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And This Year’s Winners are…

As the spring semester came to a close, Dean Dennis Reynolds once again hosted the Faculty and Staff Recognition Luncheon, held May 9 in the Hilton University of Houston’s Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom. Dean Reynolds kicked off the annual tradition last year to publicly recognize the achievements and contributions of those who work at the College and Hotel. With so many great nominees in each category, these decisions are always tough!

This year’s awardees are, from left: Tucker Johnson, instructional assistant professor at the San Antonio campus, Service Excellence Award; Sean Lawless, manager of Cougar Grounds, Jim Wortman Mentorship Award; Brane Poledica, director of Food & Beverage, who completed his bachelor’s degree; Theo Liang, business administrator, Hotel Staff Excellence Award; Dr. Chris Taylor, assistant professor and director of the Beverage Management Program, Stephen Rushmore/HVS Faculty Research Award; Dr. Agnes DeFranco, professor and Conrad N. Hilton Distinguished Chair, Donald Greenaway Teaching Excellence Award; Dr. Juan Madera, associate professor, Teaching Excellence Award; and Katie Guidroz, senior graphic designer, College Staff Excellence Award.

Past chair of Eric’s Club Bob Planck (’71), who attended the luncheon with wife Sharron, presented the Greenaway Award. The Plancks are supporters of this award endowment, which honors their late friend, teacher and mentor and the first associate dean of the College (1969-1976).

New this year is the Jim Wortman Mentorship Award, which pays tribute to the late and beloved gaming professor whose 18-year tenure at the College inspired hundreds of students. This award holds extra meaning for the honoree because recipients are nominated by students.

All awardees received an engraved clock and a $1,000 honorarium. In addition, staff winners received free parking for a year.

Dean Reynolds also thanked faculty and staff for their collective donation of $3,485 to the University’s UH Here, We Go capital campaign. As promised, he and wife Julia will match that amount in recognition of the impressive 97 percent participation rate of faculty and staff toward this important campaign.

Special thanks to the Reynolds for their generous matching gift and kudos to all of this year’s honorees! And, of course, to Dean’s Assistant Donna Shaw for putting together such a great recognition luncheon! (Photo: Pearl Cajoles)