Alumnus runs for mayor
Gene Locke, UH alumnus, former student activist, former city attorney and, perhaps, the next mayor of Houston, continues to reflect and affect the University of Houston.
Locke graduated from the University in 1969, less than a decade after the campus had broken the grip of segregation.
He helped leave a lasting mark on the University as a part of its continued rise in national recognition.
Locke, who has decided to run for mayor in the 2010 election, is well known by city officials and is working to be better known by the public.
‘I would like for the University family to be proud of the fact that one of its own (could be) the mayor of the city of Houston,’ Locke said.
Locke’s community activism can be traced back to his student life as an active player in the Afro-American for Black Liberation group. Locke helped start the University’s African American Studies program, which in 2009 was recognized as the nation’s second oldest.
During Locke’s time at UH, other universities were just starting to open their doors to black students who wanted higher education.
‘We were in the forefront of the fight for the African American Studies program because the number of African-American students at the university was small. It meant we had to build coalitions with other groups to be able to achieve our objectives,’ Locke said.
As an alumnus, Locke has held administrative positions in groups at the University. He served on the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association and participated in its activities.
‘I was the founder of the UH Black Alumni Association, which was my effort to try to get black students to come back and give back to the University,’ he said.
Locke continues to support UH. He has told past presidents that he is willing to help the University achieve its goals when the Texas Legislature is in session.
As a mayoral candidate, Locke points to his collective body of work to show he has the necessary capabilities to attack the city’s problems.
He said he wants to provide services to all Houstonians and to be a sense of pride to the community. His focus is on issues of public safety, quality of life and rebuilding the infrastructure of the city.
In an effort to keep the black community’s vote strong for the mayoral race, one of Locke’s opponents, Benjamin Hall III, dropped out of the race and changed his voting registration to a Houston address to support Locke.
‘There could have been a real concern on the part of a lot of voters having to choose between the two of us,’ he said. ‘By having his support, it puts me in a position (to) rally support from our common base.’
More information about Locke can be found on his Web site www.genelocke.com. The site shows Locke’s accomplishments and what is to be expected in his race for mayor.
‘Students as human beings have a duty to be an intricate part in making the world a better place,’ Locke said. ‘It is a lifetime commitment to our fellow (citizens); if that lesson can be learned it will carry you to great places in life.’