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CLASS Clash of Choirs contestants


Jack Young

Faculty news from around the college — and the world


thumbnail of "Untitled" by Cheyanne Ramos

School of Art Annual Student Exhibition


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How to Drive Family Friendly


Julian Schnabel

Do you know this alumnus? Hint: He's a Cannes Film Festival winner.


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Scholarship & Community Conference: Music Across Boundaries

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CLASS Clash of Choirs, Seven CLASSmates Compete on National TV

CLASS Clash of Choirs contestants

Front (L – R) John Gallagher (senior) and Michael Kessler (sophomore)
Back (L – R) Spencer Soward (sophomore), Jody Williams (senior), Frankie Espinoza (junior), Ake Jamal (junior), Sean Arnold (senior)

Seven students in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences join 13 other Houstonians as the city’s entry in the new NBC talent contest Clash of Choirs scheduled to air Dec. 17-20.

Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child directs the 20-member group that will compete against choirs from around the country led by Nick Lachey (Cincinnati), Patti LaBelle (Philadelphia), Michael Bolton (New Haven), and Blake Shelton (Oklahoma City).  The winning choir gets prize money that goes to a designated charity or community project.

The University of Houston news release has more details about the students and the big show.

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Jack Young

Jack Young takes Persephone to China

Jack Young, Head of Graduate Programs and Coordinator of Graduate Acting and Directing in the School of Theatre and Dance is off to China this month for the first of three partnerships with the PKU Institute of World Theatre and Film in Beijing.  He’ll direct students in Beijing Rep, the production arm of the Institute, in Persephone Underground, a new play written by American playwright Carol Lashof, based on the Greek story of Persephone.  This will be Beijing Rep’s first foray into Greek mythology.

Young paves the way for one of our recent MFA graduates, Raven Peters, who will go over in April to direct a show.

By the way, check out the new Web page for the School of Theatre and Dance.

Eric Walther (History) receives Rawley Award

Eric Walther, Associate Professor of History, received the inaugural James A. Rawley Award from the Southern Historical Association for his book William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War.  The award goes to a distinguished book dealing with secession and/or the sectional crisis.  Walther’s book also received the Jefferson Davis Award from the Museum of the Confederacy.

Find out more about the History Department by visiting its Web page.

Lois Zamora

Lois Zamora (English) to receive MLA honorable mention

Lois Parkinson Zamora, John and Rebecca Moores Distinguished Professor, will receive honorable mention later this month from the Modern Language Association of America for her book The Inordinate Eye: New World Baroque and Latin American Fiction.  Zamora is a professor in the departments of English, History, and Art.  Her area of specialization is comparative literature and, more particularly, contemporary fiction in the Americas.  She served as Dean of the former College of Humanities, Fine Arts, and Communication from 1996 to 1999.

There’s more to learn about the English department on its Web page.

Gordon Paul

Gordon Paul (Psychology) receives Trail Blazer Award

Gordon Paul, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Psychology, received the Trail Blazer Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies for his lifetime achievement in the area of schizophrenia and severe mental illness.

Jack Fletcher

Jack Fletcher (Psychology) to become next president of International Neuropsychological Society

And Jack Fletcher, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology, takes over in January as President of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Find out more about the Department of Psychology by visiting its Web page.  And read more news about our CLASS faculty, students, and staff on our CLASS Excellence Web page.

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Students show their talents at the School of Art annual Student Exhibition

This month, students in our School of Art displayed more than 250 original works in the annual Student Exhibition at Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston.

Works included painting, sculpture, photography and digital media, graphic communication, and design.

“This exhibition has become known for bringing fresh, new ideas to the table,” said Rachel Hecker, associate director of the School of Art.  “Each year brings out the best in our students, and patrons always respond with excitement and enthusiasm to the range and quality of the works on display.”

A jury of art faculty selected the exhibition pieces.  We couldn’t show you every piece, but we have four selections we know you’ll enjoy:

Cheyanne Ramos / Untitled / Oil on Canvas

Cheyanne Ramos / Untitled / Oil on Canvas

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"Drive Family Friendly" logo

The numbers tell a sad tale for Texas.

We rank toward the bottom of the states in terms of women and children under the age of 17 who do not have health insurance.  We also bring up the rear (just behind Florida and North Carolina), in the number of children waiting for state child-care assistance.  And, Texas is one of 19 states without laws protecting jobs or benefits for new parents working in the private sector.

These and other issues were on the agenda for the Drive Family Friendly conference (Nov. 14), sponsored by the Women’s Studies Program, and made possible by grants from Tenneco, Inc.; the University of Houston Commission on Women; and the Friends of Women’s Studies.

“The hope is that by starting to discuss these things, we can get on track to changing them in positive ways,” noted Elizabeth Gregory, Associate Professor of English, and Director of the Women’s Studies Program.

Panelists included State Representatives Ellen Cohen and Garnet Coleman; DeeDee Guzman of JPMorgan Chase Bank; Elena Marks of the Office of the Mayor; Louise Parsley; Sasha Rasco of Texas Child Care Licensing; Anne Reeckmann of ExxonMobil; and Sul Ross of the Collaborative for Children.

Ellen Bravo, author and Coordinator of the Multi-State Working Families Consortium was the keynote speaker.  Watch her keynote speech.

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Julian Schnabel - click to watch his MovieWeb interview

Do you know this alumnus? He’s an artist, writer, and award-winning film director.

He’s Julian Schnabel (’73), artist, screenwriter, and recipient of the Best Director Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Schnabel was born in New York City in 1951 and moved with his family to Brownsville, Texas, in 1965.  He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at UH in 1973.  His first solo show was at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.  His solo show at the Mary Boone Gallery in 1979 made the art world take notice of his amazing talent.

His third and latest film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, garnered him the 2007 director’s award at Cannes. 

Here’s an exclusive interview with him on MovieWebTM.

Houston Alumni Organization Homecoming (HAO) Jazz Brunch

We have news of some other alumni awards.

The UH Cougar Bands Alumni Association and the School of Communication Alumni Association received coveted banners at the Houston Alumni Organization (HAO) Homecoming Jazz Brunch on Nov. 17.

The Band alumni (Gold banner) and the Communication alumni (Red banner) received their recognitions for their outstanding involvement with UH and the HAO during the past year.

Also, Kathleen Brosnan, Associate Professor of History, received the HAO Outstanding Faculty Award.

UH Cougar Bands Alumni Association: Kathy Coers Frank, Nancy Derr Hess and President Chris Mims
UH Cougar Bands Alumni Association
Kathy Coers Frank, Nancy Derr Hess and President Chris Mims

School of Communication Alumni Association: Cheyenna Brehm, President Lisa Burns, and Kimberly Maraldo

School of Communication Alumni Association
Cheyenna Brehm, President Lisa Burns, and Kimberly Maraldo


HAO Outstanding Faculty Award: Dean John Antel with Prof. Kathleen Brosnan

HAO Outstanding Faculty Award
Dean John Antel with Prof. Kathleen Brosnan  

Visit our CLASS alumni page for more news and information about your CLASSmates.

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Statue of Orpheus

Research is the discovery of new knowledge, and CLASS professors and students continue to lead us into new frontiers, which is music to our ears.

One of our favorite movie scenes comes from the 1931 classic Dracula with Bela Lugosi.  It’s the one where Dracula tells his visitor to listen to the howling of the wolves, the children of the night.   “What music they make,” he says.

Music is so much a part of our lives that we sometimes don’t realize its effect on us.  Music scares us, it soothes us, it certainly entertains us, and sometimes it helps us fall in love.

Music Across Boundaries was the theme of this year’s Scholarship & Community Conference sponsored by the UH Faculty Senate, whose outgoing president is our own Sociology Professor Joe Kotarba.  One panel consisted of students who participated in a research project, Mapping Latino Music in Houston, led by Prof. Kotarba and funded by the Werlin Family Foundation.

We’ve provided an edited portion of the presentation by Kathryn Nowotny, an M.A. candidate in Sociology, who looked at the importance of music for fans of professional soccer.

And, what would a Cougar athletics event be without The Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band leading the excitement?  Indeed. 

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Around CLASS and Campus

CLASS Cougars go Bowling: Meet the seniors heading to the Texas Bowl

Our Houston Cougars (8-4, 6-2 C-USA) take on Texas Christian University (7-5, 4-4 Mountain West Conference) in the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium on Dec. 28.  For ticket information, go to the UH Cougars Official Athletic site.

UH football stadium

The team’s roster includes nine senior CLASS members:

The students, faculty, and staff of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences send congratulations to our seniors and to the entire Cougar football team!


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Transcript of Dean Antel's Video Message

Hello.  My name is John Antel, and I’m the Dean of your College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Graffit-e, our electronic newsletter.

Each month, we’ll share with you news about our students, faculty, and alumni by including video and photography to tell our stories.

This month, we have a slideshow of the annual student art exhibition at Blaffer Gallery so you can enjoy the works of our talented students.

And, make sure you visit the alumni section to see if you recognize this month’s featured alumnus.

Here’s a hint:  He received the Best Director award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

As you plan your gift-giving this holiday season, please keep in mind our students. 

We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of scholarships for our students who want to finish their degrees without the burden of huge student loans.

This semester, students in CLASS received nearly 18 million dollars in financial assistance, which included grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study, or a combination of two or more of these critical forms of assistance.

Scholarships, however, accounted for just a small portion of that total.

One of the best gifts you can give our students is through scholarship support as a partner with the university.  Even a small scholarship can make the difference between delaying an education and graduating with pride and distinction.

On behalf of the outstanding students, remarkable faculty, and talented staff at your College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, I send you best wishes for the holiday and for the coming year.

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CLASS: the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences | 402 Agnes Arnold Hall | (713)743-4002 | (713)743-2990 fax

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