UST opens new Conroe ‘USTMAX’ micro-campus

November 10, 2020

University of St. Thomas leadership join Conroe civic officials to celebrate during a ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new micro-campus in downtown Conroe Oct. 20. The new storefront will host events, classes and information sessions. (Photo by James Ramos/Herald)

CONROE — On a corner of downtown Conroe’s busy square, the University of St. Thomas (UST) opened the doors to its new “USTMAX” micro-campus building on Oct. 20.

Located at 336 N. Main Street, adjacent to the Montgomery County Courthouse, the new far-north outpost of Houston’s Catholic university occupies a restored, historic 1913 building, originally a popular mercantile and lively drug store that once drew Conroe’s crowds for milkshakes and sodas more than 100 years ago.

Now Montgomery County will have new options for higher education as the UST bolsters its sights on furthering its nursing school offerings and online liberal arts associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees as the county’s only four-year private university.

UST President Richard Ludwick said the new Conroe location “goes right to the heart of the Great Commission.”

“When Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Go out and teach, preach, teach them what I’ve taught you,’ and for us, that is at the heart of what we do,” Ludwick said. “Even the Basilian fathers and the tradition that they give to us, it is one of evangelization and education.”

Being in and part of Conroe’s community, “being literally in the public square” gives UST the chance “to bring a Catholic voice into a community at an educational level that was not here before,” Ludwick said. “And that’s really at the heart and soul of what we’re doing.”

Ludwick also shared that UST would offer free Spring 2021 tuition to students enrolling in cybersecurity, network technology and electronic technology associate degree programs.

Ludwick said the outpost will offer the “great patrimony of hundreds of years of Catholic higher education” and connect it to what the needs of the community are and push them into the future.

“The future of our Church, the future of God’s people, all centers on how we can form the individuals and the domestic Church,” he said. “And that’s something that we think is going to be critical to how we move forward. Not only here in Montgomery County, but everywhere. The University of St. Thomas, which we think is an instrument of God’s love, has the ability to touch them.”

The 1,500 square-foot Conroe storefront is named after St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish priest-martyr who died in Auschwitz, and is the patron of radio and innovation, according to UST. Dubbed a micro-campus, the venue will host information sessions, classes, alumni gatherings and other events.

Local clergy and parishioners from nearby Sacred Heart Catholic Church joined other Downtown Conroe patrons at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 20. The Basilian Fathers, who founded UST in 1947 in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, were represented by Father Paul English, CSB, who blessed the building.

For more information on the new campus and its programs, visit †