After attending the groundbreaking for George W. Bush's presidential library on the SMU campus earlier this week, 2010 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney winged into town for a heavy-duty meet-and-greet in the expansive River Oaks home of Alice and Keith Mosing. While there was no official announcement regarding 2012, his remarks were all about returning the country to the hands of the "conservative movement."
Long-time Romney friend and supporter L.E. Simmons, on the other hand, had a little more to say to the well-heeled crowd of about 200. "We're going to rely on your help to make this all happen." The unspoken "this" obviously another run at the White House for the former Massachusetts governor.
The enthusiasm ran so high that 10 minutes into the start time of the cocktail reception, the house was packed. It was, organizers said, the best-attended gathering of this sort that Romney has attended in recent months as he travels the country establishing a contributor connection.
Among those packing the grand foyer of the Mosings' spanking new home were Ned Holmes, Herb Butrum, Julie and Dr. David Brown, Ginny Simmons, Joanne King Herring, Nancy and Lucian Morrison, Jim Braniff, Gary Petersen, Carolyn Farb, Astrid and Gene Van Dyke, Lilly and Thurmon Andress, David Jones and Martha Adger and Jim Maged.
The Theta Charity Antiques Show got off to a roaring start Wednesday night with the annual preview party that this year drew 1,200 cocktail-attired supporters — a delightful handful for show chair Vicki Lange. Special guests in the crush included famed Washington D.C. interior designer Barry Dixon and Doris Athineos, senior art and antiques editor of Traditional Home Magazine.
Inspecting the grand wares from 50 premier antiques dealers from around the world were Lindsay Holstead, Kirby McCool, Courtney Hopson, Sallie and Bob Mansell, Minnie and Will Baird, Eliza Stedman, Robert Bland, Laura Herring, Emily Crosswell, Katherine and George Howe, Sandy Lucas and Sarah Eilers.
The show continues through Sunday in Hall D of the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Just as the Energizer Bunny keeps on going and going so Nancy and Rich Kinder keep on giving and giving. Last week, the couple announced that their Kinder Foundation had donated $5 million to help fund a Texas Heart Institute/Houston Independent School District program that features imaging screening for hard-to-detect congenital heart abnormalities in middle school students.
This week, it was a $15 million gift to Rice University to support and expand the school's Institute for Urban Research, headed by sociology professors Stephen Klineberg and Michael Emerson. With that generous gift, the entity will be named the Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The celebration at the university on Wednesday was fairly jubilant as president David Leebron and Mayor Annise Parker, a Rice graduate, offered their take on the windfall.
Exciting times for the institute — Klineberg regaled the gathering with details on the permanent home for the highly-respected Houston Area Survey and the opportunity to coordinate a trans-national research effort with major cities around the world.
Former President George W. Bush did more than just sign books in Houston this week. In addition to a personal appearance at Barnes & Noble, he was keynote speaker the night before at Houston Baptist University's "Spirit of Excellence Gala" at the Hilton Americas-Houston. The annual awards evening doubled as a celebration of the university's 50th anniversary.
More than 900 university supporters and Bush fans turned out for the black-tie evening chaired by Gina and Bill Flores with Lisa and Jerry Simon serving as underwriter chairs.
Receiving Excellence Awards were Linda and Archie Dunham, Tellepsen Builders and the Hamill Foundation. Joella and Stewart Morris were recognized with the President's Lifetime Contribution Award and Grace Gandy received the President's Lifetime Volunteer Award. Center front in the award presentations was HBU president Robert Sloan.
That would be the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market which every year just keeps pushing the envelope with ever more visitors and higher sales. The 30th annual four-day event, which was opened earlier this month with a ribbon cutting by former First Lady Barbara Bush, enjoyed an 11.8 percent increase in attendance over 2009 for a whopping total of 95,000 visits.
Final sales for the 323 merchants that came from around the country totaled $15,293,000, up 12.3 percent from last year. And those figures have ballet managing director C.C. Conner, artistic director Stanton Welch and market chair S. Shawn Stephens wearing really big smiles these days.