2012 Fall Magazine
The official magazine magazine.
SMART MOVE: National Merit Scholars Choose UH and Houston FALL 2012 VOL.5 NO.4 PUBLISHER Karen Clarke Associate Vice President for University Marketing & Communication INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSITY MARKETING & BRANDING Liz Stephens EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS Eric Gerber (’72, M.A. ’78) ART DIRECTOR Enita Torres (’89) GRAPHIC DESIGNER Watson Riddle CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Melissa Carroll Marsha J. Carter Mike Emery James Gibbons (’74) Shawn Lindsey Libby Ingrassia (’94) Lisa K. Merkl (’92, M.A. ’97) Marisa Ramirez (’00) Laura Tolley Taylor Wiley PHOTOGRAPHERS Thomas Campbell Chase Pedigo (’08) CHANCELLOR AND PRESIDENT Renu Khator UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON SYSTEM BOARD OF REGENTS Nelda Luce Blair (J.D. ’82), Chairman Jarvis V. Hollingsworth (J.D. ’93), Vice Chair Tilman J. Fertitta, Secretary Spencer D. Armour, III (’77) Nandita V. Berry (J.D. ’95) Jacob M. Monty (J.D. ’93) Mica Mosbacher Gage A. Raba (Student Regent) Roger F. Welder Welcome W. Wilson, Jr. Send address and email updates to: University of Houston Donor and Alumni Records Energy Research Park Bldg. 1 Houston, Texas 77204-5035 www.uh.edu/magazine Send feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org The University of Houston Magazine is published by the Office of University Marketing & Communication Printed on recycled paper. The University of Houston is an EEO/AA institution. 149225 | 11.2012 | 75,000 Copyright © 2012 by the University of Houston. INSIDE 2 GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME In her annual Fall Address, President Renu Khator discussed how students, faculty and staff are all working together successfully. 5 COUGAR COMMENT James Gibbons (’74) recently moved away from Houston after 50 years and finds some of what he misses most is rooted in his connections to UH. 12 TURNING RESEARCH INTO REVENUE Income from UH’s “intellectual property” has increased dramatically during the past few years. What’s behind the surge? 14 CMAS AT 40: ACTIVISM TO ACHIEVEMENT The Center for Mexican American Studies at UH celebrates four decades of providing community support and academic excellence. 18 SMART MOVE Talented National Merit scholars from all across the country come to UH for a first-rate education – then stay on to become highly valued Houstonians. 24 CLOSE QUARTERS As UH transforms into an increasingly residential campus, the Faculty-in-Residence program is putting more professors into the facilities to help students. 26 A FLAMING SUCCESS: PAR EXCELLENCE For 30 years, hospitality majors have worked as servers and bartenders in this successful student-run business, gaining real-world skills and savvy. 28 THE ART OF BEING (MS.)UNDERSTOOD Lynne McCabe’s helping art students and community participants create a “social sculpture” and the provocative results can be seen at Blaffer Art Museum. 34 ALUMNI Q&A: CINDY PICKETT From Ferris Bueller’s mom to Gertrude in the Houston Shakespeare Festival, she reviews a long career and recalls her UH professor father, Cecil Pickett. 37 LOGGING ON TO SHASTACAM Shasta’s at the Houston Zoo and you can visit via webcam. What’s he up to? Funny you should ask … I N E V E RY I S S U E 4 Insight: Regent Tilman Fertitta 6 Making an Impact: UH News 11 Bonus Online 3 0 Faculty Focus – New members for Fall 2012 32 Professors Emeriti – Fredell Lack FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The $9-million Cougar Woods Dining Hall has now opened, accommodating 600 hungry members of the campus community. It is the first building at UH to qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification. Plus, they make a mean pizza. Photo by Thomas Campbell ON OUR COVER – Five individuals who came to the University of Houston on scholarship and remained to become productive Houstonians after graduation. Photos by Thomas Campbell. www.uh.edu /magazine FA L L A D D R E S S : GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME by Eric Gerber (’72, M.A. ’78) T o open this year’s Fall Address, University of Houston President Renu Khator turned to a telling observation from famed industrialist Henry Ford. “Coming together is a beginning,” she recited to the packed audience at Moores Opera House. “Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” For the better part of an hour, she provided a compelling description of just how successfully the faculty, staff and students of UH have been working together. “What a privilege it is for me to be part of your team and to stand before you for the 4th time for myannual Fall Address in celebration of our joint success,” she said, “but most importantly, to thank you for your commitment to the University of Houston.” The president called particular attention to recent headlines announcing that ‘University of Houston joins Rice University on U.S. News Rankings.’ “Coming on the heels of many other recent national accolades, this was very special,” she said. “Just a few years back, these destinations seemed beyond our reach, but your vision, persistence and hard work have succeeded in putting our university on the national map.” Looking back, she recalled that in 2009, her first full year in office, the university established three major goals essential to a Tier One journey: 1. Earning a Tier One designation by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 2. Securing a spot on the “Top 50” public university list of the Top American Research Universities (TARU) UH Ranked Top 50 Among Public Universities MEASURES 2009 2010 2011 Projected 2012 Total Research Expenditures Federal Research Expenditures Endowment Assets Annual Giving National Academy Members Faculty Awards Doctorates Granted Postdoctoral Appointees SAT/ACT Range 3. Qualifying for funding from the National Research University Fund (NRUF) created by the Texas State Legislature “And,” she told the cheering audience members, “we have accomplished them all!” Renu Khator 2 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 President Khator went to share a dazzling number of honors, achievements and distinctions, including: “Your vision, persistence and hard work have succeeded in putting our university on the national map.” — RENU KHATOR • JUST FIVE YEARS AGO, revenue generated by Intellectual Property for the University of Houston was a modest $600,000. This year, it was $12 million. • WE HAVE MORE STUDENTS — 40,759 to be precise — who are better qualified and are graduating at a faster rate than ever before. Consequently, UH is now on two national lists for the quality of our undergraduate education, The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. One-third of our freshman class, which includes 34 National Merit Scholars, came from the Top 10 percent of their high school class, a steady increase since 2008. • ANNUAL PRICE OF ATTENDANCE at UH is the lowest among comparable universities. Considering that undergraduate tuition was not raised this year, we will continue to be one of the best values for Tier One education in the nation. We rank #7 in the nation for graduating students with the least amount of debt at graduation. • FINANCIAL SUPPORT from the community exceeded $100 million for the past year, far surpassing the $80 million goal. Notably, we had a record number of alumni contributing. • THE CAMPUS CONTINUES TO GROW, with 10 major projects completed this year, including Building 1 in the Energy Research Park, the Stadium Parking Garage, the Cougar Woods Dining Hall, expansion of the Blaffer Art Museum, the Health and Biomedical Sciences Building, and the University Classroom and Business building, home of the new Insperity Center. Scheduled to open in the coming year are several renovated research facilities, two residence halls — Cougar Place and Cougar Village II — another parking garage, and of course, beginning to get off the ground, the yet-to-be-named football stadium. Following her presentation, President Khator visited with audience members in the lobby of the Moores Opera House. • UH WAS INVITED TO JOIN the prestigious Big East Conference next year, a reflection of the continuing success of our athletic programs. And how can we forget the thrill of hosting ESPN Game Day here on campus last year? Of course, the president’s fact-filled address was not all impressive pie charts and instructive PowerPoint slides. It was also an occasion for the campus community to come together and enjoy themselves. To that end, the program began with entertaining selections from a brass ensemble of student musicians and concluded with rousing a cappella numbers by the Moores School of Music Concert Chorale, including a clever rephrasing of the Beatles’ “Getting Better” with UH-specific lyrics. And just as Henry Ford provided an appropriate beginning for the Fall Address, the Beatles, slightly revised, offered a fitting conclusion: It’s getting better all the time. I used to think school was a bore. (No, I can’t complain) It’s never been this good before. We’re moving ahead We bleed Cougar red Like Chancellor Renu Khator… We’re building a ton and now we’re Tier One, without doubt the best school around! I’ve got to admit it’s gettin’ better, A littler better all the time. H After attending the President’s Fall Address, approximately 20 current and former members of the UH System Board of Regents took a bus tour of the campus, including visits to the Blaffer Art Museum, the Science Teaching Lab, the Health and Biomedical Science Center and the Insperity Center at Bauer College’s Classroom & Business Building. Among those participating were (front row, left to right) Regent Leroy Hermes (2001-2008) and Regent Jarvis Hollingsworth (2009-15). Photographs by Chase Pedigo F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 3 BOARD OF REGENTS I NSI G HT : A FEW MINUTES WITH Tilman Fertitta T his year, Tilman J. Fertitta was named to the annual Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America, the latest distinction for the Chairman and CEO of Landry’s, who was appointed to the UH System Board of Regents in 2009 and will serve through 2015. A true Texan, Fertitta attended Texas Tech University and the University of Houston. In 2004, Fertitta was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. His Houston-headquartered corporations include such notable holdings as the Kemah Boardwalk, the Downtown Aquarium, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Claim Jumper, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Morton’s the Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmicks, Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, The San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center and the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. He serves as chairman of the Houston Children’s Charity, the Houston Police Foundation and is on the Executive Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He also serves on the Texas Heart Institute and the Greater Houston Partnership boards. Fertitta lives in Houston with his wife, Paige, and their four children: Michael, Patrick, Blayne and Blake. Tilman Fertitta We are here to make the University of Houston into one of the nation’s premier public universities. We ensure that the university runs in a fiscally Q: UH has made great progress recently. But what responsible manner. We develop and articulate does the university need to do better? the vision and mission for the university system. A: UH must be a national leader in education and We also implement ideas and solutions that we Q: innovation by continuing to improve the quality believe are best for our students and the university. of its professors and curricula and through As a longtime resident and alumnus, you’re partnering with established and successful A: obviously familiar with UH - but what have you businesses in order to make it a more competitive learned about UH as a regent that you didn’t and desirable university for students to attend. Q: When people ask, “What does a regent do?” what do you tell them? A: Q: know before? A: Q: A: Q: No matter the organization, leadership is the key to success. We are lucky to have Chancellor Renu Khator. She is incredible and under her leadership, UH is well positioned to be among the best universities in America. A: You have an extremely arduous, travel-heavy schedule. Why did you take on the added demand of serving as a regent? Yes, I do travel quite a bit, but I don’t find being a regent to be overly demanding. When Governor Perry appointed me to the UH System Board of Regents, I knew that the position would be time consuming. I took this position knowing that I could make a difference. I believe in the continuing growth of higher education in Texas. 4 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 Q: A: New people, capital and ideas are always present. Therefore, to remain competitive you have to be prepared to change, change, change - that is what makes Landry’s so successful. We are not afraid to change. If you weren’t in your current line of work, what other career/s would you have pursued? This is a tough one. I’m not sure what other line of work I would rather be in other than what I’m doing now. I love the hospitality and entertainment business and just can’t see myself doing anything else. You are well known as a highly successful businessman in the restaurant, gaming and Q: What do you do for fun? hospitality industries. How did you come A: I enjoy going to the movies and deep-sea fishing. to specialize - and prosper - in those I also love getting together with friends or family to particular fields? watch a good football game - college or NFL. I always take a hands-on approach to business. I assume nothing is done and make sure there is Q: If you were compared to Donald Trump, would you feel flattered or insulted? follow-through on all things that matter. Over the years, I have gained a solid understanding of what it takes operationally and financially to A: I wouldn’t be insulted or flattered. I have been compared to him before. A New York Times article make businesses successful. once referred to me as the Texas Trump. Donald is one of the greatest promoters of all time. Even P.T. What do most people not realize about the restaurant, hospitality and gaming industry? Barnum could have learned from him. I enjoy Donald’s outspoken personality. Nevertheless, I have my own Our industry is very fast-paced and you always views and ways of doing things and believe I am have to be looking for what the consumer wants. a little more reserved than him. H COUGAR COMMENT GIVING IT THE OLD COLLEGE SIGH … After living in Houston three weeks short of 50 years, in June I reluctantly parted with my complete set of Ian Fleming paperbacks and moved to Port Jefferson, N.Y., on Long Island Sound. I won’t miss Houston’s summer warmth, or the breezes so moist and memorable they are given names, but I have already begun to miss my association with the University of Houston, one that lasted decades after I ceased to be a student there. When I was a young news editor at the Houston Chronicle, where I had taken my knowledge of 18th century English novels, I was asked to make monthly return visits to UH as a member of its Student Publications Committee. At the time, this was a toothless panel detailed to adjudicate disputes involving the Daily Cougar. I served two uneventful terms, distinguishing myself only when I voted to acquit a Cougar reporter who had cast several ballots in the same Student Senate election. I thought it was a public service for him to show how easily it could be done, with so little effect. From there I got no respite, but spent six years as a founding member of the Honors After moving from Houston, an alum recalls a sentimental education by James Gibbons (’74) College (formerly Honors Program) Advisory Board and inaugural patron of its annual gala, The Great Conversation. My only contribution to Jane Cizik’s brilliant concept – joyful Socratic dialogue disguised as a stern charity ball – was to plead for a fundraiser that did not allow loud music to interfere with well-oiled society chit-chat. I was never a mover or shaker on the board. But an active board member says I’m still remembered for the time I arrived late to a luncheon meeting and offered the excuse that, “My bath water was tepid, and I had to have it redrawn.” At what was likely the last advisory board meeting I attended, the chairwoman asked if I had an idea how to increase financial support from Honors alumni, a serious question then and now. I said, only half-joking, that I was the last person to ask, as my liberal education had led me to disparage the wealth it prevented me from attaining. Shortly after, I began 10 exciting years on the board of Inprint, a private charity that supports the UH Creative Writing Program and puts on the distinguished Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. The first reading I attended as a board member featured Salman Rushdie. Outside the Alley Theatre, a couple of hundred protesters, many with clueless young children in tow, shouted for Rushdie’s death. I remember the date: Sept. 10, 2001. On another occasion, I was invited to a post-reading reception for the poet Mark Strand. As I stood in the entryway, an attractive woman of a certain age offered her hand and said, “Hello, I’m Lois Chiles.” I recognized her, then a UH drama professor, as the Bond girl from “Moonraker.” I said my name was “Gibbons … James Gibbons.” My wife at the time, who wouldn’t recognize a Bond girl if her life depended on it, gave me a sharp look that, both silent and rhetorical, asked if I had taken complete leave of my senses. As even the casual reader will conclude, the only one who got anything out of my long association with the University of Houston was me: lasting friendships, entertaining dinner parties and salons, broadening experience and a lifetime of intellectual stimulation. I’ve been asked to share my newspaper experience with journalism students at Stony Brook University, down the road from my new home. Perhaps another academic affiliation will begin to fill the void formed when I left the modern city that UH has done so much to shape. I have my doubts. H After 34 years as a writer and editor for the Houston Chronicle, a relocated Gibbons (BA English 1974) is working on a collection of personal essays/memoirs. M A K I N G A N I M PA C T NOW WE’RE COOKING! Creative Writing Student Trades Plots for Pots as ‘MasterChef’ I t sounds like the perfect story for a novel: A legally blind college student overcomes the odds to emerge victorious on a nationally televised cooking show. For Christine Ha, this turned out to be fact rather than fiction. Ha, a student in UH’s Creative Writing Program, recently sliced and diced her way to the title of “MasterChef” on FOX Television’s reality show of the same title. The master of fine arts candidate participated in the televised cooking competition through the summer and into the fall. During the season’s finale, Ha found herself facing off against fellow contestant Josh Marks. Her championship meal in the competition included Thai papaya salad, braised pork and rice and coconut-lime sorbet. The results were impressive, but not without some carps and grouses from judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. Nevertheless, Ha’s culinary talents couldn’t be denied, and she emerged as the 2012 “MasterChef.” “I can’t believe that I’m the MasterChef,” she tearfully said during the broadcast. “After all the obstacles I’ve been through, going up against such awesome, amazing cooks. This has been the most amazing experience, seriously.” As “MasterChef,” Ha earned $250,000 and an opportunity to publish her own cookbook. She also picked up admirers around the world who watched her weekly kitchen exploits. Her biggest fans, however, were her UH professors and fellow students, who attended watch parties around the “MasterChef” broadcasts. “Christine is a talented writer, an intelligent and tactful critic, and a great colleague in any workshop or class,” said Robert Boswell, Cullen Foundation Professor of English. “Everyone thinks the world of her, and we were all rooting for her to win the competition.” As the competition’s first legally blind contestant, Ha appeared to have the odds seemed stacked against her, but her Cougar spirit kept her strong. “Christine in class was much like Christine Ha Christine on ‘MasterChef’ – gracious, poised, humble, generous, and with a successfully. I could not be happier for her latest (though not great sense of dignity and humor,” said Antonya Nelson, last) fantastic victory.” Cullen Foundation Professor of English. “I have always If you would like to read more about – and from – Ha, been supremely impressed with her unwillingness to including examples of her creative writing and a culinary make her disability a factor in her pursuits. She simply blog, visit her website at www.christineha.com. H moves forward gracefully, beautifully and tremendously — Mike Emery UH, UH SYSTEM Set Fundraising Records T he University of Houston System raised a record-setting $112.5 million in private support in 2011-2012, the largest total in the institution’s history. At the University of Houston, fundraising exceeded $100 million, far surpassing its $80 million goal, with a record number of alumni supporting UH through annual gifts. “It is paramount that the UH System continue to raise institutional funds through private giving,” said Eloise Dunn Stuhr, vice chancellor/vice president for advancement. “Each year, an increasing amount of the system’s budget is supported by private giving.” UH received $109 million in contributions — an increase of more than $30 million from the previous year — to fund student success initiatives, scholarships and privately funded capital projects. Gifts to athletics in support of the football stadium led the fundraising effort within UH, followed by gifts to Houston Public Media, the College of Liberal Arts & Social 6 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 Sciences and the C.T. Bauer College of Business. The two largest individual gifts came to UH from donors living in Austin and Dallas, which reflects the growing prominence and impact of the university beyond the Houston region. “Houston is a can-do city and it wants a can-do university,” said Stuhr. “It’s up to us to raise the funds that are necessary to support student success, and that is exactly what these generous gifts do for the 8,000 students we graduate each year.” H — Shawn Lindsey M A K I N G A N I M PA C T UH Strengthens ‘Energy University’ Image as Energy Day Co-Sponsor with Houston T energy demonstrations and booths, live music, food, contests and other fun activities for all ages. he University of Houston was proud to co-sponsor Energy Day this fall with the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA). An official City of Houston event, the annual festival spotlights the importance of energy in our daily lives. “The University of Houston is expanding its role in this important and dynamic event, and we were pleased to join the Consumer Energy Alliance in organizing and promoting Energy Day 2012,” said UH Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Rathindra Bose. “The festival highlighted the great work being done here at UH in regards to energy research and educating the next generation of energy industry leaders.” Energy Day provides an excellent opportunity to highlight Houston’s role as the “Energy Capital of the World” and to promote the city’s diverse and robust state-of-the- art energy industry and renewable energy future. UH, which is working to become ‘the energy university,’ is a natural fit for this annual event. energy innovation, technology, efficiency and conservation and the overall role of all forms of energy in meeting our current and future energy needs. The festival’s mission is to educate students and their families about energy by demonstrating Held in October in front of City Hall in downtown Houston, the event featured a variety of interactive Consumer Energy Alliance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization comprised of more than 200 affiliate members who support the thoughtful utilization of energy resources. H — Laura Tolley UH Partnering with Agilent to Promote Petroleum Research A gilent Technologies and the University of Houston are working together to further understanding of the geology and composition of crude oil. The collaboration will combine Agilent’s expertise and advanced scientific instruments with the leading-edge petroleum research conducted within UH’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The goal is to create applications that provide new insights into the discovery and use of this vital resource. Under the agreement, Agilent is providing a portfolio of instruments valued at more than $1 million, including such advanced technology as microwave plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (MP-AES), inductively coupled plasmaoptical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS), gas chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectroscopy (GC-QQQ), and gas chromatographyquadrupole time-of-flight mass spectroscopy (GC-QTOF). “This collaboration is an important research effort for the oil and gas industry and its ongoing efforts to better assess proven reserves and discover new deposits,” said Rathindra Bose, the university’s vice chancellor/vice president for research and technology transfer. “Researchers in our Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences will have access to the most advanced instruments available today to further their work.” been available to them until now,” said Wayne Collins, global energy manager, Agilent. “This collaboration with a premier energy university reaffirms our commitment as the market leader in instruments for this industry, to continue to develop new technologies and applications for our customers.” The instruments will be used to identify and measure the constituents in geological specimens or to separate, identify and measure the thousands of compounds found in crude oil samples. These types of studies aid in understanding the geology of oil-bearing formations, which is useful in the search for new deposits as well as in assessing the potential for exploitation of proven reserves. In addition, improvements in the methods used to characterize crude oil will allow it to be processed more efficiently, which can improve the yield from each barrel and lower the cost of refined products. Over the three-year term of the collaboration, some of the work will also focus on developing the science of shale gas, which has recently transformed the energy outlook in the United States. New technologies that have allowed this resource to be tapped have opened vast new reserves and provided low-cost feedstocks to the petrochemical and chemical industries while also providing low-cost natural gas to allow some power plants to switch from coal, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The research aims to investigate the science behind the extraction of shale gas and liquids to aid in evaluating the potential production of a particular formation as well as to provide guidance in avoiding detrimental environmental impact to ground water. H “The state-of-the-art instruments that Agilent is furnishing through this collaborative effort will allow the research teams at the University of Houston to move to the forefront of their research areas by generating data that has not — Laura Tolley F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 7 M A K I N G A N I M PA C T Arts District Blossoms with Renovated Blaffer, and Houston Endowment’s $1.5 Million Gift T he University of Houston’s Arts District is a favorite destination for Houston arts patrons. Known for its lush and scenic courtyard, this area of campus offers visitors easy access to Blaffer Art Museum, UH’s theaters and recital halls and Moores Opera House. Just a few steps away is the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. These enhancements to the Arts District will complement the significant renovations to Blaffer Art Museum. As nice as it is now, the Arts District soon will be even better. Houston Endowment recently contributed $1.5 million toward the UH Arts Initiative, which will help grow programs and enhance the university’s Arts District. “This generous grant from Houston Endowment represents an important endorsement of our vision of the arts at UH,” said John Roberts, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The university will dedicate $545,000 from this gift toward the renovation of the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre, Moores Opera House, Dudley Recital Hall and Organ Recital Hall. These funds also support the construction of a student exhibition space in the Fine Arts Building. The gift also provides $715,000 toward UH public programs (including the Texas Music Festival and Houston Shakespeare Festival) over three years. It also contributes $100,000 annually to support the development of new programs and $250,000 to launch of the UH Center for Arts Leadership. Previous support for the Arts District came from the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts ($1.5 million) and the Brown Foundation ($175,000). In October, the museum completed a $2.25 million renovation and expansion project that created an additional entrance, lounge area, new staircase, media gallery and artist studio. Both entrances are connected by an open reception and greeting area. The galleries also have undergone major upgrades, including new floors, walls, ceilings, and a new art lighting system. The reconfiguration of the space allowed for the addition on the second floor of a media gallery to house the museum’s public programs and an artist studio dedicated to the museum’s many educational initiatives. Infrastructural improvements include new HVAC and electrical systems, state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities and new security and fire suppression systems. H — Mike Emery Political Science Celebrates Its 150th Ph.D. A s volatile political discussions dominate this time of year, the University of Houston political science department is adding some exuberant cheers of its own with the awarding of its 150th doctoral degree. The program reached this milestone at the spring commencement ceremony. UH had only recently become a public institution in the late 1960s when the doctoral program began. In 1974, the program granted its first doctorates to Marianne Jameson and to Glynn Tiller. Today, you’ll find UH political science Ph.D.s in countless national and international higher education institutions, and in agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, CIA and the FBI. Recently, the British House of Lords heard a presentation on research examining the European Union identity — from Michael Bruter, an alumnus of the doctoral program and now lecturer at the London School of Economics. And, of course, many alums are working in the political arena. In fact, in Colorado, the state director for Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, James Garcia, is doctoral program graduate, as is the state field director for the 8 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 campaign of President Barack Obama, Frances Nugent. “Our 40-year-old doctoral program is stronger than ever,” said Susan Scarrow, professor and chair of the department. “We look forward to educating our next 150 Ph.D.s!” To honor awarding the 150th doctorate, faculty and alumni established a Graduate Student Scholarship Fund to educate the next generation of political science professionals. H — Marisa Ramirez (’00) Faculty, Students Keeping Houston Beautiful UH’S GRADUATE DESIGN/BUILD STUDIO (GDBS) is getting a (green) thumbs up from Keep Houston Beautiful and grateful Alief residents. Led by UH architecture professor Patrick Peters, the studio (made up of graduate architecture students) has constructed a solar-powered outdoor classroom for Alief’s community garden. The project recently received the Mayor’s Proud Partner Award from Keep Houston Beautiful. Each year, this award recognizes community members who contribute to the city’s beautification efforts. “For many of these students, this is the first time they have worked on actual designbuild projects,” Peters said. “These projects give them the chance to collaborate on projects and shepherd them through construction. By the time they graduate, they’ll have projects under their belts that are part of the city’s landscape.” The classroom is a steel structure that will provide community members with a shaded place for educational demonstrations. Another UH project received an honorable mention from Keep Houston Beautiful. The program recognized a solar-powered outdoor demonstration kitchen that was designed by UH architecture and graphic communication students. H — Mike Emery UH Establishes First Master’s Program in Subsea Engineering T A subsea engineer is responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the equipment, tools and infrastructure used in the underwater phase of offshore oil and gas drilling and production. he University of Houston will offer the nation’s first subsea engineering graduate program, teaching the scientific and technical skills necessary to create the first generation of formally trained subsea engineering specialists. UH began its subsea engineering certificate program last year in response to the oil industry’s increasing need for these skilled engineers. It was the first of its kind in the United States. Subsea engineering typically has not been considered a distinct discipline in the U.S., but a number of universities abroad offer degree programs. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently approved UH’s proposal to provide a graduate subsea engineering program, expected to begin in fall 2013. Currently, UH has a popular certification program in subsea engineering. Formed in partnership with the world’s leading energy engineering companies, the master’s program will include classroom lectures and hands-on software education for subsea systems design. Courses will be taught by recognized industry experts. “We know we can build on the success our certificate program with this enhanced master’s curriculum,” said Matthew Franchek, founding director of UH’s subsea program and a mechanical engineering professor. Offshore oil and gas reserves are increasingly important sources of energy. Some experts believe that billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lie within federally controlled waters in the Gulf of Mexico alone. But these massive reserves lie underneath 10,000 feet of water, presenting unprecedented engineering challenges such as freezing temperatures, corrosive seawater and immense water pressure. The harsh underwater environment requires many operations to be automated or performed remotely. UH’s graduate program will include lectures on basic engineering sciences and best of engineering practices in subsea engineering. There will be a major design project assigned and each course also will require a written project report, a technical presentation and the use of state-of-the-art subsea engineering software. The new program will dovetail into UH’s growing petroleum engineering program, which two years ago established an undergraduate degree program in addition to its graduate curriculum. H — Laura Tolley F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 9 M A K I N G A N I M PA C T Institute for Regional Forecasting Names New Chief Robert W. “Bill” Gilmer, Ph.D., who most recently served as senior economist and vice president in charge for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “The integration of the IRF into the Bauer College will add to the resources that we are able to provide the Houston business community,” said Dean Latha Ramchand. “With Bill at the helm, the institute will continue to provide the quality information on the Houston economy it has become known for and complement the college’s existing portfolio of industry expertise.” Robert W. “Bill” Gilmer U H’s celebrated Institute for Regional Forecasting has a new leader and a new home. The economic think tank, which has been housed within UH’s Hobby Center for Public Policy, will move to the university’s C. T. Bauer College of Business. In addition, the IRF will welcome a new executive director with the appointment of In his role with the Federal Reserve, Gilmer had oversight of operations in West Texas and southern New Mexico, including annual shipment and receipt of more than $10 billion in cash to regional banks. He served as senior economist in the organization’s research department and co-managed the 11th District regional economic research, giving 40 to 50 speeches or public presentations per year on regional economic conditions. “Bauer and UH play a very important role in the city’s economic picture,” Gilmer said. “I’m excited to join the college as executive director of the IRF and look forward to focusing on Houston’s unique business cycle, driven by the U.S. economy, oil and global growth.” For many years, the IRF has presented biannual symposia to provide a real estate and economic outlook for the area. This will continue, with the fall symposium taking place Nov. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Titled “Houston 2012-2013: A Sparkling Diamond of Many Facets — Medical, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals and the Port,” it will feature Stewart Title Guaranty Co. senior vice president and chief economist Ted C. Jones. The institute was founded in the mid-1990s and led by Barton Smith (now professor emeritus), who helped to shape its signature programming and economic forecasts. “Thirty years ago, Houstonians were in desperate need of an independent source of information about the local economy, unencumbered by the spin that special interests wished to put on the region’s status and prospects,” Smith said. “That gap was filled by UH through the Center for Public Policy and its offshoot, the IRF. Under the directorship of Bill Gilmer, the IRF at the Bauer College has its best chance of continuing that tradition. He has the academic skills, the detailed knowledge of the local business community, and the willingness to speak objectively to the community. I’m greatly encouraged that the traditions built up over the past 30 years will continue.” H — Staff Reports UH One of Only Three Tier One Schools Designated as Hispanic-Serving Institutions T he U.S. Department of Education has classified the University of Houston as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), making it the only Tier One university in Texas with this designation. UH now joins the University of New Mexico and the University of California-Riverside as the only three such institutions in the country. “This establishes UH as a model for the type of institution that can best serve tomorrow’s America,” said UH President Renu Khator. “This designation underscores our commitment and success in serving a diverse population at the highest level.” (See related story page 14.) The classification, which is based on Hispanics making up at least 25 percent of undergraduate 10 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 enrollment, means UH is eligible for funding that support or expand educational opportunities available only for “HSI” schools. “For faculty in all areas and specialties, the designation means they have access to additional funding for research previously not accessible to UH,” said John Antel, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Such funding will allow our faculty to better train our students by engaging them in research projects and preparingthem to effectively compete in our global economy.” UH has also been designated as an AsianAmerican Serving Institution. H —Eric Gerber (’72, M.A. ’78) President Renu Khator Honored with GHP’s ‘International’ Award U H System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator has been named the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) “2012 International Executive of the Year.” BONUS ONLINE TOUR UH ON GOOGLE MAPS Panoramic views of the University of Houston campus are now visible on Google maps. Detailed, street-level images of the campus are accessible within Google Maps, Goggle Earth and yes – even Google Maps for mobile. Explore Cougar Country landmarks in vivid 360-degree views. http://bit.ly/S85Qf4 LAW CENTER ANNOUNCES ENERGY LAW SCHOLARS PROGRAM The UH Law Center, in partnership with the law firm of Andrews Kurth, is launching the Andrews Kurth Energy Law Scholars program. During the next three years, the program will bring five accomplished individuals to the Law Center to teach one class and pursue research and writing in preparation for careers as law professors. http://bit.ly/Tjca67 UH SOLAR COATING LICENSED BY C-VOLTAICS Researchers with University of Houston’s Institute for NanoEnergy have developed nanocoating that not only increases solar panel efficiency, but also can be used in a range of applications from home improvement to medical devices. The nanoparticle coating, 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, has been licensed by C-Voltaics. http://bit.ly/PGk9sQ Renu Khator The annual award, which has been presented for 25 years, recognizes an outstanding business person who personifies global leadership, keeping the Houston region on the cutting edge of the global economy. The recognition is primarily co-sponsored by the GHP and the Kiwanis Club of Houston with support from the Mayor of Houston, the Harris County Judge, the Port of Houston and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Previous recipients include Richard E. Wainerdi, Lloyd M. Bentsen, Robert A. Mosbacher, Rod Canion, Larry Kellner as well as David Leebron and Y. Ping Sun. H FUNDING INNOVATION AT MITCHELL CENTER The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at UH has instituted a new program to fund new creative art, writing, music and theater. The Innovation Grants Program is part of the university’s UH Arts Initiative and is funded in part by a three-year grant from Houston Endowment. Check out the first round of Innovation Grants for the 2012-2013 academic year. http://bit.ly/RNdpsn SUSTAINABLE CREATIVITY A ditch is just a ditch, right? And a parkand-ride is simply a place to leave your car when you want to catch a bus, right? UH architects and designers don’t agree. Share their vision of bold possibilities for urban areas we take for granted. “Thick Infrastructure,” a free exhibition in the atrium of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, runs through November 21. http://bit.ly/PGmIuQ UH STUDENTS WIN CLEANWEB HACKATHON HOUSTON Two students from UH’s C.T. Bauer College of Business and another from UH-Downtown spent a weekend creating a mobile application that could change the world. The team lost a lot of sleep, spurred on by one big idea, to develop a mobile application that won grand prize in the city-wide competition, Cleanweb Hackathon Houston. http://bit.ly/S1Vc7I ARTE PÚBLICO GRANT TO COMBAT LATINO CHILDHOOD OBESITY The W. K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded a $400,000 grant to Arte Público Press to continue its effort to use bilingual literature and media to impact Latino health and health policy. Focusing on Latino childhood obesity, Arte Público is publishing a series of bilingual books featuring young protagonists who make good choices about food, exercise and healthy living. http://bit.ly/QwJX7P DNA ENGINEERING TURNS BACTERIA PROCESS INTO BENEFIT Graduate students and faculty members of UH Cullen College of Engineering have discovered how to transform bacteria’s infection process into something that can benefit humans, using recombinant DNA techniques on a class of proteins known as autotransporters. http://bit.ly/Xzjp8K AGING KIDNEYS KEY TO NEW HYPERTENSION THERAPIES Investigators at the UH College of Pharmacy are exploring how oxidative and inflammatory stressors alter the function of two critical receptor systems in the kidneys – systems involved in sodium metabolism and blood pressure. The team is studying the impact exercise has on improving kidney functions as we age. http://bit.ly/RNWupy UH MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUR IPAD! Scroll through the latest news and features and discover what’s happening in Cougar country. H MORE ONLINE www.uh.edu/magazine/bonus F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 11 TURNING RESEARCH INTO REVENUE UH’s Intellectual Property Can Provide Commercial Dividends by Laura Tolley Creating more efficient solar cells, inventing a non-invasive, inexpensive breast cancer monitoring device, developing a new technology to make cleaner diesel engines. T hese and other ongoing research projects at the University of Houston hold great promise for improving our everyday lives. They also are a few examples of how UH is working to turn research into revenues that flow back to the university. Technology transfer is the process of moving scientific and technological developments into the marketplace so that a wider audience can benefit from new products, applications, materials and services. A university’s “intellectual property” is one of its most valuable assets and UH and other universities have been focusing more attention on identifying research that has potential commercial applications and developing strategies to commercialize their inventions. Universities protect intellectual property by obtaining patents on inventions, discoveries and new technologies. While UH wants the public to benefit from its research, it also needs to protect its discoveries to some extent because research generally is very costly. P R O P E RT Y R I G H T S “We create knowledge, new technologies, new fields of research through our faculty researchers. We don’t want to hold back this knowledge, but we also want to be smart about what we do with it,” said Rathindra Bose, UH’s vice chancellor/vice president for research and technology transfer. “If you don’t protect your intellectual property, anyone can use it and make money off of it.” Bose, who oversees the Division of Research (DOR), joined UH last year from Ohio University, where his many responsibilities included overseeing the Technology Transfer Office and the Innovation Center, which houses 16 start-up companies. Rathindra Bose UH has obtained about 162 patents on its inventions and discoveries over the years. Some of these patents have resulted in lucrative licensing agreements with outside companies that continue to produce revenues for UH. In fact, revenues from intellectual property projects have increased dramatically at UH during the past several years. According to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 UH placed third among public universities in Texas in terms of earnings from inventions in 2011. Of the patents issued so far, about 40 of them are bringing in various amounts of revenue annually to the university through 26 active licensing agreements. (Some agreements involve more than one patent.) For the 2012 fiscal year, UH received a total of $12.5 million in revenues from these licensing agreements, including a whopping $9.9 million from an anti-epilepsy drug called Vimpat. The drug has generated more than $19 million for UH since 2009, when the first royalties began to flow from the patents. Harold Kohn, a chemistry professor at UH from 1973-1999, discovered Vimpat. To date, Vimpat has been used to treat more than 170,000 patients who suffer from epilepsy. Kohn currently is at the University of North Carolina. “Some other licensing agreements are smaller, but that’s OK. To me, any technology that generates $10,000 a year is a good technology because UH will continue to receive that amount for many years, and that will add up to a sizable amount,” Bose said. Michael Harold, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is one of many UH researchers whose work holds promise for success in the marketplace. Harold is developing a new catalyst that would make diesel engines burn cleaner. Additionally, he has a patent on a special membrane that separates hydrogen from other gases, a technology that could be used in improving fuel cells. “You have to market patents to make companies and investors aware of what is happening in research,” Harold said. “For example, we do have a company, a major energy company, that may be interested in the special membranes I’ve developed.” Both the university and the researcher benefit from licensing agreements. UH has a relatively generous intellectual property policy, giving 40 percent of the revenues generated from a licensing agreement to the faculty-inventor and 60 percent to the university. The average for universities is about 30-33 percent, Bose said. “The higher amount gives faculty members a greater incentive,” Bose explained. G E T T I N G S TA RT E D The traditional path for commercializing intellectual property project is to obtain a patent on an invention that could be marketable and then find a company to market the invention. A second model is for the university to create its own small company to market the new technology through a university spin-off, though Bose said it’s important to find people with the right skill set to handle the business aspects of these arrangements. Bose also is pioneering a new approach in technology transfer. His initiative involves UH also is working to establish a fund that could be used to further development of some research projects that may need a little extra help to reach their marketing potential. Mark Clarke, associate vice chancellor and vice president for technology transfer in the DOR, said this “gap-funding” program will be designed to help projects in their early stages of development with internal grants. Clarke said the grants could be used to help convert basic science into a working prototype, for example. He hopes the program will be in place early next year. Additionally, Bose also has established a program with the C.T. Bauer College of Business’ Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship in which students will help design marketing plans for intellectual property projects. Mark Clarke significantly boost efficiency and manufacturability of multi-junction solar cells compared to their conventional counterparts. “The technology has already enabled industry to manufacture devices with sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies in excess of 40 percent and may become a technology of choice for utilityscale concentrator photovoltaics,” Freundlich said. “The technology is also of great interest to orbital space markets where the quest for higher efficiency solar cells remains an enduring paradigm for satellite designers.” “At UH, my research continues to feed into the innovation pipeline of this technology and my coworkers and I have recently devised several improvements and innovations that could further enhance efficiencies and have a game-changing impact on cost and manufacturability of solar photovoltaic systems,” Freundlich said. Freundlich said several companies have expressed interest in this intellectual property and UH is “pursuing discussions for the transfer of these technologies to the private sector.” embarking on a comprehensive analysis of all of UH’s patents that have not yet secured licensing agreements to determine which ones hold the most promise for commercialization. “We want to identify the most attractive intellectual property to develop,” Bose said. At the same time, Bose also is working on establishing a group of investors who could be tapped to create companies to commercialize these patents. “It’s a comprehensive plan to develop up to 10 new technologies,” he said, as opposed to focusing on one project at a time. “The students are going to have a lot of fun and gain real-world experience on this project,” Bose said. “We’re engaging our students.” Physics researcher Alex Freundlich is one of the UH researchers whose research is returning revenues to university coffers. Freundlich has had three of his patents licensed to industry, and in the past three years, those licensing agreements have generated revenues in excess of $300,000 for the university. These projects and others continue to fuel UH’s technology transfer efforts. “You have to continuously prime the technology transfer pipeline if you want to have growing intellectual property revenues. That is the advantage of having this revenue stream,” Clarke noted. “One thing to remember is that significant royalty revenues may take years to develop. You have to pay attention to what’s in the pipeline to create new revenues that will benefit UH.” H SOLAR SUCCESS Freundlich’s inventions are related to a “quantum well” technology that has been shown to F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 13 FROM ACTIVISM TO ACHIEVEMENT THE LEGACY OF CMAS by Marisa Ramirez (’00) Civil rights. Protests. Vietnam. The climate of the early 1970s was felt in Houston and its namesake university where a small, but determined group of Mexican American students banded together, united in a call for their history and experiences to be reflected in the university’s curriculum and faculty. The University of Houston Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) urged the administration to do more to recruit Latino students and faculty, and to create an area of study that focused on Mexican Americans. Their efforts led to the creation of a center that promotes Latino research, recruits Latin scholars and nurtures and inspires middle school students to graduate high school and pursue college. This year, the UH Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) celebrates its fortieth anniversary. “It was my senior year at UH. There were no undergraduate courses focusing on Mexican Americans and at best there were only two, maybe three, Hispanic faculty members on campus,” said Jaime de la Isla, former assistant superintendent at the Houston Independent School district and the first spokesman of MAYO. “The growing unrest among Chicano students on college campuses, the influence of the civil rights movement, and protests of the Vietnam War were factors in the genesis for what would become CMAS.” The students of MAYO met with university administrators and, in 1972, got what they wanted--the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program. It was, at first, a collection of three classes taught by community leaders (Lionel Castillo--the first Mexican-American elected to a citywide office in Houston and later appointed commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Luis Cano--educator and first executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans and Houston attorney David Lopez). They began the momentum to pursue the goal of focusing on Mexican Americans and the broader Latino experience in the U.S. The program also had its first director. “I wanted UH students to have role models. “It was our position that great benefits could accrue to all of the students, and that it could serve as a catalyst to improve ethnic and race relations on campus and in the city of Houston and Harris county,” said Elliot Navarro, a student leader in MAYO. “It wasn’t that we were against anyone. It was that we were on a mission to establish something unique and much needed.” In 1980, Professor Tatcho Mindiola became (and remains) the director of the program. After securing funding as a line item in the budget, the name became the Center for Mexican American Studies. “The center has been very fortunate to have committed people working on its behalf, people who feel that they are part of a larger movement...” —TATCHO MINDIOLA People who could show them that it could be done. You could go beyond your high school diploma,” said Guadalupe Quintanilla, now a professor of Hispanic Studies. “I was lobbying hard for money and worked to develop and offer more classes.” “The center has been very fortunate to have committed people working on its behalf, people who feel that they are part of a larger movement to improve the educational circumstances of our community,” he said. “Their dedication cannot be overestimated.” In all, Quintanilla helped develop more than 35 courses related to Mexican American history, politics, folklore and literature. She worked with the UH administration to secure matching funds to those collected from community supporters. She also identified new Latino faculty members, most notably Nicolas Kanellos, now professor and director of Arte Público Press, and Michael Olivas, now professor at the UH Law Center and nationally recognized scholar on immigration. The MAS program was becoming a formidable addition to the UH curricular landscape, evolving from a need for representation in the course offerings and faculty to a need to be part of a larger dialogue. Under Mindiola’s tenure, CMAS grew to become an interdisciplinary academic program that includes a Visiting Scholar program, a graduate fellowship program, a published series of books on Mexican American history in the Houston area and the Academic Achievers Program—a manypronged approach to teaching, researching, preserving and sharing the Latino experience. 14 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 To date there have been forty Visiting Scholars pursuing diverse avenues of research from “Movimiento Music: The Borderlands of Cultural Nationalism” to “Leadership and Politics of Mexican Americans” to “Mexican American Women in Houston” to “Urban Speak: the Poetry of the City,” enriching the pool of research and literature about the contributions of Mexican Americans in many disciplines. Many of those scholars later became part of the UH faculty. Additionally, the Graduate Fellowship program, started in 1996 to recruit and provide financial assistance to those students looking for graduate degrees, has helped 45 students attain their higher degrees. But perhaps the impact of CMAS is best seen in the success of its Academic Achievers Program (AAP). Established in 1994, the mission of AAP is to encourage students to finish high school and continue studies through college graduation. The program also provides study space, mentoring and tutoring, and emotional support to students, who usually are the first in their families to pursue higher education. “I grew up in government housing, poor living conditions, with a single mother. I had every reason to be a statistic like my cousins and neighbors were.” Cesar Alvarez saw challenges all around him, and few examples of how his life could be different. But it started for him at Jackson Middle School, where he and an auditorium of classmates were selected to participate in a new program that would become the Academic Achievers Program (AAP). “For the following four years CMAS mentored us, tutored us, presented workshops and took us on field trips,” Alvarez said. “I now stand as a person with a doctorate who entered the field of education. I was even the assistant principal at Jackson Middle School where it all began.” Like Alvarez, students become aware of AAP as young as middle school. Together with the student’s family, AAP supports them as they navigate the challenges of high school and college admissions. Tatcho Mindiola F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 15 THE LEGACY OF CMAS “The key to our success is the specialized attention given to every student in the program,” said AAP Program Coordinator Rebeca Trevino. “We make sure we get to know our students well and that we can be of support to each one in any kind of problem or situation that they may face during their college years.” In 2005, the AAP was the recipient of the prestigious Star Award from the Texas Education Council for increasing the Hispanic participation in higher education in Texas. “Most of our students come from circumstances associated with dropping out of school, as indicated by their median family income of $26,000. They are the first in their family to attend college and, in many instances, the first to graduate from high school,” Mindiola said. “Yet, they earn higher grades, take less time to graduate. By any standards this is an impressive achievement.” At this milestone anniversary, CMAS stands on decades of success. The center has spent 40 years becoming a network—connecting up and coming Latino scholars to avenues of research, connecting Latino faculty with university departments, and connecting Latino youth to higher education. Mindiola aims to build on these successes for future students: an endowment to fund scholarships, a major in Mexican and Mexican American Studies and a physical building to house the center—goals to benefit students years from now, made possible by a group of determined students who took action forty years ago. “Forty years ago, a few of us had a vision, but it was they who made it a reality,” de la Isla said. “Viva CMAS!” La Marcha Por La Humanidad: The Chicano Mural, THE MARCH FOR HUMANITY “When I saw that wall, I just couldn’t stand it because it had such a panoramic view, it had curves. I knew I had to do something on that wall.” Mario Gonzalez was a UH student in the early 1970s. A member of the group Mexican American Student Organization (MAYO), he and other Hispanic students would gather in The Cougar Den in the University Center in between classes. They sat in an area right in front of the wall, the curved ribbon of sheet rock. Nine feet tall, 50 feet long. Empty and blank. MAYO already was involved in talks with the UH administration to create more classes related to Mexican American contributions. In the fall of 1972, Gonzalez suggested to his MAYO colleagues that they also ask if he could paint a mural on that blank wall. Fellow MAYO artist Ruben Reyna would work on the project with Gonzalez. It would tell the history of Mexico from the Aztecs to contemporary leaders. “I wanted to paint history on the walls so that future students would look at this and it would awaken the curiosity within them to want to find out their own history,” Reyna said. MAYO took the idea to the Student Senate which provided some funds for the project. Coupled with funds raised by the students, the painting of the mural began. “I painted the left section of the mural and Mario painted the right and we met in the middle,” Reyna said. “It addresses struggles of humanity that happened in the past, ever hopeful that we’ve learned from our mistakes and will make the present world a better place to live.” 16 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 CMAS VISITING SCHOLARS PROJECTS SELECTED The left side of the mural features images of Aztecs, farmers (campesinos) and prominent figures from Mexico’s history: Sor Juana de la Cruz, Benito Juarez, Emilio Zapata and Pancho Villa. On the right side of the mural, Gonzales painted images of historical figures of the 60s and 70s like Cesar Chavez, Alicia Escalante, Reies Lopez Tijerina and a crowd of people all demanding change. “I show the church helping the people, pulling the people forward. There is hope,” Reyna continued. “And then at the center, we depict the students, the ones who have the possibility of making our future better.” “Smugglers, Saints, and ‘Aliens’ in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” George Díaz, Ph.D. (2011-12) “One Size Does Not Fit All: Contemporary Public Opinions Towards Immigration” Jeronimo Cortina, Ph.D. (2007-08) “Paradoxical Autonomy: Sexo Servidoras on the U.S. Mexico Border” Alice Cepeda, Ph.D. (2005-06) “Smeltertown, Texas: Photography, Gender and the Making of a Mexican American Working Community” Monica Perales, Ph.D. (2004-05) “Texas State Policies Affecting Tejanos” Raul Ramos, Ph.D. (2002-03) “The Tejano Family” Luis Salinas, Ph.D. (2001-02) The mural, titled “La Marcha por la Humanidad, (The March for Humanity)” is a tribute to students of that era who challenged inequities. It is now officially part of the university’s public art collection. “Analysis of Undergraduate Experiences of Latinas in Science, Mathematics and Engineering” Susan Moreno, Ph.D. (2001-02) The mural currently is being protected and preserved as the University Center is renovated. When the work is completed in summer 2013, the mural will be a focal point in the university book store and, just as it was for MAYO students 40 years ago, a place for all students to gather. H “Walking Home: A Memoir of Being Raised in Houston” Sarah Cortez, M.A., M.S. (2000-01) “Reconditioning History: San Isidro Cemetery” Marie Theresa Hernandez, Ph.D. (2000-01) “Hispanic Congressional Representation” Adolfo Santos, Ph.D. (1999-00) “Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring” Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D. (1998-99) “Leadership and Politics of Mexican Americans” Jose Angel Gutierrez, Ph.D. (1997-98) “Coping Strategies Among Immigrants in Mexican American Communities in Houston” Norma Olvera, Ph.D. (1997-98) “Chicano Comedy” Paul Guajardo, Ph.D. (1996-97) Poetry: “How Far is the War?” and “Bird Ave” Lorna Dee Cervantes, M.A. (1994-95) Mural: “Bajo del Sol Tejano” Roberto Salas, M.F.A. (1993-94) “Intermarriage Among Mexican Americans in Harris County, 1960-1990” Avelardo Valdez, Ph.D. (1992-93) “Brown, Not White: School Integration and Chicano Movement in Houston” Guadalupe San Miguel, Ph.D. (1990-91) “Mexican American Odyssey: Felix Tijerina Entrepreneur & Civic Leader, 1905-1965” Thomas H. Kreneck, Ph.D. (1989-90) “Mexican American Women in Houston: Work, Family and Community 1900-1940” Emma Perez, Ph.D. (1988-89) Drama: “The Face of an Angel” Denise Elia Chavez (1988-89) “Ethnicity in the Sunbelt: A History of Mexican Americans in Houston” Arnoldo De Leon (1986-87) SMARTMOVE National Merit Scholars From Across the Country Come to Be Cougars … And Become Houstonians by Degrees THEY COME TO RECEIVE AN EDUCATION. THEY STAY TO MAKE A LIFE. The National Merit scholarship — a full-ride program offered to bright high school seniors — has been attracting students from all across the country to the University of Houston. And, thanks to their satisfying experiences as Cougars and the opportunities in their host city, many of these talented visitors choose to become Houstonians — and “pay forward” their scholarship by helping to make Houston great. by Libby Ingrassia T he program at UH was initiated in 1983 by President Richard Van Horn, admissions director Wayne Sigler, and Honors Program director Ted Estess. “It was a campus-wide effort to recruit a larger number of outstanding students to the university,” says Estess. “We wanted to make Honors the public face of the university to outstanding prospective students by way of the National Merit program.” Over the years, with some ups and downs, the National Merit program at UH has been a great success. “From one or two National Merits initially coming to UH in the early 1980s, by the end of the decade about 70 were enrolling each year,” recalls Estess. “For a few years, UH ranked in the Top 10 among public universities in the country for its number of National Merit scholars,” he adds. While the National Merit numbers declined for a while after Sigler and Van Horn left, the numbers at UH are once again steadily increasing, with nearly three dozen new scholars entering in fall 2012. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) launched the National Merit and National Achievement programs in 1955 to recognize outstanding students. Those who are named finalists may be offered scholarships from NMSC, other corporations, or colleges and universities. As part of this program, UH offers a generous scholarship that includes tuition and fees, room and board and a book stipend to National Merit finalists who name the university as their first choice school. For many years the full-ride scholarship at UH was almost unrivaled — and served as a very effective recruiting tool for these exceptional students. 18 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 While prospective students are always intrigued by the full scholarship offer, it is the personal recruiting, the phone calls from faculty and students, and the visits to campus that convince them that UH is the right place for them. In particular, connecting with a current student with similar interests or from the same part of the country captures the recruit’s attention. “Our experience has been that if we can get National Merit scholars to visit campus, they’ll want to join Honors,” says William Monroe, current dean of the Honors College. “Students from other parts of the country often don’t know what to expect from Houston, but they’re pleasantly surprised by the city and the campus. Then the people they meet here really close the deal.” As might be expected, UH’s National Merit alumni have gone on to varied careers across the country in medicine (such as Jennifer Hewlett Walthall who works in pediatrics and emergency medicine at Indiana University) and academia (such as Donna Mumme, who teaches psychology at Tufts University and Colleen Murphy, who teaches molecular biology at Princeton), to science (such as Josh Willis, who does research on ocean circulation for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), government (such as Katie Stout, who works in national security in Washington, D.C.), and law (such as Jason Casero, who works at a law firm in New York). But many of these transplanted scholars choose to stay right here in Houston, enriching both the school and the community with their energy, intelligence and skills. The alumni profiled below chose UH because of the valuable scholarships they were offered—and the educational resources available to them at UH. They stayed here because of the connections and community they found, and forged, in Houston. CONNIE SIMMONS TAYLOR (’91, English) actually picked UH before she even knew about the National Achievement scholarship. Growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Connie knew she wanted to move to a bigger city for college. An aunt who had just moved to Houston suggested UH, so Connie came to visit and loved the campus she described as “an oasis in the middle of the city.” When she found out about the full scholarship, her decision was final. Many of Connie’s fondest memories as an undergraduate come from her time living in the Honors housing (then in Taub Hall), which offered her “first opportunity to learn about people from all over the country.” “It was a microcosm,” she said. “We really grew up together.” Connie also has fond memories of Professor Elizabeth Brown-Guillory—one of Connie’s first role models, someone she “wanted to be when [she] grew up.” Through classes and as her thesis adviser, Brown-Guillory helped Connie to learn to express herself and get past shyness. Later, Connie attended—and even performed with — Brown-Guillory’s theater group. At graduation, Connie knew that Houston as a city was perfect for her: “With ballet, theater, and sports, Houston had everything I wanted in a city.” So although she went to Tulane for law school, Connie returned to Houston and a position at Baker Botts. Nearly two decades later, Connie is now a partner at Baker Botts and believes in giving back to what she fondly calls “my city.” Her involvement includes her life membership in the alumni association and her work on the Honors College Advisory Board. In the larger Houston community, Connie sits on various boards including Dress for Success, KIPP schools, Texas Executive Women, and the Row House Community Development Corporation. SMARTMOVE When JOHN KING (’92, Accounting) came to Houston in 1988 from Overland Park, Kansas, Houston was one of the few schools offering a full scholarship. Although he considered many schools’ National Merit packages before college, he felt there was “more value associated with the University of Houston.” John recalls making friends from all over the country while living in the Quadrangle, and enjoyed the variety of people he spent time with, including suitemates with whom he remains friends, like Reece Rondon and Paul Moak. As many Honors College students do, John found his Human Situation course (the core course all Honors College students take their first year) “challenging and unusual.” “It was actually a little bit unusual to be a business student in Honors then,” John said. “But it amazes me the culture Ted [Estess] and Bill [Monroe] inculcated. I wasn’t in the liberal arts, but they kept up with me, created a culture for all of us.” After an internship with Arthur Andersen during college, John went to work for the firm after graduation. While he thought he might return to Kansas, he found the “business environment in Houston much better. The economy in Houston is one to two standard deviations above other cities, even in bad times,” he explained. Also keeping him in Houston was the great experience John had at UH — “I enjoyed the people and it became home very quickly.” John and his wife, whom he met at UH, are committed to repaying the University’s investment. While he has remained active as an alumnus — on the board of the Bauer College Foundation, on the Accounting and Tax Advisory Board, and teaching classes in accounting and finance, John’s real connection has been in hiring UH students. “I’ve employed hundreds of UH students over the years, and we have nearly 100 interns coming in next year,” he said. “We hire smart folks, but the ones who are most effective are the ones who can communicate and have a broad interest in, appreciation for, and exposure to a wide variety of topics. The formative experiences and rewriting skills of Human Sit don’t leave you.” John also remains active in the community, serving on boards for the American Heart Association, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and with the Greater Houston Partnership. 20 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 SMARTMOVE KIM HALES (’10, Biology), who came to Houston from Anaheim, Calif., will always remember the “out of the blue” phone call from admissions director Wayne Sigler, who invited him to visit UH and told him about the National Merit scholarship. “Well, I guess you’re going then,” Kim recalls his father saying when he told him about the call and the scholarship. Valedictorian of his high school class, Kim had considered Westpoint and other schools, but loved the campus and the residence halls right away when he visited Houston. He said, “I’m not sure if there’s a better value than Honors at UH — I found it just as advertised: a small, tight-knit family.” One of Kim’s best memories from his undergrad years — besides meeting his future wife, Kelly Atkison Hales, while living in Taub Hall — is taking the Human Situation with Professor Bill Monroe (now dean of the Honors College). Kim admits he was “a little sleepy” in his very first, early morning Human Situation class, but “really started to focus and engage” when Monroe started proclaiming the words of Aretha Franklin’s “RESPECT” to the class. Kim felt like Dr. Monroe “really related to his students” and added to the “family feeling” he had in Honors. Although Kim’s early plans were for medical school, he felt his educational foundation was strong enough to let him choose anything when he changed paths. In fact, when his first tech support job took a chance on him and asked him to “master a giant technology book in just one week,” Kim relied on that foundation and his ability to learn quickly to impress them and succeed at the job. From there, Kim realized he had found his niche in IT and has steadily risen through the ranks. He will soon be senior director of IT security and planning at NRG, a company he’s excited to work for because of its close ties to the city. After a brief time in Baton Rouge after graduation, Kim hurried back to Houston because he missed the city—with its art and theater opportunities—and because Kelly, his future wife, was also back in Houston. Now the two of them support Houston and Honors education through a scholarship endowment. The Phoenix scholarship gives a second chance to students who are committed to Honors but had a difficult time adjusting to their first year — like some of Kim’s friends from undergraduate days. F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 21 SMARTMOVE AHMAD SHAHEED (’99, Mechanical Engineering) is a National Achievement scholar from Miami, Fla. When he was recruited in 1995, Ahmad was interested in NASA and engineering, and knew Houston might be a good fit. It was a student recruiter, Tiffany Brown, who called regularly to describe the university and the scholarship that “sealed the deal” for him. The city itself also helped in the recruiting effort, as Ahmad was looking for a big city with career opportunities and a strong Muslim community. After coming to the university, Ahmad lived on campus and got involved in a variety of organizations, from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to the African American Honors Student Association and Alpha Pi Alpha fraternity. He also served as president of the National Panhellenic Council and was a member of the Homecoming court. Through PROMES, another organization with which he was involved, Ahmad secured an internship at Duke Energy. The internship — which led to his first job after college — was instrumental in keeping Ahmad in Houston. Growing from that first engineering position, Ahmad earned an MBA through the UH Global Energy Executive MBA program, which helped lead him to his current position as a project manager at Enterprise Products. Through his career, he has met a lot of engineers and says he would “put [his] engineering degree against anyone’s.” He credits the professors who “taught him to think outside the box” and “not just rely on the books but apply the knowledge and think critically.” Ahmad continues to stay involved both on campus — doing alumni panels and workshops through PROMES, NSBE, and the UH Black Alumni — and in the Houston community, through United Way Project Blueprint, C-STEM, a city-wide program that helps educate teachers in STEM fields, and as an assistant imam for a group of four mosques. 22 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 MORESMARTMOVERS TIM BROWN (’97, Chemical Engineering) Engineering Coordinator, Styrolution America LLC From: Fort Wayne, Ind. “All the persistent phone calls, literally one or two a month, persuaded me to come! It seemed like a great community and a great environment. The balanced technical/liberal arts education I received prepared me well and in my early career, I distinguished myself by what I wrote rather than what I calculated.” CRAIG ENOCHS (’98, Psychology) Partner, Jackson Walker LLP From: San Jose, Calif. “When UH offered me the scholarship, I immediately scheduled a visit. By the time I met Ted (Estess) and had the Honors experience explained to me, I was sold. I stayed because of the people, the culture, the economy, and the weather.” MIKE GAPINSKI (’94, Mechanical Engineering) Sr. Vice President – Investments, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management From: Milwaukee, Wis. MATT STEELE (’00, Chemical Engineering) knew when he was in high school that he wanted to see and experience something different from his small Wisconsin town of 15,000. Wearing shorts on a campus visit while it was snowing back home made a pretty good first impression. However, it was his interactions with the students and faculty on campus that made the biggest difference to Matt. Student recruiter Tim Brown, for example, on hearing about Matt’s interest in engineering, took him over to see the labs, meet some faculty, and spend a few hours discussing the engineering program. A recruiting lunch with students who are still his friends today, including Tim, Zeke Ziliak, and Matt’s now-wife Tamara Muffat Steele, made him feel “warm and fuzzy” and showed him that UH and Honors were the package he wanted. From moving into Law Hall a week early, to canoe and kayak trips with Honors friends, to forging great relationships with faculty like Bill Monroe and Ross Lence, Matt has great memories from his time as an undergraduate. SMARTMOVE continues on page 36 “The scholarship was probably the single biggest factor in choosing UH, but in combination with a respected engineering school, personalized attention, climate, and athletics. I stayed for the employment opportunities. Plus the relationships forged at UH have definitely had a lasting impact.” MORESMARTMOVERS on page 36 CLOSEQUARTERS FA C U LT Y- I N - R E S I D E N C E P R O G R A M P R O V I D E S S T U D E N T R E S I D E N T S W I T H O N - S I T E S U P P O R T L earning doesn’t happen only in the classroom. Sometimes it happens at home … especially when you find your professor is also your neighbor. At the University of Houston, professors who participate in the Faculty in Residence (FIR) program move themselves, their families and their pets into the student residence facilities. The program, a collaboration between the Divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, is a way to help students stay better focused on their academic studies as they negotiate young adulthood and work toward graduation. Raul A. Ramos and family by Marisa Ramirez (’00) “Students in college for the first time will need support and encouragement as they learn the 24 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 of colleges and universities and how that translates to student success. One area he will focus on during his tenure as a faculty-inresidence concerns sophomore students. skills that will help them succeed at the university,” said Imani Goffney, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education. She is one of two new FIR members on campus. She, her husband, Brian, and two daughters moved into Moody North Tower over the summer. “The way we see our roles is to be a resource to all the residents in North Tower, to help them be successful in school,” Goffney says. “Many programs are designed for freshmen, but sometimes, as an institution, we tend to forget about the sophomores,” he said. ‘With retention and graduation rates being such an important issue, our goal is to design a program that provides UH sophomores with the tools and resources they need to succeed.” Brian and Imani Goffney Inside their residence, their bicycles sit propped against the living room wall, children’s art adorns the refrigerator, and in the corner are stacks of board games watched closely by two pet frogs in a glass tank. lives with his wife, two sons and two dogs in Cougar Village. Working with the Division of Student Affairs, McKinney first will examine services provided to freshman and compare that to what is provided to sophomores. The idea is in its infancy and McKinney says some programs may already exist on campus to serve this population. He “Now that the academic programs have achieved a Tier One ranking from the Carnegie Foundation, the student experience has grown to match. That’s where I come in,” Ramos said “Many students never lived away from home, but are now meeting people from around the world. They need help transitioning …” — BRIAN GOFFNEY Goffney and her family will live in the residence hall for a year. Through regular interaction, educational and fun activities, the Goffneys aim to be visible reminders to students that everything students do is about their academic success. Students have responded positively, seeking them out (calling them “Dr. G” and “Mr. Brian”) with questions and requests for advice about their majors, approaching their professors and developing successful study habits. Goffney’s husband, Brian, who is a social worker for adolescents and teens and a UH alum (and former resident of Moody North Tower), agrees with his wife about their objective. of his decision to participate in the FIR program. “Living here in Cougar Village, I am one part of the overall mission to help transform UH.” Carroll Parrott Blue, research professor in the Texas Learning and Computation Center, lives in Moody South Tower. Catherine Horn of the College of Education lived for a year in Moody North Tower where the Goffneys now live. In 2011, Guillermo de los Reyes Heredia, associate professor of Latin American literature and cultural studies, joined the FIR ranks in Settegast Hall in the Quadrangle. “The goal is to create community,” he said. “Many of these students have never lived away from home, but now are meeting people from around the world. They need help transitioning, not only from an academic perspective, but also from a life perspective.” “I tell students that you’re coming to the college environment where you get to write your own script now,” said Lyle McKinney, assistant professor in the College of Education and the newest resident of Law Hall in the Quadrangle. “This is your life. You’re not up under the watchful eye of your parents on a daily basis. It’s a huge time of transition for students.” The Faculty-in-Residence program was launched in 2010 with three professors moving to campus. Raul A. Ramos, associate professor of history, As it turns out, McKinney’s academic research interest includes the effective management envisions a checklist for sophomores to keep them focused on moving ahead: meeting with advisers a certain number of times per year, taking a career assessment test to help them identify an appropriate major and becoming engaged in campus activities or study groups. “There’s been more research lately about sophomore students because of data that shows the proverbial ‘sophomore slump’ often leads to departure from the institution,” he said. “I want to look at our UH data and see what are the factors that may contribute to them leaving and see what we can do to help.” He’s hopeful the Faculty-in-Residence program will be part of the solution. “Learning isn’t confined to the classroom. For me, the in-between spaces of the cafeteria or the laundry room or the gym are opportunities for conversations that can help students learn and grow. I’m there to be a resource.” H F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 25 Par E WHERE THERE’S FIRE, THERE’S by Taylor Wiley TT hey’ve staffed events for influential Houstonians, university leaders and even a former U.S. president. They’ve studied the art of food presentation and garde-manger. They’re skilled servers and bartenders who’ve worked together to run their own business for 30 years, and they also happen to make a mean bananas foster flambé. They’re called Par Excellence. Perhaps the most exceptional thing isn’t their extensive skill set or record of success. It’s the “In 1982, James Papadakis, owner of James Coney Island, contacted me about finding students to work the March of Dimes Silver Screen Gourmet Gala,” Rappole recalled. “Their event went off without a hitch, and many attendees praised our students. It was immediately evident that the college needed to form a permanent, elite service team of students. And Par Excellence was born.” Since then, students have applied for and trained to be members of Par Ex — a task that is at once time-consuming, challenging (Left to right) Hilton College students Hilarie Norwood, Eryn DeMora and Trishna Manghnani showcase their flambé talents after earning their tuxedo jackets and tails at the Par Excellence petite graduation function held at the end of the 2011 fall semester. (Photo by Michael Scott) fact that the business is run and staffed entirely by students at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management — as it has been since 1982. Par Excellence — or “Par Ex,” as the students call it — was founded by Clinton L. Rappole, a former dean of the college and current professor emeritus. 26 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 and rewarding. Par Ex members – known as penguins – must be current Hilton students and maintain a 3.0 GPA. After a rigorous application and interview process, a small team of trainees – called petites – is accepted each semester. They train for the entire semester, learning everything there is to know about service. Then, the petites execute their own graduation Excellence! CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF SERVICE function, which includes planning the theme, decorations, entertainment, menu and creating a specialty cocktail. Families, friends and faculty are invited, and the petites showcase everything they’ve learned. The evening culminates in a ceremony where the petites receive their tuxedo jackets and tails, becoming full-fledged penguins. The grand finale? The always anticipated flambé demonstration, which also serves as dessert. Training completed, the newest penguins join Par Ex’s veteran members, staffing events for a wide variety of clients across the Houston area. It’s this kind of experiential learning that defines the hospitality program at Hilton College, one of the top hospitality schools in the world. “The goal of this honors organization is for us to learn how to run our own business,” said Sarah Robinson, current Par Ex general manager. “It’s all about the experience you have interacting with real clients, instead of just sitting in a classroom listening to a professor. Par Ex gives us hands-on experience for service. You really get to learn from your mistakes and your experiences.” themselves with poise and professionalism. “Before I joined Par Ex, I was really shy and not very confident in my own skin,” Robinson said. “Four years later, I’m a senior and feel much more confident talking to professionals and professors. I’ve become more of a leader in the workplace. Belonging to Par Ex really helps you build confidence and feel more comfortable.” That confidence will be on display from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Hilton In 1990, the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations came to University of Houston, when this year’s Houston and, with it, a chance for Par Excellence to serve President petites will gather for their graduation George Bush and First Lady Barbara. function, which also happens to be Par Excellence’s 30th anniversary Each member receives a $600 scholarship per celebration. They’re hoping to bring back as many semester, provided they fulfill their 50-hour work former members as possible to mark the occasion. requirement at Par Ex events. “We’re reaching out to Par Ex alumni so we can show them that after 30 years, we’re still a vibrant, successful business,” Robinson said. All profits are used to fund the scholarships and cover operational expenses. That’s been the key to keeping Par Ex self-sufficient since it began — and one of the things that sets it apart from other student organizations. Most of the publicity for Par Ex comes from wordof-mouth referrals, and many of their clients have used the service for more than two decades. Currently, they staff many of UH President Renu Khator’s events at Wortham House. Over the years, they’ve also been hired for countless corporate banquets and private, upscale events at homes and venues all over town — everything from birthday celebrations and bridal showers, to fine arts events and barbecues. One of the proudest moments came in 1990, when they served then-President George H.W. Bush and other world leaders attending the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations. Shawn Kuehn serves up cocktails for guests attending a recent Par Ex graduation. (Photo by Michael Scott) “Our excess revenue has enabled us to create a $30,000 scholarship endowment that benefits other Hilton College students.” It’s an achievement that’s not lost on the organization’s founder, Professor Emeritus Rappole. “It’s a high compliment to all the young people who have worked 30 years to keep this thing going,” he said. “They’ve done exceedingly well.” If you would like to hire Par Excellence to staff your next event, contact them at 713. 743. 2456 or email@example.com. H Rubbing elbows with dignitaries and influential Houstonians might seem intimidating for many college students, but the members of Par Ex are trained to — and take pride in — conducting F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 27 The Art of Being (Ms.) understood by Marsha J. Carter Lynne McCabe T he writing is literally on the walls in the second-story media gallery of the newly renovated Blaffer Art Museum, where multi-disciplinary artist in residence Lynne McCabe is teaching both UH art students and community members how to create their own “social sculpture.” Social sculpture, or more broadly, relational aesthetics, is the leading edge of contemporary art. In Room to be (Ms.)understood, McCabe focuses on the often neglected history of feminist writing, performance and site-specific art events from the 1970s. McCabe’s weekly class-asexhibit includes 29 participants, 30 percent of whom are community members, who have all committed to the full semester of 15 sessions. On the walls of the gallery, columns of writing embrace the class members. Excerpts from Luce Irigaray’s 1974 Speculum of the Other Woman line the walls, wrapping students in pages of meaning and revolution. Her words focus on the marginalization of women during the 1970s, ignored and dismissed by patriarchal laws, values and language. “After she wrote this piece, Irigaray was fired from her teaching job,” McCabe says. “In this text she offers a feminist deconstruction of the way we use language, think, write and understand our world.” McCabe is using Irigaray’s words to bring the relational aesthetics initiated by 1970s feminist artists into a current context. “These women, because they were seen as doing work that was just about women, were not considered relevant to the general conversation of the art world. Room to be (Ms) understood feels like a restorative gesture, bringing forth Irigaray’s ideas of language and the overlooked work of these women artists,” she explains. 28 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 McCabe’s class is divided into groups. Each team is assigned two columns of writing to analyze and interpret. “I encourage them (students) to perform the text or give us a show-not-tell element in their presentations,” McCabe says. Donna Perkins’ team, for example, wore mysterious veils covering their heads and faces, to represent Irigaray’s description of women as “not seen.” Her team chose selected phrases from the wall and printed them on slips of paper stuffed in old books. As they walked in a circle, each performer drew out a strip of paper, read it aloud and dropped it to the floor. “Luce Irigaray’s use of language is as subversive as her ideas,” Perkins says. “I personally relate to her words as if she had written a long prose poem with wonderful phrases.” Erin Workman’s team dealt with the words “male gaze” and enlarged two prints that were attached to the wall and became part of the exhibit. One depicted male doctors watching a woman in hysterics. The other was an illustration of Pythia, the oracle of Delphi, swooning and prophesizing before a group of men. “I purposely printed them larger so they would be pixilated,” Workman explains. “I felt it was important to show these images as distorted. This experience forced me to stop and think of how it relates to me. More than relating,” Workman adds, “it prompted me to question myself in the learning process.” As part of the workshop, participants will collaborate on a book of their contributions, ranging from essays to photographs to visual art, which Blaffer will publish. McCabe, who received her MFA in Social Practice from the California College of the Arts and has exhibited nationally and internationally, has organized two public events as part of the project: a panel discussion by artist Jacki Apple and UH professor Elizabeth Gregory and assistant professor Jenni Sorkin, and a lecture by UC-Berkeley professor Shannon Jackson. Blaffer’s embrace of McCabe’s socially driven art draws the university’s museum into a burgeoning national movement. “Night School” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, “Public Engagement” at the Hammer Museum at UCLA and “Pick Pocket Almanack” in San Francisco have set precedents for relational aesthetics. “We want to take advantage of all the talent and intellect at UH to try to connect the campus to working artists in way that goes beyond the occasional talk or presentation,” says Blaffer Director and Chief Curator Claudia Schmuckli. “What’s exciting is that this collusion of artistic, pedagogical and curatorial approaches allows us to create something together with the public, students, artists and curators – something greater than any of us could do on our own.” As part of its expanded outlook, the redesigned museum offers enhanced exhibition spaces for dynamic visual art, and a lounge in the courtyard for socializing, on the first floor. Upstairs, the laboratory and a working studio support artistic practices, including the relational aesthetics national trend. In the fall of 2013, Blaffer will host a socially-driven exhibition titled Feast of Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, organized by the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. “It’s about making a place for Blaffer in a larger field,” says Curatorial Fellow Amy Powell. “We’re committed to contributing to contemporary art evolving today.” The Blaffer Art Museum reopened to the public in October with an exhibition celebrating the career of American sculptor Tony Feher downstairs. McCabe’s challenging class-as-exhibit continues in the upstairs lab through Dec. 4, 2012, and the book will be published in the fall of 2013. H F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 29 by Melissa Carroll N EW FA C U LT Y focus DON COLTART B orn and raised in Manitoba, Canada, Don Coltart relocated to Houston with his wife, a patent attorney with an international law firm, when he accepted a position as assistant professor in the department of chemistry at UH. Don Coltar t “My wife and I live in Midtown. We really enjoy that it’s close to everything, including great restaurants, shops, running trails and cultural activities,” said Coltart, who enjoys running, cycling, and music. “We lived in Manhattan for several years and fell in love with being in a big, cosmopolitan city that has so much to offer. We are grateful once again to be in a big, vibrant city.” was credited with finding a solution to a long-standing problem in creating certain synthetic molecules that make up drugs, which could lead to better drugs and fewer side effects. His research interests include combining the areas of chemistry and biology by applying biological principles to the development of new synthetic methodology and other chemically-based processes. Coltart decided to come to Houston to further advance and develop his research programs. “Much of our ongoing and planned research activities involve collaborations with research groups whose expertise fall outside of chemistry, in areas such as biology and medicine. With the largest medical center in the world, Houston has seemingly endless opportunities for such collaborations,” he said. Coltart earned his master’s from the University of Manitoba then his doctorate at the University of Alberta as an Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholar. His postdoctoral work was conducted at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he was a research fellow at the Cancer Research Institute, Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. In his prior position at Duke University as an assistant professor in chemistry, Coltart ARTHUR D. SANTANA A native of Texas and former journalist, Arthur Santana moved to Houston to accept his current position as an assistant professor at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication to train the next generation of reporters and conduct research in the changing landscape of journalism. universities in Texas and that the student diversity here was a big draw for him. “As the country’s fourth largest city, Houston is also home to a vibrant media market, which makes for wonderful opportunities for students entering the field of journalism,” Santana added. “Coming from a newspaper background, much of my research examines the convergence taking place as print newspapers continue their migration online and what it means to the newspaper industry in general,” Santana said. Santana relocated to Houston with his wife, Tami, a fellow journalist he met at the Seattle Times, and their three children Nathaniel, age 9, and twins, Norah and Will, age 7. His favorite activities include reading to his children, and when the weather is right, he enjoys going to the neighborhood pool with his family. “Among the defining characteristics of our Web 2.0 reality is interactivity and engagement. What’s interesting is how much of that engagement is happening by people who hide their identity,” he said. “One area I’m looking at right now is the behavior of anonymous online users and the implications for online industries, including news organizations.” Arthur D. Santana Santana spent 14 years working as a reporter and editor at the San Antonio Express-News, Seattle Times and Washington Post. Prior to UH, he was a graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon, where he was a doctoral student. He said he’s excited to be at one of the three Carnegie-designated Tier One research 30 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 Santana completed his undergraduate degree in English at the University of Texas at Austin and earned a master’s in journalism from Columbia University. He earned a doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in 2012. NEW TENURE -TRACK Talent Drives Excellence FACULTY MEMBERS FOR FALL 2012 Jennifer March Augustine Sociology Steven Bark Biology Thomas Behr Comparative Cultural Std Jodi Berger Cardoso Social Work RHEEDA WALKER Guoning Chen Computer Science O Yunsoo Choi Geography expand her research to consider other conceptual types of self-harm, such as poor self-care. Vaughn Climenhaga Mathematics Don Coltart Chemistry Michael Cottingham Health & Human Perf Walker’s favorite activities so far in Houston include family trips to the Children Museum of Houston and trying new family-friendly restaurants. “I’m really looking forward to the festivals everyone says are so popular in Houston,” said Walker. “Moody Gardens is on our list of places to visit.” Chatwara S. Duran English Jeffrey Feng Architecture Priyanko Guchait Hotel/Restaurant Mgt Marissa Hansen Social Work Daphne Hernandez Health & Human Perf Zachary Kilpatrick Mathematics riginally from Savannah, Ga., Rheeda Walker relocated to Houston with her husband and 2-year old son, to accept the position as associate professor in the department of psychology at UH. “I ultimately decided to come to UH because of the high probability of working in the medical Rheeda Walker settings and collaborating with psychiatry researchers,” said Walker. “Though I have investigated suicide vulnerability since the mid-90s, I have not had ready access to these populations - particularly people who might be in suicide crisis. Not only will I have opportunities to work with these populations, but I also have an impressive network of faculty colleagues who are enthusiastic to facilitate this important work.” Walker’s overall program of research focuses on advancing culturally informed models in two understudied areas – suicide science and African-American adult mental health. She is currently examining how universal risks, such as depression, interact with culturally relevant moderators, like ethnic identity, to affect suicidal ideation and attempts. She plans to Keith Kirk Theater Prior to UH, Walker directed the Culture, Risk, and Resilience Lab at the University of Georgia where she was also a tenured associate professor. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at Florida State University and completed an APA-accredited internship at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center – Atlanta. Justin Kirkland Political Science Liming Li Physics Jacqueline Lipton Law Elebeoba May Bio-engineering Anastassios Mavrokefalos Mechanical Engineering Keith McNeal Comparative Cultural Std Samuel McQuillin Educational Psychology Part of a research “duo,” Walker’s husband, Ezemenari Obasi, is also a faculty member at UH. H Cristian Morosan Hotel & Restaurant Mgt Jeb Mueller Music Volkan Muslu Accounting Arunachalam Narayanan Decision & Info Science Sarah Narendorf Social Work Ezemenari Obasi Educational Psychology Maxim Olshanskii Mathematics Beau Page Finance David Xiaosong Peng Decision & Info Sci Guan Qin Chemical Engineering Rachel Redfern Optometry Jae-Hyun Ryou Mechanical Engineering Arthur Santana Communication Kristi Santi Paula Myrick Short Curriculum & Instruction Anthony Robert Timmins Physics Oomman Varghese Physics Rheeda Walker Psychology Seung (James) Yae Finance Ding-Shyue (Jerry) Yang Chemistry Yan Yao Electrical & Computer Engr Kellen Zale Law Lauren Zentz English Yingchun Zhang Bio-engineering Educational Psychology P R O F E S S O R S TA L E N T E D T E A C HE by Lisa Merkl (’92, M.A. ’97) A Violinist Fredell Lack’s Legacy of treasure, an icon, an inspiration, a trailblazer, the list goes on. Internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso, revered teacher and professor emerita Fredell Lack, now 90, performed, toured and recorded for an astonishing eight decades and taught at the University of Houston for an equally amazing 50 years. Her talent was evident from a very young age. At the age of six, when she was already studying the piano, she heard a violinist play and immediately fell in love, declaring to her parents, “That’s what I want to do.” Her parents, who had a deep love of music, obliged and allowed her to begin lessons with Tosca Berger Kramer, a highly respected violinist and violist known for traveling statewide to give lessons and instrumental in bringing classical music performance and instruction to the state of Oklahoma. “For the next four years, she gave me a lesson every single day until I was 10 years old, and then my family moved to Houston,” Lack remembers. “My parents adored music, and they sent me to New York when I was 12 to study with the world’s greatest violin teacher, Louis Persinger.” Persinger, who also taught such greats as Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci and Isaac Stern, remained Lack’s teacher after high school and throughout her college years until her graduation from Julliard at the age of 21. It was then that Lack’s father was notified of a very special instrument. “My father, who was devoted to music and to my playing, told me I should choose a violin – any violin I wanted – but I should not be influenced by the name inside it,” Lack recalls. “So they blindfolded me, and I played one instrument after the other. I played five notes on this violin and said, ‘Oh, this is it.’ It has such a rich, dark sound. It is a wonderful instrument.” Upon removing the blindfold, she learned that she chose a fine instrument indeed – a Stradivarius commissioned for Baron Deurbroucq of The Hague in 1727. Before Lack, it was in the hands 32 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 of such historic concert artists as Efrem Zimbalist Sr. of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and Hans Wessely of the Royal Academy of Music in London. Of its many owners during that span of nearly four centuries, Lack has had it the longest, serving as her primary instrument for 70 years. “I knew immediately that this was the instrument I wanted. The sound is so extraordinary,” Lack reminisces. “To me, it was like the human voice – like my voice. When I play, it’s like I’m singing. Fredell Lack and Timothy Hester There’s nothing like having the violin in your hands and playing.” Lack passed along this passion for her instrument to generations of students, who can be found in orchestras across the country, carrying on her legacy. For example, she estimates there are about 10 in the Houston Ballet Orchestra, six in the Houston Symphony, two in the Boston Symphony and others in various other orchestras. One such distinguished student is Frank Huang, the current concertmaster of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. It’s thanks to Lack, in fact, that he stayed with the violin. “Frank was always outstanding, but at one point he decided he didn’t want to play the violin anymore. I thought if we don’t get him into an atmosphere where there is some competition, he’s going to give it up,” Lack said. “So I had him sent to Cleveland, and then he came down here about two E m e r i t i r, Gifted Artist Inspiration, Instruction & Excellence years ago because cellist Yo-Yo Ma was doing a concert with the Houston Symphony. He was doing a piece that needed an exceptional violinist. When the conductor, Hans Graf, heard Frank play, he said right away, ‘I want him as my concertmaster.’ It was coming home for Frank, because his parents live here.” It is Lack’s hope that ultimately her Stradivarius, which currently is on auction with Christie’s, will find its next home with Huang. She has her fingers crossed that one of the Houston Symphony’s patrons might purchase it and donate it to the orchestra. keyboard collaborative arts. Together, they recorded the violin sonatas of Bohuslav Martinu. “Fredell Lack is one of the most influential musical figures in my life. In my estimation, there is nobody, past or present, who possessed the gorgeous sumptuous violin tone and who could match her most sincere dedication to our university,” Hester said. “I hear her voice when I practice and teach and try to emulate her teaching style. She was always positive, yet demanding, and truly giving “When I got to be 90 and wasn’t playing concerts anymore, I felt the instrument should be passed on to a young artist,” Lack said. “I’m hoping a really worthwhile artist will receive it, like Frank. That would be wonderful. It’s been here in Houston for so long.” Lack continued to play well into her eighties and taught her last master class in 2009 before retiring. Recalling when she first began at UH, Lack says she was living in Houston, but going back and forth to New York and other cities where she was touring. UH was just starting up and didn’t have a violin teacher, so the dean at the time asked if she would teach. She started with just two students the first year, which grew to six, eight and then, at one point, 25 students, as well as teaching chamber music, recording multiple albums and continuing her rigorous touring schedule. “I played all (musical) periods,” Lack said. “I always had a big repertoire and wanted to play everything.” She prides herself on having played compositions nobody else played, such as a Dmitri Shostakovich violin concerto that was dormant for 30 years since renowned violinist David Oistrakh (to whom it was dedicated by Shostakovich) performed it. Other recordings included the Gian Carlo Menotti violin concerto and the Leonard Bernstein Serenade, both of which had been neglected by other musicians until Lack recorded them. One of her last releases was a collaboration with another UH faculty member, Timothy Hester, an associate professor of piano and director of he always listened to music when he painted, even giving his more modern paintings musical names, like Allegro and Andante. They are located in the Stillman Green Room, which serves as the reception area after concerts at the Moores School of Music. “I was devoted to UH, and I’m so happy to read that they’re considered a first-tier university,” Lack says. “For a long time, we were the only university that really had a music department. When Rice came, I said, ‘No, my school is the University of Houston,’ and stayed with it. And now I feel vindicated because it’s upgraded to a Tier One university, and they’re much more generous with scholarships than most schools are. I really love this school and I never, never wanted to teach at another one.��� Alan Austin, general and artistic director of UH’s Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival and an accomplished violinist himself, adds, “Miss Lack was, and remains, a tremendous inspiration to me. Her influence is felt throughout the music world, where you can find her students teaching, or performing as soloists, orchestra players and chamber musicians. She embodies two essential elements of a successful teacher, aside from the obvious mastery of her craft. She combined the expectations of a demanding taskmaster with the human warmth and inspiration of a great artist.” with her students. She has been a beacon for the arts in Houston and will always be held in the highest esteem by those who value great music.” Although she is no longer able to play and misses it very much, Lack devotes her energies into what she says is the other great passion in her life – animals. During the interview, for example, she calls out for her Golden Retriever, Josh, to come to her side. A pupil of the late UH professor emeritus Albert Hirsh, Hester took over for Hirsch as Lack’s accompanist. Relying on Hirsh for 35 years, Lack said she was delighted to have then worked with Hester. “He’s a marvelous pianist and does so many things the way Albert did. Tim is Albert Hirsh incarnate,” Lack said. “I so adore Tim’s playing, and he’s a wonderful friend. He’s such an enormous talent and so sweet.” Reflecting on her time at UH, Lack says the university was always very dear to her, taking in all her students and giving most of them scholarships. In turn, she endowed a number of scholarships and also donated a room of her uncle –and celebrated painter – Ary Stillman’s best work. She says he adored music and reminisces how Lack says her husband, Dr. Ralph Eichhorn, who himself is now 95 and a retired physician, was vice president of the Houston Humane Society for 25 years. Both are strong proponents of animal welfare and no-kill shelters and continue to contribute to several animal organizations. In recent years, they became more involved with the Citizens for Animal Protection. “I’ve been involved with animal organizations for as long as I can remember,” she says. “Animals are my other passion in life.” H F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 33 AlumPROFILE ACTING LESSONS by Mike Emery Cindy Pickett 34 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 University of Houston alumna CINDY PICKETT will forever be recognized for her role as the title character’s mother in the classic film comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Off screen, she’s known as the daughter of doting dad, late UH theater professor Cecil J. Pickett. Pickett studied under her father at Bellaire High School, Houston Baptist University and UH. His influence helped Pickett emerge from the university in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in drama. Since then, she’s maintained a steady career as a Hollywood actress. Pickett’s credits also include NBC’s “St. Elsewhere,” CBS’s “The Guiding Light” and acclaimed TV mini-series “I Know My First Name Is Steven.” Recently, she’s appeared in USA Network’s “Burn Notice” and Lifetime’s “The Client List.” Lately, Pickett has been returning to her alma mater more frequently. She participated in “An Afternoon with the Artists,” which reunited her father’s former students (Brett Cullen, Dennis Quaid, Robert Wuhl) for a conversation on his lasting influence. She also starred in the Houston Shakespeare Festival – playing Gertrude in “Hamlet” and the Abbess in “The Comedy of Errors.” She also attended “Legacy: A Celebration of the UH School of Theatre & Dance,” where she accepted a city proclamation announcing “Cecil J. Pickett Day in Houston.” Still busy acting, Pickett is expanding her talents, taking up photography and developing a screenplay based on her father’s Oklahoma upbringing . Q: Do you have fond memories of Houston? Has anything stayed the same since you lived here? A: Fond memories, yes – but I won’t get on the freeway. All I remember is the 610 Loop from when I lived here. I loved the skylines and remember the Galleria but have not gone back there in many years. It’s almost like it’s a separate city now. The weather is definitely the same, but I like it. Sultry. It’s not bad. I grew up with it, and that reminds me of my youth. So it’s pleasant. I did a guest spot on “Burn Notice,” and the weather’s similar there in Miami. There’s something about the sultry air. You just slow down. It’s not like LA, where you’re on the go constantly. Everything kind of slows down here, and I like that. Q: What was UH’s theater program like when you were a student? A: First of all, the Wortham Theatre wasn’t here. We performed in Cullen Performance Hall. I remember the theater program was very strong. People would come from all over the country. Many of us probably stayed longer than we should have. The program was almost like a repertory company. We did one show after another. There was a lot of talent, not just actors. My dad would find a musical student who could compose for his plays. He did “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” and had a student score that and used a rock band for “The Comedy of Errors.” I’m glad to see that the program is still strong, and Steve Wallace (Director of the School of Theatre and Dance) is working hard to put it on the map. Q: Your father taught you acting in high school and college? Did you ever think you wanted to do something else? A: (Laughing) No. He put me on stage when I was six…as the flower girl in “Our Town.” He directed plays throughout my whole life, so I never thought of doing anything else. Lately, I’ve started doing other things. But I was brought up as an actor. My dad guided me to do that. He would have let me do something else, but that was my world. gave us something very special. He never let us be lazy. If he thought you weren’t giving your best, he’d let you know. So, you came back to prove to him you could do it. Q: People know you as Katie Bueller from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and as Dr. Carol Novino from “St. Elsewhere.” What’s the one role you’d like more people to recognize? A: I did a series called “Call to Glory” with Craig T. Nelson. It was one of the best roles I ever had. Working with him was a real gift. There was a lot of chemistry in that cast. Q: Did your father offer any advice about your first professional acting job? A: It’s funny. I got my Equity card and was about to go to New York. When I told my dad, he said, “Honey, don’t you want to stay here and be a teacher?” All of a sudden, he was worried about me. A month after I arrived in New York, I got a Broadway show (“Sunset”), then a soap opera (CBS’s “The Guiding Light”). My parents came to visit soon after. I remember meeting for breakfast. He said, “I don’t know if I ever told you, but I am very proud of you.” I broke down crying. He admitted he wasn’t very good at telling me things like that. Throughout my career, he’d call after he saw one of my movies. He’d offer tips. “You know Cindy, you need to pull back a little.” But he was proud of all his students… Randy and Dennis Quaid and everyone else. He I also was in a TV mini-series called “I Know My First Name Is Steven,” a true story of a boy kidnapped at age seven who returns home as a teenager. I had just had my son. He was like seven weeks old when filming started. I had him on the set and was still very emotional from my pregnancy. And it already was an emotionally charged role. The head of the William Morris Agency told me, “You just need to know how wonderful you are in this role.” Q: You worked with several UH students during the Houston Shakespeare Festival. Any differences between today’s students and when you attended UH? A: Not really. You need a love for the theater. They have that. Everyone I’ve met is gifted. They’re really good and very serious just like we were. And they work constantly, which is what we did. They’re good because they do one show after another. The more they work, the better they’ll get. It’s very reminiscent of when I was here. H F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 35 SMARTMOVE MORESMARTMOVERS continued from page 23 continued from page 23 Matt also recalls the “humbling experience,” the “moment of deconstruction and reconstruction,” that he had in the Human Situation. “The class made my writing so much better,” said Matt. “It has been a key differentiator during my career as an engineer.” Through summer internships, Matt learned both what he did and didn’t want to do in his career. From a summer at a paper factory in Wisconsin to a refinery in Texas City, Matt learned about industries with different profit margins and practices. When he got a job opportunity at Shell, these experiences led him to the upstream side of the business and he became a reservoir engineer, “combining the work of an engineer and an economist.” His experiences at Shell, and later at a small exploration and production company where his team was responsible for making the Fayetteville Shale a success for the company, “shaped the rest of [his] career,” Matt said. Some of the key members from that team are now Matt’s partners, first in URSA and then in URSA II, the companies Matt has founded. While the job with Shell was a big reason Matt stayed in Houston after graduation, and his wife Tamara was another, the friends Matt had developed at UH also held him here. “The people make it,” said Matt. “Being around exceptional people develops your personality. You get almost addicted to sharp wit and intellect.” Now, Matt stays involved in the community, donating to YES Prep schools and Youth Development Centers, and staying active in UH athletics and Honors. In addition, this year Matt and Tamara will be co-chairing the annual Great Conversation fundraiser for the Honors College. Beyond that, Matt says his involvement is “very organic” in that he continues to believe in connecting university and Honors College alumni with graduating students, an investment that he says “builds community and reaps dividends over time.” H KELLY ATKISON HALES (’96, Economics) Principal, Ernst & Young, LLP From: Phoenix, Ariz. “The Honors College was a draw. Drs. Estess and Monroe gave my parents assurances I would be fine a thousand miles from home. I valued my experience so much that I worked to recruit other NM finalists. At Ernst & Young, we have long recognized UH students for their strong work ethic, outgoing nature and diversity.” AARON HERRICK (’93, Chemical Engineering) Manager of Development, Chemstations, Inc. From: Concord, Calif. “I was headed for UCSD, but the scholarship changed that. The experience deeply affected my life: one quarter of my coworkers are Honors alumni. I met my wife at Oberholtzer; she’s also an Honors alumna. Two decades later, I still count as my closest friends the people I lived and studied with in Honors.” JESSE RAINBOW (’99, History) Faculty, The Honors College at the University of Houston From: Strathmore, Calif. “Honors College was my choice because they took undergraduate students seriously, with abundant opportunities for learning and leadership. After completing my Ph.D. at Harvard, I came back to make a contribution to the college that gave so much to me when I was a student.” TAMARA MUFFAT STEELE (’99, Chemical Engineering) Environmental Engineer, Co-Chair The Great Conversation 2013 From: Cottage Grove, Minn. “The personal touches won me over. When my dad mentioned our fondness for Big 10 basketball, we were whisked over to Hofheinz Pavilion to meet the coach! Having a lot of ties to the city convinced me to stay, including good friends from the Honors College…and my future husband.” ZEKE ZILIAK (’98, Biology and Chemistry) Director of Global Business Development for Transportation and Travel, PROS Pricing From: Jasper, Ind. “I chose UH because of that personal call from someone who could relate to the decision I was trying to make. And I stayed because Houston had become home. I never really considered leaving it.” 36 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine | F a l l 2 0 1 2 LOGGING IN: Scenes from ShastaCam E D I T O R ’ S N O T E : For many years, a live cougar resided on campus, an embodiment of the UH mascot Shasta. In 1989, that practice was discontinued. However, the Houston Zoo and the University of Houston Alumni Association have joined forces to establish a wilderness exhibit at the zoo that now houses Shasta VI (along with his brother Haley). This Shasta lives in safety and comfort, with a parade of zoo visitors and UH fans admiring him. For those who can’t pay their respects in person, a web camera is available at houstonalumni.com/shasta. Recently, we spent a day monitoring the “ShastaCam” and offer this slightly edited transcription of Shasta’s activities... —Eric Gerber (’72, M.A. ’78) 5:37 a.m. Sleeping peacefully. 6:02 a.m. Awakened by racket the hyenas are making. Hey, what’s so funny!? Gets up. 6:48 a.m. Morning patrol completed. All clear! Back to den for much-needed nap. 7:30 a.m. Feeding time. Eating! 7:31 a.m. Finished eating. Back to den for very important nap. 9:15 a.m. Up the log, down the log, up the log, down the log…. 9:18 a.m. ROARING!!! 9:20 a.m. Leaping onto favorite rock. Ahhh 9:58 a.m. Leaping onto second favorite rock. 9:59 a.m. Nope. Back to favorite rock. Definitely better. 10:27 a.m. Spots bird in branches overhead. Crouches and prepares to spring. Reconsiders. 10:53 a.m. Smiles at enthusiastic group of visitors in red yelling “Go, Coogs!” 11:07 a.m. Chases brother Haley furiously for 20 seconds. Is chased furiously by Haley for another 20. 11:08 a.m. As a prank, Shasta pretends to be Haley and Haley pretends to be Shasta. 12:14 p.m. ROARING!!! 12:15 p.m. Tired from roaring, naps. 1:34 p.m. Wonders what happened to that bird from this morning. 1:54 p.m. Oooh. Notices new rock on ground. 2:19 p.m. Spies a goat. Slinks to ground and starts stalking. Turns out to be a goat-shaped shadow. Dang. 2:47 p.m. Dirt bath! Roll, roll, roll …. 2:54 p.m. Practices Ferocious Poses #1 and #4. 3:01 p.m. Another group of admirers in red, yelling “Go Coogs!” 3:37 p.m. Up the log, down the log, up the log, down the log…. 3:38 p.m. Up the log, down the log, up the log, down … no, wait. Already did down, right? Or was that up? OK, start over. Up the log, down the log, up the log… 4:07 p.m. Wonders whether it is better to be a cougar, an owl, a longhorn or a collie. Cougar? Yeah. Definitely better. 4:33 p.m. Haley has sneaked onto favorite rock. Attack! 4:38 p.m. Favorite rock reclaimed. All’s right with world. 5:26 p.m. Practices Ferocious Poses #3 and #5. 6:00 p.m. Feeding time. Eating! 6:01 p.m. Finished eating. Must. Have. Nap. 7:14 p.m. Thinks about the phrase “Go, Coogs!” Wonders “Go where? I like it here.” 7:15 p.m. ROARING!!! H F a l l 2 0 1 2 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 37 NON-PROFIT ORG. 0073040572 U .S. POSTAGE P A I D PERMIT NO. 5910 HOUSTON, TEXAS DONOR & ALUMNI RECORDS ENERGY RESEARCH PARK BLDG. 1 HOUSTON, TEXAS 77204-5035 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED LASTLOOK THE END OF AN ERA J E P P E S E N / R O B E R T S O N S TA D I U M It has had different names. Public School Stadium when this grand, gray monolith was constructed in 1942 by the Houston Independent School District and the Works Progress Administration. Jeppesen Stadium in 1958 – the decade this photo was taken – to honor a school board member. Robertson Stadium in 1980, after UH benefactor Corbin J. Robertson spearheaded its renovation. Contestants have included Cougars, Oilers and Dynamos while Pink Floyd, the Eagles and the Beach Boys filled the seats with less athletic endeavors. Take a last look. To make way for a new stadium after the football season ends, it will be demolished. And its name will be history.