Drew Wilson ’02 Named Distinguished Alumnus of 2018
The UST Alumni Association selected Drew Wilson ’02 to receive the 2018 Rev. Vincent J. Guinan, CSB, Distinguished Alumni of the Year award. Wilson received his Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts with concentrations in communication and international business. He served as vice president of the UST Alumni Association Board of Directors for three years and was chair of the Class Agents Program.
During his time on the Alumni Board, Wilson, along with fellow board members, generated an idea for an innovative new fundraiser to raise money for student scholarships. In 2012, with him as vice president, the UST Alumni Association hosted its first Two Saints and a Taco Tasting—an event that has since raised more than $400,000 in scholarships and is now in its seventh year.
Wilson founded Uptown Consultants in 2013, with locations around the world, and now serves as a managing partner. He continues to be involved and supports UST through various volunteer roles.
Current Alumni Association Vice President Aaron Stryk ’01 commended Wilson on his efforts to serve the community, both UST and otherwise, saying “he does not do it for personal gain, but rather, he is driven out of a pure desire to help others and to make UST—and the world around it—a better place.”
Alumnus Larry Payne ’72 Receives 2017 IMPACT Award
Laurence J. “Larry” Payne ’72 was recently awarded the Center for Houston’s Future prestigious IMPACT award for 2017 for his ongoing community service and focus on education. The Center recognizes transformative leadership among its Leadership Forum Graduates whose extraordinary community service has meaningful and beneficial impact on the people of the greater Houston region.
Payne, whose career includes 40 years of public service, education and non-profit and religious leadership, is now turning his attention to the future of learning in an effort to heighten the awareness of education that is necessary to the success of tomorrow’s students. Babies born in 2018 will graduate high school in 2036—the year of Houston’s bicentennial.
Payne, in his acceptance speech for the award, issued a challenge to the city’s public, corporate and non-profit leadership to “join me in creating a path forward so our children have a future they can believe in and we have a city we can sustain.”
Payne earned a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts.
Liberal Arts Grad Lands Distinguished Federal Clerkship
UST graduate Alexandra Grafton ’10 was chosen to serve as clerk to Judge Carolyn King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Competition for this federal judicial clerkship was intense, with hundreds of well-qualified applicants from highly ranked law schools vying for the honor.
Grafton is excited to begin her judicial clerkship. “I’m most looking forward to working under the direction of Judge King herself,” she said. “She’s brilliant, and her experience is exceptional. I’m also looking forward to the intellectual challenge of appellate work and the responsibility that comes with being a judicial clerk at this level.”
With her passion for research and writing, Grafton’s ultimate goal is teaching at the college level. “I knew that a judicial clerkship, especially at the appellate level, would be indispensable,” she said. “It would not only make me a more effective attorney, but it would be tremendously helpful to finding my way into academia.”
Grafton graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts before earning a master’s in neuroscience from University College London. She came back to Houston and worked at Baylor College of Medicine as a clinical research coordinator. At BCM, she came across the work of a professor who was studying the intersection of neuroscience and law, an area that intrigued her and led her to enroll as a J.D. student at the UH Law Center.
A Divine Partnership for Student Scholarship
UST held its seventh annual TWO SAINTS AND A TACO TASTING competition at Saint Arnold Brewing Company on April 26, in support of student scholarships. Pacific Coast Tacos took home the top prize as the winner of the competition as chosen by celebrity judges, Mia Gradney, KHOU Channel 11 anchor, and Joy Sewing, Houston Chronicle reporter. The “People’s Choice” honor, awarded to the favorite taco among the more than 300 event attendees, was presented to Velvet Taco for the second year in a row. Pacific Coast Tacos took home the People’s Choice runner-up prize. The event raised more than $70,000 for the UST Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, which will award scholarships to deserving students in the fall.
Cynthia Gdula ’96, Charles Westervel and Shelley Grahmann ’02 generously served as presenting sponsors for the event. Additional top sponsors, dubbed “Celt” sponsors, included Marcia Galatas ’95, Sysco Corporation, and Janna and Paul Vallhonrat ’95.
Irish Gala Raises more than $285,000 for Center, Celebrates Irish Religious Throughout Texas
As the old Irish saying goes, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish…you’re lucky enough!” More than 300 friends of the University shared their Irish luck at the annual Irish Gala on Nov. 3, 2017, at The Houstonian. The event benefited UST’s William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies and celebrated Irish religious throughout Texas.
Honorees included priests and other religious from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, The Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, and the Congregation of St. Basil. Honorary chairs for the event included His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Brendan J. Cahill ’85.
With auction items ranging from an autographed Craig Biggio jersey, baseball cap and baseball to a customized trip to Ireland, the Center raised funds totaling $285,200. The event marked the 15th anniversary of the Center for Irish Studies. The Gala was chaired by Maureen Evans, Margo P. Geddie and Lisa Miranda, all members of the Center’s Advisory Board.
Under the direction of Lori Gallagher, J.D., prior to this event, the Center awarded study abroad scholarships to over 100 students and secured scholarship funding in excess of $650,000 since 2006. The Center also sponsors monthly cultural events open to the public. These lectures, concerts and storytelling events highlight all aspects of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Irish America.
UST’s William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies is rated among the top 10 Irish Studies programs in the country.
Javoris Hollingsworth Receives American Chemical Society Award
Dr. Javoris Hollingsworth, assistant professor in the Chemistry and Physics Department, received a Leadership Development Award from the Younger Chemists Committee (YCC) of the American Chemical Society. The award, given to only 15 applicants nationwide, included a grant to participate in the YCC Leadership Development Workshop.
Center for Faith and Culture Honors Herbert P. Edmundson Jr. at Faithful Citizenship Dinner
More than 230 friends of the University of St. Thomas Donald S. Nesti, CSSp Center for Faith and Culture attended the seventh annual Faithful Citizenship Dinner on Oct. 4 at Houston Country Club. The theme for this year’s dinner was “Healing the World through Love,” and the honor of the Faithful Citizen Award was bestowed upon Herbert P. Edmundson Jr. ’69, Ph.D., M.D., who currently serves as Board Chair for the University of St. Thomas. The Faithful Citizenship Dinner provides funds for the Center endowment and programmatic needs. This year nearly $240,000 was raised through table and ticket sponsors. The dinner is graciously underwritten by an anonymous donor to whom the Center is very thankful.
CIS to offer Mandarin Chinese, Multicultural Training to HPD
Houston Police Department’s Training Division has partnered with University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Houston to offer specialized Mandarin Chinese training as an elective course for two 10-week sessions at the West Side Station. The Center will also offer elective training in multicultural and situational awareness for Houston police officers at the Houston Police Academy throughout 2018-19. Both training courses are offered as professional credit programs. Thanks to generous community support, the Center plans to expand this training to additional area law enforcement agencies in the coming year.
“The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures”
Noted management consultant, Cameron School of Business associate professor and director of Graduate Programs, attorney, author and political observer, Dr. David Schein, takes a dispassionate look at American presidents (from Woodrow Wilson through Barack Obama) through the lens of actual accomplishments, not the press, the promoters or the detractors. In 100 years, 17 men (eight Democrats and nine Republicans) have led the largest economy and the most successful military power on Earth. His new book The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures destroys the myths surrounding many of the presidents by focusing on their ethics and how leadership decisions they made changed the course of American and world history, for better or worse. This book is not just criticism, but common sense solutions to help fix America before it’s too late.
Music Doing Good
Music Doing Good, Inc., a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to transforming lives through music-based programming and performance experiences, has contributed $120,000 to UST over the last two years in support of scholarships for music students.
In 2011, MDG began delivering programs that bring music to Houston children who would otherwise not have access. The programs use music to stimulate minds, open hearts and ignite imagination. “UST and Music Doing Good are changing the lives of music students who would not otherwise be able to pursue their dreams,” said Marie Bosarge, MDG president and founder. “We look forward to continuing this beneficial partnership for years to come.”
UST’s music students have quality performance opportunities within the rich and diverse backdrop of a liberal arts curriculum. Many music alumni go on to graduate school, perform professionally, and teach and lead music programs across the country.
Performing and Fine Arts Society
UST’s Performing and Fine Arts Society (PFAS) held its seventh annual spring Membership Tea at the beautiful River Oaks home of Tracy and Rocky Lai. More than 100 guests were treated to an afternoon of high tea, champagne and socializing. Former UST First Lady Marianne Ivany, MLA ’16, was honored for her support of the arts at UST with the new Heart for the Arts award, which honors volunteers who promote and support the arts at UST.
The PFAS supports students’ access to quality educational opportunities in the arts by increasing awareness of the arts at UST, increasing scholarships for students, and cultivating relationships with local theaters and arts organizations.
UST sets new Records at Mock Trial Regional Tournament
The Fighting Celt Mock Trial Team fought hard at the March Mock Trial Opening Round Championship Series in Memphis, but a score of four and four meant they were not high enough to proceed any further. However, Javier Gonzalez did tie for best lawyer.
Their appearance at the Memphis event followed a successful competition at the Mock Trial Regional Tournament in February. At that event, UST competed against 27 other teams representing some of the best universities in the state and set impressive new 7-1 and 4-4 records. Despite facing the toughest strength of schedule, the “A” Team took second place. The “B” Team also set a new record of 4-4, with just three students who had competed at a tournament before.
The UST Mock Trial team has been steadily improving and claiming greater victories over the past three years, a trend that “A” Team Coach Paul Hubbell attributes to a variety of factors. “The students work very hard to achieve these wins, devoting 20 to 30 hours a week to practice and preparation,” he said. “In addition, the support we’ve gotten from Student Affairs has been key.”
Of course, great coaching by Paul, Henry Morris and Van Foster (“A” Team) and Derrick Owens and Diego Frias (“B” Team) is another major factor in their success. The “A” Team has only lost one round all year, to the College of William & Mary.
Associate Professor Rick Young, director of the Pre-Law and Mock Trial programs added, “It’s noteworthy that most of the students on the Mock Trial teams are first-generation college students.”
UST’s record against the top 20 schools is 5-1.