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University of Houston
May 2014

Commencement: Same Place, New Times

Top Story
The Spring 2014 Commencement Exercises of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Science will be held at Hofheinz Pavilion on Friday, May 9. To better accommodate seating for all graduation candidates and their invited guests, Commencement is split into two equal ceremonies. This year, the College will have a mid-day ceremony starting at 2 p.m. and an evening ceremony starting at 7 p.m.

Student Success Stories Undergraduates
Coldy Miller Training at local disc golf course

Senior shoots for disc golf world record to spotlight human trafficking

Jack J. Valenti School of Communication senior Cody Miller is training at local disc golf courses to break the world record for the most holes played in 24 hours to bring awareness to human trafficking happening in Houston. read more

Spelling bee bug bites CLASS faculty

CLASS faculty abuzz about Houston's spelling bee

English, Communication and Classical Studies professors donate expertise to 2014 Houston Public Media Spelling Bee. The Houston-co-champions will compete in the national contest May 27 -29 in Washington, D.C. read more

CLASS Students in the Media

According to the Daily Cougar article, Communications class gets featured in Houston hospitals eight graduate students and Assistant Professor of Communications Jill Yamasaki have photography on display at Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals.

Journalism major Elizabeth Rhodes wrote an article titled, Is the University of Houston campus really among the most beautiful in the nation?, for CultureMap Houston.

Zach Martin, editor the UH creative writing program’s literary magazine Gulf Coast, appeared on the Houston Matters program titled, Is Houston the Starting Point for the Next Great American Writers?

In a head-to-head comparison of music on campus, the Moores School of Music was positioned against Rice’s music school in the Houston Press article Rice vs. UH: Who Has Musical Bragging Rights? Moores alumnus Matthew Keever made the case for Moores and fellow Coog (with Rice affiliations) Jeff Balke spoke for Rice. Naturally, we won.

School of Art undergraduate painting majors in courses taught by professors Aaron Parazette and Gael Stack were invited by Fiesta Mart to mount a supermarket exhibit that was featured in the Papercity article, High + Low, Menil + Fiesta.

Creative Writing PhD candidate David Tomas Martinez was featured in the article, English professor publishes book on hustling past, which appeared in The Daily Cougar.

Caitlin Maling, a graduating MFA candidate, will have her first collection of poems, Conversations I’ve Never Had, published by Freemantle Press (Australia) in 2015.

CLASS Alumni/ae Notes

Tony Diaz, the first Chicano to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program, wrote a piece for NBC News titled, Voices: The American Dream Through Our Books.

Bernice Heilbrunn, 2012 PhD in History, has been invited to participate in a conference at Goethe University in Frankfurt, commemorating the founding of the university 100 years ago. She will give a talk on Jacob Schiff (1847-1920), a famous Frankfurt-born Jewish American citizen who was a banker, businessman, and philanthropist prominently involved in major Jewish issues and problems of his day. Dr. Heilbrunn is on the Adjunct Faculty of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, teaching in the Jewish Studies program.

Send Alumni/ae career updates and media mentions to CLASS Director of Communication Shannon Buggs –

CLASS Faculty in the Media

Scott Basinger, assistant professor of political science, commented in the Washington Post article, Should a little corruption matter to voters?

Texas Monthly recently ran a feature article about Chitra Divakaruni, professor of English, titled, Calcutta-on-the-Bay.

Assistant professor of political science, Ryan Kennedy, was mentioned in the New York Times article, Google Flu Trends: The Limits of Big Data and in the Information Week article, Twitter Posts Betray Illness.

Arte Público Press has published all by one of Rolando Hinojosa-Smith’s 20 novels and books of short stories and essays. The National Book Critics Circle has honored Hinojosa-Smith with the a lifetime achievement award. Nicolás Kanellos, director of the UH-based publishing house and professor of Hispanic studies, spoke about the author and his achievements in Chronicle of Higher Education story, Creator of Fictional Texas County Wins Book Critics’ Lifetime Award.

Brandon Rottinghaus, associate professor of political science, appeared in several news outlets recently:
At the fourth annual Foodways Texas Symposium, Todd Romero, associate professor of history, gave a talk about an ex-samurai who became a successful rice grower in South Texas according to the Austin Chronicle article, Recap: Foodways Texas Fourth Annual Symposium.

Professors of Communication Beth Olson and William Douglas’s study, “The Family on Television: Evaluation of Gender Roles in Situation Comedy,” was discussed in the Daily Toreador article, Professor studies how sitcoms affect gender roles.

Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies, was quoted in The Final Call article, America's diplomatic double standard with Palestine-Israel exposed.

Barton Smith, professor emeritus of economics, was quoted in the Houston Chronicle article, Area job growth settles down.

The Center for Arts Leadership director Sixto Wagan was quoted in the Houston Chronicle article, Rice student advances in Met contest.

Garth Jowett, professor of Communications, participated in the discussion of How Does News Coverage Affect Our Perception of Crime in Houston? on KUHF-88.7FM’s Houston Matters talk show and was quoted in KTRH-740AM’s NBC Comedy Playground Could Be Looking for You.

Hosam Aboul-Ela, associate professor of English, is mentioned in the Houston Chronicle article, Popular protest song part of concert.

Karen Farber, director of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, comments in the Houston Chronicle article, Organizations stage events across city that challenge what arts can be.

Assistant Professor of Art Abinadi Meza and his participation in the Mitchell Center’s CounterCurrent Festival was featured in CultureMap Houston’s article, When the earth talks: Ground-breaking Hermann Park project brings the sounds of the planet to the surface.

Elizabeth Gregory, director of Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, authored and opinion piece and was quoted in an article in the Houston Chronicle: Ed Hirs, a lecturer in Economics, appeared in the Pittsburgh Post –Gazette article, Shale plays push out oil imports.

The Los Angeles Times and Gulf News ran an opinion piece written by Robert Zaretsky, professor of history, titled Algeria votes –– but for what? and Tilting to the right in France.

"Funny Once: Stories" by professor of English Antonya Nelson is highlighted in the Houston Chronicle article, 13 new books with a Lone Star flavor.

Michael Zvolensky, professor of psychology, and his research were mentioned in the Brown Daily Herald article, Exercise may help treat alcohol dependence, study shows.

Offshore Magazine featured comments by Joseph Pratt, professor of history, in the article Offshore at 60: history in the making.

Steven Craig, associate dean of faculty and research, commented in the Houston Chronicle article, Council expands subsidy for downtown development.

Research being conducted by Carla Sharp, Director of the Developmental Psychopathology Lab, was featured in the BioNews Texas article, Professor of Clinical Psychology at UH Creates a Diagnostic Tool for African Children with Emotional Behavior Issues.

The CultureMap article, University of Houston's first-ever art school scholarship dinner has everyone talking, highlighted the event hosted by the School of Art.

May 9: CLASS Commencement
Mid-day Ceremony is 2 – 4 p.m. Evening Ceremony is 7 – 9 p.m. Both ceremonies are in the Hofheinz Pavilion

May 9 and 10: Last days to view the School of Art 2014 Annual Student Exhibition
Blaffer Art Museum

May 30 – June 28: The Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival celebrates its 25th Season.
Presented by the Moores School of Music. Review the month-long schedule of concerts and events and purchase tickets at

For more events, check the CLASS calendar.

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