UH Bauer College Commencements Feature Star Furniture Chairman, Texas Medical Center CEO

Published on December 15, 2008

tmc-ThThe University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business will welcome two of the country’s foremost business professionals at its Fall 2008 commencement ceremonies. Richard E. Wainerdi, president, CEO and COO of the Texas Medical Center, will give the keynote address at the graduate commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 in the Cullen Performance Hall, and Melvyn L. Wolff, Chairman of the Board at Star Furniture, a Berkshire Hathaway company, will address the undergraduates at 2 p.m. Dec. 20 at Hofheinz Pavilion, both on the University of Houston campus.

In the graduate commencement ceremony, City of Houston Mayor Bill White will make a special appearance and give brief remarks to recognize four individuals who are Houston City Council members and members of his staff. The four will be receiving Master of Business Administration degrees.

“Our graduate commencement ceremony speaker leads one of the world’s most vital patient care treatment and research centers,” said Arthur Warga, Dean, C. T. Bauer College of Business. “The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical district in the world and under Richard Wainerdi’s watch it is a major reason why Houston’s stature has grown as well as why the center is poised for even more phenomenal growth with millions in square feet and billions in capital investment going into the future.”

Wainerdi received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Wainerdi was elected president, CEO and COO of the Texas Medical Center in 1984 after retiring from the Gulf Oil Corporation. He worked in scientific and academic affairs at Texas A&M University for 20 years and founded the Texas A&M’s Nuclear Science Center, the Activation Analysis Research Laboratory, the Center for Energy and Mineral Resources and many other programs, including the University’s College of Medicine.

In the undergraduate commencement ceremony, soon-to-be alumni will hear from one of the University’s own, an alumnus of Bauer and strong supporter of the University.

“Melvyn Wolff embodies the entrepreneurial success that has made Houston a top city for business,” said Dean Warga. “Far more impressive is that Melvyn, along with his wife Cyvia, have used their success as a foundation for investing in and improving higher education. Melvyn is so committed to our mission that he’s a familiar face in our classrooms. Students at Bauer have benefitted from his wisdom, real world acumen and wonderful presence.”

Wolff is a 1953 Bauer College alumnus and is the benefactor of the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, which was ranked the #1 undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the country by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine in October.

In addition to serving as chairman of the board for Star Furniture, Wolff is a member of the Dean’s Executive Board at Bauer College, the Ronald McDonald House board and the board of visitors at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He serves as president of the UH College of Business Foundation.

Wainerdi_thumbRichard Wainerdi is the president, CEO and COO of the Texas Medical Center. He was the president of Gulf Research & Development Company, the research arm of the Gulf Oil Corporation, in 1982. He spent 20 years at Texas A&M University beginning in 1957, where he founded many programs, including the Nuclear Science Center, the Activation Analysis Research Laboratory, the German Synfuels Technology Retrieval Program, the Center for Energy and Mineral Resources and the University’s College of Medicine. Wainerdi received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and his M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Wainerdi is also a graduate the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology and of the Bronx High School of Science. He is now an adjunct professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Wolff_thumbMelvyn Wolff is chairman of the board for Star Furniture, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. He is president of the UH College of Business Foundation. He sits on the board for the Ronald McDonald House, is a member of the Dean’s Executive Board at Bauer and the board of visitors at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He also joined the Development Board of the University of Texas Health Science Center and is the former vice president of the American Cancer Society, Houston, and former president of the Congregational Beth Israel. Wolff received his BBA from Bauer College in 1953. He has received the Max Nathan Award from the American Jewish Committee, the Trail Blazer Award from the American Cancer Society, the Samuel Karff Award from the Congregation Beth Israel and the American Heritage Award from the Anti-Defamation League. In 1998, Wolff was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Bauer.

The commencement speaking schedule is as follows:

  • Graduate Ceremony: 7 p.m. Dec. 19, 2008, Cullen Performance Hall, Richard Wainerdi
  • Undergraduate Ceremony: 2 p.m. Dec. 20, 2008, Hofheinz Pavilion, Melvyn Wolff

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

About the Bauer College of Business

The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.

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