Great Leaders: Mike Gapinski

Mike Gapinski came to the Honors College on a National Merit scholarship and made great friends through Honors retreat, campus activities, and Greek life. Read more of Mike's Honors story...

Mike GapinskiWhy did you choose Honors?

I’ll give you a one-word answer—scholarships. As a National Merit Scholar, University of Houston offered what at that time was a rather rare full-ride program, which meant that UH’s program was strongly competitive. I was accepted to other universities but ultimately University of Houston and the Honors College were the best fit academically and financially.

How did the Honors College prepare you to become a great alumni leader?

I think there was a natural University involvement that was created because the Honors College students represented a large percentage of students living on campus at that time. We were naturally very connected to campus activities—student life, athletics, Greek life—because our social life revolved around the University. This involvement gave me an incredibly positive undergrad experience and made my transition to being an active alumnus seamless. I also think the level of support provided by Deans Estess and Monroe reinforced the confidence that I could succeed in whatever I chose.

What was the most profound take away that has resonated throughout the years?

The Honors College is just a good group of people. It was a special place at a special time full of academically and socially capable people. I also found a great group of Honors folks in the Greek community with whom I am still close to today. You add to that the fact that UH is set in a city full of great opportunities, and it afforded us many professional opportunities during the summer and after graduation.

What's your favorite Honors memory?

Honors College retreat! My freshman year, I reconnected with people I met at summer orientation and made great new friends—again, friends I still have 22 years later. The counselors continued to integrate us into college life after orientation and I did the same when I was a counselor in the years that followed.

About Mike Gapinski

Michael J. Gapinski, Sr. Vice President – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, has been a financial advisor and consultant for over 15 years, handling the personalized needs of high net worth individuals. He has helped executives and senior employees of several Fortune 500 companies diversify their concentrated equity positions and plan to meet their financial goals. The Gapinski Huggins Group currently manages approximately $200 million in assets. 

Mike graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Honors College in 1994, which he attended on a National Merit Scholarship, with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also received his Certified Investment Management Analyst designation through the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of American Mensa, and holds Series 3, 7, 63 and 65 licenses as well as insurance licenses. Mike lives in Kingwood, Texas, where he has coached several youth basketball, soccer, and t-ball teams.