UH-Clear Lake honors Deer Park alumn
Deer Park resident Marilyn Sims is among a group of University of Houston-Clear Lake alumni who will be honored this week for making a mark in the community.
This year's honorees will take the stage Saturday, Oct. 23, during Your Story, Our Story: UH-Clear Lake Alumni Celebration in the Crystal Ballroom of the South Shore Harbor Resort and Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd., in League City.
The university has been presenting alumni awards since 1984, said Charity Ellis, director of alumni and community relations.
"These awards say we're proud they're our alumni," Ellis said. "They really shine in the community."
Sims, a Deer Park resident, said she is touched by the recognition.
"A lot of my mentors have been recognized in the past, and it was an honor to be recognized in that manner," Sims said.
The former accountant said she appreciates the support she received during her education and early career years. Now she makes it a point to provide that kind of support to others.
She volunteers for the Deer Park Education Foundation and has served as director of The Bill and Helen Crowder Foundation of La Porte, which supports programming for children and families.
"That's a very, very gratifying part of what I do," Smith said.
The university's newest Distinguished Alumni Award winners are:
• Cindy Howard: 1981 master's of science recipient, now a UH-Clear Lake professor of biology and environmental sciences;
• Lee Morin: 2009 master's of science recipient, an astronaut and doctor in the United States Navy;
• Rebecca "Becky" Reitz: 1990 bachelor of arts recipient, now an attorney with Gay & Reitz Attorneys at Law;
• Marilyn Sims: 1988 bachelor's degree recipient, an attorney with Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber P.C.;
• Gregory Smith: 1984 master's of science recipient, superintendent of schools for Clear Creek Independent School District; and
• Maura Walsh: 1983 master of arts recipient, president of Hospital Corporation of America Gulf Coast Division.
Howard, who lives in Friendswood, has been nominated twice for the state Minnie Stevens Piper Teaching Award and has received the UH-Clear Lake President's Distinguished Teaching Award and the President's Distinguished Service award.
Walsh, who lives in West University Place, divides her service between professional organizations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, and groups that serve the community, such as the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes and the American Diabetes Association.
Morin, a former deputy assistant secretary of state, has logged more than 259 hours in space.
He has received the 1994 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Award for Excellence in Military Medicine and the 1996 Sustaining Membership Lecture Award for the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States in addition to numerous medals.
Reitz, a former dental hygienist, was inspired to pursue a law degree by her work as president of the Texas Dental Hygienist Association.
Service has been a high priority for Reitz, who has served as board president of Communities in Schools-Bay Area, the Association of Business and Professional Women and UH-Clear Lake's Alumni Association.
Smith has risen through the ranks in education as an elementary and middle school teacher, assistant principal, principal and deputy superintendent before taking his current position as Clear Creek ISD superintendent in 2008.
Smith has been active with the Fast Growth Schools Coalition, Region 4, Space Center Rotary Club and the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.
Additional alumni honorees include James Springfield, 1991 masters in health administration, recipient of the Early Achievement Award.
The award is presented to alumni aged 45 or younger for achievements in their business or personal life.
Springfield is the president and CEO of JGS Advisory Services LLC, a health care consulting firm.
Joyce Delores Taylor earned master's degrees from the university in 2004, 2006 and 2008. A senior human resources specialist for the city of Houston Administration and Regulatory Affairs, Taylor is receiving the Leadership Service Award for her service to the university and community.
The award for outstanding professor is going to Denise McDonald, a 1987 master's of science recipient from UH-Clear Lake, who now is a professor of curriculum and instruction in the university's school of education.
About the awards
Prospective honorees can by nominated by anyone in the community, but an UH-Clear Lake alumnus must endorse the nomination.
After the April 30 deadline, the nominations are reviewed by an alumni committee, which sends its recommendations to the university president for a final review and decision.
Selection criteria depend on the specific award. Distinguished Alumni Awards, for instance, go to alumni who have demonstrated distinction in their chosen fields. They usually have received other awards or recognition, and they serve in the community.
For more information on this year's honorees, visit www.uhcl.edu/alumnicelebration.
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