HOUSTON – Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta will be honored during a private celebration for the opening of the Fertitta Center on the University of Houston campus.
Fertitta donated $20 million, the largest individual donation in UH Athletics history, as a part of the effort to transform Hofheinz Pavilion into a modern-day sports venue. The transformation of started in spring 2017 and the $60 million project was completed in November 2018.
“Tilman has given our athletic program a new level of confidence,” University of Houston President Renu Khator said. “His impact on the way we think about and approach athletics and the way we go after big dreams is enormous.”
According to the university, "The new arena features a premium club area and a courtside club. The reconfigured bowl has mid-court seating locations closer to game action with floor-level seating for UH students opposite the team benches. Renovations include a new audio system, sports lighting and video boards, as well as new concession stands and expanded restrooms."
Fertitta has been the chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents since 2014.
“Every sport seems to be taking off once again, and it’s all about leadership. Under Tilman Fertitta’s leadership, we have good people once again. He’s raised the bar,” said Clyde Drexler, member of the UH Athletics Hall of Honor (’98) and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (’04).
On Thursday, the university is holding a private opening celebration for the opening of the Fertitta Center. Fertitta himself will be inducted into the UH Athletics Hall of Honor. The invitation-only ceremony will feature a ribbon-cutting at center court, 3D laser light display and video tribute.
“Tilman has a vision, but when he gets there it’s not enough and he has to make another vision,” said Bill Worrell, Rockets play-by-play announcer and member of the UH Athletics Hall of Honor (‘16), who will emcee the event. “The facilities since he’s been head of the Board of Regents are some of the great facilities in the United States.”
The UH men’s basketball team will host the University of Oregon at 8 p.m. Saturday in the first game played at the Fertitta Center.