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A Houston college celebrates a milestone anniversary: The university where hard-fought dreams come true?

Houston college celebrates a milestone as hard-fought dreams come true

19 Annise Parker, from left, Bill Flores and Renu Khator at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Mayor Annise Parker, from left, Bill Flores and Renu Khator. Photo by © Kim Coffman
News, UHDowntown anniversary party, Deanna Garcia, Gilbert Garcia, Jan. 2015
Deanna and Gilbert Garcia. Photo by Kim Coffman
18 Bill Flores, left, with Clarease and Cary Yates at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Bill Flores, left, with Clarease and Cary Yates. Photo by © Kim Coffman
20 Leigh Van Horn, from left, Maria Chavez-Berry and Dawn McCarty at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Leigh Van Horn, from left, Maria Chavez-Berry and Dawn McCarty. Photo by © Kim Coffman
16 Khambrell Marshall at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Emcee Khambrell Marshall. Photo by © Kim Coffman
14 Ed and Donna Hugetz, from left, and Kathryn and Jim Ketelsen at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
 Ed and Donna Hugetz, from left, and Kathryn and Jim Ketelsen. Photo by © Kim Coffman
11 Adrian and Monica Garcia at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Adrian and Monica Garcia. Photo by © Kim Coffman
12 Bill Flores and Noel Bezette-Flores, from left, Kathy Hubbard and Mayor Annise Parker at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Bill Flores and Noel Bezette-Flores, from left, Kathy Hubbard and Mayor Annise Parker. Photo by © Kim Coffman
10 Miya Shay and Gene Wu at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Miya Shay and Gene Wu. Photo by © Kim Coffman
8 Laquitta and Ken DeMerchant at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Laquitta and Ken DeMerchant. Photo by © Kim Coffman
7 Sylvia and Gordon Quan at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Sylvia and Gordon Quan. Photo by © Kim Coffman
9 Welcome Wilson Jr., left, and Welcome Wilson Sr. at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Welcome Wilson Jr., left, and Welcome Wilson Sr. Photo by © Kim Coffman
5 Tricia Harris, from left, with Max and Rosario Castillo at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Tricia Harris, from left, with Max and Rosario Castillo. Photo by © Kim Coffman
4 Maria and Ciro Porras at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Maria and Ciro Porras. Photo by © Kim Coffman
17 Bob Eury, left, and Sylvester Turner at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Bob Eury, left, and Sylvester Turner. Photo by © Kim Coffman
3 Mary Benton at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
Mary Benton. Photo by © Kim Coffman
19 Annise Parker, from left, Bill Flores and Renu Khator at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
News, UHDowntown anniversary party, Deanna Garcia, Gilbert Garcia, Jan. 2015
18 Bill Flores, left, with Clarease and Cary Yates at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
20 Leigh Van Horn, from left, Maria Chavez-Berry and Dawn McCarty at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
16 Khambrell Marshall at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
14 Ed and Donna Hugetz, from left, and Kathryn and Jim Ketelsen at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
11 Adrian and Monica Garcia at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
12 Bill Flores and Noel Bezette-Flores, from left, Kathy Hubbard and Mayor Annise Parker at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
10 Miya Shay and Gene Wu at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
8 Laquitta and Ken DeMerchant at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
7 Sylvia and Gordon Quan at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
9 Welcome Wilson Jr., left, and Welcome Wilson Sr. at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
5 Tricia Harris, from left, with Max and Rosario Castillo at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
4 Maria and Ciro Porras at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
17 Bob Eury, left, and Sylvester Turner at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015
3 Mary Benton at the UH Downtown 40th anniversary gala January 2015

What: The University of Houston Downtown 40th anniversary gala.

Where: The Picasso Room at the J W Marriott Houston Downtown.

The 411: UHD graduates Maria Chavez-Berry and Carlon Johnson, both the first in their families to graduate from college, held the audience of 420 entranced with their stories of success in college despite challenging circumstances. Chavez-Berry was a mother of four and wife during her studies while Johnson, one of three children raised by a single mother, worked full time while earning his degree.

Adding to their voices in support of UHD were Mayor Annise Parker and UH System chancellor Renu Khator. The evening raised more than $420,000 for the university.

Taking key roles in the black-tie gala were chairs Clarease and Cary Yates and Deanna Pena Garcia and Gilbert Garcia along with emcees Khambrel Marshall of KPRC Channel 2 and Bill Flores, UHD president.

Who: UHD president emeriti Max Castillo and Rosario Castillo, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and wife Monica, Sylvester Turner, Mary Benton, Laquitta and Ken DeMerchant, Miya Shay and State Rep. Gene Wu, Welcome Wilson Jr. and Welcome Wilson Sr.