UH opened the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building, named for Hugh Roy Cullen’s grandfather. The building housed 46 classrooms, $40,000 worth of pianos, a 1,680-seat auditorium, the university’s public broadcasting radio station, and drama and music programs. The cornerstone contains a time capsule—a copper box with relics such as a copy of Ezekiel Cullen’s last photo, the biography of President Oberholtzer, and Cullen’s bill establishing land grants for public education.
The library moved from the Roy Cullen Building to the M. D. Anderson Memorial Library. Since the library only had ten percent of the books considered acceptable for a university, the Friends of the Library formed and raised the number of volumes from 12,000 to 56,000 in time for the dedication.
KUHF-FM received one the first university radio licenses and began broadcasting on November 6, 1950. The station’s programming evolved to focus on NPR news and classical music. In 2011, the university acquired KTRU and changed its call letters to KUHA, making it a classical music station and shifting KUHF’s programming to news exclusively.
UH obtained Houston’s second television license for KUHT-TV, which began broadcasting on May 25, 1953, as the country’s first non-commercial education television station. Initially, on the air 2½ hours each day, KUHT established the foundation for distance education with programs to instruct and enrich its audience. In 2014, through Houston Public Media, UH provides thought-provoking and entertaining radio-television content to over 1.5 million people weekly.
UH played in its first bowl game—the Salad Bowl—in Phoenix in 1952 and defeated Dayton 26-21.
The Cougar Sign is rooted in a 1953 mishap with Shasta I, when her front paw got caught in the car door in route to UH’s first game against the University of Texas. When UT students heard Shasta lost a toe, they mocked her by raising a hand with the ring finger tucked in. Cougar fans adopted the gesture as a symbol of pride and determination. Although UH lost that game and tied when they met again in 1968, their third meeting, and their first as Southwest Conference opponents, ended in a 30-0 Cougar victory in front of 77,809 spectators in Austin.
Following the golf team’s first national championship victory for UH in 1956, Rex Baxter won the 1957 NCAA individual national championship in Men’s Golf in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the first individual title in school history.
Swimmer Carin Cone became the first UH student-athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. An Olympic medalist in 1956, she held seven world records, 10 American short-course records, and 14 American long-course records during her outstanding career and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1984.