Honorary degree for Vice Chancellor strengthens ties with University of Houston

Professor Richard B Davies, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University, has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Houston, reinforcing the strong links between the two universities which have been forged as part of the Swansea-Texas partnership.

The Vice Chancellor was awarded the degree at a ceremony in Houston, Texas, during which the graduates, awardees and families were addressed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, film star and former governor of California.

WATCH: Swansea University Vice Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies receives his honorary degree from UH President Professor Renu Khator, followed by Arnold Schwarzenegger (seated right of lectern) receiving his award and giving the address to graduates

Established in 1927, the University of Houston (UH) is a top-level Tier One university, with 43,000 students and 2.500 faculty members.  Ranked among the best colleges in America, UH has award-winning faculty and innovative research centres.  It has one of the most diverse student populations in the nation, and alumni who have become international leaders

Vice ChancellorSwansea University has a strategic partnership with the University of Houston, which includes research collaborations and student and staff exchanges.  

‌Swansea University Vice Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies (pictured) said that receiving this award would further strengthen the ties between the two universities:

“There are significant similarities between Swansea University and the University of Houston. 

Both have made huge progress in a short time and both are very ambitious about advancing even more, particularly for their students.”  

The Swansea-Texas Partnership

The strong bond between Swansea and UH is central to Swansea University’s Texas partnership.  Encompassing eight leading universities and health institutions, the Texas partnership is distinctive because of the breadth and depth of research, teaching and mobility activities which reach across all of the University's academic Colleges.

  • Research collaborations across all academic Colleges
  • 132 joint publications
  • 97 students exchanged since 2013
  • 60 guest lectures delivered in Swansea and Texas
  • €210,000 Erasmus+ mobility funding secured

Pictures of the 2014 Swansea Research Showcase in Texas

President of the University of Houston, Professor Renu Khator, speaking about the Swansea Research Showcase visit to Texas in 2014, underlined the importance of the two universities’ links:

“Our partnership with Swansea University continues to produce considerable benefits for everyone involved. This showcase of outstanding presentations from some of their top scholars is the latest example of that.  We’re delighted to host this exceptional event.”

How students benefit

Students also benefit from the Texas links, with students in each country able to spend a semester in the other.    

Swansea University recently welcomed 34 students from three Texas universities; University of Houston, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin, giving them the opportunity to enhance their student experience both academically and culturally.

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Picture:  UH exchange students Hector de la Miyar and Justice Caldwell, pictured at Swansea University

Lorelee Gonzalez, studying English at the University of Houston, is taking part in the exchange:

“I hadn’t heard of Wales originally, but when I heard about the partnership between the University of Houston and Swansea University I knew it was a great opportunity for me. I love the beach and the village vibe…a different world from the city I’m used to.

I’m studying English while I’m here, and where better to study Dylan Thomas and William Shakespeare than on their doorstep… I’m even staying a stone’s throw from where Dylan Thomas grew up! It’s a new experience, but one I’m thoroughly enjoying!”

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Picture:  Lorelee Gonzalez (left) from UH, with exchange students from other Texas universities

Grace Jones (pictured below), one of a group of Swansea nursing students just beginning an exchange visit to UH, said:

“I applied to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity because it would be amazing to travel to the University of Houston and to learn about the people and the culture of Texas, but more importantly, to learn about nurse training in the US and the differences between how they train to how we train.

I would love to learn about their healthcare system and observe the differences and/or advances between our health care system and theirs. Additionally, it would be a fantastic opportunity to learn how nurses in Texas are trained regarding patient care, procedures and  policies.”

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Dr Caroline Coleman-Davies, who manages Swansea University's Texas partnership, said:

"I'm delighted to be able to welcome to Swansea so many students from our Texas partner universities.  We know that spending time overseas is hugely beneficial for students both in terms of both their personal and professional development, and this year almost 100 students have been able to benefit from our Swansea-Texas exchange programme."