It was a privilege and a pleasure for Melynda and me to welcome more than 500 guests on Saturday, Feb. 10, to the Hilton Americas-Houston for the 68th annual University of St. Thomas Light the Way Mardi Gras Scholarship Gala.
The evening, hosted by KHOU Channel 11 news anchor, Len Cannon, featured poignant remarks by His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and a moving performance by UST’s own Kechi Okwuchi ’15, a recent finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. If you haven’t read Kechi’s inspirational story, I encourage you to do so here. Those in attendance also enjoyed remarks from the 2018 Mardi Gras King and Queen, Christian Sacra ’18 and Ana Hernandez ’18, and from the first ever Honorary Mardi Gras Queen, UST’s beloved Archivist Betty Fischer ’52, MRE ’91.
Thanks to the transformative generosity of our caring benefactors, the gala generated important support for UST’s annual scholarship program, The St. Thomas Fund. That Fund empowers students financially and lets them know that our community believes in them.
This year’s event afforded us a unique opportunity to honor the Basilian Fathers, who founded our University in 1947. They also founded St. Thomas High School in 1900, began their pastoral care of St. Anne Parish in 1928 and founded St. Anne Catholic School in 1930. It was a joy to honor the Basilians, present and past, for the many blessings they continue to share with the Houston community as they teach goodness, discipline and knowledge through these three venerable institutions, now for 118 years!
The Basilian Fathers continue to educate in extraordinary ways with selfless dedication to the Houston community and beyond. Please enjoy the inspiring video which premiered during the Gala this year. It brings alive the special gifts they freely share — inspiring! I hope you will join me in prayers for and gratitude toward those remarkable men. They truly light the way for all of us to a better tomorrow.
I also want you to know that my prayers and gratitude are with you. Thank you, our dedicated staff and faculty, for embodying the Basilian charism as you touch the lives of students and each other every day. Your sacrifice and commitment vivifies our University as we teach Goodness, Discipline, Knowledge and Community.
Please visit our Mardi Gras webpage to enjoy highlights from the Gala. If you were unable to attend but would still like to support our students, you will find the link to contribute there as well.