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March 2013
The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The UHCL Alumni Association will be hosting the third annual "Small Talk. Big Ideas. Breakfast with an Expert," a morning of fascinating discussions over breakfast. And, since we say, "the early bird gets the worm," don’t miss out on reserving your seat in the conversation with one of our ten university experts on a range of thought-provoking topics. This year, we will feature everything from leadership to parenting, to opening your own business.

Read more.

Upcoming Events
Chili Cook-Off

Alumni Booth
at Chili Cook-Off
Sat., Apr. 6 | Noon

Support your fellow alumni during Chili Cook-Off, a family-friendly event and the university’s oldest tradition. Since “birds of a feather flock together,” the UHCL Alumni Association will gather at their HAWK booth and would love your company. Special guest landing at 1:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!


Top Stories
Campus News

Campus News
Honor UHCL's very best with an Alumni Association Award... Read more.

Career Connections

Career Connections
Connect with districts at the Spring Teacher Job Fair... Read more.


Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did you know UHCL alumni are actively volunteering and making a difference?
In December, the Office of Alumni and Community Relations attended a holiday gathering for the Assistance League of the Bay Area. As soon as the team walked in, ALBA member Jenny Verghese, '98 BBA, proudly shared that she is a UHCL alumna.

Read more.


University friend provides gift for the future Alumni Helping Alumni

Cyber Security Collaboration Forum

Did you know UHCL alumni are actively volunteering
and making a difference?

Did you know UHCL alumni are actively volunteering and making a difference?

From left, back row: Patricia Wilson, Susan Huston,
Karla Fay, Barbara Weitenhagen, Tara Warner,
Jenny Verghese

From left, front row: Annette Dwyer, Peggy Clause, Madeline Nugent, Alice Vinson

Not pictured: Ginger Darnell, Marie Keener, Marian Nickerson


In December, the Office of Alumni and Community Relations attended a holiday gathering for the Assistance League of the Bay Area. As soon as the team walked in, ALBA member Jenny Verghese, '98 BBA, proudly shared that she is a UHCL alumna. As we enjoyed the event, we continued to meet and see alumna after alumna and eventually found out we were in the home of alumna Marie Keener. Along with Jenny, the team became curious to find out the number of UHCL alumni involved in ALBA. Jenny asked around at the next meeting and gathered up a group of alumni for us to meet at the ALBA Resale Shop one evening. As they entered, one after one exclaimed "I didn't know you graduated from UHCL, too!" They had more in common than they realized and we had fun hearing all the UHCL stories.

Assistance League of the Bay Area, a local chapter of a national organization, is a non-profit, 501c3 organization whose membership consists of more than 200 member-volunteers from Bay Area Houston. Every Assistance League chapter develops its own philanthropic programs to meet the unique needs of its community. "I joined Assistance League in 2006 because I was at a point in my life where I had time to give, and I wanted to be helpful to my community somehow," said Jenny, UHCL alumna and marketing chairman for Assistance League of the Bay Area.

The flagship program of the Bay Area chapter is Operation School Bell, which provides a wardrobe of new clothes, a kit of hygiene products, and a voucher for shoes to more than 1,700 financially needy school children each year. So far this year, Assistance League has clothed more than 1,800 children in the Clear Creek, Dickinson, La Porte and Friendswood school districts. Other programs include: partnership with UHCL's Kids-U Summer enrichment program, providing volunteers for the classes and scholarships for children to attend; Operation Cinderella, which provides prom attire to high school boys and girls who otherwise could never attend prom; partnership with Communities in School Bay Area, helping keep kids in school; Hands from the Heart, giving manicures to residents of the Baywind Nursing Care Center once each month; and Assisteens, made up of over 200 teens from the Clear Lake area who raise funds and give back to the community through their own philanthropic programs.

Assistance League raises its own funds through sales from its Resale Shop, located at 100 E. NASA Parkway, Suite 80, in Webster, and its annual fundraising gala held each April. To find out more, visit the website at bayarea.assistanceleague.org or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AssistanceLeagueBayArea.

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University friend provides gift for the future

University friend provides gift for the future

Norma Hightower believed that the best way to memorialize her brother James would be to support scholarships at University of Houston-Clear Lake where he took classes. Building on her early career field of social work and her work in human resources at Prudential, Norma's desire to create scholarships in her brother's memory will continue after her own death with the $50,000 she has left to the university in her will to be added to the James and Norma Hightower Scholarship Fund. Pictured is Hightower in front of a framed photo of the university that she has on a wall in her Houston home.


James Hightower loved to learn. His passion for education drove him to University of Houston-Clear Lake, a place that not only allowed him to continue to learn, but also introduced him to friend, mentor and teacher Associate Professor of Psychology Howard Eisner. When Hightower died in 1988, his sister, Norma Hightower, believed that the best way to memorialize her brother would be to support scholarships at the university that had offered him a place to grow.

"My brother's hobby was to collect master's degrees," says Norma. "He said he always had the three things necessary to continue his education: the time; the money and the desire to learn."

Originally a French teacher in a local high school, James eventually moved to Japan to teach for 15 years. However, once he returned to the states, he continued his education and, eventually, made his way to UH-Clear Lake. When he met Eisner, he recognized a kindred spirit. The two became friends, even visiting socially with their spouses on occasion.

"Establishing a long-term gift for future generations of college students is extraordinary," says UH-Clear Lake Associate Vice President for University Advancement Dion McInnis. "It means that students will get a chance to meet their educational goals and, like James Hightower, fulfill their own passion for learning."

Out of respect and admiration of her brother and his love for learning, she created a scholarship endowment to assist undergraduate and graduate students majoring in behavioral science, psychology and/or anthropology.

"I receive nice letters from the recipients," says Norma, who began her career as a social worker before eventually retiring after a 30-year career in personnel at Prudential. "I received one nice letter from a mother who was very happy to say that her daughter went to school at UH-Clear Lake on a Hightower scholarship and that now her daughter is a teacher sharing her love of education."

Building on her early career field of social work and her work in human resources at Prudential, Norma's desire to help will continue after her death with the $50,000 she has left to the university in her will to be added to the James and Norma Hightower Scholarship Fund.

"When we established the scholarship, Dr. Eisner said to me, ‘You don't know how much a few hundred dollars can help a student," explains Norma. "I hope that it does. It would certainly please my brother."

To find out more about establishing a bequest to assist future students, call UH-Clear Lake's Office of University Advancement, 281-283-2021, or visit www.uhcl.edu/plannedgiving.

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