Alumni Annual Meeting Event Shatters Previous Attendance,
Corporate Sponsorship and Scholarship Proceeds Records
The UH Bauer College Alumni Association Annual Meeting held in August packed the house and then some for a celebration of a year where the organization set records, and its leaders promised more to come.
Held on Aug. 19 in Melcher Hall, the event delivered a surge of momentum with the semester’s start days away.
With more than 400 registered, it was easily the biggest crowd ever for the gathering. This year it had extra significance because the meeting commemorated the 10th anniversary of the $40 million contribution that turned the business school at the University of Houston into the C. T. Bauer College of Business.
“Life began for us with that gift from Ted Bauer,” said Bob Casey, associate dean of external relations, who reached out to Ted Bauer shortly after he became the fundraiser for the college of business. Ted Bauer’s gift – a record single donation back then — pushed the college forward, allowing it to transform its facilities, faculty and curriculum.
During his presentation at the annual meeting, Casey introduced the man who helped Bauer create that fortune — Bob Graham, who co-founded AIM Management, which grew into a major mutual fund company.
Bauer’s investment continues to yield rich returns at a college known for innovation and growth. This fall there will be 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students, which will soon create an even larger alumni community.
“This represents Bauer Power. It really makes things happen,” associate dean of programs and administration Latha Ramchand said to the packed auditorium of alumni.
The Bauer College Alumni Association reported stepping up its support on a number of fronts.
The 2010 Bauer Champions Scholarship Campaign presented a $100,000 check at the meeting. That seemed to be the magic number of the night — organizers of the Ted Bauer Golf Classic, the annual alumni golf tournament, announced their plans to top this year’s record haul with a goal of raising $100,000 from its event next May 16.Oscar Gutierrez (’79, EMBA ’94), Bauer Champions chairman, responded that BCAA aims to raise $250,000 with next year’s scholarship campaign.
The meeting was followed by a reception that allowed alumni to mix and mingle, with catering provided by BB’s, owned by alumnus Brooks Bassler (’02), and Catch the Moment, a photo booth where participants could select from several UH Bauer-inspired backdrops and take home a souvenir portrait.
The meeting attracted newcomers like Lien Kim Le (’88), a tax accountant with the firm of Briggs & Veselka Co., who said going to the meeting seemed like a logical step after increasing her attendance at other Cougar gatherings.
This was the first annual meeting underwritten by sponsors with $20,000 from four companies, lead by Liberty Mutual with additional contributions from HEIN & ASSOCIATES LLP, CenterPoint, Amegy Bank and Strategic Financial Group. Bauer alum and Liberty Mutual sales leader Marcus Smith (’04) spoke on behalf of the company and was honored for his career accomplishments.
“I owe this to the spirit that is in this room,” Smith said. “I think it’s the spirit of Ted Bauer and the spirit of giving.”
Funds from the sponsors were used in part to create nine $1,000 scholarships for UH Bauer students. The theme of the event connected students to alumni, said incoming BCAA President Jerry Portele (’96).
“We have to embrace this notion of Cougars doing business with Cougars,” Portele told the crowd.
That idea was also on the minds of sponsors.
“Fifteen percent of the people in our organization are UH alumni,” said Minh Vo (’08), who represented MassMutual’s Strategic Financial Group, a sponsor of this and the Strategic Financial News Center in Melcher Hall. “We’re a major Bauer sponsor and it’s worth the money.”
By Stephen Rassenfoss