conference title. They are the hottest team in the conference, winning their last six games. However, the Tech win has left Houston with a chance to share the title.

But even a share of the title can't have Houston seeded number one as they were beaten by Texas both times. Head-to-head record would be the tie-breaker.

Texas still faces two potential threats with games against Baylor in Austin on Feb. 29 and Rice in Houston on March 5. Texas was blown out by Baylor 84-68 in Waco earlier this season and they escaped Rice by only one point in Austin.

If Texas were to lose both of these games, or one of them and their final game against A & M, and if the Cougars were to win all three of their final games, including a big challenge against TCU in Hofheinz on March 4, then they would win the conference title outright and receive the number-one seed.

And if a big piano falls out of the sky and lands on Dexter Cambridge, it might happen.

 

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UNIVERSITY LAMENTS PRESIDENT'S UNTIMELY DEATH

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Marguerite Ross Barnett, after serving as UH's president for only one and a half years, died Wednesday in Hawaii of complications from cancer. She was 49.

Barnett was released from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center about two weeks ago. She told her husband, Walter King, she wanted to visit Hawaii again, where they had spent their honeymoon, said Wendy Adair, associate vice president for university relations. They left on Feb. 16 and she died at 6 a.m. Houston time Wednesday.

Barnett took over the helm as UH's eighth president on Sept. 1, 1990. She was the first black and first female ever appointed president in the university's 64-year history.

Wearing dark, navy, pinstriped suits and blinking with red, swollen eyes, UH System Chancellor Alexander Schilt and acting UH President James Pickering somberly informed the community of Barnett's death at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"Clearly, this is a sad day in the life of the University of Houston. Dr. Barnett was truly one of the most gifted administrators in this nation," Pickering said, choking back tears. Schilt said, "When you care strongly for an individual who dies, the death leaves you at a loss. It's a loss to the university and a loss to all of higher education in this nation and the world."

If Barnett had been able to live a full life, he said, she would have been one of the greatest education leaders of the world.

"From my perspective, Marguerite had everything we had hoped to have (in a president)... an absolute, undeniable commitment to an urban university," Schilt said.

Barnett first informed the university of a "neuroendocrinological" illness on Nov. 14 in a letter to the UH community. At that time, she anticipated her treatments would require her to be periodically absent. But after her condition worsened, she requested a six-month leave-of-absence on Jan. 28.

Barnett, a private person, never elaborated on her illness. Schilt said he would honor her family's request and would not release any further information on the nature of her illness.

In her Jan. 28 letter to the UH Board of Regents and community, Barnett recommended that James Pickering be appointed the senior vice president for academic affairs. The board appointed him both provost and acting UH president at its Jan. 28 emergency meeting.

Pickering's appointment filled the last top administrative vacancy in Barnett's administration. She began restructuring the administration one month after her arrival at UH.

Schilt said he felt numb and hasn't thought about instituting a national search for a new president.

"We have immense confidence in James Pickering," he said.

Kenneth Lay, current member of the UH System Board of Regents, who was chairman when Barnett was appointed, described her death as a tragedy.

"We all expected Marguerite to become one of the truly outstanding academic leaders of the world. It's sad to see someone cut down in the prime of their life. It's tragic for her, her family and very sad for all of us," Lay said.

Barnett was born in Charlottesville, Va., and her funeral services will be held early next week at Union Baptist Church in Scottsville, Va.

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