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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

From the Archives

From the archives: September in UH history

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

This week, The Cougar takes a look back through its archives at some of the most notable events to happen in September throughout the decades. 

No More Rice In Diet; Famous Dome Is Home — 20th Anniversary of Football at UH 

Since 1952, UH had shared its home football attractions with the Rice Owls for their home games every Saturday. The Cougars did not really enjoy this though as stated by The Cougar’s writer, Sonny Yates. 

After years of patience, in the fall of 1965 UH finally got access to its own football home stadium. 

“Sparkling like a rare jewel on a one-time Houston swamp, the new football home for the Big Red is the Taj Mahal of all stadiums,” Yates said. 

It wasn’t special just because of the anticipation but also because it was beyond comparison as nothing like the Dome was ever built before. We had the champions of stadiums.

“Some called it The Harris County Domed Stadium; others refer to it as the “Dome” but its official name is the Astrodome,” Yates said. 

It sat about 52,000 UH fans in the fall of ‘65 and was nicknamed as the “Eighth Wonder” with a main focus on how comfortable and superior the up-holstered theater-type seating system was when compared with the Cotton Bowl and Rice Stadium. 

When the Cougars scored a touchdown, technicians would set off a gigantic touchdown display similar to the Astros’ home run display. 

It was the best way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of football at UH. 

Author Gaines to Speak

During the fall semester of 1984, author Ernest Gaines gave a reading from his then most recent work, “A Gathering of Old Men” at the UH-Downtown Center Ballroom which was followed by a reception. 

“Ernest Gaines has been described by Time magazine as possibly the best Black writer in America,” said Pam Ice, then news writer for The Cougar. 

Gaines was also teaching a creative writing course at the Downtown campus in the fall of ‘84. 

Gaines could not find anything written about the people he had grown up with which led him to start writing at the age of 16, Ice said. 

Gaines had taught at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette intermittently since 1981 and was returning there in January to teach creative writing. He felt that he had a lot to give students there.

“I was born and raised there. I know the language, most of the people I will be teaching are from Louisiana. They look at the kind of things I write about and they know a lot of the kind of people I know,” Gaines said. 

Gaines was influenced by many authors other than Faulkner, with whom he is often compared. He had no favorite writer, but two of his favorite novels were “War and Peace” by Tolstoy and “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, according to Ice.

Gaines achieved both critical and popular acclaim in 1971 with his novel, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”.

“I don’t write for any particular group. But if I had to write for any one group, I would write for the Black youth of the South.” Gaines said. “If I had to write for more than one group, it would be the Black and white youth – just the youth – of the south. I feel there is much more I can give them than I can give others”.

Pavilion pandemonium keeps UH students in line

Last week, The Cougar released an article on the shuttle services from the Sugar Land campus to the main campus, and the struggles of the students who wait in the endless cues only to lose their time and energy. 

In the fall of 1987, a similar phenomenon was occurring where students had to wait in long cues only to add/drop their classes.

“This was add/drop, the place where even the saddest of schedules get worse,” wrote Ruthie Piller and Deanna Rodriguez, then Cougar opinion writers. 

In this era of digitalization where we add and drop our classes whenever we want, the students in 1987 had to wait in long cues at a designated time based on their names. Even after waiting for hours, they would not get the desired classes. 

“We stood in line after line,” Piller and Rodriguez said. “After all that, we still didn’t get all the classes we wanted at the desired times.” they added. 

The administrators estimated that 10,000 to 12,000 students added and dropped Wednesdays and Thursdays, according to Piller and Rodriguez.

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