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Haaga, Tucci receive Excellence Award


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Khator gives Spring update

May 2009

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


President Khator

As we come to the end of the academic year, let me thank you for a very productive semester. We are graduating 4,560 students this month, have received an anonymous gift of $8 million, and have completed a campus-wide dialogue on strategic priorities and actions. In addition, our research expenditures, degrees awarded, retention rates for freshmen and transfers, alumni giving, and average freshmen SAT are all up this year. Of course, we continue to maintain our excellent record in student diversity. It takes a team to accomplish great things and you surely make a great team. Thank you for your dedicated service to the University of Houston and to its mission.

I am pleased to share this quick update with you:

Legislative Session: Considering the economic downturn and corresponding decline in revenue, we are faring very well in the Legislature. We could not have asked for a more supportive delegation and certainly could not have found a stronger state and local agenda in favor of the University of Houston. While the Office of Governmental Relations is tracking over 750 bills, the following two areas have taken up most of our energy.

Tuition Flexibility: Our utmost interest is in retaining tuition flexibility while being extremely conservative in raising tuition. The tuition-related bill that has passed the Senate provides for ‘shared responsibility” between universities and the Legislature in accounting for the amount of allowable increase. The legislation, in most circumstances, limits increases to 5 percent or a three-year rolling average of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. Institutions below the median tuition rate may increase by 5 percent or $315 per year, whichever is greater. A similar bill, or a simplified version, may pass the House. Any differences would be resolved in a conference committee.

Tier One Initiative: Nine separate bills, including a constitutional amendment, were introduced in support of creating more Tier One universities in Texas. Three bills, two in the Senate and one in the House, have passed in their respective houses and are pending. The constitutional amendment has passed the Senate and will soon be considered in the House. We remain hopeful that the Legislature will create a pathway for all emerging research universities to compete and secure sustained funding. We also remain hopeful that we can secure funding for our immediate needs.

In addition, there are many other issues of interest, including guns on campus, fee change for UC remodeling, and downward expansion for UH-Victoria. All bills are proceeding favorably at this point. Please check the Governmental Relations Web site for updates on these and other issues.

Stimulus Funding: The path to Tier One is built on the outstanding capabilities of our faculty and staff combined with sufficient resources to realize our goals.  The advent of President Obama’s stimulus package provides a unique opportunity to obtain funding for some of our best proposals in a way that impacts the quality and quantity of our research, equipment, and facilities.  Many of you have already been involved in these endeavors.   As the first phase of responses to the National Institutes for Health comes to a close, you have my heartfelt thanks for 97 submissions totaling over $50 million.  In the coming months your Deans will be calling on many of you to participate in larger proposal activities for facilities and equipment (NIH, National Science Foundation, etc.) as well as major programs (Department of Energy, etc.).   I want to encourage all of you to participate even if it does not directly impact your individual research interests or your area of administrative responsibility.  Any funding we receive will free up resources, as well as significantly impact state funding that can be applied more broadly to programs throughout the University--hastening the day of our recognition as a Tier One institution.

Strategic Action Plan: What Comes Next? After several months of deliberations and public dialogue, the Strategic Action Group has completed its work. I am grateful to the SAG members and the various subcommittees for an engaging dialogue. According to our consultant, the UH plan is among the best in the nation because it addresses some very real challenges. Once I receive the final draft, the following steps will be taken:

  1. 1. The University Data Team under the leadership of the Office of the Provost will work on the national benchmarks suggested by SAG. 

  2. 2. I will assign management responsibility for each of the action items to one or more vice presidential areas. 

  3. 3. Vice Presidents will separate all action items into three categories:
    (1) Items that do not require additional funding;
    (2) Items that require modest additional funding; and
    (3) Items that require significant additional funding.
  4. Action on items in the first category will begin over this summer, action on items in the second category will begin with this year’s budget cycle, and action on items in the third category will begin as new funds become available from public or private sources.

  5. 4. An annual reporting of revenue and investment actions will be made available.

This Strategic Action Plan is a blueprint for our future efforts and investments. It intensifies our need to become more strategic and efficient in the use of existing resources, as well as more aggressive in the search for new resources. Again, I thank you for participating and invite you to remain engaged in coming years.

Campus Safety: Campus safety must remain a top priority for us because it cuts across every area of student success and national competitiveness. While early indications are that we fare well in our standards and policies when compared with other metropolitan universities, I would like to heighten our safety awareness and efforts. Whether real or perceived, the issue of campus safety must be tackled. I am appointing a Blue Ribbon Task Force co-chaired by Regent Nelda Blair (82 Law) and Police Chief Malcolm Davis (99 Occupational Technology), and comprised of membership from the campus community, the Houston Police Department, Harris County law enforcement, and neighborhood businesses to ensure we seek the broadest solutions possible.

UH Athletics: After serving as Athletics Director for seven years, Mr. Dave Maggard retired last week and returned to California. During his term, Cougar Athletics saw enormous gains both in athletics and academic prowess. I have appointed an 11-member Search Committee co-chaired by Mr. Ken Bailey (’69 Business, ’72 Law) and Dr. Carlucci to find us a leader who will build on the momentum we now enjoy. From my previous experience, I know firsthand that intercollegiate athletics can be the inviting front porch of a university. We want nothing less than a Tier One athletics programs in a Tier One university.

UH System: With the growing need for college graduates in the Houston metropolitan area, it is certain that UH System will be forced to expand over the next five to ten years. This month, university presidents and UH System vice chancellors met in a retreat to grapple with this reality and find ways to complement each other's pursuit of excellence. The UH System Plan, currently on the drawing board, anticipates small growth but big changes in the mix of students at the University of Houston - more freshman selectivity, higher percentage of graduate students, and cutting-edge retention strategies. Most of the student growth will be absorbed by other universities and by new offerings at our Sugar Land and Northwest sites. Provost John Antel is initiating several strategies to ensure we provide pathways to students, staff, and faculty within the UH System.

Swine Flu: All reports indicate that the Swine Flu outbreak has been contained. I appreciate everyone pulling together, praying for the best, preparing for the worst, and communicating in a timely fashion.

Rules on Travel, Food, and Entertainment: We have strengthened and clarified university policies governing the use of state funds and tuition funds to ensure that all expenditures related to travel, food, and entertainment are appropriate and support the university's academic mission.

Red Fridays: Finally, I encourage you to spread the Cougar spirit by wearing red on Fridays. You are UH’s biggest fans and best ambassadors. Thank you for all that you do to make this a better place.

Have a relaxing and rejuvenating summer!

Warm regards,

Renu Khator

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CLASS faculty recognized for teaching excellence

Curtis Haaga and Nina Tucci received well-deserved recognition from their colleagues and the University who awarded them coveted Teaching Excellence awards. The university also gave one of our prestigious John and Rebecca Moores professorships to Lawrence Hogue.



Haaga, recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award for instructional/clinical faculty, admits that teaching logic in the isn't the easiest job in the world. He says most students expect his introductory logic class to be “difficult and boring.”

Luckily for them, he injects energy and humor into his Philosophy lectures.

“I’ve discovered that a touch of quirky humor goes a long way toward keeping students alert,” Haaga said. “To that end, I have evolved a sort of classroom mythology involving jello, malt liquor, marsupials, and ancient Greek philosophers. These are the subject matter of many of the sentences that show up in the homework and on the tests.”

Comic relief aside, Haaga does whatever he can to make sure his students understand the material. He holds study sessions twice a week, and he returns every test with a copy of the answer key so students can see where they went wrong.

“He knows his students well, and it is obvious he cares about their progress,” said a colleague. “Students clearly like him and enjoy being in his class. It is inspiring to see him teach.”

The award, which carries a trophy and a $5,000 prize, recognizes outstanding teaching by faculty instructors, clinical faculty, research faculty, artist affiliates and lecturers. (Mike Emery)



Tucci’s classes may not be as rousing as The Three Musketeers or as bittersweet as the The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but her lectures leave students “with their eyes opened to a more intricate and fascinating world,” according to a former student who nominated the Associate Professor of French.

Described as “a firecracker, full of energy and bursting with enthusiasm” by another former student, Tucci has spent nearly 30 years at UH teaching French literature, grammar, and composition, along with French cinema. She also served as director of UH’s summer program in Bourges, France, for six years and established an internship program for advanced students and placed them with various French companies.

“In a typical literature class, Dr. Tucci pulls information from history, psychology, and art to put literature in a larger context,” the nominator wrote. “Listen to Dr. Tucci lecture on Cinderella, and your view of the character will be profoundly changed.”

This award goes to faculty in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching. Recipients receive a trophy and a $5,000 prize. (Francine Parker)



Receiving the honor of John and Rebecca Moores Professor is another chapter of Hogue’s distinguished 21-year career at the University of Houston. The Professor of English is the author of four books, including Discourse and the Other: The Production of the Afro-American Text.

His books are “required reading in graduate seminars on postmodernist and postcolonial literature produced throughout the English-speaking world,” according to his nominator.

“There is virtually no student in the English department at the University of Houston, whether creative writing students or students of literary history or criticism, who does not take one or more of his courses,” the nominator wrote.

Hogue, who teaches subjects such as Native and Asian American literatures, conducts lectures that go beyond the stereotypical discussions of race and gender. “He made us aware of our own unquestioned assumptions, as well as the assumptions many in our world make that have gone unexamined, yet dictate most of the ideologies we live by,” wrote a former student in a letter of support.

This five-year, renewable award, which carries a $10,000 annual stipend, goes to outstanding faculty in teaching, research, and service. (Francine Parker)

Chicana Badgirls

The translation is nowhere close to what it looks like in English, OK? What it is, you see, is a poster for an exhibition co-curated by Delilah Montoya, Associate Professor of Art. Chicana Badgirls: Las Hociconas opened in Albuquerque, NM, earlier this year as part of a series on activism and feminism. It comprised the multimedia work of 18 artists who challenge the perceived roles men play throughout society.

From the History Department . . .

Hart elected chair



John Mason Hart, the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History, is the newly elected Chair of the History Department, where he has taught since 1973. Hart is one of the foremost scholars of Mexican history. He has published numerous books, most recently the award winning, The Silver of Sierra Madre: John Robinson, Boss Shepard and the People of the Canyons (University of Arizona Press, 2008).

Ramos receives Fehrenbach Book Award



The Department of History, Center for Public History, and Tenneco Lecture Series held a book symposium in the Rockwell Pavilion of M.D. Anderson Library earlier this month in honor of Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861 (University of North Carolina Press, 320 pages, 2008) by Raúl Ramos, Associate Professor of History. Karl Jacoby of Brown University and Maria Montoya of New York University were also on hand to comment.

Beyond the Alamo recently received the T.R. Fehrenbach Book Award from the Texas Historical Commission.

Divakaruni discussed her novels in Virginia



Chitra Divakaruni, Professor of English, and awarding-winning writer and poet, discussed her two latest books, Shadowland (2009) and The Palace of Illusion (2008) last month at the Arlington (VA) Public Library’s Shirlington Library branch. Her themes include women, immigration, the South Asian experience, history, myth, magic, and celebrating diversity. Divakaruni, who teaches Creative Writing, writes for adults and children. Her books have been translated into 20 languages.

From the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. . .

Tech Center

The 2007 renovation of the Communication Technology Center received an Outstanding Design award for educational interiors from the American School & University Educational Interiors Showcase. Click here and take a look at this great facility.

The Houston Delphian Chapters Scholarship Foundation awarded the Valenti School $500 to purchase a Sennheiser wireless microphone system for use with high-definition field cameras. Kim Howard, a CLASS development director, was instrumental in the application for this gift.

For the past several weeks Martha Haun has volunteered as parliamentary coach for three Health Occupations Student Association parliamentary teams at DeBakey High School for Health Professions. At a recent state competition, one team place first and another placed fourth.



Bob Heath, Emeritus Professor of Communication; Jae Lee, Associate Professor of Communication; and Lan Ni, Assistant Professor of Communication, published the lead article in the Journal of Public Relations Research, 21/2, (2009): Crisis and risk approaches to emergency management planning and communication: The role of similarity and sensitivity. The Foundation for Public Relations funded the study with a $10,000 grant.

Ni, (with Jeong-Nam Kim) presented the paper, “A Meta-theoretical Procedure of Strategic Public Relations: Linking Formative and Evaluative Research in Two Types of Public Relations Problems” at the 12th annual International Public Relations Research Conference in Miami, jointly sponsored by the Institute for Public Relations and the University of Miami.



Joe Leydon (M.A. ’07 Communication) will conduct an on-stage Q&A with film producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, The Incredible Hulk) at the Nashville Film Festival. Leydon served as judge for the screen writing competition of the 2009 WorldFest/Houston International Film Festival. He also served as a mentor during a special program at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival, offering advice on the best ways for filmmakers to promote their independent productions through various media outlets. But, wait! There’s more. New Orleans public tv station WYES interviewed him recently for a documentary about Crescent City movie houses. And, Leydon’s among the interviewees in the upcoming documentary The People vs. George Lucas. He’s featured in a YouTube trailer for the film, which you can see by clicking here.

Michael Berryhill, Assistant Professor of Communication, interviewed journalist and best-selling author Bill Bryson onstage at the Wortham Center in Houston last month. Bryson closed the Inprint reading series with 1,100 people attending.


Advertising Campaigns class of Larry Kelley, Instructional Professor, Bob Culpepper, Lecturer, and Rosario Laudicina, Lecturer, tied for 5th place overall and placed 4th in the presentation phase of the National Student Advertising Competition. Shawn Mccombs, Communication Technology Manager, Dung Huynh, Systems Analyst, and Antonio Farias, Systems Analyst, assisted with computing services over Spring Break; Keith Houk, Instructional Professor, helped the team produce their commercials.



Jeremy Desel, adjunct faculty member, won the 2009 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for News Writing for a compilation of his work. He also received the Headliners Foundation of Texas 2008 Charles E. Green Award as Best Reporter in Texas.

Serpas leaves UT for UH

Bob Heath


Martha Serpas, Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas-Austin, joins our English faculty in the fall. She’s published two volumes of poetry, Cote Blanche (2002) and The Dirty Side of the Storm (2006).

Norton suggests practical ways to overcome debilitating health conditions



Peter Norton, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Anxiety Disorder Clinic, is the co-author of The Anti-Anxiety Workbook (Guilford Press, 2009). Anxiety disorders can have significantly negative affects on a person’s quality of life while also negatively influencing relationships, social interactions, school or work. Norton’s workbook, written with Martin Antony, helps pinpoint anxiety triggers; change beliefs and behaviors that worsen symptoms; and develop a safe, gradual plan for confronting fears.

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Keel and Indriyati Commencement speakers

Indriyati and Keel

Indriyati and Keel

The CLASS Commencement Student Speaker Selection Committee chose Elizabeth Keel (Theatre) and Riyani Indriyati (Public Relations) as the undergraduate and graduate student commencement speakers, respectively, for the May 15 Spring commencement held in Hofheinz Pavilion.

Prior to the event, Keel said she planned to rouse the crowd with a good old-fashioned go- get-‘em speech punched with humor. Indriyati told us she looked forward to expressing gratitude to her mother during her heartfelt address.

In next month’s Graffit-e, we’ll have videos of their speeches and links by school and department so our newest alumni and their family and friends can relive this milestone in their lives and their academic careers. The faculty and staff of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences send congratulations to all of our graduates!

Vollmer to Pats



So, the question becomes: where do we put Sabastian Vollmer? The former Cougar offensive tackle received his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations/Advertising in 2007. But he graduated this month with another undergraduate degree, this one in Economics. Thus, the question of whether to put the Kaarst, Germany, native in the Alumni section of Graffit-e, or in the Student section. OK. It’s obvious we chose the Student section to announce the New England Patriots of the National Football League last month drafted Vollmer in the second round with the 58th overall pick. That made him the fourth Cougar to go in the second round in the last five years.

Joseph receives Soros Fellowship for New Americans



Janie Joseph, a Ph.D. candidate in Literature and Creative Writing, received the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, one of 31 graduate students from across the nation to receive the fellowship this year. All recipients are immigrants or children of immigrants. The award pays tuition for two years of graduate study (or up to $16,000 per year) at a U.S. university and living expenses of up to 20 grand.

Joseph, who also teaches composition, was born in Manila, Philippines. She was 8 years old when her family moved to the U.S. She graduated summa cum laude with upper division honors from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She received her master of fine arts degree at New York University. Here at UH, she is a senior poetry reader for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts at the University of Houston. She also is a fellow of the Kundiman poetry organization for Asian-American poets.

Vahabzadeh exhibits at Art League


Looking for something to do? Head on down to the Art League of Houston project space at 1953 Montrose Blvd. to see the photography of Tala Vahabzadeh, a graduate student in Photography/Digital Media in the School of Art. She’s part of the two-person exhibition, Conceal/Disclose, which also features the paintings of Hagit Barkai, through June 19.

Both women come from the Middle East. They filter their works through their personal experience as they deal, in their own ways, with the issues of concealment and disclosure.

Vahabzadeh bases her current series of photographs on her personal experience of being an Iranian/Muslim woman undercover since she was nine years old. These works seek to show the conflicting worlds of tradition (public life) and modernity (personal life) and the effect this conflict has in the lives of contemporary women in Iran.

Vahabzadeh uses the image of the veil in its traditional iconic sense and as a metaphor of the lack of freedom. She uses herself as a subject through the implementation of various props and arrangements, and different printing processes to create the appropriate ambience and atmosphere needed to expose the meaning behind her untitled pieces. In one work, the fully veiled Vahabzadeh perches in the branches of a tree. The image of a woman as a bird is based on a common joke in Iran that compares a woman wearing full veil to a black crow.

Vahabzadeh is from Tehran, Iran. She received her bachelor’s in Photography from the University of Tehran. She worked as a commercial photographer for an advertising and industrial photography company in Tehran, and assisted on a major documentary photography project that focused on the historical monuments of Iran. She has exhibited her work in Houston and Tehran at venues that include UH, the University of Tehran, Lawndale Art Center, Commerce Street Artists’ Warehouse, and Lone Star College.


Gonzalez snags Bronze Quill

David Gonzalez, a Corporate Communication major in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication and president of the UH chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, won an IABC-Houston Bronze Quill award in the Student Division’s Writing Category for “The Salvation Army: Making a Difference.”

In a related matter, the IABC-UH student chapter last month put on Pizza w/the Pros, featuring former CBS correspondent David Henderson. Henderson is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, communications strategist, author, and noted blogger.

History students honored, celebrate accomplishments


  John Barr, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, won an Andrew Mellon Fellowship at the Virginia Historical Society. Barr will use the fellowship to do research at the VHS for his dissertation, With Malice Toward One: The Anti-Lincoln Tradition in American Life, 1860-2009.
Canatella Holle Canatella, a Ph.D. candidate in Medieval History, received a University Commission Fellowship for 2009-10. The fellowship allows Canatella to continue in the research and writing of her dissertation, Desire Embraced: Male-Female Spiritual Friendship in England and France, ca. 1050-1250. She also had accepted for publication “Long Distance Love: The Ideology of Male-Female Spiritual Friendship in Goscelin of St. Bertin’s Liber Confortatorius” in the Journal of the History of Sexuality (forthcoming, 2009).
  Jamie Christy, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, published an entry on mayor Marc Morial of New Orleans in the Encyclopedia of African American History edited by Paul Finkelman and published by Oxford University Press (2009).

  Nicholas P. Cox, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, published six entries in The Encyclopedia of the Early Republic and Antebellum America edited by Christopher Bates and published by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. (2009). He also presented “Beloved as Cathartic Art,” Graduate Research Symposium on African-American Women: Fiction and Film, University of Houston, Fall, 2008.

  Courtney DeMayo and Benjamin Pugno, Ph.D. candidates in Medieval History, won dissertation grants from the Medieval Academy of America.   The Etienne Gilson Dissertation Grant will support DeMayo’s dissertation, The School at Reims and the Early Capetian State: ca. 979-1031, while Pugno will use the Helen Maud Cam Dissertation Grant for his dissertation, Physicians of the Soul: Healing and Conversion in Anglo-Saxon England.

Jesse Esparza, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, published four entries in the Encyclopedia of African American History edited by Paul Finkelman and published by Oxford University Press (2009) and will publish 12 entries in Latinos and Latinas in U.S. History and Culture: An Encyclopedia, edited by Carmen Lugo-Lugo and David J. Leonard and published by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. (forthcoming, 2009). He also published two entries in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration edited by Steven A. Reich and published by the Greenwood Publishing Group (forthcoming, 2009)

Kelly Stephanie Kelly, a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American History, presented “Agents of Modernization or Agents of Empire? The Ford Foundation in Latin America,” at the Annual Conference of the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies.

  Lauran Kerr-Heraly, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, received the Ottis Lock Endowment Award from the East Texas Historical Association for aid in dissertation research, 2009.

Quiroga Lone Star College named Jamie Quiroga, a Ph.D. candidate studying 20th century Medical History and the Managing editor of the Houston History magazine, received the Outstanding Adjunct Professor of 2009-10 for the Tomball and Willowchase campuses.
  Mari L. Nicholson-Preuss, a Ph.D. candidate in European History, presented “Managing Ground Zeroes: Civil Defense Health Services and the Emergency Medical Response to Hurricane Audrey 1957” at the American Association for the History of Medicine Annual Conference.

O'Brien Tim O’Brien, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, published “Organizing Lessons from Allen Parkway Village,” for Shelterforce: Journal of Housing and Community Building, Spring 2009. He reviewed Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music, in Southwest Journal of Cultures, Winter 2008-09. And he presented “Lightnin’ Hopkins: Life on the Music Business Plantation,” at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference.
  David Raley, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, presented “Six Months in Texas and Louisiana: The Civil War Diary of Joseph P.Underwood,” at the East Texas Historical Association Conference.

Rodriguez Albert Rodriguez, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, presented “Blacks in the Rio Grande Valley” at the South Texas College First Annual Black History Month, and “Into the Valley: Reframing Race and Class in Urbanizing South Texas Before and During the Great Depression” at the Houston Area Southern Historians spring meeting.
  Philip Sinitiere, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History, presented “The Sad Tendency of Divisions and Contentions in Churches: Popular Religion and Pastoral Dismissal in British North America,” at the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Graduate Student Forum.

Womack Jeffrey Womack, an M.A. candidate in U.S. History, presented “Pipe-Dreams for Powering Paradise: Solar Power Satellites and the Energy Crisis,” at the American Society for Environmental History Conference. He also presented “Mutants in the Desert: The Impact of Nuclear Imagery on Science Fiction Films,” at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting.



Auditions for Fall 2009!

MSM logo

Auditions for Fall 2009 Rebecca and John J. Moores School of Music undergraduate choral ensembles (Concert Chorale and Concert Women's Chorus) began May 4 and continue throughout the summer (by appointment). Please contact Betsy Cook Weber, Director of Undergraduate Choral Studies, at or 713-743-3194, for an audition appointment.

Auditions consist of: vocalizing, tonal memory drills, sight singing, and a prepared solo (pianist provided).

Also remember we have two wonderful groups that are essentially non-auditioned:

University Men's Chorus (TTH 11:30 - 1:00; MUSI 1120)
University Women's Chorus (TTH 11:30 - 1:00; MUSI 1120)

Moores Concert Chorale represents USA in big UK festival

ChoirThe Rebecca and John J. Moores School of Music Concert Chorale’s rich harmonies and vibrant performances have thrilled audiences in Texas and around the nation. Now, the group leaps across the pond for its debut in one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious choral festivals.

In July, the Moores Chorale will perform at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, a six-day festival of song and dance held annually in the Welsh town of Llangollen. Each year, festival organizers select the world’s top singers to perform and compete at this celebrated event. This year's event runs July 6 - 12.

In addition to competing in four categories, the Moores Chorale, consisting of 36 students and alumni, will participate in the Llangollen Peace Concert, which assembles representatives from all of the competing choirs for a flag parade and performance. The Peace Concert also features 10 choirs, each representing their region of the world. The Moores Chorale will represent the United States.

“Llangollen will give us a chance to represent UH and the Moores School of Music on a world stage,” said Betsy Cook Weber, Director of the Moores Chorale. “In July, when the world’s greatest choirs compete in Llangollen, UH will be among them. Our very presence will demonstrate that we are a member of a very select club.”

The Moores Chorale will participate in four competitions: Youth Choir (under the age of 25) on July 9, Mixed Choir on July 10, Chamber Choir on July 10, and Folk Song Choir on July 10. Should the chorale place first in the Mixed Choir or Chamber choir categories, it will have the opportunity to compete for the Choir of the World: Pavarotti Trophy on July 11. Ten individual members of the chorale will compete in separate solo competitions.

“We have performed in front of many important people and at other noted competitions,” said Moores Chorale bass section leader Maxim Bitner. “This is the first time, however, our group has traveled internationally to perform. We know what we have to do when we get there, so we'll be focused and take charge.”

During the festival, the student vocalists will stay with host families living in Llangollen. Travel fees have been aided by donations from Continental Airlines, Charles and Bette Saunders, Margaret Alkek Williams, Jim and Helen Shaffer, Martha Palmer, and Steve and Joella Mach.

“The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has been described as a ‘means for the world's nations to meet and compete through music,’” said David Ashley White, Director of the Moores School of Music. “It is an honor for our Moores Concert Chorale to be invited to participate. Under Dr. Weber's leadership, the chorale has consistently made huge strides, and its members are great students who give so much to UH through their hard work and dedication.”

Since 1947, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has attracted the world's most gifted vocalists and dancers for a week of music. Star alumni of Llangollen include Luciano Pavarotti, who competed with his father at the event in 1955, and Placido Domingo, who made his professional debut in the United Kingdom there. This year's star performers include acclaimed vocalist Sir Willard White, West End actress/singer Barbara Dickson, classical vocal quartet Blake and opera star Natasha Marsh.

The Moores School of Music is one of the premier music schools in the nation. Offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, MSM serves about 600 students annually. Areas of study include composition, conducting, performance, theory and musicology. Its faculty consists of internationally recognized performers, composers and scholars. Among its ensembles are the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Moores Jazz Ensemble, Concert Chorale, Concert Women’s Chorus, Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble. MSM performs the majority of its concerts in the 800-seat Moores Opera Center. For more details on the Moores School of Music, click here.
(Mike Emery)

UH Wind Ensemble offers Giannini

The Rebecca and John J. Moores School of Music Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Tom Bennett, put out a CD back in 2006 that you might pick up for some Summer listening. It’s GIANNINI: Symphony No. 3 / Dedication Overture / Variations and Fugue. This symphony for Wind Band is his most frequently performed and recorded work. Variations and Fugue, one of the composer’s late works, explores a darker, more personal mode of expression.

Deadline looms to apply for Murray Scholarship

Pictured from left to right:
Center for Public Policy Director Jim Granato,
Richard Murray,
President Renu Khator,
and State Sen. John Whitmire (’75 Political Science)

The University of Houston established the Richard Murray Endowed Scholarship in 2008 in honor of Dick Murray’s service to the Houston community and 40 years of teaching and research at the University of Houston. See story in the May 2008 issue of Graffit-e.

The first scholarship will be awarded at the end of the spring 2009 semester. May 29 is the application deadline. Scholarship applicants must have a major in political science declared in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. For more information, click here. This webpage also includes a link to the downloadable application form (in Word).

If interested in applying, please read the eligibility requirements carefully and include all requested materials in your application packet. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Questions? Email Mike Angel at

Travel fellowships available for CLASS students



Lauren Baker, a Research Assistant in Psychology and a Psych major set to graduate this month, recently delivered a presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development Conference in Denver. The UH Undergraduate Research Travel Fellowship helped with her travel costs. Administered through the UH Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs, these funds provide students with financial support to attend out-of-town academic meetings and conferences.

“The conference was awe inspiring! I was able to see the whole spectrum of research conducted in the field of child development,” Baker says. “This fellowship allowed me to focus on the content of the conference. Having a secured source of payment for meals and other incidentals made it possible for me to attend the lectures without having to worry about my pocketbook.”

Undergraduate students who have submitted an abstract for presentation at a national or international conference can apply for the travel fellowships. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to travel. For more details or to download an application, click here.

The travel fellowships are part of UH’s Quality Enhancement Plan - the Learning through Discovery Initiative at the University of Houston that kicked off in fall 2008. As part of its reaffirmation of accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, UH developed a QEP centered on enhancing student learning. To learn more about other programs and resources of the Learning through Discovery Initiative, click here. (Mike Emery)

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Williams receives first Professional Academic Advising award

Kimberly Williams


On any given day, Kimberly Williams (M.A., ’08 Speech Communication) shows her true Cougar colors.

“She has always maintained a polite and professional demeanor, has never seemed overwhelmed, and has always met every request—no matter how outrageous—with efficiency and competence,” wrote her nominator. “Without Kim Williams, I could not do my job.”

As academic adviser 2 in the English department, Williams assists more than 800 students. Her duties range from preparing and filing degree plans to verifying students for graduation.

Over the past few years, Williams juggled her professional tasks with her own academic responsibilities—graduating from UH with a master’s degree in communication.

Her dedication to the university has earned her the new Professional Academic Advising Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising. The award, which carries a $1,000 check and a plaque, recognizes a staff member who demonstrates excellence in undergraduate student advising.

Stone Foundation $75,000 grant establishes Texas history teaching academy



The Center for Public History just received a $75,000 grant from Houston’s Ron Stone Foundation to establish the Ron Stone Academy for the Teaching of Texas History. UH will provide a 1-1 match. The program is scheduled to hold its first classes in the summer of 2010.

The primary goals of the Academy are to encourage improvements in teaching Texas history in Texas schools; to foster the use of visual media in teaching Texas history; and to build links between teachers and existing programs at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the San Jacinto Monument, and other Texas historical sites.

The Academy will offer workshops to fourth- and seventh-grade Texas history teachers, and to those completing their teacher’s training. The Academy will award scholarships based on a competitive process; non-scholarship participants will pay a fee. Practicing historians and a selected group of outstanding fourth- and seventh-grade Texas history teachers will staff the Academy.

“Building alliances with the Ron Stone Foundation and other universities around the state will be a key component,” says Joe Pratt, CLASS Interim Dean, Cullen Professor of History and Business, and Director of the Houston History Project. “We are grateful for the Foundation’s support and look forward to a continued relationship.”

Invitation for Creation collaboration in Fifth Ward

The School of Theatre and Dance will collaborate with the Houston Independent School District this summer to provide Invitation for Creation, an exciting summer enrichment camp based on the works of Shel Silverstein. Third through fifth graders in four HISD schools will participate: Crawford Elementary, Atherton Elementary, N.Q. Henderson Elementary, and E.O. Smith Elementary, where the camp will be housed.

The works of Shel Silverstein make an inviting bridge to creativity, imagination, and inspiration. SOTD graduate and undergraduate students will work with HISD faculty to provide students with creative opportunity to explore Dance, Acting, Music, Playwriting, and Puppetry. The entire experience will culminate in a student performance.

The creation of a deeper interest in the performing arts, while developing a deeper appreciation for our connections to each other and our community, is idea behind the program made possible by a grant from The Houston Endowment.

Building a bridge between UH and HISD schools is an important step in helping children see themselves as college bound. To provide students with arts-based activities and connect children at a young age to UH, SOTD is developing a Theatre Education program. Recently, SOTD received a grant from the Houston Endowment for the Arts to provide children with more arts-based opportunities. The Invitation for Creation experience will empower children to explore creativity, literature, and the arts, while helping them explore the idea of going to college.

Students in the camp will work collaboratively in various arts applications to develop an original performance for their community. This gives them ownership and provides the opportunity for them to become leaders in their community. This also will create a lasting impact – which is what will make this program successful.

Involvement in the Invitation for Creation Summer Camp will allow students to:

  • Develop writing skills focusing on the development of ideas, organization, and voice;
  • Develop a greater understanding of arts terminology through hands-on learning;
  • Participate in practical/reality based action activities;
  • Increase their awareness of literature and how it applies to real life experience;
  • Set goals, identify issues that interest them, and work together to create a performance based on those issues; and
  • Participate in sessions designed to stimulate creativity and awareness of community and collaboration.

About the Fifth Ward

The Fifth Ward became an official Houston ward in 1866. Some notable past residents of include U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, boxer and Olympic champion George Foreman, and the late members of Congress Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan. The Fifth Ward is home to many historic and culturally rich landmarks, including six churches more than a century old, St. Elizabeth Clinic, the Lonnie Smith house, the Continental Zydeco Ballroom, the Club Matinee, Peacock Records, and the DeLuxe Theater.

The DeLuxe Theater

The DeLuxe Theater is a perfect site for a dynamic cultural community focus with its striking architectural façade, its historic significance, and its central location on Lyons Avenue. The DeLuxe Theater served as a movie house from 1941 to 1969. In 1971, the building was renovated as an art gallery by John and Dominique de Menil and housed “The DeLuxe Show” – the first integrated modern art show in the U.S. The Menils hosted two more art exhibitions there in 1972 and 1973, after which The DeLuxe Theater closed and has remained vacant, leaving only its 15,000- square-foot shell that is badly in need of repair.

Zydeco music is often mislabeled as a native product of New Orleans. True zydeco came out of the Fifth Ward, where it’s still performed. The migration of black Creole into Houston began after the War Between the States, but most migrants to Houston who influenced the zydeco tradition arrived after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. These people settled in an area that became known as Frenchtown, which quickly became a major center for Creole folk life in Houston, and home to hundreds of musicians who played a style of French music called la-la. Creole musicians quickly adopted elements of blues, the most popular style of music heard in Houston during this time, and mixed them into their la-la sound, thus giving birth to zydeco, as it became formally called around the 1950s.

One of the goals of D.E.C.K (Deluxe Entertainment Camp for Kids) is to help kids gain a better understanding of their artistic abilities, while tapping into the creative energy of their community’s diverse cultural past. It is hoped D.E.C.K will help bring the arts back to future generations of the Fifth Ward community.

Third Ward collaboration pairs UH with Ryan Middle School



The University of Houston continued its partnership last month with programs in the Third Ward, specifically at Ryan Middle School, which sits at the heart of the historic area, but which as languished through recent challenging times.

UH joined the middle-school students at an exhibition in the atrium of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture building on April 28 to honor the history and heritage of the school and the Third Ward.

“Through art, digital media, architecture and photography, we are learning and teaching about our neighborhood and school histories,” said Carroll Parrott Blue, Visiting Professor in African American Studies and director of the project. “Our goal is to promote some of the much needed changes that can revitalize our Third Ward communities and institutions.”

Led by Blue, the project paired students from the Center for Public Policy, the Center for Public History, the School of Art, and the College of Architecture with students from Ryan Middle School and nearby Jack Yates High School.

With the assistance of Carl Davis of the City of Houston Planning and Development Department, the group captured firsthand the experiences of former teachers and students who passed through the halls of Jack Yates High School between 1926 and 1958. Davis is working with city officials to secure an historic building designation for Ryan Middle School.

Among the items on display:

Portraits and architectural images by a Photography student featuring three community leaders and three members of the 1958 class of Jack Yates High School. Ryan Middle School was the original site of Yates High School.

Designs created by three architecture students for a new art gallery at Ryan Middle School, scheduled to begin construction this summer.

16-minute digital history of the civil rights movement's impact on Third Ward, featuring photos and interviews compiled by History students.

New essays from Public History students on the impact of the national and local civil rights movement on the Jack Yates High School Class of 1958. (Marisa Ramirez, ’00 English)

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Gray Matters matter, as a matter of fact


Saul Friedman (’56 Philosophy), a Brooklyn native who attended New York public schools, has been a working journalist and columnist for more than 50 years. He worked most of that time as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, and Newsday, covering beats ranging from local governments to the federal government, foreign affairs, and a couple of wars. He started his “Gray Matters” column in 1996, which was one of the first regular newspaper columns to cover the political, economic, and social issues facing older Americans.

Friedman considers himself an advocate for his readers, and calls his column a survival guide for men and women of a certain age.

Read his column on 57 years of marriage here.

Spellings new U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Advisor



Margaret Spellings (’79 Political Science), President and CEO of Margaret Spellings and Company and former Secretary of Education in the George W. Bush administration, accepted the role of Senior Advisor to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue.

“Margaret will help us with a broad range of initiatives, including a new program of outreach to governors and mayors,” said Donohue. “We are very excited to be benefiting from her extraordinary experiences in state and federal government.”

Spellings was Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy before becoming Secretary of Education. She was one of the principal proponents of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act aimed at reforming primary and secondary education. In 2005, she convened a Commission on the Future of Higher Education to recommend reform at the post-secondary level.

After graduating from UH, she worked on an education reform commission under Texas Governor William P. Clements and as associate executive director for the Texas Association of School Boards. Before her appointment to the Bush administration, Spellings was the political director for Bush’s first gubernatorial campaign in 1994, and later became a senior advisor to Bush during his term as Texas governor from 1995 to 2000.

Siegel receives Stegner



Matthew Siegel (M.F.A. ’09 Creative Writing) is one of ten writers across the nation (five poets and five fiction writers) to receive the 2009-10 Stanford Creative Writing Program’s Wallace Stegner Fellowships. Siegel and his fellow fellows were among nearly 1,600 applicants.

The two-year fellowship program, named after novelist and Stanford University Creative Writing Program founder Wallace Stegner, covers tuition and health insurance and provides each of the fellows with a $26,000-per-year stipend. The new fellows will start at Stanford in the fall. Siegel plans to complete a poetry manuscript as a Stegner Fellow. He also received an Academy of American Poets Award, a 2006 Bucknell Younger Poets Seminar fellowship, and a 2007 work-study scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Hill also a Stegner Fellow



Sean Hill (M.A., ’03 Creative Writing and Literature) also is a Stegner Fellow. While a graduate student, Hill received the 2003 Michener Fellowship for poetry. He has also received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bush Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, and the University of Wisconsin. And, he received work-study scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He recently received a Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation. In March 2008 the University of Georgia Press published his first book, Blood Ties & Brown Liquor.

Weathers Receives Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award

Melinda Weathers (M.A., ’08 Speech Communication) received the 2009 Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award at George Mason University. The award recognizes a person in the Department of Communication’s Ph.D. program, through his or her outstanding academics and research that has “greatly impacted the field of communications.” While a graduate student at UH, Weathers taught in public speaking, communication theory, and technical communications. Her current research focuses on exploring communication competence, social support, perceived coping and religious coping among Hispanic family members caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's Disease. She also has worked with a team of UH faculty members and graduate students to prepare a grant proposal on a computerized support tool for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. She has presented her graduate work at numerous conferences, including the National Communications Association, Central States Communication Association, Southern States Communication Association, and the Texas Speech Communication Association conferences.

Petrovich wins NISOD Award



Alisa Petrovich (’85 English, M.A., ’92 History, Ph.D., ’97 History), an assistant professor at Brazosport College, received a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Award given to an outstanding professor at each of the member colleges as the result of a vote by students, staff, and faculty.

Rogers keeps publishing



Pattiann Rogers (’81 M.A., English) has published 10 books of poetry, a book-length essay, The Dream of the Marsh Wren, and A Covenant of Seasons, poems and monotypes, in collaboration with the artist Joellyn Duesberry. Her two most recent books are Generations (Penguin, 2004) and Firekeeper, Selected Poems, Revised and Expanded Edition (Milkweed, 2005). Song of the World Becoming, New and Collected Poems, 1981 – 2001 (Milkweed Editions) was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and an Editor’s Choice in Booklist. Firekeeper, New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1994.

Rogers received two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Poetry Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, and the 2005 Lannan Award for Poetry. Her poems have won the Tietjens Prize, the Hokin Prize, and the Bock Prize from Poetry, the RoethkePrize from Poetry Northwest, two Strousse awards from Prairie Schooner, and five Pushcart Prizes. In May, 2000, Rogers was a resident at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy. Her papers are archived in the Sowell Family Collection of Literature, Community, and the Natural World at Texas Tech University. She has been a visiting professor at numerous universities and colleges and was Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas from 1993–1997. You can watch a clip of her discussing science and art, produced by Pacific University in Oregon, by clicking here.

Legislative update

The 111th Congress and the 81st Texas Legislature are still going strong in D.C. and Austin, respectively. Once again, UH (and CLASS) Cougars prowl the halls of power. We’ve put together a list of the Cougar Congressional and Legislative delegations, along with links to their Web pages, so you can keep track of what they’re doing on our and your behalf. Their Web pages also have contact information, just in case you need to set them straight on a thing or two.

We’re also including the May 8 State Legislative Update put out by the offices of the UH System Chancellor and Governmental Relations


May 8, 2009

(This update is produced by the UH System Office of Governmental Relations and the Office of the Chancellor/President as a service to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.)


The UH System was well-represented at the Capitol again this week. Board of Regents Chairman Welcome W. Wilson, Jr., and Regent Nelda Blair spent the better part of the week meeting with dozens of legislative leaders, including Lt. Governor Dewhurst, to discuss our appropriations priorities and the Tier One legislation. On Wednesday, Chairman Wilson testified on HB 51, the multifaceted national research university bill, in the Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill was left pending.

UH Student Center Fee Legislation

  • HB 2961 by Rep. Coleman, which authorizes a fee increase to renovate the University Center on the UH campus, has passed the House and been referred to the Senate Committee on Higher Education. Sen. Rodney Ellis will sponsor the bill.


  • SB 1443 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, which places restrictions on tuition increases, passed the Senate this week. The bill is very complex and a summary is difficult. Some of the general provisions are as follows: It does provide for "shared responsibility" between the institutions and the Legislature in accounting for the amount of allowable increase. The legislation, in most circumstances, limits increases to 5% or a three-year rolling average of the consumer price index, whichever is lower. Institutions below the median tuition rate may increase by 5% or $315 per year, whichever is greater. This is a simplified explanation and there are many permutations to the bill. We do believe, however, that the House will attempt to adopt a much simpler plan.

Appropriations Bill

  • The Conference Committee's Education work group continues to meet. They have not yet made any final decisions.

The Crowded Condition of the Calendars

  • In the not so distant past, all bills had an "emergency clause" that referenced "the crowded condition of the calendars." That is certainly not an exaggeration at this point in the session. With just 24 days remaining, the Legislature will not meet this weekend in observance Mothers' Day. They have, however, met late into the night most of this week. Of the 745 bills we are tracking, almost 300 have been reported from committee in the house of origin.

These are the de facto and de jure House deadlines for next week:

Monday, May 11 - Last day for House committee to report House Bills
Tuesday, May 12 - Last House Daily Calendar with House Bills must be printed and distributed
Wednesday, May 13 - Last House Local and Consent Calendar with House Bills must be printed and distributed
Thursday, May 14 - Last day for House to consider House Bills on the Daily Calendar on 2nd Reading
Friday, May 15 - Last day for House to consider Consent House Bills; Last day for all House Bills on 3rd Reading

These deadlines exacerbate the problem of getting Senate bills reported from House Committee. In order to pass House bills by these deadlines, the House will meet late into the night and even into the morning hours all of next week. Special permission is required to allow committees to meet while the House is in session.

For additional information on the Legislature, click here.

Gene GreenTed PoeRoyce WestJohn WhitmoreAlma AllenCarol AlvaradoBill CallergariJessica FarrarAna HernandezChuck HopsonDora OllivoLarry PillipsRobert TaltonSenfronia Thompson Sylvester TurnerArmondo WalleBeverly WoolleyJohn Zerwas

In memoriam


William Dorman Atkinson, Sr.
(’52 Radio and Television)
May 2, 2009


Kathryn Rosanne Allen Frazier
(’75 Fine Arts)
April 21, 2009


Wilfredo Manese
(Ph.D. ’71, Industrial Psychology)
Feb. 10, 2009

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Looking back at swine flu

Screenshot of Powell and Valier

Swine flu, or rather the history of the flu, is the topic of our discussion this month with Helen Valier, a member of our History faculty and Instructional Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Medicine and Society Program in The Honors College.

Prof. Valier received her undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge, and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Manchester. She joined the UH faculty in 2005

Her latest book is a comparative account of post-World War 2 cancer chemotherapy research and clinical research policy in the United States and the United Kingdom, for which she makes extensive use of local medical and public archives, this time in the Houston area.

Her new book takes particular account of sources relating to the history of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the treatment of cancer throughout south Texas.
(Click the image to watch the interview, video will open in a popup window.)

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Around CLASS and Campus

Texas Music Festival Turns 20


The Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival started in 1990 to provide young professional musicians with a challenging musical environment for developing their skills in orchestral, chamber music, and solo performance. Distinguished artists from the Rebecca and John J. Moores School of Music faculty, Houston Symphony members, and internationally recognized guests guide the students in this four-week orchestral fellowship program on the University of Houston campus. Many TMF faculty members perform as soloists with the festival orchestra and as part of the Distinguished Artist Series (TMF’s faculty chamber music series).

Visit the TMF site to learn more about the festival, to listen to performance selections, and to view the season schedule.

Listen to Gustav Mahler’s, Symphony No. 6 in A Minor, “Tragic”, Movement I, Allegro energico, ma non troppo, from the 2006 TMF, Franz Anton Krager, conductor.

Interior Design alumni bid farewell to program

Alumni of the School of Art Interior Design program have planned a “Deconstructing the Program” get-together for May 30 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to mark the end of the 43-year-old program.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has generously provided Cullinan Hall, in the Caroline Weiss Law Building, for the 7 p.m. event that will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music, and heaping helpings of nostalgia. Organizers will also pay tribute to professors Richard Hutchens ASID/IIDA, program founder; Angi Patton, graduate coordinator; and Jack Hanna, area coordinator.

To learn more about the Interior Design program, the May 30 event, ways to contribute, and how to RSVP, you can visit the Deconstructing the Program Web page.

Operas and International Piano Festival headline Moores dates

Spring at the Rebecca and John J. Moores School of Music brings a spectacular line up for our enjoyment.

Tickets and Information: 713-743-3313

Box Office hours: Monday-Friday, 9 am-4 pm
Box Office personnel will confirm phone orders for tickets during business hours only.
View calendar for updated event information.

For all concert information and box office rules, please visit the MSM website!


20th Anniversary Season
Immanuel & Helen Olshan


Saturday, June 13, 7:30 pm
Franz Anton Krager, conductor
Richard Dowling, piano    
Mozart: Piano Concerto in E-flat, K. 482
Strauss: Alpine Symphony

Friday, June 19, 7:30 pm
Stephen Threlfall
, conductor
Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin
Britten: Suite on English Folk Songs

Stravinsky: Pulcinella (complete)

Saturday, June 20, 7:30 pm
Lavard Skou-Larsen, conductor
Mozart: Symphony No. 39 in E-flat, K. 543
Sibelius: Pelléas and Mélisande (excerpts)
Ibert: Divertissement

Saturday, June 27, 7:30 pm
Josep Caballé-Domenech, conductor
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist
Competition Winner, soloist
Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3 in A minor

Saturday, July 3, 7:30 p.m.
Barry Jekowsky, conductor
Elmar Oliveira, violin
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14
Theofanidis: Symphony (commission premiere)


Tuesdays, June 9, 16, 23 and 30, 7:30 pm
Chamber music at its best with TMF faculty artists, guests, and the TMF Jazz Project.

Classical Minds Guitar Festival and Competition

June 26 - July 2
In conjuction with the TMF. Find more information here.

Women’s Studies hold Q&A

The Women’s Studies Program, along with Friends of Women’s Studies, Southwest Alternate Media Project, and Women in Film and Television/Houston co-sponsored a screening of the film, Who Does She Think She Is? earlier this month in the Brown Auditorium of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, followed by a Q&A with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll (Born Into Brothels, 2005).

Who Does She Think She Is? focuses on five bold women artists, each radically different in background, race, religious creed, and choice of artistic field. They all share the common challenge of making careers in their various art worlds. Simultaneously to their creative existence, they are pulled in different directions as they try to answer the competing demands of artistic fulfillment, marriage, motherhood and economic survival. Click here for more information and to view the trailer.

Film and Sexual Assault

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, Women's Resource Center sponsored a discussion panel and a film viewing. The discussion, “Film and Sexual Assault: A conversation on how societal roles feed the cycle of abuse,” was held in the University Center Satellite. The screening also included the films: Boys Don't Cry, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, Speak, and War Zone.

R U a writer wannabe?

So you want to be a writer, huh? Well, come on in! There’s room in the pool if you don’t mind the occasional floating flotsam. Clear your calendars for June 22-27, 2009, for “boldface”, a conference for emerging writers sponsored by Glass Mountain, UH’s undergraduate literary journal.

You’ll get to work on your writing in small workshops; hear craft talks that address specific elements of creative writing; benefit from valuable professional advice; read your work to an audience of your peers; and network with other aspiring writers.

boldface invites your registration, regardless of whether you’re published or whether you have an undergraduate degree in creative writing. But, you’re outta luck if you’re enrolled in, or have graduated from, a graduate creative writing program. This workshop is for writers at the start of their careers. Sorry.

Rocky Horror Show on the slab for 2009-10 UH Theatre season


The University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance is geared up for a season of firsts. Local theater favorites Paul Hope and Leslie Swackhamer will direct productions with the school for the first time. And, in a season first, plays directed by two of our master of fine arts candidates will bookend the season in fall and spring.

Also during the 2009-10 performance season, the school will present the UH debut of cult classic The Rocky Horror Show (Oct. 21- Nov. 1) and the Houston premiere of Charles Mee’s Big Love (Feb. 26 - March 7). The school’s student choreographers will produce, for the first time, their fall dance concert in the 190-seat Jose Quintero Theatre.

The season will also highlight the Theatre for Young Audiences program touring a newly commissioned play to local schools and community centers.

This season will also be the first to offer an affordable Pick 3 subscription option, which offers three shows for $42. Cheap!

“The process of selecting a season for an academic theater is always interesting. Our season is essentially a ‘lab’ to train student actors, designers, dancers, choreographers, dramaturges, technicians, and stage managers,” explains Steve Wallace, SOTD director. “As a result, our audiences get to enjoy a very eclectic and entertaining season ranging from classics to more adventurous, contemporary offerings.”

Among the other highlights of next season are Christopher Hampton’s seductive Dangerous Liaisons (April 16 - 25) and MFA directing projects of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and John Guare’s Landscape of the Body.

Season subscriptions will go on sale June 1. Details on pricing options and dates can be found at or by calling 713-743-2929.

Sept. 25 - 27
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen; directed by Clinton Hopper, second-year MFA director. This production is part of the MFA Studio, which offers free performances of full-length plays.

Oct. 2 - 11
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde; directed by Jonathan Gonzalez

Oct. 16 - 18
Landscape of the Body by John Guare; directed by Cheramie Howe, second-year MFA director. This production is part of the MFA Studio. Innocent small-town folk move to New York City in the 1970s and quickly find that murder, crime and porn are the standard of life.

Oct. 23 - Nov. 1
The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O'Brien; directed by Paul Hope.
Sex, aliens, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Dec. 4 - 6
Emerging Choreographers Showcase; produced by the UH Center for Choreography. Energy and space, form and beauty. There’s always something dramatic, interesting, and fun to see at this annual concert of up-and-coming choreographers. Performed in the intimate 190-seat Quintero Theatre.

Program:Best Christmas

Theatre For Young Audiences: Nov. 20, Dec. 4
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It’s 1972, and the rag-tag kids of the Herdman family are about to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t miss the hilarious mayhem that ensues when they participate in a church play about the birth of Jesus.

Feb. 26 - March 7
Big Love by Charles Mee; directed by Leslie Swackhamer. Not to be confused with the HBO series about sister wives in Utah. This spectacular, inspiring production tells the story of 50 brides who flee to an Italian villa to escape their arranged marriages. Inspired by Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Woman, and fused with Mee’s bold and visceral theatricality, Big Love is a wild celebration of the transcendent power of love and human connection through song, dance, and an unforgettable throw down.

April 16 - 25
Dangerous Liaisons by Christopher Hampton; directed by Samuel Sparks. Not to be confused with, well, never mind. In pre-Revolutionary France, an elegant temptress and her ex-lover conspire to corrupt a recently married woman. When bets are made, intrigue and seductive games follow close behind. This elaborately costumed play brings us through passion, cruelty, innocence and revenge.

April 30 - May 2
Spring Dance Concert; produced by the UH Center for Choreography. Dance aficionados look forward to this annual show featuring contemporary works by faculty and guest artists that is set on the pre-professional dance company, the UH Dance Ensemble.

The School of Theatre and Dance offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theater and teacher certifications in dance. Its graduate program consists of a master of arts in theater and masters of fine arts in theater with specializations in acting, directing and design. The school has benefited from notable faculty such as Pulitzer Prize winners Edward Albee and Lanford Wilson, Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall, and Tony-award winning Broadway legend José Quintero. Among current faculty are Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff, Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow, and Broadway dramaturg Mark Bly.

More at CLASS

For more information about what’s going on at CLASS, please visit our News & Events page.

Make sure you visit the CLASS home page for more information about our programs, students, faculty, and staff.  Missed an issue of Graffit-e?  Catch up by visiting the online archive.

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