Tilman J. Fertitta, globally recognized entrepreneur and Chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents, presented a historic $20 million gift to the University of Houston to transform the UH basketball arena into a state-of-the-art collegiate sports facility and rename the arena Fertitta Center and is the largest individual donation to UH Athletics.
Fertitta’s gift was a significant step forward in the $60 million University of Houston Basketball capital renewal project for the center’s design and renovation which was unveiled December 1, 2018. The facility features a premium club area and a courtside club. The reconfigured bowl moved mid-court seating locations closer to game action with floor-level seating opposite the team benches for UH students. Renovations also included a new audio system, sports lighting and large video boards as well as new concession stands and expanded restrooms.
“This gift is personal. It represents a commitment from my family and me to support the University of Houston in its quest to strengthen our nationally competitive institution, both in academics and athletics,” Fertitta said. “Upgrading our athletics facilities shows we are serious about competing at the highest levels of collegiate sports for many years to come. I’m proud of where the University of Houston is today, and I’m proud to make this investment in my university’s future.”
“We are committed to pursuing excellence in all aspects of higher education at the University of Houston,” said UH President Renu Khator, “and that includes being nationally competitive in athletics. This transformational gift from Chairman Fertitta will allow our basketball arena to be substantially enhanced, reclaiming its status as one of Houston’s – and the nation’s -- premier sports venues. The chairman’s incredible generosity is rivaled only by his extraordinary dedication to improving our University.”
At a private ceremony prior to the opening, Fertitta was inducted into the UH Athletics Hall of Honor during a private opening of the state-of-the-art collegiate sports facility that now bears his name.