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Students and Alumni Shine at UST


Our Holy Father Pope Francis has already surprised us in so many ways. But his love of creation and his support of a sustainable world echoes the thoughts of his recent predecessors. At St. Thomas we remain committed to the concept of being stewards of the environment not only in what we teach but in how we maintain our campus. We hope that our students will appreciate what they learn and what they see around them. They will then be inspired to pass on their love of St. Thomas to their children just as so many other families have done. Like the tradition of spring, the experience of an outstanding degree from St. Thomas often becomes a tradition within families – an academic touchstone, spanning generations. Multi-generational graduates are living demonstrations of what they know to be uniquely special about St. Thomas. They recognize the lifelong foundation for success they started here. Not only did they learn to become critical thinkers, benefitting from a rigorous liberal arts education, but they also created deep, lasting relationships. Take the remarkable lineage of Mary Colvin Hill ’56. The growing list of her family alumni is extraordinary, and highlighting just a few calls to mind Andrew Hill ’57, John Hill ’72, Annette Hill Sofka ’65 and Paul Sofka ’60, who is featured within this publication for his humanitarian outreach. We are blessed to have many additional multi-generational alumni from families including those that began with Paul Waldner III ’73, Eddie Parsons ’64 and Henri and Julie Davila de Ybarrondo, who both graduated in the class of 1957. Families tend to guard and hand down what they hold dear. It is no wonder that the St. Thomas tradition often is similarly cherished. Taught by the highest degreed professors in their fields, our students also benefit from an environment where integration of daily and religious life is natural. With the future additions of our new Center for Science and Health Professions as well as our Performing Arts Center – both, state of the art – University of St. Thomas will expand its promise to deliver graduates who are prepared to excel in their chosen fields. This spring and every spring after, we are committed to providing the academic experience we, and our multi-generational families, know produces successful leaders of faith and character.

Robert Ivany President

ON THE COVER Kendall Niemann, a junior in the Cooperative Engineering Program, is featured on the UST microsite, Read about the media campaign on page 15. This issue features students and alumni who shine at the University of St. Thomas.

EDITORS Marionette Mitchell Director of Publications Sandra Soliz, MLA ’01 Assistant Vice President Marketing Communications

CONTRIBUTORS Brenda B. Cooper ’05, MBA ’09 Stephanie Dedeaux ’96 Laura S. Dozier Betty Fischer ’52, MRE ’91 Bridget Hardy Lauren LaGrappe ’10 Darnell Miller ’10 Michelle Morris, EdD Ronnie Piper, MLA ’11 Anna J. Roark Kia J. Wissmiller ’99 Christopher Zeglin

The University of St. Thomas Magazine is published twice a year for alumni and friends of the University. UST is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Copyright 2013 by the University of St. Thomas 3800 Montrose Boulevard • Houston, Texas 77006 713-525-3120 •

IN THIS ISSUE 7 Do the Math: UST Affordability Exceeds Expectations

The University awarded $11.6 million in scholarships and financial aid this year to keep a UST education affordable and to reward students for great academic performance. 8 A Heart for Giving

‘Full Heart’ is the name given to Paul Sofka ’60 following a traditional Native American-style vision quest. In light of his lifelong passion for humanitarian outreach, the name is a good fit. 10 The Making of a Rocket Scientist

After graduating from UST, Chuck Deiterich ’60 went on to a 30-year career at NASA and was part of the Apollo 11, 12 and 13 missions. 12 A Balancing Act

According to actor Aaron Krohn ’96, the entertainment business is notoriously competitive, but he says he has grown accustomed to the demands. He shares what he has learned and offers words of wisdom to others considering a similar path. 15 Students and Alumni Shine at UST

A media campaign launched in 2012 features TV spots, radio advertising, a photo contest and, a microsite featuring student and alumni success stories. 16 Educational Leadership Enhances Schools, Student Learning

The School of Education offers a graduate program to enhance transformational and authentic leadership in the academic arena.


UST SALUTES Alumni Najdia and John Elsner’s company, Logistical Solutions International, has employed many UST students and alumni because the Elsners value the skills and characteristics UST develops.


ON THE MALL “Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity” conference • UST named Military Friendly • Center for Irish Studies Celebrates 10th Anniversary • Business students compete in analyses and business plans • Inaugural Distinguished Diplomat Lecture • Alumnus Cantu Installed as Bishop of Las Cruces, NM • School of Education adds BA/MA • Princeton Professor Robert George addresses UST Class of 2013 • New Vision, New Stars Benefit Concert • A Mardi Gras Tradition


Men’s basketball wins conference title


News from alumni and friends

22 ALUMNI CHRONICLES Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner: Reflected Revelation by Josh Goldson–Professional, Faith/Character


Scholarly activity and publications

Alumni events • Legacy families

Remembering Fr. James Keon, CSB


Najdia and John Elsner ’98 BA Liberal Arts/’89 BA Liberal Arts


It can take years for new business owners to find their niche and develop a strong client base. For Najdia and John Elsner, however, it happened at the start of their business – Logistical Solutions International, Inc. “A friend of ours had a brother who was relocating to Houston from Angola for business,” John explained. “The brother contacted us and asked if we would help him get established in Houston. We knew right away we had a great opportunity to work with individuals like him through their employers, so we connected with his corporate sponsor, which was ExxonMobil, and secured our first client. That was in 1999.” The Elsners seized that opportunity during a time of economic prosperity and technological innovation. Most of their clients are in the oil and gas industry – including the majors like ExxonMobil, BP and Shell and service providers like Fluor and Halliburton. When they started their business 14 years ago, national oil and gas companies in developing countries were changing partnership agreements with the majors. The emphasis shifted to developing local talent and expertise, which opened the door for training and employment opportunities for more foreign nationals in the United States. The proliferation of the internet and mobile phones enhanced communications in the late 1990s and early 2000s, making global communications easier for growing businesses like Logistical Solutions. “We recognized something was missing in the market,” John said. “We provide logistics coordination for personnel working on assignment away from their home country. A relocation company will help you find a place to live or locate schools for your children. But there are so many more issues involved in international assignments.” The company now supports personnel from 60 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and it is currently exploring new opportunities in Iraq and Mozambique. The Elsners share practical advice on the ever-changing international business environment with the UST community by participating on the International Studies Advisory Board. “John and Najdia understand the inherent complexities of the world in which we operate,” said Dr. Hans Stockton, director of the Center for International Studies at UST. “With the help of our advisory board members, the center is preparing students to navigate the complexities of international business.” “Twenty or 30 years ago, students interested in working internationally were limited to working for the government or a non-governmental organization like the Peace Corps,” John said. After John graduated from UST, the Elsners married and moved to Japan where they both taught English for three years. “Today, the opportunities to work internationally are endless, and UST recognizes that the field has broadened dramatically,” John said. Given the international reach of their clients’ businesses, the Elsners and their team of 85 professionals are often on the road. “We are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” John said. “Our clients rely on us as a global pool of knowledge to assist them with understanding local laws, customs and protocol. Najdia and I know that we’ve built a team that can take care of our clients’ needs and get things done anywhere in the world.” John acknowledges that getting things done anywhere in the world does not always come with a clear set of instructions. “It takes a team with the right skill set to do well in logistics,” he said. LSI has employed many UST students and alumni during the last 14 years because the Elsners value the skills and characteristics that UST develops. “You can see the difference in their writing and communication skills,” John said. “It is evident in the cover letters and resumes we receive. In the age of information overload, our company needs people who know how to discern what is valuable information, which sources of information are valid and authoritative. Having technical or software skills is helpful, but in our business we appreciate people who are hardworking, savvy and effective problem solvers.” “The goal of most international studies programs 30 years ago was to prepare students to become diplomats,” Stockton said. “Today, UST students still learn about diplomacy–problem solving, analytical thinking and managing political systems – but they’re learning to apply that knowledge in a variety of professional settings.” The Elsners, along with business partners and fellow alumni Margaret and John Denson, who both received Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degrees in 2010, anticipate rapid growth ahead as their clients look for opportunities in developing resource plays. Recently, when the company began exploring opportunities in Mozambique, LSI called on UST for help in building their network. “I called the Center for International Studies because I remembered the International Council of Universities of Saint Thomas Aquinas,” John explained. “They helped me connect with the University of St. Thomas in Mozambique, and we made a connection that could help us establish a presence there. People do business with people they trust.”

– Stephanie Dedeaux ’96

UST hosts “Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity” The University’s Center for Thomistic Studies and the John Paul II Forum will co-sponsor the first U.S. Conference of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, on Oct. 18-19, 2013. “Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity” will explore the significance for the 21st century of Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on humanity. Is it still meaningful to talk about humanity or inhumanity? What challenges do evolution, eugenics and the trans-humanist movement present for a concept of humanity? Is the human a viable standard in a world with many cultures and traditions? Papers are solicited on these and related topics. Submit papers to

UST named Military Friendly The University was named a 2013 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine. The survey-driven list has been published annually since 2009. The 2013 list includes more than 1,700 schools that represent the top tier of U.S. colleges, universities and trade schools doing the most to educate America’s veterans. UST provides resources to military students and eligible family members by collaborating with veteran organizations throughout Houston. These relationships ensure that the students and their families are aware of the resources that make a St. Thomas education affordable. With a combination of GI Bill benefits, University scholarships and financial aid, many veterans attend UST with few out-of-pocket expenses.


Center for Irish Studies Celebrates 10th Anniversary The William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies celebrated its 10th anniversary in January. “We are very proud of the tremendous faculty, staff, student and community contributions to the academic, cultural outreach and study abroad programs that serve as the foundation of our center,” said Lori Gallagher, JD, director of the Center since its creation. The center’s annual gala, in October 2012, was chaired by Susan and Jim Power and Mills and Steve Toomey. The event honored Mary Elizabeth Donovan, Jeani and Tom Horan and Sister Mary Brendan O’Donnell, CVI, of the Congregation of the Incarnate

Word and Blessed Sacrament. The event raised nearly $330,000 in gross proceeds for the academic program, including $62,000 for scholarships.

This year’s gala takes place on Nov. 22, and honors Rev. and Mrs. Harold Good. Rev. Good has served as the president of the Methodist Church in Ireland. For more information, contact Lori Gallagher at 713-525-3592 or

Business Students Compete in Analyses and Business Plans Each semester, years of business lectures and months of preliminary case presentations culminate in the Cameron School of Business Case Competition,

Inaugural Distinguished Diplomat Lecture The University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies formed a partnership with the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, D.C., to promote and deepen public understanding of U.S. diplomacy. The partnership with AFSA will focus on the critical skills that foreign service officers deploy in the face of increasing global challenges to vital American foreign policy interests. To meet the need for a new generation of talented diplomats, the Center and AFSA will join forces to develop programs that inspire greater student and public interest in the craft of diplomacy and the professional development of young leaders to fill diplomatic roles, whether in the public or private sectors. The inaugural “Distinguished Diplomat” lecture was held on March 21, featuring Ambassador John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and deputy secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s administration. A new endowment fund, established with a goal of $500,000, will support the biennial lecture series and a continuing program of outreach to students about diplomatic careers. St. Thomas launched its pioneering undergraduate program in international studies 40 years ago. In 1981, it founded the Center for International Studies as the home of its interdisciplinary major in International Studies, joined in 2006 by a major in international development. More than 700 graduates of the two programs work in career fields such as commerce, education, development, diplomacy, public service, non-governmental organizations and communications.

in which senior business majors present analyses on a predetermined case study. Dr. Beena George’s seminar students took on the task of analyzing the current situation and future opportunities for Apple, Inc., and presented their findings on Nov. 30. Four teams presented their research and analyses. The first-place team members are Jack Brett, Michelle Jabbour, Samantha Knowles and Shawn Petricko. Mei Wan Tong, president of the Cameron School of Business Advisory Board and director at Wells Fargo, donated the $500 prize money for the competition. Students in Professor John O. Whitney’s MBA Strategic Leadership class participated in a Graduate Case Competition, which involved the analysis of Rilco, a Houston-based manufacturing company. The company provided reams of data about current opportunities, which the students were required to analyze with their team members. Based on this analysis, each group presented a set of recommendations to Rilco management. Following in the footsteps of the case competitions, the new Business Plan Competition was held on Dec. 8, as Dr. Shuoyang Zhang’s graduate entrepreneurship students presented their new business ventures. Students were assigned the task of not only proposing an idea for a new venture, but also researching its feasibility and market potential, performing analyses to identify necessary resources, and completing a business plan. Standing before their peers and a panel of judges, five teams presented the product of their semester-long efforts.

Budding entrepreneurs presented exemplary business plans with creative ideas focusing on a variety of issues, including entertainment, technology, travel and nutrition. The judges awarded the Evant Garde Event Management team of Edwin Dearman, Luray Kidd and Marleah Randon first place. The competitions were judged by panels of business professionals from various entrepreneurial backgrounds. Case Competition judges were Jennifer Flores, Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott, LLP; John Haynes, Boardwalk; Richard Hyland, Web Data Ventures; Vreij Kolandjian, Yellowstone Capital, Inc.; Aileen McCormick, Amerigroup West Region; Philip Moore, Amegy Bank; David Stoner, Shell; Rosalind Wyatt, Sustainable Houston; and Karen Yale, EP Energy. Business Plan Competition judges were Pradeep Anan, Seeta Resources; Devin Baptiste and Kevin Valdez, GroupRaise; and Michael Eggert, Resources Global Professionals.

Top: Case Competition winners Michelle Jabbour, Jack Brett, Samantha Knowles, Shawn Petricko. Bottom: Business Plan Competition winners Luray Kidd, Marleah Randon, Edwin Dearman.



Alumnus Cantu Installed as Bishop of Las Cruces, NM The Most Rev. Oscar Cantu, STD, was installed as the new bishop of Las Cruces, NM, on Feb. 28. Bishop Cantu received

Archdiocese of San Antonio by Pope Benedict XVI. Then, he was the youngest bishop in the United States at 41. He speaks four languages and taught at both University of St. Thomas and St. Mary’s Seminary.

Princeton Professor Robert George addresses Class of 2013

© J. David McNamara, Diocese of Las Cruces

School of Education adds BA/MA

his Master of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees from the University of St. Thomas in 1994. He replaces the Most Rev. Ricardo Ramírez, CSB, DD, who graduated from UST in 1959. Upon being named bishop by Pope Benedict XVI in January, Bishop Cantu said, in a statement on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces website, that he was humbled that the Holy Father would appoint him to lead a beautiful diocese in New Mexico. “There is a deep sense of being sent – sent as the apostles were by Christ – to announce the Good News of the Gospel,” Bishop Cantu said. “There is a call here to reconnect with the original mission of the Church to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ. I do not pretend to bring a new gospel or new message. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” In 2008, Bishop Cantu was named auxiliary bishop for the 4

In an initiative to train teachers for both public and private middle and high schools, the University announces the new five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts program. The program, in addition to providing students with a liberal arts degree in composite science, math, language arts or social sciences, will focus on an in-depth preparation during the fifth year for effective teaching in middle or high school to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching. The five-year BA/MA program will attract current and future students who have a passion for their course of study and who want to pursue teaching. A minor in theology is also available to students interested in teaching in parochial schools. The program begins in summer 2013.

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, will address UST’s 63rd commencement ceremony on May 18. The ceremony celebrates the achievements of 350 undergraduate and 793 graduate students. George is also a professor of politics and a faculty associate in the Department of Philosophy at Princeton. In addition to his work at Princeton University, George is the Herbert W. Vaughan Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute and a member of the Task Force on the Virtues of a

Honors Convocation Thursday, May 2 • 7 p.m. • Jerabeck Center

Baccalaureate Mass

Free Society of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School graduate earned a master’s degree in theology from Harvard and a doctorate in philosophy of law from Oxford University. In 2008, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors that can be conferred by the United States on a civilian, at a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House.

Commencement Highlights At the commencement ceremony, George and Fr. Jansuz Ihnatowicz, UST professor emeritus of theology, will receive honorary degrees. In 2012, Fr. Ihnatowicz celebrated his 50th year of priestly service. He also received a lifetime achievement award from the Union of Polish Writers Abroad for his contributions to Polish literature. The Rev. Vincent J. Guinan CSB Alumni of the Year award will be presented to Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez ’97, MEd ’00, UST assistant professor of education and director of the Gulf Region Academy for Catholic Educators (GRACE) program.



Friday, May 17 • 6:30 p.m. • Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, downtown Houston Free parking in UST Moran Center garage, with shuttle service beginning at 5 p.m.

Graduation Reception Friday, May 17 following the Baccalaureate Mass • UST Campus • Free parking in UST Moran Center garage

Commencement Ceremony Saturday, May 18 • 10 a.m. • Reliant Arena Parking costs $10 per car (subject to change) • Naomi entrance from Fannin Street Students can visit for more details, including regalia and arrival times for participants.

Benefit Concert Exceeds $300,000 Goal Conductor Andrey Boreyko wowed the audience of 750 patrons during the New Vision, New Stars Benefit Concert on Jan. 22 at Jones Hall in the Houston Theater District. Orchestrating the dynamic sounds of the world-renowned Houston Symphony, Boreyko inspired the audience to remember the importance of this musical collaboration with the University of St. Thomas and how events like this stimulate the community to engage in the promise of students studying music. More than $350,000 was raised for the next phase of the forthcoming Performing Arts Center on the St. Thomas campus, exceeding the event goal of $300,000. The proceeds will go toward commission for the interior design and programming for the Performing Arts Center. The center is designed by Studio RED Architects. Jes and John Hagale served as event chairs. Jes received her MLA from UST in 2012, and John is a former board member. They are an integral part in the progress of the center, and Jes is enthusiastic about the future. “The University of St. Thomas’ commitment to the vibrant integration of studio arts, music and theater into their liberal arts curriculum is what drew us to this ambitious project of building a new Performing Arts Center at the gateway to the Museum District,” Jes said. “As a recent graduate of the St. Thomas Master of Liberal Arts program, I can attest firsthand to the remarkable dedication of the staff and faculty to their mission to educate leaders of faith and character from Houston’s only Catholic university.” Event attendees included honoree Beth Madison, who gives generously of herself to countless arts organizations in Houston, and Mark Hanson, executive director and CEO of the Houston Symphony. View photos of the concert at

Special thanks to the Houston Symphony, our Honoree Beth Madison and to our concert committee and generous donors for helping move the University of St. Thomas Performing Arts Center closer to reality. The Center represents a new vision for the University and will provide an important performance venue for the community’s new stars! Jes and John Hagale, Event Chairs

Jes and John Hagale Madison Charitable Foundation Denise and Philip Bahr Mach Family Palmetto Partners, Ltd. Mrs. Raye G. White Lois and Carl Davis Fankel Family Foundation The Iris and Lloyd Webre Foundation Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Lily and Charles Foster Cathy and George Goolsby Frank Sosa and Trini Mendenhall Sosa Carol and Randy Limbacher Gayle and Bob Longmire Ginger and John Niemann Oasis Petroleum, Inc. Krissi and Taylor Reid Diane and Stan Paur Priscilla Plumb The Shackouls Family Foundation Dorothy EF Caram, EdD Julieta and Juan Carreon Martin and Kelli Cohen Fein Cecil (C.C.) Conner, Jr. Dr. Bert Edmundson Jo and Greg (’86) Evans John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer Harriet and Joe Foster Margo P. Geddie Merrill and Joe Hafner Paula and John Hansen Clay Hoster Latham and Watkins LLP Michele Malloy Beth McGreevy Christine Imber Marianne and Dr. Robert Ivany William L. LaFuze Sandi and Jim Lemming Petrello Family Foundation Nancy and Robert Peiser

Honoree Beth Madison and Chairs John and Jes Hagale

Sue and Jim Power Sybil F. Roos Judy and Darby Seré Shadywood Foundation Betty and Jess B. Tutor Pat and Daniel Breen Olga and Gerald Bush Ellie and Michael Francisco Barbara and Pat McCelvey Kathy and Joe Ridley Loius H. Skidmore, Jr. Rhonda and Donald Sweeney Aramark Dr. Glenn Garrido – Chair, Music Department Jes and John Hagale Jackson Hicks Houston Symphony Marianne Ivany Dr. Brady Knapp – Assistant Professor of Music Beth Madison Michael’s Cookie Jar New Leaf Publishing Robert Pacini Nancy and Robert Peiser University of St. Thomas Department of Fine Arts and Drama University of St. Thomas Music Department 5 Valobra SPECIAL THANKS

Anthony and Cynthia Petrello

Claudia Huthnance and Raye White

Dr. Robert Ivany, Sr. Veronica Schueler, Sr. Clare Hunter, Sr. Mary Roberta Connors, Sr. Damien Marie Savino, Sr. Paula Jean Miller

A Mardi Gras Tradition More than 400 donors, alumni and friends of St. Thomas celebrated “A Mardi Gras Tradition� on Feb. 12 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Oniel and Jan Mendenhall

In a room decorated with purple, green and gold, Chairs Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia welcomed guests to the 63rd Annual Mardi Gras Gala and celebrated the giving spirit of the largest UST scholarship fundraiser of the year. More than $800,000 was raised to support University scholarships. Barrett Lauer and Chloe Jester were crowned Mardi Gras King and Queen, and the Gala honored the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, who joined the University of St. Thomas community in 1999 at the invitation of the Rev. J. Michael Miller, CSB, then University president and now Archbishop of Vancouver. 6 Mardi Gras Chairs Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhatia

Lois and Carl Davis

View the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist video at Keith and Alice Mosing

Do the Math: UST Affordability Exceeds Expectations If you think you can’t afford a world-class institution like the University of St. Thomas, think again. St. Thomas admissions counselors let prospective students know that they can afford a private, liberal arts education and thrive. Vickie Alleman, vice president for Marketing Communications and Enrollment Management, said St. Thomas has increased its scholarship awards because of the changing world. “Four years ago, we were at $7 million in institutional aid, and now we’re at $11.6 million,” she said. “We’ve increased the aid to students significantly because we know the economy has been difficult on many families. We also want to keep a UST education affordable and to reward students for great academic performance. We adjust our financial aid packages and our scholarships every year to be in alignment with what is going on in the market.”

The surprising fact for most families is that students could attend St. Thomas for less than public universities, if they do their research for scholarships. Like most universities, St. Thomas wants to cater to the best students. Scholarships to UST are awarded according to merit. The better a student’s grades, the more funds they have the opportunity to receive. Alleman said the surprising fact for most families is that students could attend St. Thomas for less than public universities, if they do their research for scholarships. “If you are a high-performing student and pay attention to your academics, whether it is in high school or at a community college, you can get quite a bit of assistance to come to University of St. Thomas,” Alleman said.

Students who are curious about the amount of aid they could receive can check out the Net Price Calculator at The calculator gives prospective students specific information on financial assistance depending on their GPA and income level. At St. Thomas, 44 percent of incoming freshmen have family household incomes of $62,000 or less, debunking the myth that a private-school education is only for the wealthy elite. The University also awards aid based on financial need. “We are a diverse campus,” Alleman said. “Students should explore all of their options because many times you find that students from low-income households can actually get their entire education covered. Many students can qualify for several scholarships and grants.” First-generation students – those whose parents did not attend college – have resources at their fingertips in the form of counselors and administrators who can help them learn the steps they need to take. Veterans have the privilege of the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps qualifying veterans pay tuition costs exceeding the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s usual cap for private schools. Many veterans attend UST with no tuition cost. After students enroll in the University, they can continue to apply for scholarships through their respective departments and the Alumni Association. If students need further assistance, outside scholarships are always a viable option. Now that prospective students are prepared for understanding the financial benefits of attending UST, what does Alleman recommend as the next step? “The next step is to come for a campus visit,” she said. “This is true of any university. Prospective students have to experience the campus community to see if it is a good fit.”

Scholarship recipients, UST seniors and 2013 Mardi Gras King and Queen Barrett Lauer, a marketing major, and Chloe Jester, an international development major and

economics minor, decided to attend UST after they visited the campus. “The feel of home and comfort was unlike any other university,” Jester said. “St. Thomas had the programs and classes that matched my interests, and it gives me the opportunity to live away from home and have dinner with my family on Sundays.” Lauer was recruited by Men’s Basketball Head Coach Todd Smith, and his campus visit made his decision clear. “Coach Smith talked to me on Saturday, I visited the campus on Monday, and I said I wanted to attend St. Thomas on Tuesday,” he said. – Bridget Hardy

Read more about campus leaders Lauer and Jester at For information on scholarships, campus visits or degree programs, visit Make a gift to support St. Thomas scholarships at


A Heart for Giving ‘


ull Heart’ is the name given to UST alumnus Paul Sofka ’60 following a traditional Native American-style vision quest. In light of the Czech-American’s lifelong passion for humanitarian outreach, the name is a good fit. When the semi-retired financial planner received his spiritual moniker in the early 80s, he was unaware that he would one day support the AIDS Foundation of Houston or assist mission trips to poor Mexican villages or respond to a devastating earthquake in Haiti. All he knew was that the ceremony to proclaim his life’s purpose would be preceded by consecutive hungry days and chilly nights spent alone in the wooded mountains of Wyoming, bringing him closer to God. “The God I know speaks to me through nature,” Sofka said from home nestled in the woods outside Manvel, Texas. That voice consistently tells him to lend a helping hand … though the manner and scope have changed along the way. Sofka was born on a farm in Shiner, Texas, and his family moved to Houston when he was three years old. There, his hardworking father founded Otto’s Barbecue Restaurant, a favorite of the first President George Bush and a landmark in the city. Sofka grew up at the popular eatery, noticing his parents’ tender hearts and generous natures. “People in need showed up at the back door of the restaurant,” Sofka said, “and Dad always ensured they didn’t leave empty-handed.” Sixteen years in Catholic schools, including University of St. Thomas, where he met his wife, Annette Hill Sofka ’65, further reinforced the value and the ease of giving. “It is so simple to help people,” Sofka said with enthusiasm.


Whether it was stopping to lend a hand to a motorist stranded on the side of the road, working in a church bazaar or painting houses for women’s shelters, he readily found outlets for philanthropy. Sofka joyfully gave… and received. His business flourished. With his wife, he raised a son. Every day was filled with promise. Life was good. But when he was in his fifties, he received a shocking wake-up call. “I had a head-on automobile collision going 55 mph,” he recalls, “and to my astonishment I walked away from it. That got my attention. More than ever, I realized I’m here for a reason, so I decided I’d better be sure of what I’m meant to be doing and get after it.”

During subsequent soul-searching, which is where those vision quests came in, Sofka determined he could reach further. He could do more. He took his passion for outreach and became a regular at Ben Taub Hospital, where he volunteered through the AIDS Foundation of Houston. Every Monday night for 5 years, he was at a bedside holding someone’s hand. “I cared for critically ill, sometimes comatose, patients by giving love. Though I seldom talked there about God, God usually showed up.”

Later he became chairman of the board for the foundation and brought his financial connections to bear. Again, he said it was easy. “People want to help. I had a conversation and secured a grant for $75,000.” Later, when he served as an American Red Cross volunteer responding to those who had lost their homes in apartment fires, opportunity knocked again. Among his fellow volunteers were two missionaries doing basic needs work in poor villages near the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. Initially, he supported their medical teams and purchasing of supplies by sending money. Before long, though, he travelled to the area to pitch in and see for himself how much more he could do. Sofka said, “It was like going back in time. So impoverished. Farmers still use horses to plow. Village children attend a two-room schoolhouse staffed by one teacher. There are no doctors, no medical care based nearby.” Never discouraged by magnitude of need, Sofka instead was inspired and excited by the first of several ways he could contribute. Loads of supplies brought from the U.S., he reasoned, could be much larger if only they had $25,000 to buy a van. Sofka committed to finding the entire amount and further pledged that $5,000 of it would come out of his own pocket – though, at the time, he did not know how. Give and then receive. “No sooner had I made the promise than I discovered one of my stocks had gone up by $15 per share. The total profit was exactly $5,000.” The van became a reality, and making a difference in people’s lives fueled his fire. In 2010, he would take his giving to an entirely new level and participate in a massive international outreach after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti that killed

more than 200,000 people and left the island country and its services devastated. An estimated 1.5 million Haitians were homeless. Yet, in the midst of this nightmare, Sofka knew it was where he was meant to be. “The stench there was horrible, and so many people were hurting,” he said. “But to be able to play a part in helping filled me with gratitude for all that I have.” On that trip, Sofka and his son, Paul Sofka, Jr., who is a professional chef and works as the food service director at First Baptist Church in Houston, helped support American relief teams by providing cooked meals. Upon returning home, he and his son collected $25,000 to purchase bulk food items and shipped them to where the teams were based. Since then, his memories of Haiti’s hardworking, spirited people linger. On his most recent journey to the island nation, in October 2012, he noted progress but also toured villages that have no clean water, a dirty fact of life for many thousands of Haitians. Sofka toured with representatives of Pure Water for the World, an American organization dedicated to providing sustainable sources of clean water to communities in the developing world. “Clean water is a basic human need,” he said. “Pure Water knows how to hire 40 Haitians and is now developing a sustainable water treatment facility that will serve 11,000 people, and I have committed to raise $100,000 for it.” It is a lot of money, but Sofka’s blue eyes, which only see possibilities, light up as he talks about his current quest. “I can’t save the world, but there is always something I can do,” he said. “Giving is a calling for me and an adventure. I’ll be doing this until I die.” All along, Sofka’s passion and service have extended to his alma mater through generous support from him and Annette to the annual fund, including raising money for the St. Thomas scholarship program. He said, “I have a soft spot for the University of St. Thomas. Not only did I meet my wife there, but the philosophy and theology courses expanded me mentally and spiritually. Because of my upbringing and St. Thomas, I have a strong foundation and possess a deep understanding of my role in the world as a giver.” Most people call him Paul Sofka. His real name is Full Heart. – Anna "Jamie" Roark

Opposite page top: (March 2011) Paul looking at a mud-thatched building in a small village near the compound where he was cooking for Americans working on relieve efforts in Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake. Above: (March 2011) A small village near Portau-Prince, Haiti. One hand pump services this village for 300 families with no electricity, no plumbing and no municipal services. Left: (June 2007) Medical brigade in a small mountain village in Sierra Mountains near Monterrey, Mexico. Paul (in blue cap) giving out food supply to local villagers. Below: (March 2011) Typical merchant activity in Port-au-Prince four months after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.


The Making of a Rocket Scientist A

t the blast-off moment he and a handful of other students launched a powerful carbon dioxide (CO2) rocket inside the St. Thomas physics lab to test thrust, Chuck Deiterich ’60 already had scrambled to a precise location in the room – under a table just like his fellow students and physics instructor Fr. Patrick Braden, CSB. Crouching beneath his shelter, Deiterich was unaware that he eventually would make a remarkable career of rockets within NASA, play a key role in man’s first lunar landing, and earn numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his part in support of Apollo 13. But back to that physics lab launch pad. Inquiring minds want to know how it turned out. Thankfully, a humble “C” clamp placed strategically at the top of the launch rail did its job and stopped the rocket before it could blow a hole in the ceiling. Future firings of the rocket from an outdoor, pasture-based site would reveal the punch it packed as it reached heights of 1,000 feet. Deiterich said, “We built it ourselves along with Fr. Braden. With his guidance, we learned to understand what the performance was going to be. We were very organized and operational, and that extended to planning for retrieval after launch. Once, when the rocket landed in a mud puddle, we borrowed an army surplus mine detector to find it.” They planned, measured and modeled throughout the rocket project.


“We put fins on the back like a dart to keep it going in a straight line,” Deiterich said. “It twisted to be gyroscopically stable.” On his own personal trajectory at the time, Deiterich’s fascination with all things airborne had begun years earlier. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1938. His dad was a mechanic at the nearby airport. Later, after moving to the Houston area, Deiterich helped his older brother with a model airplane business operated out of the garage. He started reading science fiction based on the red planet Mars and stories about a farmer in outer space. All the while, he was exposed to healthy doses of something he would become particularly good at– creative troubleshooting. “Like the night I was riding in the back seat of my dad’s 1931 Model A Ford,” Deiterich recalled. “Suddenly, we went bang onto the ground as one of the rear wheels came off and rolled away. I watched as Dad took one lug nut from

each of the other wheels and used them to re-secure the fourth tire. And off we went. Problem solved.” Knowing systems, what they were built to do, and what else you could do with them became a hallmark in Deiterich’s career. By 1964, he was employed at the Johnson Space Center, where he says work was great because it was always challenging. “Every mission offered something new to master. A desire to land on the moon made the rover necessary. We were always expanding capability.” And he and his colleagues got to do it like Frank Sinatra– “their” way. Deiterich said, “We’d be given a question such as, ‘What are we going to do for navigation?’ Nobody told us how to do it. They let us be innovative in the way we were inspired to be. All the thinking we did was out of the box because there was no box.” Nowhere was original thinking more valuable than in one of Deiterich’s earliest positions as a Retrofire Officer in the flight dynamics branch, a front row position in Mission Control. Whether a mission went normally, or if something went awry, the Retrofire Officer helped to troubleshoot and ensure the vehicle and crew came home safely. “We would plan for a year before a mission,” Deiterich said. “So we had remarkable familiarity with the way things were supposed to go and most, if not all of the ways it could go wrong and how to fix them.”

He was in the role of Retrofire Officer in 1969 for Apollo 11, the triumphant spaceflight that put the first humans on the moon. Deiterich said, “I always knew what I did was important. President John Kennedy said, ‘Let’s go to the moon,’ and we put a guy on the moon in eight years. We showed that the United States was superior.” He also was in that job in 1970, when the scheduled Apollo 13 moon landing was aborted following an oxygen tank explosion, which crippled the service module and left millions of Americans holding their breaths and wondering if astronauts James Lovell, John “Jack” Swigert and Fred Haise would ever come back alive. Deiterich led the trajectory effort to return the crew. The astronauts made it home safely. Over time, he held various positions within NASA, among them, Branch Chief, Office Chief and Deputy Division Chief. When unthinkable tragedy struck in 1986 with the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger crew, Deiterich was tapped to run a safety review board for range safety systems. Simultaneously, he headed a flow process panel looking at trajectory design. Ultimately, he was put in charge of coming up with a new flight analysis and design system and making sure it operated. Early on in his career, he thought about being an astronaut, even submitted an application but was not accepted. In the end, he settled for what he calls the next best job. Since leaving NASA in 1994, Deiterich has worked as an independent engineering consultant. One of his contracts was with founder Jeff Bezos, who is interested in launching tourists into space. He continues to be fascinated by outer space and won’t be surprised to see a habitat built on the moon one day, a place “to change horses” going back and forth from Mars. Deiterich is never far from his enticing sky. A couple of times a week, the private pilot takes off for the wild blue yonder in the bright yellow single-engine Zenith CH701 he built with his own two hands and named after his wife, Betty. “I painted it 1987 Ford pickup yellow. I call it a 50/50 paint job – if you’re over 50 or 50 feet away, it doesn’t look too bad,” he said. – Anna “Jamie” Roark

Opposite page: Chuck Deiterich ’60 with the Zenith CH701 airplane he built for himself. His wife’s name is Betty, so the Betty Boop is for her. Above: Deiterich at Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control Center in the early 70s during Skylab when he was a Flight Dynamics Officer. Below: Lee Butler ’60, Fr. Patrick Braden, Deiterich and the ‘rocket’ at the class reunion in 2010.


A Balancing Act I

t took Aaron Krohn ’96 many years to consider himself an actor – despite regularly performing on some of Houston’s largest stages from the age of 10. “Growing up in a family where both your parents are in the business and being surrounded by so many talented people


– for a long time I felt very pretentious calling myself an actor.” His father, Charles Krohn, is a professor of English at UST and has been a member of the Alley Theatre company for nearly 30 years. His mother, Chesley Krohn, who performed in the Broadway production of

A Chorus Line, built a career as an actor and choreographer. His sister, Julia Krohn, is a working actor as well. He credits his parents’ support for instilling in him the sense of character to balance “this crazy career.” However he feels about it now, there’s no denying that Aaron Krohn has earned the right to call himself an actor. Having recently completed a two-month run of Clive, directed by Ethan Hawke, who also starred in the play, Krohn remains humble and is quick to offer, “I’ve been really blessed to be a part of so many great projects.” Krohn first performed on Broadway in 2001 in Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love, directed by Jack O’Brien. He has gone on to add many more theatrical productions to his credits, including the Lincoln Centre production of Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia trilogy, the 2005 Broadway production of Julius Caesar that starred Denzel Washington, and Henry IV, with Kevin Kline and Hawke. He also played the title role in Henry V in the 60th anniversary season of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. As a child he often watched from the wings during his parents’ performances and felt drawn to theater and music. “I had my own one-man version of Oklahoma by the time I was six,” Krohn fondly recalled. In one instance his exuberance for theater got him in a little trouble with his otherwise supportive parents. “I couldn’t have been older than 10, when I had the idea that I needed more actors for a show I was producing,” Krohn said. “It was me and a neighbor, we were just kids. But somehow I placed an ad in the Greensheet for actors to apply to the Marshall Street Theater – Marshall Street was where we lived. And I just thought other kids would call about the ad. I had no idea my parents would start getting phone calls from other adults.”

transition. “It was a bit of a rude A graduate of Houston’s High School for At HSPVA, I didn’t like the process of awakening. Just moving to New York the Performing and Visual Arts, HSPVA, auditioning and then not seeing my name was intimidating. Even though I had Krohn decided not to choose theater as his on the cast list – the competitive aspect,” friends who had lived there for a while, he admitted. “The program at UST helped major when he enrolled at UST. I felt isolated.” build my confidence. It was a pivotal time “Dr. Ed Houser made such an “I started realizing that there were in my life. I could be an active part of the impression on me,” he said. “Then I took a certain casting directors who were very program and still pursue a degree in course in metaphysics from Dr. Ted Rebard, difficult to see if you didn’t know them,” something other than theater. and I was just hooked on philosophy.” Krohn recalled. “But how would you get to After graduating from UST with a Music has also been a big part of know them if you could never get in to see degree in philosophy, Krohn was accepted Krohn’s life, and during his early days at them. It is an incredible catch-22.” into the Old Globe Theatre and earned a UST, he played lead guitar in a band, Krohn admitted that being cast in his master of fine arts degree from the Elevator Up. The band gained in popularity first Broadway production, Invention of University of San Diego. From his in Houston’s music scene, and Krohn made Love, helped him feel more “part of the experience at the Globe, Krohn developed the difficult choice to leave UST to focus game,” but he cautioned, “It’s a process – many important relationships with others on music. not an arrival. That period after a show “I still remember going into Dr. Houser’s focused on moving forward in acting. It was ends always feels like you’re starting office to tell him I was leaving school over. There’s no guarantee that there for my band. He said, ‘If you leave will be another show. After my first now, you’ll never come back,’” show on Broadway, it was another two Krohn said. years before my next Broadway show.” Krohn believes it was theater The entertainment business is that eventually brought him back notoriously competitive, but Krohn to school. “My mother was doing has grown accustomed to the demands Pippin at UST in the fall of 1993, and offers advice to others considering and she asked me if I would try out,” a similar path. Krohn says. “I got the role, and being “One thing I’ve learned from the in that environment brought me celebrities that I’ve worked with and back to focus.” Krohn re-enrolled watched over the years is that they for classes in the fall of 1994. work incredibly hard at what they do. Krohn acknowledges that a lot But I’ve also learned that you have to of students work their way through love the work. You will get dirty, but school, so he didn’t believe his you cannot be afraid to fail.” experience was unique. His work, however, involved appearing in Being a working actor in New shows at the Alley and performing York is no small feat, as Krohn is with Theater Under the Stars. “It well aware. “I know there are always was a balancing act, but you learn to B-list actors who wish they were live a double life,” he said. “I would A-list, and actors who see someone schedule classes as early as possible, like me and wish they could just since rehearsal wouldn’t usually start Krohn in the title role in Henry V at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. be working. The longer you work here, until 11 a.m.” the more relationships you develop. also there that he began working with He took a full course load during the I appreciate the relationships I’ve built. O’Brien, who was the artistic director at fall and spring semesters and “as many On every show, I feel like I’ve made at least the Old Globe and who would later direct summer classes as possible” to complete his one friend, and when I start a new show, Krohn in Invention of Love, Henry IV and degree in two years. “I think I had about I’m sure there will be someone in the The Coast of Utopia.” 100 hours to complete when I came back cast that I know from a previous show. Krohn was learning to appreciate acting to UST, so I really tried to stay focused,” It’s a nice place to be. And it does remind as a business, and he says he could see that Krohn said. He left his band to concentrate me of UST. There was some great talent the next logical step in his career path on school and acting. to come through that program, and we would take him to a much larger stage: New were a tight-knit group,” he said. During his last two years at UST, Krohn York. Just because moving there was the became certain he wanted a career in – Stephanie Dedeaux ’96 obvious next step didn’t make it an easy acting. “I was never a really ambitious kid. 13

Get all the latest stats and stories on our new intercollegiate sports microsite at


niversity of St. Thomas Intercollegiate Athletics launched its new microsite,, powered by SIDHelp. The microsite is a visual treat and is part of a larger project to revamp the entire UST website. SIDHelp supports several university athletics websites across the nation. Its layout and web design is user-friendly and provides a myriad of interesting action photos to entice any sports lover. Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Todd Smith anticipates a strong response from the community. “Our new microsite will be the face of UST Athletics and the first impression of our department for many people,” Smith said. “Our fans, campus community, student-athletes and prospects will really enjoy going to and following the St. Thomas teams. I appreciate all the time and hard work so many people have put into the development of the microsite.” The site features team pages for each of the six sports: volleyball, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf. The team pages contain conference standings and statistics directly linked to the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics Daktronics. It includes game results, which features upcoming games, times


and results from the Red River Athletic Conference pages. Also, don’t miss Celt Connections, which provides links to Facebook, Twitter and the University’s YouTube channel.

The microsite also includes a recruiting page, which is open to all prospective high school players. Inquiries will go directly to the coach of their preferred sport.

Support the UST Scholarship Fund with your purchase of notecards featuring the 2012 UST Photo Contest Winners! $10.95 University of St. Thomas Bookstore

Kendall Niemann, a junior in the Cooperative Engineering Program, has her sights set on becoming a chemical engineer. She chose chemical engineering because chemistry has always been her favorite science and because of the breadth of career options available in engineering. Read full profile at

Students and Alumni Shine At UST I

n August 2012, the University of St. Thomas launched a media campaign to raise awareness about the University and its mission to educate leaders of faith and character. The campaign features TV and radio spots, a photography contest and, a microsite with student and alumni success stories.

TV and Radio Advertisements TV ads paired images of students and alumni: At the University of St. Thomas, we educate them here, so they shine in their professions. • Pre-Medical: Sally Acebo, junior chemistry major, and Lee Tran, MD ’00, retina surgeon at Houston Retina Associates • Business: Brette Seffens, senior business major, and Tom Standish ’85, executive vice president of CenterPoint Energy • Performing Arts: Margaret “Meg” McDonald, senior drama major, and Dr. Malcolm Rector ’96, assistant professor of music at St. Thomas.

Starting in September, the spots aired on Sunday morning news shows during the 9 a.m. hour, on KHOU Channel 11’s “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and FOX News Channel’s cable shows on “Hannity” and “The O’Reilly Factor.” On the radio, UST ran weeknight advertisements on KUHF 88.7 FM radio’s NPR drive-time news programs and on the station’s classical-format sister channel, KUHA 91.7 FM. The University also placed online banner advertisements on sites like,,, and

Photo Contest UST’s first photography contest was held Sept. 8–Oct. 20. The free contest celebrated the art and architecture of the University, as well as campus life and faith. It was open to the general public, students, faculty and

staff, with professional and amateur divisions. The grand prize winner was Reflected Revelation by Josh Goldson in the category Professional, Faith/Character. The people’s choice award winner was Chapel of St. Basil by Nicole Christians in the category Amateur, Architecture.

Profiles The campaign was timed to coincide with groundwork for the upcoming Performing Arts Center and Center for Science and Health Professions, to help Houstonians learn the benefits that graduates bring to the communities where they live, work, worship and play. When people are asked, “Who educates leaders of faith and character?” UST wants more people to answer: “University of St. Thomas.” – Brenda B. Cooper ’05, MBA ’09 See the TV advertisements, contest photos, profiles and more at


Educational Leadership Enhances Schools, Student Learning T

ransformational and authentic leadership are often discussed in a business setting, but these concepts are just as vital – perhaps more so – in the academic arena. “At all levels from pre-K through college, educators are leaders who work collaboratively with colleagues and make important instructional decisions for the

students in their care,” said Dr. Robert LeBlanc, dean of the UST School of Education. “Public and private schools contribute to meeting the diverse needs of the students served, and the UST School of Education provides a strong voice advocating for the highest quality of education for all the students served by our graduates.”

Ilsa Adriana Villarreal, instructional coordinator, Joe E. Moreno Elementary School, HISD, is a current student in the University of St. Thomas Master of Education degree program. The program is offered in a traditional, on-campus format, as an online program and at off-campus sites.


To enhance leadership in the K-12 schools, St. Thomas offers the Master of Education degree in educational leadership and principal certification, which currently enrolls more than 350 students. Courses for the degree are now taught at 16 off-campus sites throughout the greater Houston region. Dr. Eduardo Torres directs the off-campus program, which includes sites in Alief, Pasadena and Fort Bend County. The degree is available in a traditional, on-campus format and as an online program, which was originally launched using a Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Patricia Lyerly, education workshop coordinator, said these classes are a valuable way to extend the UST learning community and meet students close to home. “We are making learning convenient to them,” Lyerly said. “They’re busy teaching during the day. By making master’s classes available in their communities, they can take advantage of them.” Many of the participants in the MEd program are part of the Houston Independent School District, led by Dr. Terry Grier, HISD superintendent. The partnership with HISD has been important to both the University and the school district. “We are thrilled to partner with the University of St. Thomas,” said Grier. “In HISD, we believe all students deserve to attend schools run by highly effective campus leaders.” The MEd program is making an impact on public and private schools throughout the region. For example, two firstgeneration college students, Esmeralda Padron ’12 and Enedith Silerio ’12, completed the degree through the off-campus program to strengthen their leadership in Sherman Elementary School

in Houston’s Fifth Ward. Doris Vela ’13 has opened one early childhood center and is in the process of opening a second one. Michelle Hicks ’12 serves as career coordinator for Pearland ISD, and Rob Wise ’12 is an assistant principal at Friendswood High School. “I attended UST as a classroom teacher in pursuit of the principal certification,” Wise said. “The difference for me from other programs was the attention to detail and academic excellence that UST expects of its students. But even more important was the emphasis on educating leaders of faith and character. Being able to work in an academic environment where I felt at ease discussing matters of faith was very important to me, and UST encouraged this type of experience and discussion.”

“Key social justice teachings are present throughout our leadership coursework,” said Dr. Virginia Leiker, director of the Educational Leadership program. The 36-hour MEd program is designed to develop master classroom teachers, instructional specialists and school leaders who demonstrate the ability to translate and apply educational research in instructional settings. The master’s program in educational leadership was accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council in 2011-12. “Key social justice teachings are present throughout our leadership coursework,” said Dr. Virginia Leiker, director of the Educational Leadership program. “I believe strong leadership requires a moral foundation, and I feel more comfortable talking about ethics and morality at the University of St. Thomas versus a public university. It is an important part of the discourse here.” To ensure students are ready to offer authentic leadership, UST tests their

understanding of “ethical leadership” as a core competency that must be mastered before they graduate. Leiker said the faculty use case studies to evaluate and discuss real situations that require students to make decisions using ethical judgment. For example, given the high stakes of testing as a measure of success that affects school funding, the faculty emphasize that it is never okay to adjust scores to meet goals. “We provide students with scenarios that clarify and confirm for them that this is not an appropriate option,” Leiker said. “You’d think this would be understood, but students will be faced with temptations like this in the real world in which they will lead.” In addition to the valuable use of case studies, the program is also strengthened by the practical and extensive leadership experience of the faculty. “Instructors are either former or current practitioners; they have experience doing exactly what they’re teaching,” Leiker said. On their exit surveys, students consistently note the value of having faculty members who have “walked in their shoes.” Students who are completing the program with a cohort group also note this feature as a significant strength. “I love the small classes” said Ilsa Adriana Villarreal, instructional coordinator for Joe E. Moreno Elementary School in HISD. “My cohort has nine people, and we work great together. We learn a lot from each other every week and take it back to implement it on our own campuses. I am ready to start my fourth class and am eager to see what awaits me.” Villarreal began the MEd program in fall 2012 and plans to complete it by the summer of 2014. In the December exit survey, one student summed up the program this way: “I graduated feeling complete and ready for the next journey.”

Alumnus Robert LeBlanc Named Education Dean Dr. Robert LeBlanc, UST associate professor of education, is the new dean of the School of Education. LeBlanc has been on the faculty since 2002 and was dean from 2008-2011. LeBlanc received a master’s and doctorate degree in education from The University of Houston. He worked in a variety of positions in Klein Independent School District for 25 years, last serving as the associate superintendent for instruction and student services. His areas of interest and research are instructional design, education legal issues in K-12 schools and development of ethical problem-solving abilities in current and future school leaders. In the School of Education, LeBlanc initiated an innovative program called the Gulf Region Academy for Catholic Educators, or GRACE. He has received numerous other professional awards including a special recognition award from The University of Houston and an Educational Leadership Award from the Houston Suburban Chapter of Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. He and his wife, Rebecca ’70, are recipients of the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan, CSB, Distinguished Alumni Award for 2006 from the University of St. Thomas Alumni Association.

– Michelle Morris, EdD 17


Maghen Lormand from The Woodlands was named the Conference Newcomer of the Year and earned a Second Team selection, finishing sixth in the conference in total rebounds and in rebounds per game. Also named to the Second Team was Hershiira Boone-Rodgers. The senior guard was second in the conference in assists per game.

UST Athletics Showcases Student Talent UST Athletics is committed to creating a first-class environment by recruiting, developing and retaining outstanding student-athletes who maximize their potential intellectually and athletically during their time at St. Thomas. Men’s Basketball Prevails as Conference Champs The men’s basketball team won its first Red River Athletic Conference title this year and competed in its first championship tournament game of its short, four-year existence. The Celts were knocked out of the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament in the first round, losing 70-68 to Georgetown College in Kentucky, but the team ended the year with stellar achievements. Georgetown went on to win the Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. “The RRAC championship and our birth to the NAIA tournament is not just about this year, it is about the commitment everyone has made to each other, UST and this basketball program for the last four years,” said Head Coach Todd Smith. Senior guard Travis Lampley, from Houston, made Third Team of the NAIA 2012-13 Division I Men’s Basketball AllAmericans, and senior forward Bryan Kaase from Spring, Texas, received an Honorable Mention. Both also made First Team AllConference. Defensive Player of the Year, sophomore guard Deric Dudley from Fort Bend County, helped UST stack numbers to be both the number one scoring defense and field goal percentage defense in the RRAC. Senior forward Caleb Williams made


Golf Hosts First Invitational The men’s and women’s golf teams are also growing. UST hosted its first-ever home golf tournament in October, and the men’s golf team earned its first tournament victory in the history of the young program on April 2.

Senior guard Travis Lampley made Third Team of the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball All-Americans.

Second Team All-Conference and, UST led in points per game. Senior guard Adrian Morales, from Deer Park, Texas, received All-Conference Honorable Mention. Women’s Basketball Gets All-Conference Nods Women’s basketball finished 11-11 in the RRAC and 15-16 overall. The team had three players named to the RRAC AllConference Teams and also achieved individual awards. Senior forward Amber Arceneaux-Francis, from Houston, earned a First Team RRAC selection and led the conference in points per game and total rebounds per game. She was ranked second in the nation in total scoring and fourth in total rebounds, points per game and total rebounds per game. Three times this season, she was named as RRAC Player of the Week and once received NAIA Division I Player of the Week honors. Freshman forward

Volleyball Team Goes to Nationals with Star Players Women’s volleyball finished the season at 19-17 and was runner-up in the RRAC Tournament. Although they lost in the first round at nationals, the Celts were awarded several Player of the Week honors. Most notably, Stephanie Biediger was named RRAC Hitter of the Week and has amassed more than 1,000 kills. Four St. Thomas volleyball players were named 2012 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes. Among the 408 volleyball student-athletes, Biediger, Monica Litle, Kelsey Balderamos and Brittany Weiler made the cut. With several promising recruits, three from Pearland, volleyball is poised to make another run at nationals. Men’s Soccer Gears Up for New Season Men’s soccer is setting its sights on reclaiming the glory of its 2010 season, when the team finished 10-7-2 to earn its first appearance in the national tournament. Injuries and a young team gave the Celts a challenging 2012-2013 season. With most players returning, the men’s soccer team is gearing up to find its rhythm and will enter next season with high expectations.

Champions Club Supports UST Athletics • Don’t just watch the team, be a part of the team! The Champions Club invites participation by alumni and friends who want to be a part of intercollegiate athletics at the University of St. Thomas. Every gift and contribution is greatly appreciated and will be dedicated toward the advancement of UST Athletics. Your support will go directly toward improving our student-athletes’ experience. Visit


Accounting Dr. Carol Sullivan, CPA, presented “Using the “Balanced Scorecard” to Assess Faculty Productivity: Strategies with the Pathways Commission Recommendations” at the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences conference, Feb. 2013. Art History Dr. Charles Stewart received permission from the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus to analyze and study the 9thcentury frescos at the Church of St. Anthony, Kellia, Cyprus, Oct. 2012. He presented “Understanding Byzantine Identity on Cyprus through Art and Archaeology,” at the international conference, Cypriot Identities Across Millennia, at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, Sept. 2012; “Enshrining ‘Byzantine’: The Gothic Cathedral of St. George, Famagusta (Cyprus),” at the 22nd Annual Texas Medieval Association conference, University of Houston; and “The Dating and Significance of Early Byzantine Fortification on Cyprus,” at The Archaeology of Late Antique And Byzantine Cyprus (4th–12th centuries A.D.) conference, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Oct. 2012. Cameron School of Business Dr. Michele Simms was visiting lecturer at the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions, Central Michigan University: “Creating Sustainable Futures Through Business-Public Health Partnerships,” Oct. 2012. Dr. S. Gulfem Bayram and Kevin Ritz, MBA ’12, presented “Home and Host Country Investor Sentiments and ADR

Index Returns: A Brazilian Case” at the annual meeting of the Academy of Behavioral Finance and Economics, New York City, Sept. 2012. Professor Hassan M. Shirvani and Dr. S. Gulfem Bayram co-authored the study “Interest Rate Liberalization and Inflation in Developing Countries: A Theoretical Analysis,” presented at the Southern Finance Association annual meeting, in Charleston, SC, Nov. 2012. Dr. Charles Davis is a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through April 2013. His research topic is “Business Analytics.” Catholic Studies In September, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Sister Paula Jean Miller, FSE, as an expert, adiutrix secretarii specialis, for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, that was held in October 2012, on the topic, “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

Programs in Higher Education: the Case of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas,” at the ICUSTA U-7 forum, both hosted by the University of Santo Tomás in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 2012. Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Contreras presented “The UST SEP: Service-learning Experience,” at the Social Entrepreneurship conference, Harvard University, Feb. 2013; “How Service Learning can Enhance Active and Collaborative Learning Globally and Locally. The Case of the UST Social Entrepreneurship Program” and “Master on Microcredit for Development as a Servicelearning Initiative” at the international conference on Education, Research and Innovation, Madrid, Spain, Nov. 2012; and the “Social Entrepreneurship as a Service-learning Experience,” at the international

workshop on Social Enterprise and Service Learning, Universidad Santo Tomás, Santiago, Chile, Oct. 2012. Dr. Hans Stockton presented “The Relative Influence of Identity in Presidential Voting on Taiwan 2004 –2012,” at the conference, The Maturing of Taiwan Democracy: Findings and Insights from the 2012 TEDS Survey, Taipei, Taiwan, Nov. 2012. Philosophy Fr. Anthony Giampietro, CSB, will be the executive vice president and academic dean at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, Calif., effective July 1. Fr. Giampietro will oversee the development office and the academic programs at the seminary. Fr. Giampietro, associate professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy, has been at UST since 2002.

Chemistry Dr. Elmer B. Ledesma presented “Vapor-Phase Cracking of Eugenol: Distribution of Condensable Products as Functions of Temperature and Residence Time” at the 68th southwest regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, Baton Rouge, La., Nov. 2012. International Studies Dr. J. Ulyses Balderas presented “Microfinanzas, Empresa Social y Autoempleo: ?Un proyecto de Enseñanza/Aprendizaje en Bolivia” at the first international Congress of Development, Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship and “Successes and Barriers of Study Abroad

Music Dr. Glenn Garrido joined the University as chair of the Music Department in fall 2012. In September, he conducted the Civic Orchestra of Milan at the Court of Honor of the City Palace, or Palazzo Marino, in Milan, Italy. Garrido was the first U.S. citizen to guest conduct the more-than-150-year-old orchestra. In November, he conducted the Costa Rica Philharmonic Orchestra at the National Museum. He serves as music director of the new Houston Latin American Philharmonic Orchestra. 19


Dr. John Hittinger presented “The Artist as the Connection Between Art and Faith in Writings of John Paul II and Jacques Maritain” to the American Maritain Association, Philadelphia, Pa., Oct., 2012. Dr. Steven J. Jensen presented “The Role of the Exterior Action in the Moral Species,” at the University of St. Tomás, Santiago, Chile; and “The Problem of Tautological Norms” and “The Relation of the Moral Object and Moral Norms,” at the University of Adolpho Ibanez, Santiago, Chile, Jan. 2013. Dr. Theodore P. Rebard presented “The High Mass: Superlative Work of Art” at the

American Maritain Association Conference, Oct. 2012. Political Science Dr. Jon R. Taylor presented with Dr. Jean-Philippe Faletta “Everything you Know is Wrong or Double Your Money Back: Forecasting the 2012 Presidential Election,” at Blinn CollegeBrenham, Tx., Oct. 2012. Service Learning Dr. Jean-Philippe Faletta, Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Contreras, and Dr. Rick Krustchinsky presented “How Service-Learning Enhances Active and Collaborative Learning While Providing a Foundation for Life-Long Learning: Two Case Studies from a Liberal Arts University in an

International City” at the international conference on Education, Research and Innovation, Madrid, Spain, Nov. 2012. Theology Sr. Madeleine Grace, CVI, presented “A New Beginning in a New Land A Recasting of a Treasured Heritage” at the American Catholic Historical Association conference, New Orleans, La., Jan. 2013; and “The Green, the White and the Red: The Concept of Martyrdom in Medieval Ireland” at the Texas Medieval Conference, University of Houston, Oct. 2012. Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta, SSL, STD, presented “Lectio Divina: a patristic approach to

the Scripture” (Bilingual) at the Adult Faith, Formation, and Evangelization Forum 2012: Light the Fire of Faith/Cumbre de Evangelización y Formación en la Fe de Adultos: Enciende el fuego de la Fe (Bilingual Forum), sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York and the American Bible Society, Nov. 2012; and“La teología lucana, modelo interpretativo para la Nueva Evangelización en Estados Unidos” (Bilingual) and “La carta a los Gálatas: modus operandi de Pablo como modelo para una Nueva Evangelización en Norteamérica” (Bilingual) at the National Association of Hispanic Priests convention, Louisville, Ky., Oct. 2012.

Publications Clarage, James. “The Pythagorean Roots of Introductory Physics,”Science and Education Journal, Nov. 2012. Davis, Charles; Dykman, Charlene. “Addressing Resistance to Workflow Automation,” Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 9/3, Dec. 2012. Fernandez, Ramon and Turner, Mark. “Could Your S Corporation be a Hobby?” Today’s CPA, Nov./Dec. 2012. Garcia-Contreras, Rogelio. Book Review: On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Conversation, Literal Magazine, Winter 2012. Garcia-Contreras, Rogelio; Heard, Theresa L.; Faletta, Jean-Philippe; Krustchinsky, Rick. “The Application of Service-Learning as a Pedagogy at the Domestic and International Levels: Two Case Studies at the University of St. Thomas – Houston, Texas,” Service-Learning in Higher Education: Connecting the Global to the Local, (eds.) Phylis Lan Lin and Mark Wiegand. Indianapolis, IN: University of Indianapolis Press, 2013. 20

Grace, CVI, Madeleine M. “A New Beginning in a New Land: A Recasting of a Treasured Heritage,” Catholic Southwest: A Journal of History and Culture, 23, 2012. Hittinger, John P. “The Christian Church,” The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy, University of Edinburgh Press, 2012. Knasas, John F. X. “Aquinas’ Intellector of Being and Dawson’s Narrative of Cultural History,” Thomism and Asian Cultures, Alfredo P. Co (ed), Manila: University of Santo Tomás Publishing, 2012. Jensen, Steven. Review: Michael Barnwell, The Problem of Negligent Omissions: Medieval Action Theories to the Rescue, in The Modern Schoolman, 89, 2012. Ledesma, Elmer. “Vapor-Phase Cracking of Eugenol: Distribution of Tar Products as Functions of Temperature and Residence Time,” Energy & Fuels, American Chemical Society, Jan. 9, 2013. Rosales Acosta, SSL, STD, Dempsey. La victoria sobre el poder de la muerte. Ensayo semántico y narrativo del texto griego de Marcos 9:30-32, (Editorial

Círculo Rojo, 2012), Peer Review: NT Abstracts, 57/1, Jan. 2013. Book Review: Garbini, Giovanni, Letteratura e politica nell'Israele antico, in Review of Biblical Literature, Nov. 22, 2012. Simms, Michele. “The Noble Profession of Business: Cultivating Responsible Practice,” Teaching Ethics, 13/2, Spring 2013. “Emerging Trends and Ethics in Corporate Social Responsibility,” Socially Responsible and Sustainable Business around the Globe: The New Age of Corporate Social Responsibility,” J. Westhover (ed.), Common Ground Publishing, 2013. Starner, John W. Lectures on SQL and Relational Database Design, CreateSpace Publishing, 2012.

Taylor, Janice L. “Teaching Through the Lens of Resilience Theory and Black Feminist Theory,” The Handbook of Educational Theories, B.J. Irby, G. Brown, R. Lara-Alecio & S. Jackson (ed), 2013.

Taylor, Jon R. “Choices for Chinese Political Science: Methodological Positivism or Methodological Pluralism?” and “Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom, Let One Hundred Thoughts Contend: Political Science with Chinese Characteristics,” Political Science and Chinese Political Studies: The State of the Field, Sujian Guo (ed.), New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013. Talar, Charles J. “Martyr to the Truth:” The Autobiography of Joseph Turmel, Co-translated with Elizabeth Emery (Wipf & Stock, 2012). “Rehabilitating Richard Simon, Legitimating Alfred Loisy,” The Rise of Historical Consciousness among the Christian Churches, Studies in Religion and the Social Order, University Press of America, 2013. Stewart, Charles Anthony. “Flying Buttresses & Pointed Arches in Byzantine Cyprus,” Masons At Work, Philadelphia: Center for Ancient Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2012.


Class of 1962 Alumna receives French Medal of Honor

Charles Molesworth published two books this past year: And Bid Him Sing: A Biography of Countee Cullen (U. of Chicago Press), the first full-length biography of this well-known Harlem Renaissance writer; and The Works of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press).

Elizabeth Glassman, MBA ’89 was awarded the French Medal of Honor and named Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, an honor bestowed by the French government in recognition of “eminent artists and writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.” With this recognition, Glassman, president and CEO of Terra Foundation for American Art, joins distinguished company. Other American recipients of the medal include jazz artist and composer Ornette Coleman, architect Richard Meier, and actors Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Read more at

Class of 1970 Catherine ‘Katy’ Walter, along with partner Michael Swan, received the first Society of Authors/British Council English Language Teaching Book Award for the advanced level of their Oxford English Grammar Course. Walter also won an OxTALENT Award for excellence in the use of new technologies in higher education. She has been a lecturer in applied linguistics at the University of Oxford since April 2009 and is a fellow of Linacre College Oxford.

Class of 1980 Author, playwright and comedian Dr. Robert Cooper is now a professional motivational speaker on brain anatomy and function, memory, learning styles, study skills, time and stress management, and other topics key to success in college and professional life. He performs “Building A Better Bob,” a blend of lecture and comedy, nationwide at universities, corporations and churches. Cooper also released a stand-up comedy CD, “Sparkly Dunces,” which was recorded before a live audience in Jones Hall on the UST campus in February 2011.

Class of 1981 Judge Judy Kaderka Warne was named Jurist of the Year for 2012 by the Texas Chapter of the

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The recipient is selected from all sitting judges in the State of Texas who practice family law. Warne is only the second Harris County judge to have received the honor.

Class of 1983 Psychologist Dr. Ken Buckle and his wife recently returned to the Houston area to start a nonprofit counseling organization called “Gratia Plena Counseling.” The organization will remain faithful to the teachings, values and traditions of the Catholic Church. Buckle was previously clinical director for a national software company based in Phoenix, Ariz.

Class of 1993 Nathalie Sessions wed David Fye in October 2012 at an Austin winery. Among the couple’s closest family and friends, guests included fellow UST alumni Jennifer Gaines Carrettin ’92, Benjamin Carrettin ’92, Melba Fernandez ’94, John Kertz ’95 and Star Stefka-Borg MBA ’00. A week prior to the wedding, Nathalie officially became a registered dietitian. Nathalie has also founded Grocery Girl, a Houston-based nutrition coaching and consulting business dedicated to helping individuals achieve optimal health.

Class of 1995 Maria Fontana Magee recently accepted the position of director of development for St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in The Woodlands, Texas. Maria Gloria Munguia Wellman received a doctorate in American Studies in December 2012 from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Her dissertation was titled “The Borderpsychosocial Development Project.”

Anita Klueg ’03 and husband Curt, along with their two daughters, Rehema and Bethany, will be returning to Mombasa, Kenya, as missionaries after spending five years in Chicago. They will be rejoining Maryknoll Lay Missioners in August. Curt will work in the prison system and Anita in an AIDS orphans project called H.O.P.E. Their daughters will be starting school in Mombasa in September.

Class of 1996

Class of 2009

Meghan Ehrlich Horton and husband David are proud to announce the adoption of a boy, Michael Shepherd. Michael was born on Sept. 19, 2012 in McAlester, Okla.

Michelle Shannahan and Paul Scheffler ’06 wed on May 26, 2012, in the Chapel of St. Basil. Fr. Robert Crooker, CSB, celebrated the traditional Latin, Novus Ordo Mass with Fr. Anthony Giampietro, CSB, concelebrating. Fr. Joseph Pilsner, CSB, officiated the nuptial ceremony. The wedding party was full of alumni, as Emily Cook ’09 served as the maid of honor, Kimberley Garcia Valdez ’09 served as a bridesmaid, Luke Stuckey ’07 served as a groomsman, and Tim Caruthers ’03 as master of ceremonies. Music was performed by Dr. Crista Miller of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, with UST alumni and students as choir members.

Class of 1999 Harold Willis accepted a position at The Chocolate Bar located in Houston, as kitchen staff. Harold was previously employed at Magnificat House, Inc., as staff member at the St. Joseph Clubhouse.

Class of 2003 Katherine Jenkins Cangelosi and husband John celebrated their nuptials on Feb. 4, 2012, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Rosenberg, Texas.

We want to hear from you! Send your classnotes to 21

Italian Festival


UST Alumni Night at the Movies – September 21, 2012 The Alumni Association hosted Alumni Movie Night, featuring The Goonies on a big screen on the Campus Life Mall. Forty alumni and their families attended and enjoyed the movie with fellow alumni.

Italian Festival – October 13, 2012 The Alumni Board’s annual wine walk at the Italian Festival drew alumni, friends and Houstonians to enter the drawing for a basket filled with Italian wine, pasta, coffee and gift certificates to Italian restaurants. More than $1,000 was raised to support the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.

Saint Arnold’s Brewery Night

Saint Arnold’s Brewery Night – October 23, 2012 Sixty-five alumni attended the Alumni Association’s 2nd Annual October Social Hour at Saint Arnold’s Brewery. Guests enjoyed tasting the various Saint Arnold’s beers and complimentary appetizers.

Chapter Receptions – October 26-27, 2012 Thirty-five alumni attended the Austin Alumni Chapter reception hosted by Cecilia Abbott ’85 in her home in Austin. Steve and Adele Dufilho ’66/’66 hosted the San Antonio Chapter reception held at the Villa Finale Home in the historical King William District. UST President Dr. Robert Ivany delivered his State of the University address at both receptions.

Annual Alumni Memorial Mass – November 10, 2012 Fr. Mike Buentello, CSB, presided at the Annual Alumni Memorial Mass held at the Chapel of St. Basil. The Mass honored 21 alumni, faculty and staff who passed away in 2011. Afterward, guests shared memories of their loved ones as they viewed pictures from class yearbooks.

Christmas in the Mansion

Christmas in the Mansion – December 4, 2012 More than 200 alumni and guests celebrated the beginning of the Advent season at the Link-Lee Mansion and watched as President Ivany lit the Christmas tree on the Academic Mall. Guests donated more than 100 toys to benefit the 19th Annual Share your Blessings Christmas Giving program for Catholic Charities. 22

Winter Graduation – December 15, 2012 The University celebrated 2012 winter graduates during Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. A reception followed in UST’s Jerabeck Gym, where the Alumni Association Board and the Office of Alumni Relations welcomed more than 400 winter grads into the Alumni Association.

Winter Graduation

Marathon Cheer Party – January 13, 2013 The Alumni Association hosted its annual Houston Marathon Cheer Party in front of the Link Lee Mansion. Dr. Ivany was among the group that braved the cold, rainy weather to come out to cheer on 40-plus alumni, students and friends who ran either the half or full marathon. The Alumni Association sold donuts and coffee to raise funds for the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.

Homecoming: Celtic Corral Days – February 22-23, 2013 More than 250 alumni, friends and family attended the Homecoming 2013 Celtic Corral Days, Texas-themed weekend. On Friday evening a Reunion Mass was held at the Chapel of St. Basil, honoring the 50th reunion of the class of 1963. To kick-off the weekend festivities, President Ivany hosted the President’s Reception in Link-Lee Mansion, where he sported his cowboy hat and mingled with alumni. On Saturday, the class of 1963 reunited with friends and professors at brunch. That afternoon, guests lined up for Father Mike’s famous barbecue. Families enjoyed the petting zoo, the bounce house and the turtle races, and Lenny the Mascot made an appearance. After the men’s basketball team scored another victory, alumni headed over to Griff’s. A basket was raffled off at Griff’s and proceeds will go toward a Seal Plaza Brick for Reunion 2013.

Homecoming 2013




F A M I L I E S Peter Colvin ’87, Ann Colvin Streiff ’61, Adele Colvin Dufilho ’66, Stephen Dufilho ’66, Cathy Dufilho ’90, Dennis Dufilho ’62, Gilbert Dufilho ’70, Susan Colvin Tischendorf ’69, August Tischendorf ’67, Laura Tischendorf ’91, Judith Berger ’64, Jane McNally ’78, Joseph “Joey” Colvin ’08, Mary Caro Colvin ’07, Marilyn Hebinck Hill ’57 and Patrick George Colvin ’10.


ormer Lady Celt Catherine Loth Ruff ’12 and John Ruff ’11 (below), a UST student-athlete as well,

married in June 2012. John was crowned Mardi Gras king in 2012, reflecting the royalty of his wife’s grandmother, Julie Davila de Ybarrondo ’57 (above), who

he University’s Director of Catholic Outreach

was crowned UST Mardi Gras queen in 1953. She met

Elsie Darst Parsons Biron ’69 shares her family

and married Henri de Ybarrondo ’57. Other family


teve Waldner ’75 and his son, Cameron Waldner ’06, MLA ’08, chaired St. Thomas

Homecoming 2013. Steve met his wife Patricia ’75 at UST, and the legacy family also includes his brother Paul Waldner III ’73, sister Margaret De la Garza MLA ’96, niece Casey Waldner ’06 and nephew Todd De la Garza. Steve’s father, Paul Waldner, Jr., also taught at St. Thomas in the 60s.

legacy that includes her children, Tony Parsons ’93,

alumni include Clare Nietubicz Ruff ’88, Angela Loth

Peggy Parsons McDonell ’95 and Elizabeth Parsons

’07, Rebecca Loth ’09, Marie Davila Gerety ‘52 and

Diaz ’99 and husband Beau Biron ’68. The legacy

Clarita de Ybarrondo Sarabia ’52.

list continues with Michael A. Parsons ’69, Mary Alice Parsons ’71, Mary Anne Darst Speck, ’67, Loretta Darst Pressnall ’77, Theresa Darst Brumfield ’72, Sandy Ambrose Darst ’92, Joy Thompson Parsons ’68, Nancy Whitford Darst, ’89/’95, Thomas J. Darst, Jr. ’70, James M. Darst ’71, Joe Darst ’92, Eddie Parsons ’64, Robert C. Parsons ’66, Steve Parsons ’67, Bill Parsons ’71, Tom Parsons ’72, Paul Surgi Speck ’68, Stephanie Darst Conrey, 72, Julia Duff Jones, John

ary Colvin Hill ’56 met husband Andrew Hill ’57

Bulavas, Katherine Sitts, Charlie Balsam ’79, Rev. John

at UST. The list of family alumni includes

Francis Ulm ’80, Celeste and Greg McDonell ’68,



Annette Hill Sofka ’65, John Hill ’72, Paul

Rachael McDonell Rolon ’96, Sam Rolon ’95, Lauren

Sofka ’60, Andrew Hill, Jr. ’93, Joseph Colvin ’59,

Kelly Wasielski ’10, Michele Coffield Whitebread ’09,

Harriet Brueggeman Colvin ’60, Gayle Brueggeman

Mike Whitebread ’03, Liessa Aulbach, Charlie Aulbach

Mouton ’63, Joseph Colvin ’84, Jane Colvin ’85,

’68 and Carol Bisett Aulbach ’68.

Do you have a family history at St. Thomas? Submit your own legacy story at


William ‘Bill’ Aydam, husband of Marie Tamborello Aydam ’52, died on Dec. 20, 2012. Janice Reynolds Morefield Bazor, sister of Dr. Roger Morefield, associate professor of finance and economics, died on Oct. 4, 2012. William J. Foley, husband of Bernadette Simpson Foley ’56, died on Sept. 26, 2012. Donald William Hogan, husband of Mary Margaret Hoesel Hogan ’51 and father of Margaret Keller ’78, Stephen Hogan, Teresa Piraino ’88, Richard Hogan ’89 and John Hogan ’91, died on Dec. 5, 2012. He was dean of studies at UST prior to his retirement in April 1989 after 29 years of service. He taught French, and he was the French Club advisor and international student advisor. Sara Rose Hugger, wife of N. Ray Hugger ’60, died on March 7, 2013. Arthur Koenig ’66, brother of Betty Fischer ’52, ’91, archive records coordinator, and Mary Belle DePugh ’56, died on Feb. 2, 2013. Sr. Miriam Meskill, CVI ’83, died on March 6, 2013. Larry Joe Miggins, son of Larry Miggins ’52 and brother of Maureen Swanson ’85 and Neil Miggins ’92, died on Sept. 14, 2012. Nada Jean Alden Nolan ’79 died on Nov. 5, 2012. Anthony Palasota ’69, cousin of Joanna Palasota, director of Administrative Computing & Institutional Research, and Dr. John Palasota, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, died on Feb. 24, 2013. Johnnie Rosell, mother of Dr. Rosie Rosell, biology chair, died on Feb. 2, 2013.

Fr. Keon Remembered for Humor, Storytelling Beloved Basilian priest and mentor, Fr. James Keon, CSB, a retired St. Thomas philosophy professor, died on Oct. 24, 2012, in Ontario, Canada. Born on May 18, 1925, in Ontario, Fr. Keon was an airman in the Canadian Air Force in WWII, and an avid baseball player in the seminary. He was ordained on June 29, 1952. An icon at UST since 1965, he officially retired in 1997 but continued teaching philosophy part time at UST until 2002. He lived in the Basilian residence on campus and could often be caught doing his daily exercise routine, walking the stairs in the Academic Mall. “Fr. Keon lived and embodied the mission of UST through his life as a priest and professor,” said Fr. Mike Buentello, CSB, campus chaplain and director of Campus Ministry. He inspired, motivated and lifted the hearts of students, faculty and staff at UST with his vibrant spirit, imaginative journeys and innate wisdom. He had a knack for relating to the young and old while giving them guidance and making them laugh. Fr. Keon weaved humor throughout his thoughtful homilies, which still ring true with students who continue to retell his stories.

Samuel Paul Sacco ’60, father of Kathryn Sacco Smith ’93 and Julie Sacco ’96, died on Jan. 25, 2013. Frances Mooney Seger, University benefactor, died on Feb. 28, 2013. Wade Simoneaux ’98, son of Darrell J. Simoneaux ’71, died on Sept. 22, 2012.

Senior communication major James Ramos remembers Fr. Keon as a “legend.” “Every day he would eat lunch with students in the cafeteria, trying to meet everyone,” Ramos said. “My memories of frequent conversations with him over salad and pizza bring me so much joy. If he didn’t know your name, he’d give you a name and come up with the most wonderful, extravagant, outlandish stories about how you met in the past. I met him while hot air ballooning in a Great Balloon Race that I won.” The priest’s dedication to spending time at lunch with students in Crooker Café was the catalyst for the University to create Fr. Keon Days in recent years. On the first Wednesday of each month, this time of fellowship promoted student and faculty/staff interaction while enjoying a meal together. In 2010, a video was created by Cimela Kidonakis ’09 and Darnell Miller ’10, a Master in Liberal Arts student, to celebrate Fr. Keon’s birthday. In the video, St. Thomas students honored Fr. Keon as “the coolest priest ever,” “a storyteller,” “a bright spirit,” and someone who took “a genuine interest in getting to know you.” A shorter video tribute was created for the Catholic Company’s Incredible Priests, Incredible Stories essay/video contest, in which he was a finalist. Alumna Frances Escriva, BA ’78, MBA ’00, remembers Fr. Keon as always smiling and recognizing opportunities for joy in all things. “Fr. Keon was not only a wonderful professor who inspired us to learn by making the classes fun and joyful, he was also kind and compassionate,” Escriva said. “I never saw him get angry or upset at any student. He always just gently encouraged us to do better. He touched so many lives, not just his students, but many other people as well.”

Mary Alice Guarin Summers ’58 died on March 8, 2013.

Ben Warner IV ’06 and Theresa Martin ’08, died on Oct. 11, 2012.

George Swilley, brother of Louis Swilley ’51, Catherine Swilley ’63 and Johnnie Doutt ’61, died on Jan. 9, 2013.

Warren Ernest Weathers ’53 died on Jan. 18, 2013.

Ben F. Warner, Jr., father of Ben Warner III ’73 and grandfather of

Doyle E. Westergren, father of Debbye Crofoot-Morley, director of development, died on Feb. 16, 2013.


Educating Leaders of Faith and Character 3800 Montrose Boulevard • Houston, Texas 77006-4626

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Board of Directors Ms. Michele Malloy, Chair Stewart & Wiley, PLLC Mr. David Harvey, Jr., Vice Chair D.E. Harvey Builders Dr. Robert Ivany, President University of St.Thomas Ms. Cecilia T. Abbott Harden Healthcare Rev. Robert J. Barringer, CSB St. Augustine’s Seminary Rev. Patrick Braden, CSB University of St.Thomas Rev. Michael A. Buentello, CSB University of St.Thomas Rev. Brendan J. Cahill Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Sr. Mary Roberta Connors, FSE Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist Rev. Robert W. Crooker, CSB University of St.Thomas Mrs. Lois Davis L.D. Design His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Dr. Herbert P. Edmundson, Jr. Memorial Neurological Association Mr. Daniel Elustondo Upstream Americas Mr. George Farris Investments Mr. Michael Fleming Fleming and Associates, PC Rev. Anthony Giampietro, CSB University of St.Thomas Mr. Joe M. Gutierrez National Energy & Trade, LP Mr. Curtis W. Huff Intervale Capital Mr. Michael Jain Jain & Jain, CPA Mrs. Gloria Kalman Community Volunteer

Capital Campaign Cabinet

Ms. Kelli Kickerillo Kickerillo Companies

Mr. Gary Rosenthal The Sterling Group

Mr. Andrius R. Kontrimas Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP

Rev. Thomas Rosica, CSB Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation

Mr. Paul Layne Howard Hughes Corporation

Ms. Kim Ruth Bank of America

Mr. Raymond A. LeBlanc Retired, Keystone International

Rev. Ronald G. Schwenzer, CSB Retired, St.Thomas High School

Dr. Sandi Lemming Village Family Practice

Mr. Robert Signorelli Retired, Anheuser-Busch Company

Ms. Phyllis Mandola Mandolas Restaurants

Mr. Randy Velarde The Plaza Group

Mr. Stanley Paur Former Chairman, Pulse-EFT Association LP

Mr. Don Wang MetroBank – NA

Rev. Joseph Pilsner, CSB University of St.Thomas Mr. Reynaldo Reza Fayez Sarofim & Co. Ms. Mary Ricciardello Certified Public Accountant

Dr. Kenneth Wells Alken Health Resources

Chair Mr. David Harvey, Jr. Vice Chairs Mrs. Cora Sue Mach Mr. Harry Mach Mr. Stan Marek Mr. David McClanahan Mr. Patrick Moran Mrs. Raye White Mr. Fred Zeidman President Dr. Robert Ivany

Mrs. Raye White Fayez Sarofim & Co. Mr. Fred Zeidman XRoads Solutions Group

(Above) Photo Contest Entry: The Doors of Knowledge by Mohamed Benmeddour–Amateur, Architecture

UST Magazine Spring 2013  
UST Magazine Spring 2013  

Students and Alumni Shine at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.