Community friends honored by UH-Clear Lake
Honoring and celebrating good friends served as the recipe for a wonderful evening in February when University of Houston-Clear Lake President William A. Staples hosted his annual President’s Cabinet Dinner in the university’s Garden Room. During the festivities, Staples thanked those in attendance, briefed them on the latest activities at the university and presented the President’s Cabinet Leadership and Philanthropy Awards.
After a brief welcome by UH-Clear Lake Associate Vice President of University Advancement Dion McInnis, Staples addressed the crowd.
“YOU are the good news,” said Staples. “Your support of UH-Clear Lake makes a real difference, especially to our students’ lives.”
He then presented the 2012 Leadership Award to UH-Clear Lake Distinguished Alumna Marilyn S. Sims. A 1988 graduate of UH-Clear Lake’s School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Sims went on to attain her law degree before joining the firm of Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski and Zuber P.C.
“Marilyn is a role model,” said Staples. “She is not only setting the example, she is leading by example. She has excelled in her career and given back to her community, including UH-Clear Lake.”
Scholarship recipient Christa Ayala spoke before the presentation of the 2012 Philanthropy Award to David and Stephanie Palmer. Ayala moved to Houston from the small town of Beeville, Texas. She explained that she wanted to be an artist and attend art school in Houston. However, after a tragic family event, she changed her plans and decided that she would rather become an art teacher. Ayala is currently pursuing an art education degree so that she can share her love of art with students and is the recipient of the David and Stephanie Palmer Family Scholarship Endowment.
“I transferred to UH-Clear Lake to pursue my art education degree and during my transition, I referred to what my parents had said: Number one – focus on school and number two – don’t worry…God will provide,” said Ayala. “The Palmer family and the amazing establishment of their scholarship have proven my parents’ theories correct.
“If it wasn’t for your support, my expected graduation date would have been pushed back again because I am on an ‘attend-as-you-can-afford plan.’ And for that, I am truly grateful.”
Staples then introduced the Palmers. Owner of Palmer Construction LLC, David Palmer has been involved in numerous area building projects including construction of the UH-Clear Lake Pearland Campus for the City of Pearland. Stephanie remains active in many church and community activities. Staples spoke of the commitment to their community and to students like Ayala.
“It is my honor to present this award to the Palmers,” said Staples. “They let their actions represent what is important to them, which includes family, faith and their community. They are Pearland Proud.”
McInnis concluded the evening by thanking those in attendance for their continued support of UH-Clear Lake.
“This is actually more like a family dinner rather than just dining with friends, and it’s nice to dine with family,” said McInnis.
UH-Clear Lake President’s Cabinet was formed in 1999 during the university’s 25thanniversary to promote partnerships among university, community and business leaders, and to recognize individuals who support the university with their time, talent and resources. The dinner honors these partnerships and, through the awards, acknowledges those who have made a significant contribution during the past year.
To find out more about the President’s Cabinet or how to get involved with university activities, call the Office of University Advancement, 281-283-2021.
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University of Houston-Clear Lake offers 40 undergraduate and 46 graduate degree programs, including a doctoral program, from its four schools, which include the School of Business, School of Education, School of Human Sciences and Humanities, and School of Science and Computer Engineering. For more information about the university, visit
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