Alumline (Fall 2022)

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Greeting Cougars,

I am delighted to bring you our Fall 2022 edition of Alumline! The University of Houston has a storied history of preparing its students to lead and change the world. This is best exemplified through our alumni who continue to rise above adversity, turning challenges into solutions. In this issue, we invite you into their stories of determination and resilience and explain how their UH experience paved the way to their success.

The University has touched all our lives in unique and substantial ways, and our continued engagement only helps solidify our connection even more. Whether it’s going to a game, volunteering for an event, or networking with fellow alumni, there are endless opportunities to become more involved with our beloved alma mater. Take it from me, enhancing your relationship with the University brings countless rewards.

To learn about the many activities that the UH Alumni Association has planned, be sure and visit and also check out CoogsConnect at to expand your Cougar network.

Until then, I wish you a great fall season and look forward to crossing paths soon.

Alumni Association Foundation Board of Directors

Wayne Luckett (’74) President

Michael Sachs (’97) Incoming President

Drue DaSilva (’93, M.S. ’99) Immediate Past President Shazia Khan (’84) Secretary

Richard Whiteley (’93, J.D. ’99) Treasurer

Scott Rando (’83) Member at Large

Erik Barajas (’99) Member

Katy Caldwell (’78) Member

Kelly Coleman, M.D. (’98) Member

Keith Cornelius (’83) Member

Dawn Holiday (’01) Member

James Hong (’05) Member

Charlene Johnson (’91) Member

Margo Kaplan (’03) Member

Shawn Kuehn (’10, M.B.A. ’13, M.S. ’13) Member

Sandy Lee (’84) Member

Amanda Montag (’02) Member

Wayne Luckett (’74)


University of Houston Alumni Association Foundation Board

Alex Obregon (’09, M.B.A. ’14) Member

Tracy Kirkland-Payne (’86, UHCL M.B.A. ’87) Member

Jason Payne (’99, J.D. ’02) Member

Trent Perez (’05) Member

David Roland (’83) Member

Eugenia Vance (’90) Member

Agnes DeFranco (’83, M.B.A. ’89, Ed.D. ’93)

Ex Officio Faculty

John Garcia (’99)

Ex Officio President’s Council

Kaitlyn Palividas (‘17)

Ex Officio Young Alumni

Eloise Brice

Ex Officio

Vice President for University Advancement

Mike Pedé (’89)

Ex Officio

Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

University of Houston Alumni Association Staff

Listed alphabetically

Chuck Arnold (’94) Executive Director of Alumni Relations

Leia Burroughs Student Engagement Manager

Mayra Castillo (’19) Digital Content Strategist mcasti27@ uh .edu

Julian Cearley Senior Graphic Designer jcearley@ uh .edu

Nancy Vecera Clark (’76), CFRE Director of Legacy Programs

Kendra Hakanson (UHD M.B.A. ‘22) Director of Events and Special Programs

Carolyn Hartmann Senior Communications Director cwhartma@ uh .edu

Ashleigh Hildreth Program Manager

Nyoka Nero Administrative Assistant

Mike Pedé (’89) Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

Anneka Roberson Project Manager

Taylor Santana-Rouleau (‘16, M.A. ‘17) Program Manager, Affiliated Alumni Associations

Kirstyn Speich (’16) Life Member Manager


Opening Remarks from UHAAF Board President

Julieta Garcia (‘70, M.A. ‘72)

Alexandria Hollowell (‘19)

Edward Carrizales (‘13)

Steven Starks (‘01)

Richard Whiteley (‘93, JD ‘99)

Tangerine Bowl Reunion

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A digital version of Alumline is available online at
Project 24. Legacy Scholarships 28. The Nook Cafe 30. Coogs are Everywhere! ON THE COVER
Hilton College Reunion
Photo of the the Cullen Fountain
2011 – 2022

A Well-Deserved HONOR

For many, July 7 is just another day. However, for Julieta Garcia (’70, M.A. ’72), this particular day is one that she will always remember. On July 7, 2022, Julieta Garcia received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public, or private endeavors.

Julieta Garcia was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president in the United States. As president of The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB), she pioneered a partnership between UTB and Texas Southmost College, where she also served as president from 1986–1992. She stepped down as president of UTB in 2014 upon the establishment of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she currently teaches communications.

To allow a further glimpse into this successful alumna, we took the opportunity to ask Julieta some questions, ranging from life philosophy to personal achievements. As you will see, Julieta remains both grateful and humble.

Why did you choose to attend the University of Houston (UH)?

I married at 19 to a friend of my older brother. I was attending Southwest Texas State in San Marcos at the time, but he felt we had to live in Houston so he could get a job to support both of us. I recall that over a thousand people moved into Houston every week in those days. I finished my finals at SWTS one week, married over the weekend in Brownsville, and began classes the next week at UH.

What influenced you the most while at UH?

My professors demanded excellence and I tried hard to produce it. Often however, I went to class sleep deprived and less prepared than I should have been. I had two babies 13 months apart while in Houston. I remember wanting to tell my professors, “I’m really smart; I just haven’t slept in two years.”

How did your education at UH prepare you for your career journey?

It taught me to compete at the very highest level. I enjoyed that.

What is the one accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant: personally or professionally?

Surviving the tough times. I’ve worked for nine chancellors, many more regents, governors, legislators, and U.S. presidents. Each era brought with it challenges. I had to learn to survive the tough times because there was so much more work to do.

Who do you consider to be your role model?

I’ve learned from many people, but mostly from my father, who raised us after the death of our mother. He gave us strength, taught us independence, and had high expectations.

What is the single, best lesson that helped you navigate your career?

Raise your hand; let people know that you want to be in the game; not on the sidelines. Don’t demur.

What would you tell today’s students in how they should define success?

Find work to do that is important, that makes a difference in people’s lives, and then do it honestly.

In your teaching experience, is there something in particular that you believe students are lacking today?

I think they lack the opportunity for intimate and honest conversation. Time with elders to learn; to think and to grow their own courage.

Besides the academic side of teaching, how do you try to impact your students?

I try to infect them with the joy of learning something new; to have enthusiasm for hard work; to take on the responsibility of improving the world around them; be honest.

You have accomplished so much; is there something on your bucket list that you want to accomplish?

I have five grandchildren. The eldest is 26; the youngest is 6. I would enjoy getting to see who they become.

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It is hard to believe that successful chef entrepreneur, Alexandria Hollowell (’19) lived in her car while attending the University of Houston. “I was majoring in Communications and would often park my car in front of the Valenti School of Communications,” said Alexandria. “I felt safe there because UH security would drive by quite often. I would wake up each morning, go to CVS, clean myself up in the restroom, buy a dollar breakfast and then go to class.” It is this type of “persevere regardless” mentality that pushed Alexandria to create the first-of-its-kind cuisine in Austin, Texas. “I didn’t know at the time that a setback would lead me to where I am today,’’ said Alexandria.

Like many experienced in the wake of COVID-19, Alexandria was laid off from her job in early 2020. Her intuition that something of this nature might happen led Alexandria to begin mapping out a side business venture. “A friend of mine encouraged me to put my cooking skills to use, so after I lost my job, I went to H.E.B. and purchased three food jars, not knowing what I was actually going to put in them,” said Alexandria. After much consternation, Alexandria decided to fill the three jars with desserts: keylime, banana pudding and chocolate mousse. She set up a table curbside outside her home and began selling. After her neighbor bought out all her desserts, raving about how much he liked them, Alexandria went into action.

Within four months, Alexandria was selling out, offering a unique blend of a Creole and Gullah-Geechee infused cuisine. Creole is the non-Anglo-Saxon culture and lifestyle that flourished in Louisiana before it was sold to the United States in 1803 and that continued to dominate South Louisiana until the early decades of the 20th century. The Gullah-Geechee culture comprises the descendants of West and Central Africans who were enslaved and brought to the lower Atlantic states of

North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia to work on the coastal rice, Sea Island cotton and indigo plantations. Alexandria’s novel creation, known as LE Meals™, has become a cultural food phenomenon in Austin, being featured in Austin Monthly, The Austin Chronicle and the national food website, Eater, amongst others. Due to the high demand, Alexandria has opened another location in addition to her residential takeaway establishment.

When asked where her “can-do” attitude originated, Alexandria pointed out that her time at UH definitely made an impact. “I was so fortunate to be taken in and mentored by several good people,” said Alexandria. “One of them was Dr. Temple Northup the associate professor at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communications who solely saw my worth, and as a result, moved the obstacles out of my way in order for me to fly.

My advisor for the UH Fulbright program, Dr. Benjamin Rayder was another one. He encouraged me to push beyond my situation for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Renowned cinematographer and UH alumnus, Brad Rushing (’86), who I met on a UH-sponsored trip to Los Angeles, connected me with influential people that provided great opportunities and placed me at the front of those lines, based on his name and referral. Lastly, assistant director of media services and feefunded organizations at UH, Christopher Walker, was also very supportive. At that time, I could not afford graduation pictures, so Christopher took them for me. Those pictures are hanging on my wall today. The University of Houston paved the way for me, and I will be forever grateful.”

To learn about LE Meals and its offerings, please visit


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In 2005, the 79th Texas Legislature authorized the Governor to appoint a non-voting student regent to the University of Houston System. To aid the Governor in his selection, the chancellor of each university system must recommend students based on applications submitted by each president on behalf of the institution’s student government association. Since that time, several students have fulfilled this exciting role, serving as the liaison between the student body and the Board of Regents. While the position does not have the ability to vote, the student regent can voice concerns on behalf of students, as well as communicate board policy to the UH student body.

On June 8, Edward Carrizales-Saucedo (’13) was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the student regent for the UH System. “My time as a UH student truly opened many doors of opportunity for me,” said Edward. “As the student regent, I hope to communicate the needs of today’s students and continue advancing the reputation of this great University.”

As a first-generation college student, Edward had a keen understanding of how challenging the student experience can be. “I transferred to UH from Texas A&M,” said Edward.

“Growing up in a small community in Houston, the A&M campus was a bit of a culture shock for me. Once I got to UH, I immediately noticed the diversity and the inclusive community.”

It didn’t take Edward long to find his footing at UH. He began joining various student organizations and seeking out career opportunities. “The C.T. Bauer College of Business really provided quality career networking avenues,” said Edward. “I was able to get an internship and hone the skills that helped me in my professional endeavors.”

After his undergrad, Edward continued to enhance his involvement in the University, serving as president of the Hispanic Alumni Association and as a member of the Young Alumni Association. “When I heard about the opportunity to serve as the student regent, I immediately wanted to apply,” said Edward. “Being both a commuter and first-generation student, I think I have a unique understanding of the college journey and the expectations that go along with it.”

Edward currently serves as an assistant vice president at Zions Bancorporation and is currently attending UH for his M.B.A.

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With nationally recognized physicians versed in patient care, the UH Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine is positioned to prepare the next generation of 21st century physicians to champion primary care. UH alumnus, Steven Starks (’01) is among the expert faculty who will play a role in improving health out comes in Texas and beyond.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Steven came to know the city of Houston through his uncle. “My uncle lived in the Third Ward, so I was exposed to the vibrancy and resiliency of the community early on,” said Steven. “The diversity and the vastness of Houston appealed to me so when it was time to apply to college, the University of Houston was at the top of my list.” With an interest in the sciences, Steven gradu ated from UH with a degree in psychology.

After graduating, Steven briefly worked for a grant management consulting firm, but his interest in medicine continued to take hold. “After I took the MCAT and unsuccessfuly applied to medical school, I knew I needed to improve in some areas, so I began post-baccalaureate work at UH,’’ said Steven. During that time, Steven worked at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Volunteer Services and had the opportunity to volunteer as an intake assistant at Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston and retook the MCAT. With this academic success and exposure to community health, he reapplied and was accepted into medical school, returning to his hometown to attend the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. “While I was there, Hurricane Katrina hit three weeks into my first year, and I witnessed first-hand the mental health disparities that can exist within a community,” said Steven. “This shifted my

perspective and deepened my commitment to address the cultural and social effects of mental health conditions on patients and families.”

Upon receiving the Dean’s Award at commencement, Steven accepted a residency in psychiatry at the Baylor College of Medicine. From there, Steven’s professional journey took him to Washington D.C. where he served under a Congressional Fellowship in health policy. During his fellowship year in the 116th Congress, Steven contributed to the design, drafting and roll out of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), the first comprehensive policy proposal to empower the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate the price of prescription drugs, which passed the House in December 2019.

In November 2019, Steven accepted the position as Clinical Assistant Professor at the UH Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine. In this role, he is involved in the education, curriculum development and community partnerships. “I also play a role in the Admissions process where I can help ensure we have a diverse representation of medical students,” said Steven.

To support and further his interest in psychiatry, Steven is a member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) where he serves on the APA Assembly to report on health policy issues. “I hope to create impact in instilling a culture where quality mental health treatment is accessible and equitable,” said Steven. “While we have come a long way in minimizing the stigma associated with mental health, we still have much more to accomplish in this area.”

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The University of Houston celebrated the opening of the new John M. O’Quinn Law Building on September 23. Poised to secure its place among the nation’s top tier law schools, the state-of-the-art facility will provide both students and faculty access to globally competitive research and scholarship. Among the guests that attended the dedication ceremony was UH Law alumnus, Richard Whiteley (’93, J.D. ’99). “I always felt that the previous Law building failed to represent the incredibly talented faculty, students and staff that were inside the building,” said Richard. “Now, we have a building that is truly representative of how great the Houston Law Center is, and how important it is to the community.”

Growing up in Houston, Richard developed an affinity for the University of Houston. “My uncle would take me to various sporting events,” said Richard. “I fondly remember the Phi Slama Jama days and attending football games.” After Richard graduated with his bachelor’s degree, he went to work for a manufacturing firm. During that time, he became involved in a wage dispute. “I actually represented myself and ended up winning the case,” said

Richard. “Because I so enjoyed that experience, I decided to take the LSAT.”

Fast forward to today. Richard is recognized as one of the more experienced commercial litigators in Texas, serving as a partner at Bracewell LLP and co-heading the firm’s construction litigation practice group. “The skills and the litigation experience that I honed from my time at UH Law Center have been a major contributor to my success thus far,” said Richard. “Soon after I graduated, I made it a point to become involved with the University.”

In addition to serving on several UH boards, including the UH Alumni Association Foundation Board and committees, Richard also supports various UH initiatives, one of which was the new Law Building campaign. “I believe that contributing and helping the University move forward is a way for me to give back what was offered to me and the advantages my degrees have provided for my family,” said Richard.

For his gift to the new John M. O’Quinn Law Building, the University has named the leadership reception area on the fifth floor, The Richard Whiteley Family Reception Area.

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The UH Alumni Association completed year two of a five year survey initiative regarding alumni and their connection to the University. A big thank you to those who took part in the survey thus far. The findings from the 2022 survey, which are shown below, will be used to help guide future engagement activities to provide the best possible alumni experience.
OPINIONS AND ATTITUDES Alumni are most interested in and would welcome more information in the following areas: » Identifying job opportunities for graduates » Mentoring students » Networking with other alumni » Attending general alumni and other university-related events » Volunteering for UH » Understanding the benefits of being an alumnus(a) » Hearing about alumni and their accomplishments » Learning how UH degree prepares graduates for lifetime wellbeing » Serving as ambassadors in promoting UH of alumni regard the frequency of communications (email, printed materials, social media, invitation to alumni events) as “about right” or would welcome more. Alumni attribute the following as important to their opinions about UH: » Value/respect for degree » School rankings » Availability of scholarships » Accomplishment of alumni and faculty » A diverse and inclusive environment » Success of athletics 68% Say they promote UH to others “regularly” or “all the time.” 96% Describe their current opinion of UH as “good” or “excellent.” 88% Would recommend UH to a prospective student. 77% Describe their alumni experience as “good” or “excellent.” 87% 97% Rate their decision to attend UH as a “good” or “great” decision. WE HEARD YOU!

A Reunion Like No Other

The 2022 football season marks the 60th anniversary of the UH football team earning a spot in the prestigious Tangerine Bowl. The 1962 season was the first year with Coach Bill Yeoman at the helm, helping the Cougars roll on to a 49-21 win over Miami. On September 24, the University took time out to honor the players and coaches connected to the famous victory during the UH vs. Rice home football game. We had the opportunity to catch up with three of the players who were part of this memorable time in UH history.

#88 Horst Paul (‘65, M.S. ‘67)

Migrating from Germany to Copperas Cove, Texas at the age of eleven, Horst Paul (‘65, M.S. ‘67), became acclimated to small town dynamics. “My high school football team switched from a six-man football team to a 12-man one in my high school freshman year,” said Paul. Growing up in Texas, Paul became interested in the space program. “At the time, NASA had just been selected for the Manned Space Center in 1961,” said Paul. “When I received the football scholarship from the University of Houston, I decided to hone my interests in the sciences and major in engineering.”

Coming from Copperas Cove, Paul came to appreciate the tight-knit community at UH. “The University had the smalltown atmosphere in a big city,” said Paul. Soon after arriving, Paul began playing the sport he loved and reaped the benefits of playing under the legendary Coach Bill Yeoman. “Coach Yeoman was like a father figure during my formative years at UH,” said Paul. “I never heard him say a curse word; he had strong principles.”

Under Coach Yeoman’s leadership, Paul was among the players who defeated Miami 49-21 in the 1962 Tangerine Bowl. “We started the season by beating both Baylor and Texas A&M,” said Paul.  “At the Tangerine Bowl (now the

Citrus Bowl), we felt good about the game.  Once back in Houston, we continued to hear from those friends who watched the Tangerine Bowl on black and white TV. They told us what a great game we played.”

Remembering that 1962 impact victory and his teammates prompted Paul to initiate the 50th Tangerine Bowl Reunion in 2012. “Several of my former teammates and I began thinking that since this (2012) marked the 50th anniversary of the bowl game that helped put UH on the map, we should gather all the participants for a reunion,” said Paul. Fast forward, ten years later, Paul, with some of his teammates and coaches, gathered at the UH vs Rice home football game to commemorate the 60th Tangerine Bowl Reunion.

“Since my time there, UH has changed from being known as Cougar High to a Tier One University, most recently under the outstanding leadership of UH President Renu Khator,” said Paul. “It took a long time for UH to build the infrastructure and gain the recognition of a major university in both academics and sports. Now, we have great academics and great sports with great facilities. Fans will be coming.”

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#34 Bobby Brezina (’63)

Bobby Brezina (’63) belongs to one of Houston’s most prolific football families. He, his five brothers, and his son Robby (’86, M.B.A. ’87) all played football for the University of Houston at one time. “Back when I went to UH, our athletic facility was an old army barracks,” said Brezina. “Fortunately, the food and housing were decent.” Brezina would go on to serve as team captain under the legendary UH football coach, Bill Yeoman. “I was able to develop a very close relationship with Coach Yeoman,” said Brezina. “To this day, I consider him to be one of the most important people in my life. He reinforced my faith and the benefits one can obtain from hard work.” In the Cougar’s first season under Coach Yeoman, Brezina helped lead the team to victory in the 1962 Tangerine Bowl. “We went into the game as a big underdog, which made winning the game extra special,” said Brezina.

Brezina’s love for the game and respect for Coach Yeoman ended up coming full circle when his son, Robby played football for UH in the 1980s. “It was very touching to see Robby want to carry on our family tradition at the University of Houston,” said Brezina. “It was wonderful for us to serve as Coach Yeoman’s first team captain, and for my son to serve as Coach Yeoman’s last team captain. My son was able to develop special bonds with his teammates just as I was able to do.” Brezina will always be grateful for his time both on and off the field at UH. “Coach Yeoman and the education that I received from UH gave our family the opportunity to do things we never dreamed of,” said Brezina. “We are forever in debt to UH.”

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#53 Ron Yokubaitis (’65, J.D. ’68)

Raised in Houston, Ron Yokubaitis (’65, J.D. ’68) grew up playing football and enjoying testing his entrepreneurial savvy. During his high school years, Yokubaitis bought eggs at 25 cents per dozen in Waller County and sold them for 75 cents per dozen in the Houston’s Memorial and Tanglewood neighborhoods, making more money than many with steady jobs at the time. Outside of these extracurricular activities, Yokubaitis was honing his football skills at St. Thomas High School. “My coach, Mike Michon was instrumental in helping me come in as “walk-on” on the UH football team,” said Yokubaitis. “At that time, few football players from private schools were offered scholarships.”

After rising in the ranks, showing that he could play the sport, Yokubaitis was offered a books and tuition scholarship at UH. “After my first semester on books and tuition, I was awarded a full football scholarship for four years, “said Yokubaitis. “After graduating in 1965, my talented wife, Carolyn worked to give me a scholarship to the UH Law School. When I graduated in 1968, Carolyn and I joined The Peace Corps and were sent to Brazil for two years.”

Playing under the legendary Coach Bill Yeoman, Yokubaitis remembers one quality in particular about his coach. “After years of playing football for many different coaches, one of the first things that I noticed about Coach

Yeoman was that he never said a curse word,” said Yokubaitis. “Coach Yeoman always impressed upon us to work hard and help others.” During his time with Coach Yeoman, Yokubaitis fondly remembers traveling to Miami with his teammates for the Tangerine Bowl. “We flew to Miami on several DC3 planes,” said Yokubaitis. “While we were there, we got to see Cypress Garden and a launch at Cape Canaveral. We also visited a hospital that had children who were paralyzed. I became a pen pal with one of the patients and corresponded with her for many years.”

In addition to the sight-seeing excursions on the way to Miami, Yokubaitis also remembers the lifelong friendships that he made during that memorable bowl game in 1962. “It is so sad to see that many of my friends have since passed,” said Yokubaitis. “I cherish those friendships. It will be nice to see some familiar faces at our 60th reunion.”

Yokubaitis remains grateful for the opportunity to have played football for UH and remains a steadfast supporter of the University. “I don’t see it as giving back, but see UH as another opportunity to make a better place,” said Yokubaitis. “The University of Houston, going into the Big XII, is ready for the next tier.”

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With the UH Alumni Association’s Coogs on the Road program, UH fans are treated to fun and exciting tailgating experiences. These events are a great opportunity to network with fellow Cougars and enjoy all the pregame festivities. As you can see, our alumni know how to sport their enduring UH pride.


The UH Alumni Association has over 40 active affiliated alumni associations who work to help Cougars deepen their connection with the University while serving to foster pride and encourage activities that generate goodwill. The Bauer Alumni Association best exemplified this mission with their Day of Service event that was held in honor of the 9/11 National Day of Service back in September. In partnership with the Houston Food Bank, the Bauer Alumni Association gathered with over 250 alumni and friends to help serve the Greater Houston community. Volunteers worked to inspect, sort, and repackage donated food items for community distribution. A total of 11,760 meals were created. To learn more about other affiliated alumni associations, please visit

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Hilton College Serving Up Reunions To Its Grads

The theme of the movie Field of Dreams - “If you build it, he will come” - captures the hope of Dean Dennis Reynolds and his staff for an ambitious project to begin in 2023.

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Dean Reynolds, head of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership, is overseeing a series of seven reunions next year designed to draw graduates of the program back to campus. The featured attraction: The new six-story addition to the Hilton University of Houston. It is due to be completed by January 2023.

“There’s a buzz around it that has all of us excited,” Reynolds said, referring to both the Hilton expansion and the reunions. “Many of our students haven’t been back (to UH) since they graduated so the reunions will be fantastic for that. We will have a lot to show them.”

The class reunions - one each from the 1970s and ‘80s, two from the ‘90s and three spanning the 2000s - begin on April 28, 2023. One a month will be held through October 2023. The idea was the brainchild of Wendy Evans, Reynolds’ executive assistant. “Wendy said to me, “How come we’ve never had any reunions (for alumni of the program)?” said Reynolds. “I told her I really didn’t know. It just hadn’t been suggested before. But we immediately knew it was a great idea.”

As anyone who has been involved in staging a high school or college reunion can attest, getting the word out to several hundred classmates is no simple task. But to reach the 9,000 graduates of the Hilton program, Reynolds and Evans needed some assistance so they have called on Reunions by Class Act, a longtime Houston-based reunionplanning company, to aid in the search for classmates and coordination of the events.

Formerly known as the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the program began in 1969. The first graduating class, in 1971, had seven members. By contrast, the 2022-23 class will have about 175. The Hilton College

is known as one of the premier programs of its type in the world, and the College has the distinction of being the only hospitality program to house an internationally branded hotel within its walls. The new tower, on University Drive across from the Student Center, adds 70 guest rooms for a total of 150. The original building continues to house all hospitality-related classes and teaching facilities.

Reynolds and his staff take pride in knowing that graduates have gone on to a variety of hospitality-related positions throughout the U.S. - and far away. “We encourage

students to take jobs abroad; it’s a great experience,” said Reynolds. “In fact, we have a graduate from about 10 years ago who’s building hotels in Dubai. I’d say he’s done very well.”

And, like his fellow grads, he’ll be invited back for his reunion.

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HILTON COLLEGE REUNION DATES CLASS OF DATES (2023) 1971-79 APRIL 28 1980-89 MAY 12 1990-94 JUNE 23 1995-99 JULY 14 2000-04 AUGUST 4 2005-09 SEPTEMBER 15 2010-14 OCTOBER 13


The pillars that adorn the front of Life Member Plaza are symbolic of the enduring support that Life Members provide the University Houston and its many students. Life Member contributions benefit the Legacy Scholarship that is awarded to undergraduate students who are children or grandchildren of UH alumni. Through this generosity, lifechanging opportunities are created for students like Aline and Madeline. We sincerely thank our Life Members for their commitment and dedication to their beloved alma mater. To become a Life Member, please visit

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Aline Dang (’23)

My name is Aline Dang, and I am currently a Senior studying Computer Engineering, with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics. I am so thankful for the Legacy Scholarship because I have had some unexpected financial issues in the past couple years due to COVID, and this scholarship has helped take some of the financial burden off my shoulders and allows me more time and energy to focus on school. Additionally, it has allowed me to explore my interest in Computer Science and Mathematics as my minors. UH has always been my number one choice because my parents, siblings, most of my aunts and uncles, as well as cousins have gone to UH or are currently enrolled. Coming from a big family, there are over a dozen UH alumni in the family, and four of us are currently enrolled. I’ve been able to explore and enrich myself in the UH culture since I was little because of my connections, of which I am grateful. After graduating this spring, I plan on working in the technology industry as a software developer. After having a couple internships within the IT field, I have solidified my passion in programming and am excited to pursue my career in it. Thank you again for believing in my abilities and potential as a recipient of this scholarship. I will continue to do my best for myself and UH!

Madeline Pullen (’26)

The University of Houston Alumni Association’s Legacy Scholarship is an important piece of my financial road map because it kick-starts my legacy. It allows me to pay for on-campus housing, which is exceedingly helpful as I am closer to my classes, clubs, peers, professors, and resources. This strong link to campus has allowed my education to hit the ground running. This scholarship also prepares me for my future. I am working towards graduating with a Bachelor of Biology (Spring 2026), then attending medical school to explore my interests in general and cosmetic dermatology. Having these career goals in mind, I recently joined three pre-medical clubs, the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), and Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED). Through these, I scout out volunteer opportunities and competitions to strengthen my education at UH. Throughout the next four years, I want to become an RA, serve in a leadership position in a pre-medical club, and score an internship to shadow a doctor in the field. Following my dad’s, uncle’s, and grandparent’s footsteps, I see success in the future at the University of Houston. The Legacy Scholarship has passed down the Cougar pride to me, and I am thrilled it is my turn to turn this adventure into my legacy.

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At the University of Houston, there are many time-honored establishments that capture the UH experience. One particular spot has become a safe haven for students who want to study, catch up with friends or simply relax amidst the ambience of the quintennial campus coffee shop known as the Nook Café. Situated on the outskirts of the UH campus, the Nook Café offers a full menu of specialty coffees, espresso-flavored cocktails known as nooktails, wine, draft beers in addition to a breakfast and lunch menu.

“I really wanted to create a special space for students,” said Derek Shaw (’03, M.B.A. ’11). Shaw is the co-owner of the Nook Café and credits its creation to an experience he had as a student. “One evening right before one of my graduate school classes, I went to Starbucks,” said Derek. “After standing in line for what seemed like forever, I rushed over to class. Just as I arrived, the professor locked the door.”

After leaving that night, Derek noticed a sign located at 4701 Calhoun Street, which read, “Shopping Center Coming Soon.” He called the number listed below, and to his surprise, someone answered. “I inquired about the space and was told that 2200 square foot of space was available,” said Derek. “From there, the idea for the Nook Café took off. I knew there had to be a better way than what myself and others were probably experiencing at Starbucks.”

The grand opening of the Nook Café took place in 2013. Now, with 10,000 square feet of space and a recently added upstairs patio, Derek continues to make enhancements. “We plan to beef up our breakfast and lunch menu offerings and provide more opportunities for students and alumni to use the space for their event needs,” said Derek. “We are going to start publicizing the events held at the Nook Café in The Cougar. We want everyone, students and alumni, to feel at home here. We even have what we call “Office Hours,” where UH staff can come between 4 and 7 pm each day to enjoy a discounted beverage.”

The Nook Café is a member of the UH Alumni Association’s Cougar Business Network. The Cougar Business Network is comprised of UH alumni-owned or operated businesses. The online listing can be found at If you want to be part of the Cougar Business Network, please visit businessnetwork

November 2022 29
COOGS ARE EVERYWHERE! At the UH Alumni Association, we’re always looking to catch a glimpse of our alumni on their various travel excursions. As you
see, we have some very proud Cougars! GuadalupePeak:KathleenHeslep(M.B.A‘90), BlakeHeslep(‘18),RoyceHeslep(‘77)
Nashville, TN:
DaytonaBeach:Kathryn(‘94) &Frank(‘92)Gutierrez–LifeMembers Spain:RunningoftheBullsinPamplona: ArturoTorres(‘16)LifeMember
Lauren (‘76) and Bill (‘78) Miller: Ketchikan, Alaska
Rica: Sean Allen (‘94)-
Member Spirit
Houston Alumni in Krka National Park in Split, Croatia: Terry P. Chalene (‘83)-Life Member
Mayra Castillo (‘19)Life Member
Fiercely loyal. Forever proud. TDECU is here for UH and for you. With a firm and passionate commitment to improving the lives of those around us, we at TDECU are proud to partner with the University of Houston – and with you. It's a partnership based on shared values – a joining of forces that creates opportunities, inspires hope, and fulfills dreams for our communities and you. Full-service consumer and business banking Mortgage lending Insurance* Investments Insured by NCUA. TDECU Membership is required before utilizing any product and/or service. *Insurance products are not deposits, not NCUA insured, and not guaranteed by TDECU Insurance Agency, LLC or Texas Dow Employees Credit Union. Join today! Visit or call (800) 839-1154



Center 3204 Cullen Blvd. Suite 201 Houston, TX 77204-6000

of Alumni Association Athletics-Alumni
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