Founded in 1927, the University of Houston's mission is to offer nationally competitive and internationally recognized opportunities for learning, discovery and engagement to a diverse population of students in a real-world setting. In 1963, the university became a state institution. In 1977, it joined the University of Houston System, a group of 10 public institutions of higher learning in the Houston area sharing common goals and governed by a board of regents.
Currently, the University of Houston is a leading public research university serving about 40,000 students annually in more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. Its solid funding base of $33 million for annual research expenditures and opportunities to collaborate with NASA, the Texas Medical Center and other entities make the college an attractive learning center for scientists. Faculty and students conduct research within 40 university research centers, including the University of Houston Science Center.
In 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall over the University of Houston Science Center. Dale Irvin, associate vice chancellor at the University of Houston, was part of an on-site team when the hurricane's eye crossed over the campus. The university's initial run-through inspection revealed minimal damage.