UH to Honor Graduates and Award Honorary Degrees, President's Medallion at Spring Commencement

2011 Spring CommencementHOUSTON, May 8, 2012 – Thousands of University of Houston students will start a new chapter of their lives, graduating after years of hard work and diligence during spring commencement.

On May 11 and 12, UH will celebrate their accomplishments and honor several distinguished leaders and alumni with honorary degrees and a President’s Medallion. Commencement weekend begins at 9 a.m., Friday, May 11 when the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Pharmacy hold their ceremonies at Hofheinz Pavilion and at Cullen Performance Hall, respectively.

Later that day at 1 p.m., the Graduate College of Social Work’s commencement will take place at Cullen Performance Hall. The colleges of Technology, Education and Hotel and Restaurant Management will hold their commencement at 2 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. Commencement for the colleges of Architecture, Engineering and Natural Sciences and Mathematics take place at 6 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. 

The Bauer College of Business kicks off Saturday’s commencement activities at 9 a.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. At 1 p.m. that day, the College of Optometry's graduation will take place at Cullen Performance Hall. The UH Law Center wraps up the day with its commencement at 2 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion.

In addition to honoring graduating students, UH also will present honorary degrees to five individuals, including alumnus Nicholas J. Massad, president and CEO of American Liberty Hospitality Inc. In 2007, Massad and his wife, Vicki, donated a $1.5 million gift to the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management to fund the renovation of the college’s library.

Other honorary degree recipients include alumna Cristina Rivera-Garza, UH supporter Gerald D. Hines, Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons and businessman Brien Holden. Rivera-Garza is a professor of writing at the University of California, San Diego and the recipient of several international writing awards.Hines is founder and chairman of Hines, a Houston-based international real estate firm. After receiving a generous gift from Hines, UH renamed the College of Architecture in his honor. Holden is the CEO of Australia’s Brien Holden Vision Institute, the Vision Cooperative Research Centre and the International Centre for Eyecare Education.

UH also will bestow the prestigious President’s Medallion to alumnus Alonzo Cantu, president and CEO of Cantu Construction. The medallion recognizes an individual or an organization for exceptional contributions to UH. Cantu’s support includes a scholar- ship in the College of Pharmacy and advocacy of UH receiving Tier One funding from the state during the last legislative session.