When people saw a golf cart swaying around a curb, bringing bouncing water bottles for thirsty students for Cougar First Impressions (CFI), the person under the very large hat was Rebecca Szwarc.
When students saw a red-haired person in an apron, flipping pancakes and portioning out the right amount of chocolate chips at each Finals Mania, gesturing students to come forward, that person was Rebecca Szwarc.
Now that Rebecca is gone, nothing will ever be the same.
Rebecca Szwarc was a Staff Council member for over sixteen years, and worked at Student Housing and Residential Life for twenty years (she was to receive her twenty-year pin this year). University of Houston was her home and family, and she did everything (and anything) to help UH students and staff.
At her Memorial Service on June 14, 2017, co-sponsored by Staff Council, Student Housing and Residential Life, and Women and Gender Resource Center, the word of the day was “Passion.” Rebecca had a passion for women’s causes (she stayed in the University Commission of Women until it changed to the Women and Gender Advisory Board, and continued to stay because she didn’t believe in term limits). Rebecca had a passion for Broadway show tunes (people could hear strains of songs coming down the hallway to her office). Rebecca had a passion for learning and helping other people learn. Rebecca had a passion for helping people. And Rebecca had a passion for pumps, suit jackets and skirts, interesting jewelry and cats.
One of the initiatives Rebecca was the most passionate about is the Professional Development Reimbursement, which will be named after her by Staff Council. She also worked for ten years to have a Group Excellence Award at the Staff Awards Luncheon, because she believed in teamwork. The Group Excellence Award, which began in 2016, will also be named after Rebecca Szwarc.