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Remembering Dr. Mary Lewis, A True Champion for Children

Posted on: June 23rd, 2015

Dr. Mary Ruth Lewis

By Sarah F. Hill

Being of service to others was of the utmost importance to Dr. Mary Ruth Lewis, Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) professor emerita and champion for social work, children and families. Since 1980, when she was hired away from the University of Alabama to develop the Children and Family concentration in the GCSW’s Master of Social Work (MSW) curriculum, Dr. Lewis accomplished much in the way of providing legal rights for children.

Oftentimes working within complex political processes, she championed social policy changes that addressed the involvement of youth directly in political mechanisms, recognizing children as citizens of the state, not just recipients of services. In her own words “The concept of family policy that propelled European countries into offering a wide array of benefits and services that support parents in their parenting roles was not taken up in the U.S.” This frustrated Dr. Lewis, but spurred her on to action—writing many articles that appeared in peer-reviewed, international journals. She single-handedly developed curriculum for the GCSW’s Children and Family concentration. She also organized the first ever trip abroad for the GCSW students, which is today a unique feature of the opportunities afforded MSW students. “Mary recognized the importance of global understanding having studied in the United Kingdom,” remembers former Dean Ira Colby. “Through her passion for this form of international engagement, Mary lead the College’s first international study abroad course and, because of her vision and commitment to global studies, today the GCSW is recognized as one of the leading international social work education programs.”

An undergraduate history major, Lewis received her M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Alabama, in 1952 and went on to receive her M.S.W. in Social Work from the University of Denver in 1961. In 1973, she graduated with her Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research from Bryn Mawr College. She worked at many different universities before putting down roots at the University of Houston in 1980. “Her voice was loud and clear on issues she felt strongly about,” remembers Interim Dean Dr. Paul Raffoul.

A 2009 Inductee to the University of Alabama’s School of Social Work Hall of Fame, Lewis intended to leave behind a legacy at the GCSW, where she pursued her career for over twenty years. She even notified the University of a proposed, planned gift in her estate. Her generous intention was to create the Mary R. Lewis College Professorship Endowment in Children and Youth in the Graduate College of Social Work, which would support either a full-time tenured faculty member or a visiting professor in the area to which she dedicated her scholarly and professional life.

Dr. Mary Lewis has contributed broadly to the success of the GCSW, and to its internal governance, as well. In 2002 and 2003, the GCSW created a Faculty Association with a faculty member elected to run the Association’s monthly meetings. “Mary was unanimously elected the Association’s first chair,” says Colby. The very first gavel for this Association was made and named after Mary. He remembers the woman as not just a colleague—but as a friend, as well. “Following her retirement Mary was a constant presence in the College returning for graduations and participating in special events such as holiday parties or scholarship galas. She always had a smile and a warm hug,” said Colby.
It is a sad day when one who gave so much of herself is lost, but her legacy at UH will live on through the many students who were influenced by her teaching, through her planned gift and through her many contributions to the field of Social Work. A fellow social worker at the University of Houston, Sandra Lopez, is amazed by the fact that Dr. Lewis worked in so many capacities for justice. When Dr. Lewis was honored with a National Association of Social Workers Lifetime Achievement award, Lopez said: “It is both remarkable and impressive to note that Dr. Lewis has played a multitude of social work roles such as practitioner, grant-writer, program developer, researcher, consultant, educator, author, advocate, collaborator and mentor.” She will be greatly remembered by the wide array of people she taught, helped and inspired.

Alumni Spotlight: Alan Davis

Posted on: June 23rd, 2015

alan davis

Alan Davis (MSACCY ’76), also known as Dad, Uncle Al or Grampa by his own admission, is involved in a lot of activities, which manifests in his motto: “Life is fun if you let it be!” His to-do list is a mile long. “I could clone myself three times and still not get everything I want done,” he jokes. “Maybe that’s an exaggeration. Maybe I could clone myself twice and not get everything I want done!”

by Sarah F. Hill

For one, he works in his impressive garden and waits for between 30,000 and 40,000 daffodils, jonquils and narcissus to bloom in his yard each year. He practices glass etching, and has been featured in an article in A&E magazine — the magazine for Awards and Engraving Professionals. He is inspired by nature; his featured and most often replicated etching is of a cluster of five maple leaves he picked in his yard. Then there’s the book the dean of the C.T. Bauer School of Business is encouraging him to write about pivot tables, a feature of Microsoft Excel. When they met for a dinner in Ohio recently, Dean Latha Ramchand was so impressed with his knowledge of the complicated feature, she suggested he write a book about his extensive and unique use of the element of such tables. He admits it is slow- going, but it has definitely piqued his interest.
He is involved with politics and monetary policy and anxiously awaits the President’s unveiling of the United States budget each year, surrounded by piles of papers and file cabinets full of data. He reflects on budget-related matters in his political blog. Add to that the fact he is not entirely retired from his job in operational accounting and that he has children and grandchildren to spend time with, and you can see how Davis keeps himself so busy.

Having just announced a planned gift to the University that has given him such a successful career, he relates, “My wife and I had a plan for what to do with our surplus: a percentage to our children, of course, and then to local charities. We both went to college and graduate school and we feel we owe something back to maintain the legacies of those institutions.” His future giving is secured and it allows him to live fully in the present, making the most of every opportunity for artistic and other pursuits that he finds lend flavor to his life.

Davis received his B.A. in anthropology and geography from the University of Kansas. His parents made sure he was serious about college by requiring him to pay for his freshman year by himself. (He wound up paying for all but one semester.) They also were great role models in other ways. His mother got her degree in home economics and in the 1970s received her master’s degree in education. “My mother was a dynamic woman,” he remembers.

After relocating to Houston, he realized that working in warehouses in the heat of summer was not for him and he remembered what his parents had stressed about the importance of a job with benefits. He liked numbers, word problems and doing statistics, so he took the graduate entrance exam and began UH’s Master of Science in Accountancy program, while continuing to work 50 hours a week.

When he graduated in 1976, he made his way to the “placement center,” now, Career Services, and noticed a job that required one year of accounting and one year of hospital experience. He didn’t think he’d qualify, so he applied for other openings instead. It was then that a UH alum called him up and asked him to interview for the job— the one he felt unqualified for. The interview went amazingly well and he was soon the assistant controller in healthcare finance at Doctors Hospital in Conroe.
He humbly acknowledges that without the help of another UH alumnus, he would not have the career he’s had. The leap of faith that man took when he hired Davis was largely based on the fact that an education from UH is well-regarded.

When he moved his family to Ohio, he didn’t realize he’d be starting a sibling rivalry. One of his daughters attended and graduated from UH, and his two sons graduated from the University of Cincinnati. So the Coogs versus the Cincinnati Bearcats is a real source of tension in his family. “Plus I’m a Kansas Jayhawk, too!” he laughs. “UH was important to me in my life and career, and now it’s important to my daughter,” he says, which is a good feeling.

His wife, Jennifer Allen, a pediatrician for 28 years, is also a heart-transplant survivor and together they sit on the board of Hope Clinic in Chillicothe. In addition to writing donor letters and performing quality control checks on all the charts, she succeeded in recruiting Davis, with his excessive knowledge of accounting, to be the CFO of the clinic. “It’s been an awesome experience, putting our faith into action,” he says of helping the less fortunate with medical treatment. Hope Clinic is just one more example of how Davis puts his accounting background and knowledge of financial workings to good use.

Supporting the C.T. Bauer College of Business regularly for more than 10 years came naturally to Davis, as did the addition of his planned gift. “It’s a great way to make an impact even if you’re not wealthy!” he says as he encourages others to give to their alma maters. And making an impact is what Davis does every day—just ask the people who will drive by his yard and witness the gorgeous display of brightly colored flowers this Spring.

The Williams Foundation Supports Future Teachers

Posted on: March 19th, 2015

Jack and Diana Miles

A Gentle Push

Jack Miles (’62) has a file drawer in which he keeps all of the letters he’s received over the years from grateful teachHOUSTON scholarship recipients. He is excited about their future plans, tenacity, and “gumption.” These students don’t necessarily have to have the highest grades or tread the traditional college path, according to Jack and his sister Diana Miles, trustees of the Elizabeth P. and Harold R. Williams Foundation, but they do have to have goals and the resolve to move into a challenging and vital career in education. When asked what makes a perfect teachHOUSTON scholar, Diana quickly answers, “Determination.”

The Williams Foundation’s teachHOUSTON endowment supports University of Houston undergraduate students who are studying to become high school math and science teachers. It places them in real-life classrooms during every undergraduate year, instead of just one year of student teaching, and helps them garner enthusiasm for the challenge of teaching high school math and science.

For Jack and Diana, acknowledging the value of a UH education has always been a family affair. In fact, at one time during the 1950s, five members of their family were attending the University of Houston at the same time! Their aunt and uncle, Harold and Elizabeth Williams, established the Williams Foundation, and Jack and Diana became Trustees when their aunt and uncle passed away. “Uncle Harold pushed us as far as education was concerned, and we want to be there to support the next generation,” says Jack. “Oftentimes, students today don’t have someone pushing them.” And a push in the right direction is sometimes all it takes.

Putting a UH Education to Work

As business majors at the University of Houston, both Jack and Diana learned many valuable lessons. Jack was a nontraditional student who took classes at night. This meant he was taught by many industry professionals whose classes were in the evenings.

After graduating from UH, Diana went on to teach high school business classes in Spring Branch ISD. Her 30-year tenure at the school district brought with it a changing demographic of student and interesting challenges, improving math and science scores being one of them. She also holds a position as a city councilwoman in Rosebud, Texas, a role she hadn’t anticipated playing, but which makes perfect sense after the long time she spent serving the community as a teacher.

Jack, on the other hand, was always aware of what he wanted to do, and that was run a company. However, he had not necessarily seen himself as what he also became — a rancher. Since around 2001, he has been the co-owner of the Brazos River Cattle Company, a working ranch between Temple and Waco. The only regret he has is that he didn’t take an agriculture class while at UH. Above and beyond their careers, both Diana and Jack’s passion is supporting education, and the University of Houston provided them the perfect outlet for the Williams Foundation’s philanthropy.

Keeping Kids On Track

Diana Miles says, “Math is a logical science and hard to teach. It’s not a soft science. The answers are the answers.” Jack Miles muses, “A lot of kids in our society are coddled. Can they balance a checkbook? You don’t have any real life skills if you can’t do math!” Quality math and science teachers are what teachHOUSTON is intent on providing to the community. Houston benefits greatly, as 75 percent of teachHOUSTON graduates go on to teach in high-need high schools in the Greater Houston Area.

Jack balks at the notion that teachers are the only ones responsible for encouraging and helping students succeed, though; he holds the parents responsible, as well. Most teachers are underpaid and this fact, coupled with the lack of engagement on some parents’ ends, results in a lot of students “falling through the cracks.” The Foundation’s endowment – a partnership between the College of Education and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics – is making sure students have the math and science skills they need to succeed by providing much needed support to the teachers of those subjects.

The Determination to Make a Difference

So, why the University of Houston? “This younger generation will make the decisions for us as we grow older,” Jack says. “I want them to have the best education possible!” They know, firsthand, that teachHouston students’ education will be stellar, and that these future professionals are already shaping Houston’s next generation of decision-makers and innovators. This family of alums is proud and eager to give back to the University that launched their careers and taught them a lot about life, as well. Whether considering teachHouston students, the teachers-in-training at UH or the Miles siblings’ own experiences, Jack perhaps sums it up best: “Life is continuing education.”

Nontraditional Student, Jami Summey-Rice,

Posted on: October 9th, 2014

Jami Summey-Rice says being an older, nontraditional student has both advantages and disadvantages. Due to her large amount of personal and familial responsibilities outside of school, “I have to learn and work faster than everyone else,” she says. “I study and do homework in a fraction of the amount of time that my classmates do it. I probably average 5-6 hours of sleep a night.” At the same time, she feels more confident in her skin. “I know what I want, how I think and what I want to accomplish. I also realize that second chances are very hard to come by — so getting it right the first time is a priority.”

Summey-Rice worked in sales and sales management for ten years after high school. “When the economy crashed,” she recalls, “we lost everything. And that’s when we decided it was time for me to go to college.”

Now, between her sophomore and junior years in the University of Houston’s Chemical Engineering major program, Summey-Rice is studying in the Energy & Sustainability minor program as well. Energy and Sustainability minor faculty Dr. Joseph Pratt and Dr. Ognjen Miljanic are part of the reason she loves the program so much.

“They teach the introductory class together. They open your eyes to the fact that there are two sides to this one very important coin. They don’t take political sides, they just give you the facts and encourage you to continue to think and develop your own opinion. I can’t imagine one without the other at this point!” she says. Summey-Rice is close to these two professors because she is the Teaching Assistant for ENRG 3310, an Introduction to Energy and Sustainability, which is one of the capstone requirements for the minor.

Two things drew Summey-Rice to study this unique minor under Pratt and Miljanic. The first is, no matter what lens you view the universe through, energy is the most important thing. And sustainability is just a way of understanding how we should obtain and use the energy that is available. Secondly, she believes that education has become too polarized. “As a student, you become entrenched in either hard science or liberal arts, with very little overlap.” It takes both kinds of people and both sides of our brains to solve problems, though. “The Energy and Sustainability minor is the first program I’ve seen anywhere that appears to be striving to close that gap,” she says.

She is concerned with the label “green” to equal environmentally sound. “Being green is great—but not if you become so ‘green’ that you put everyone out of work. No one cares about the environment if they are starving. But economic growth to the point of destroying the natural world will not allow our species to survive.” She goes on to ask, “Where is the balance? And how do you develop a smart, safe and lasting balance without the proper education?” According to Summey-Rice, having an opinion is good. Having a plan that you can back up with science and business is better.

After graduation, Summey-Rice plans to use her education to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry. But she doesn’t want to rule out using her Energy & Sustainability minor to find a role where she could influence policy in the future. She believes that we all have something to contribute. “We need others — others who are willing to look at all the information with an unbiased attitude and who will solve our global energy, environmental and economic problems,” says Summey-Rice. Bright minds like hers are a requirement for solving today’s most pressing issues. “So far, the minor in Energy & Sustainability has solidified what I already kind of thought on my own — there is so much to learn!” she says enthusiastically.

Elizabeth Hawkins Makes a Career Path Change

Posted on: October 9th, 2014

Elizabeth Hawkins is an environmental lawyer studying in the University of Houston’s Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources Master of Laws (L.L.M.) program, but certainly isn’t green when it comes to experience in the field. After working as a lawyer in a large defense firm, then in government, and also having had her own plaintiff’s personal injury practice, she worked as a contract lawyer. Then, around 20 years into her career, she had the opportunity to re-invent herself completely. The corporation that offered her a job next was looking for someone to handle the environmental practice. “Each path taught me so many things that I can honestly say have gotten me to this point. I know that I am a better corporate lawyer because I’ve had these broad, enriching experiences.” She elaborates, “More importantly, I was fortunate enough that in each of these forums, to have had mentors who allowed me to learn and grow.”

One of the most influential professors she’s had at UH is professor Tracy Hester. “Professor Hester not only brings to the table the substantive area of environmental law, but the actual practical experience. Co-mingling both, for the benefit of the students, has been amazing.”

Environmental law is a moving target, so to speak. Policies and regulations are constantly in flux. Law students who choose to specialize in environmental law need to have certain tools in order to be prepared to work in this field. Some of those many needed traits, according to Hawkins, are adaptability and flexibility. Hawkins believes it is important, “to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.” She adds, “Understanding different perspectives will always help you to serve your clients better.”

Hawkins knows that the future holds a great deal of unknown factors for those practicing environmental law. “I believe that an environmental lawyer today must understand that the practice they see today will more than likely be very different from the world they will have 30 years from now. Keeping up not only on the laws, but understanding global stresses (political, economic, as well as environmental,” will assist the environmental lawyer in providing the best legal guidance and advice for their clients.”

Having graduated from UH Law in 1988, Hawkins is excited to be graduating again, this time with an L.L.M. in December 2014. “I believe that all that I have been able to accomplish throughout my career should speak volumes to what the Law Center equipped me with,” says Hawkins. “I feel that I acquired a solid and practical approach to law.”

UH Unveils a New Energy and Sustainability Minor

Posted on: October 9th, 2014

The University of Houston is on its way to becoming the nation’s “energy university.” As such, the University has introduced the Energy and Sustainability minor, an exciting new interdisciplinary minor that includes introductory and capstone courses during the duration of the classes. Some of the areas explored are existing, transitional and alternative energy resources; conservation and consumption; and energy and sustainability from the perspectives of economics and business, architecture and design, public policy and education.

One student who discovered the benefits of this approach is Brenda Martinez, a senior Environmental Science major in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The interdisciplinary aspect of the minor was what piqued Martinez’s interest. “What really interested me was getting to know how the science and numbers we were coming up with in NSM were used in other fields like business, policy and economics,” says Martinez. “It’s been an amazing eye-opening experience. I’ve gotten to experience the dynamics of working with other majors and tackling problems we face today in those industries. I’m finally getting to see the big picture of how everything works together.”

The many instructors who teach within the minor are another draw for students like Martinez. “Dr. Pratt,” she says, especially, “has been a great mentor. His passion for both the subject and teaching his students always shows.” Ultimately, after graduation Martinez would like to go into environmental consulting. But for now, she’s working on her capstone course project. She is collaborating with two other students to research carbon capture and storage (CCS) from coal, and whether it could really work in the future of energy.

The group will be looking at the economics, science and politics of CCS and whether it is a viable option for the future, considering both the strengths and limitations it has. “The EPA regulations passed recently are what interested us about this topic. We wanted to research how these would affect the coal industry, which has always been a large source of energy, not only for the US but also for developing countries throughout the world. With the large emissions coal has and the current movement towards a cleaner and more efficient environment and energy industry, we wanted to study how such a fuel would play a part in the sustainable future.”

Martinez sees the worth in studying and preparing for a future of sustainability in the field of energy. “Sustainability allows for further growth and improvement in areas such as planetary resource management, not only for us but for future generations as well. This minor really looks at how everything is interconnected,” she says. “I think that’s why people have become interested in it. We all want to know and understand how others are viewing different aspects of the same topic so we can work toward improving the problem.”

Honors Student and Music Major Dazzles Thanks to Scholarships

Posted on: April 9th, 2014

The Honors College at the University of Houston sought out Catrina Kim (’13) after she sent her application and audition tape to the Moores School of Music. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago where she lived with her parents and three sisters, Kim says, “My mom raised all four of us to be goal-oriented, disciplined and hard-working, but most of all, to find a career path that suited our individual abilities and passions.” Kim didn’t know what to expect when she was invited to join the Human Situation Class in The Honors College, but she was attracted to the rigor of the program and the small class size. “By the time I attended my first Human Situation lecture, I knew it was the right decision. I was completely drawn into the works of Homer, Thucydides, Apuleius, and Aristophanes,” she recalls. However, the single most important factor in her decision to attend the University of Houston was that of the scholarships she was offered. She won a National Merit Scholarship, and was additionally awarded the Jane Cizik Scholarship and the University Community Scholarship. It was due to generous alumni that Kim was able to pursue her studies 100 percent, instead of having to work while simultaneously attending school.

During her years at the University of Houston, her Honors College scholarships allowed her to successfully perform three piano recitals, complete a Phronesis minor, an interdisciplinary program in politics and ethics, write a Senior Honors Thesis on the philosopher Xenophon, and secure a UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She exceeded her undergraduate scholarly pursuits by taking a graduate-level course and presenting a paper at a professional conference for music theory scholarship. She remembers that while the texts read were often daunting, the professors made them accessible and exciting. “The Human Situation courses were by far the most important, exciting, and personally challenging classes I took in my entire undergraduate career. It’s because of the Human Situation that I added on the Honors minor, Phronesis, and wrote a Senior Honors Thesis in political philosophy.”

Kim graduated in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and is attending a combined MA/PhD program in Music Theory at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Upon completion of her PhD degree, Kim plans to work at a college or university as a professor of music theory. “I plan to give back to the Honors College so that it can award scholarship assistance to deserving students. Honors College scholarships have been so critical to my academic success, I feel it is my obligation to help the next generation of talented college students.”

Donor Spotlight: John and Susan Thompson

Posted on: March 26th, 2014

3coogs Thompson

3CoogsA red Honda Accord with the license plate, “3COOGS” drives the Thompson family up University Drive and toward the roundabout in front of Cullen Performance Hall. It’s a familiar environment, like a second home, because the University of Houston educated three Thompson daughters and provided them with distinct pathways to success.

From early childhood to college, John and Susan Thompson remained closely involved in their daughters’ schooling. When the Thompson girls were young, Susan was the cultural arts chairwoman of their daughters’ school and held treasurer and president positions in the PTA. She also served as the council president of the PTAs for the Mansfield district. When their girls “chose Houston” for their continuing studies, the Thompsons couldn’t have been more impressed with the caliber of education their children were receiving.

Emily, their eldest daughter and a clarinet player, graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the Moores School of Music and is a former member of the Spirit of Houston Marching Band where she marched for four years. Their second daughter, Annie, a percussionist, received her B.B. A. in Accounting in 2006 and her Master’s degree in Accountancy and Taxation in 2007 from the C. T. Bauer College of Business. Their third daughter, Ellen, earned a B.S. in Sport Administration in 2009 and a M.Ed. in Allied Health Educational Administration in 2010. Ellen also marched with the Spirit of Houston for one year as a tuba and trombone player.

While two of their children were still in college, the Thompson’s began to give generously in many ways and to many areas on campus. They began their philanthropic journey by making gifts to the UH Band as well as fully funding scholarship endowments for the colleges their daughters graduated from. Last year, they funded an endowment at the University of Houston Libraries due to Susan’s love of libraries. One of Susan’s mantras is: “If you can read, you can do anything.” They even took the steps to make legacy gifts through their wills.

Next, the UH Tier One attainment by President Renu Khator, and the subsequent developments on campus because of this new-found status, catapulted the Thompsons to a new way of giving. “The development to me was President Khator challenging the UH community with the Tier One program. The Tier One Scholars program got our initiative going. It’s the one that really grabbed us,” said John. Whereas some endowments take many years to fully mature and reach a place where they can provide scholarships, UH’s pledge to match gifts (including matching company gifts) to this scholarship program from $25,000 to $1 million had a certain, and very gratifying, immediacy. “The program was structured with a generous match, and the benefits of these gifts started flowing to the scholars immediately,” he says.

They established the John D. and Susan K. Thompson Family Tier One Endowed Scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS). Although this unique scholarship for incoming freshmen is not college specific, John and Susan elected for a “preference” for a student enrolling in CLASS.

They selected CLASS because Susan had taken a course in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences eight years ago and loved it. She was impressed by the professionalism of her instructor and by the respect she garnered for young people during the course. “It was a junior level humanities course,” she recalls, “and I walked out of it thinking, these are good kids. The world is going to be just fine.”

Of course, John admits he is motivated partly by self-interest. He’s on the management team of a substantial Houston employer who looks at UH as a rich source of young talent. The recruitment pool is likely to hold a much more educated and skilled list of candidates if they have been given the best resources during their University of Houston experience. “Susan and I have met some of these [Tier One] scholars, and they really are impressive. They are making the most of this unique program, and I suspect that when they hit the workforce, they are going to re-invest themselves in UH’s future, much like Susan and I are doing now,” states John. In other words, UH graduates are the people who will drive our University—and our city—ahead.

The Thompsons believe “Tier One is pulling the University up—it’s driving the entire University.” They feel all students enrolled at the University of Houston will benefit from the lifting up of the University by the Tier One status and the Tier One Scholars Program.

The Thompsons have other interests besides their passion for the University of Houston. Susan builds office furniture for her home office, and bedroom furniture for her children’s homes. John prefers to detail cars—like the one that proudly boasts that his three daughters have had the best start in their careers due to their education at UH.

The Bauer Excellence Program Boasts Students Like Christian Madison

Posted on: December 5th, 2013

madison christian

The Bauer Excellence Initiative recruits the highest caliber of students to the University of Houston. Take Christian Madison, for example. Having been in the top 15 percent of his class in high school and having attended the Bauer Summer Business Institute both as a rising senior and as a student counselor the summer before starting college, he is a shining example of the type of Bauer Honors student the University boasts. However, he was attracted to the scholarships many other colleges offered to him. He couldn’t resist the prestige of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, though. In his own words, “The entrepreneurship program at UH’s Bauer College had the No. 1 national ranking in the nation. It was the ticket to be able to do what I loved—theater and music—with a business degree.” Being awarded the Bauer Excellence Scholarship sealed the deal and was the reason why he chose UH over other schools, all competing to enroll him. The Bauer Excellence Scholarship ultimately made him what he is today—a hard-working, successful UH student with limitless potential.

Currently, Madison is studying pre-business at UH on this endowed scholarship and looking forward to applying for the Wolff Center. “Entertainment is where my passion is, and having my own business in the entertainment field is my goal. I knew that with a UH education, I would be equipped with the business sense I needed to succeed in the industry.” He is aware that a start-up business is part of the requirements of graduation for the Wolff Center and welcomes both that challenge and the rigorous schedule that comes along with a bachelor degree of business administration (BBA) in entrepreneurship.

Along with performing in the Honors Theater Club, Madison participates in a work-study program called the Bonner Leaders Program, which pays students to work in non-profits all over Houston. He is truly is thankful for his Bauer Excellence Scholarship. “Without it, I wouldn’t be here,” he muses.

Earl Ray Monk Gives $100,000 to the Moores School of Music

Posted on: December 5th, 2013

Earl Ray Monk

Alumni learn quickly that UH is never far from their hearts. It was Earl Ray Monk’s love of marching band music and his admiration for David Bertman, the director of the UH Spirit of Houston marching band, that prompted him to give $100,000 to the Moores School of Music. This gift will be used by the band department and in honor of it, a conference room in the School of Music was recently renamed the Earl Ray Monk Conference Room.

“Fortunately, I’m now able to give,” he muses. Born into humble beginnings—his father passed away when he was just two-years-old and his mother raised four children on a textile mill worker’s salary—he graduated from Regan High School and joined the military. Monk served during World War II and when his military commitment ended, he enrolled at UH with financial assistance provided by the GI Bill. Monk attended the C. T. Bauer College of Business, where he also contributes generously. While still in college, he started working for the Humble Oil and Refining Company, which is now Exxon Mobil.

Like many of UH’s current students, Monk balanced full-time work with his class work and extracurricular activities. He recalls Frontier Fiesta, the student-led spring festival that was established in 1940, as being a fun-filled event that students looked forward to annually.

“Earl Ray Monk is one of the best of the best,” said Lynn Mason, Director of Development. “He gives annually, he leverages his 3-to-1 Exxon Mobil match every year, and he has included significant gifts for UH in his estate plans. He has seen so much during his lifetime and those adventures have turned into great stories that we love to hear!”

Monk credits his decades of accounting experience as the reason he has been such an avid supporter of the University: “When Exxon matches my donation three-to-one, I can’t afford not to contribute to UH,” he says.