Announcing the Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative
Under the terms of a major gift from Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., to the Center for Public History, the Houston History Project will be renamed the Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative. The Houston History magazine, the UH Oral History of Houston, the UH Houston History Archives, and UH Memories Documentary Films will become parts of the new Collaborative, which will remain under the direction of Joe Pratt. Funding from the gift will support existing initiatives, while also supporting new endeavors.
CPH director, Martin Melosi, called the new funds “the most important financial gift that the center has yet received by an individual synonymous with the history and heritage of the University of Houston and our community at large. We can think of no better name to have associated with our program than Welcome Wilson.” The Chairman of the Board of GSL Welcome Group, LLC, Welcome Wilson, Sr., is a longtime real estate developer in Southeast Texas who recently was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. A 1949 graduate of UH and a distinguished alumnus, Wilson has served on the Board of Regents of the University of Houston System for six years, including three as chairman.
Welcome cares deeply about the history of our region: “Tracking the history of Houston has been a passion of mine since I came here for college 68 years ago. I am very honored that this important UH endeavor will bear my name.” The feeling is certainly mutual. An ideal match for our ongoing efforts to capture the history of the region and make it available to others, Welcome is a walking encyclopedia of the history of UH and of Houston. His stories about the people he has known and the events he has witnessed are a treat to all of us who study our region. He is full of life, with an optimism that is contagious. His involvement in the new Collaborative will enrich the projects we undertake while also enriching our individual lives.
The connection between the Center for Public History and Welcome Wilson was made by Chris Cookson, a student year ago in one of Marty Melosi’s public history graduate seminars. When Chris and Marty had a chance encounter at a meeting of the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy, Chris recalled how much he had enjoyed the class and how it had spurred his life-long interest in history, even as he pursued a successful career in finance.
We thank him for reminding us that teachers matter and for his continuing enthusiasm for history and for the Center for Public History. But Chris went far beyond pleasant reminiscences by taking the initiative to put us together with Welcome Wilson. We thank them both for their generosity in joining us in advancing the work of the Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative.
Marty Melosi, Director, Center for Public History
Joe Pratt, Director, Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative