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HomeAlumniSnap Shots NewsletterMay 2012

Snap Shots Newsletter

May 2012

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MAY 2012  
Gourmet Night
Introducing Dr. Massad
In recognition of their service to the University of Houston, higher education and the community, six distinguished men and women were honored at the University's 2012 Spring Commencement ceremonies. One of these honorees was our very own Nick Massad Jr. ('73), president & CEO of American Liberty Hospitality and a longtime friend and supporter of his alma mater. During the Hilton College Commencement on May 11, Nick (pictured center) was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by UH President Renu Khator (pictured left) and Board of Regents Chair Nelda Blair (pictured right). The honorary doctorate is the highest honor the University bestows and Nick is the first Hilton College alumnus to ever receive such a distinction. Prior to this, the only individuals to receive an honorary degree and be nominated by the College are Barron and Eric Hilton. Not bad company! Congratulations, Dr. Massad, on this outstanding achievement!
(Photo: Flash Photography)  
 
Vegas Students Spring
Lady in Red
Cougar Red was the color worn by many, but only a handful of those wearing red were also the toasts of the evening when the University of Houston Alumni Association (UHAA) hosted its 58th Annual Awards Gala at The Westin Memorial City on April 14. Alumna Dorothy Nicholson ('77), president of Nicholson Interests, LLC, was one of six recipients of this year's UHAA Distinguished Alumni Awards, which recognizes and honors
individuals whose professional accomplish-
ments bring credit to the University of Houston. Sharing the spotlight and the podium with Dorothy on this special night of recognition were actors Dennis Quaid, Robert Wuhl and Brett Cullen, and Lt. General Robert Milstead and Durga Agrawal, who also received this prestigious alumni award. Much could be said about Dorothy's illustrious career and her longtime support of her alma mater, but she says it best herself in this short video tribute that was featured during the gala. Check it out! Congratulations, Dorothy, on this coveted and well deserved recognition!
(Photo: UHAA) 
 
Eric's Club Spring2012
One Chapter Closes, Another Begins
And just like that, another semester draws to a close and a new class of Hilton College alumni is off to change the world. . . During the Spring 2012 Commencement ceremony held May 11 at Hofheinz Pavilion, 171 Hilton College graduates shared the stage with graduates from the Colleges of Technology, Education and Natural Science and Mathematics to receive their diplomas and the accolades of family and friends. Thirty-four of these graduates were graduate students, 9 graduated summa cum laude (highest honors), 18 magna cum laude (high honors) and 26 cum laude (honors). At a reception held at the Hilton University of Houston following general commencement, six of these graduates received special recognition. Graduate students Kristi Baker, Tramaine Webber and Stephanie Witowski, and undergrad Kamal Bidjev —who all finished with perfect 4.0s—received the Alumni Association Award, which recognizes students who have earned the highest grade-point average in their graduating class. The Dean's Award, which is presented to a student who "demonstrates the spirit" of Hilton College, went to graduate student Charles Pereira and undergrad Kate Sornson. Faculty and staff shared the spotlight as well. Assistant professor Dr. Jay Neal earned the Steve Rushmore/HVS Research Award for research excellence, assistant professor Dr. Mary Dawson was awarded the faculty Service Excellence Award, and Donna Shaw, executive assistant to the Dean, received the 2012 Staff Excellence Award. Those award winners who were able to attend the reception are pictured left to right with Dean John Bowen, who presented the awards—Charles Pereira, Kate Sornson, Dean Bowen, Jay Neal, Kristi Baker, Kamal Bidjev and Tramaine Webber. Congrats to all of our graduates and award winners! (Photo: Michael Scott) 
 
CMAA Panelists
Mentoring Student Research
Hilton College student Katie Kirsch (pictured left) was one of nine University of Houston students given the opportunity by the UH Office of Undergraduate Research to present their undergraduate research projects at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which took place March 28-31 at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. This annual conference gives undergraduate scholars in all fields and from all types of institutions of higher learning a forum to share the results of their work through posters, presentations, performances and works of art. Katie's poster presentation was titled "Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for Hotel Rooms." She was mentored by assistant professor Dr. Jay Neal (pictured right), who won this year's Steve Rushmore/HVS Research Award for his ongoing research in food safety. More than 3,000 student presenters attended NCUR 2012. For Katie, it was empowering to know that her work was accepted among the numerous potentially groundbreaking projects presented at NCUR. The experience also helped her to better understand the potential applications and implications of her future studies. Katie also won a Senior Honors Thesis Award for this research from the UH Honors College and has been invited to present her data at the American Society of Microbiology's annual conference in San Francisco this summer. Kudos to Katie on these amazing academic accolades! (Photo: Paul Ladd)   
 
CMAA Panelists

Recycling 1st Place
Some students recycle paper and plastics. Our students recycle campus victories! For the second consecutive year, the Hilton College Green Team took top honors, placing first in the Conservation Houstonian Division of the university-wide RecycleMania competition. As part of the national RecycleMania competition that takes place each spring, GreenUH challenged campus organizations to run their own awareness campaigns to boost recycling efforts at UH. This was a very different competition from last year when the HRM Green Team crushed its competition by collecting nearly 7,400 pounds of recycling materials. This time the criteria was all about creating awareness and changing people's behavior. For eight weeks, students were asked to make weekly pledges on Facebook that included things like turning off classroom lights, refilling plastic water bottles, and switching to CFS light bulbs to help reduce carbon emissions. They also hosted related movie events and conducted tours of local businesses that support sustainability. But it was their Green Carnival using recycled products and prizes that created the most buzz and pushed the HRM Green Team into another first-place finish. Pictured left to right are Green Team member Andrés Imperial López; founding member of the College's Green Team and faculty advisor Liza Jascolt; Fatima Banuelos, the Green Team student officer in the charge of the competition; "Recycle Man" Danny Arocha, and founding Green Team members Lydia Westbrook and John Trujillo. Kudos to all and keep recycling!  

 

Vegas Students Spring
Remembering Ray Ellis
On May 11, with all the hope and promise of graduation day abuzz, Hilton College also lost a beloved retired professor and colleague. Ray Ellis died early on graduation day morning. It was his 91st birthday. Called the guru of risk analysis and loss prevention education and application, Mr. Ellis marked his 50th year serving the hospitality industry in June 2005. This industry milestone followed a 17-year career in retail operations with Marshall Field & Company in Chicago. In May 1955, he joined the staff of the National Safety Council. In June of that year, he also became a pro bono consultant to the American Hotel Association—now known as the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)—for hotel safety, security and fire protection, and quickly established himself as an expert in the field. In 1977, after 22 years as a consultant, he joined the AH&LA staff full time and established the Loss Prevention Bulletin. Mr. Ellis continued to work for AH&LA until his retirement from the industry in 1994. Not one to sit idle, he joined the faculty of Hilton College in July 1994 and taught Loss Prevention Management, Facilities Management, and Safety, Sanitation & Security in the Hospitality Industry. He retired from the faculty in 2008. Pictured here Mr. Ellis poses with a cutout of himself dressed as a hotel bellman at his retirement party from Hilton College. He was an original. He will be missed. (Photo: Michael Scott)