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Shelby's Social Diary

Speak up: Intelligent life rules at UH Honors College Great Conversation fundraising dinner

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University of Houston Honors College Great Conversation dinner chairs Matthew and Tamara Steel led the event to record proceeds. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
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UH Honors College dean Bill Monroe is flanked by Carl Moerer, left, and Jim Reed at the Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Ted Estess, Jane Cizik, Bob Cizik__Matthew Steel_Tamara Steel_March 2013
Ted Estess, left, with Jane and Bob Cizik at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Andrew Hamilton, Alison Leland_Dan Price__Matthew Steel_Tamara Steel_March 2013
Andrew Hamilton, left, Alison Leland and Dan Price at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Steve Smith, Vicki Smith, Anne Mendelsohn, Dr. John Mendelsohnl_March 2013
Steve and Vicki Smith, left, join Anne and Dr. John Mendelsohn at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
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Tricia and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. UH Great Conversation_Tricia Dewhurst_David Dewhurst Courtesy of Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Richard Murray, Tyler Swensen, Shafik Rifaat, March 2013
Political analyst Richard Murray, left, student Tyler Swensen and architect professor Shafik Rifaat at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
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Bill and Lynn Bonham, left with Cathy and Dr. Gary Brock at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Gabriela Maya, Catherine Seitz, Colleen Seitz, Kimberly Meyer, March 2013
Gabriela Maya, from left, Catherine Seitz, Colleen Seitz and Kimberly Meyer at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Don Traywick, Delanie Foss, March 2013
Don Traywick and Delanie Foss at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Ernie Manouse, Adele Manouse, March 2013
PBS' Ernie Manouse with his mother, Adele Manouse, at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Trey Wilkinson, Kimberly Wilkinson, Michael Gapinski, March 2013
Trey and Kimberly Wilkinson with Michael Gapinski, right,at the UH Honors College Great Conversation dinner. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
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News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Carl Moerer, Bill Monroe, Jim Reed_March 2013
News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Ted Estess, Jane Cizik, Bob Cizik__Matthew Steel_Tamara Steel_March 2013
News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Andrew Hamilton, Alison Leland_Dan Price__Matthew Steel_Tamara Steel_March 2013
News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Steve Smith, Vicki Smith, Anne Mendelsohn, Dr. John Mendelsohnl_March 2013
News_Shelby_UH Great Conversation_Tricia Dewhurst_David Dewhurst_March 2013
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Richard Murray, Tyler Swensen, Shafik Rifaat, March 2013
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News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Gabriela Maya, Catherine Seitz, Colleen Seitz, Kimberly Meyer, March 2013
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Don Traywick, Delanie Foss, March 2013
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Ernie Manouse, Adele Manouse, March 2013
News, Shelby, UH Great Conversation, Trey Wilkinson, Kimberly Wilkinson, Michael Gapinski, March 2013

The University of Houston Honors College Great Conversation fundraiser is one event at which plenty of talk is encouraged — all night long. And that explains the vibrant din that filled Houston Country Club on an evening when students, professors and patrons sat together and put their gray matter to work.

Following the short introduction by emcee Steve Smith and brief remarks by dinner chairs Tamara and Matthew Steele, the expert table hosts stirred up the engines of their tablemates' imaginations by throwing out all manner of subjects ranging from the appeal of Nordic noir to Argentine wines to the spirit of Cajun Louisiana.

Honors College Dean Bill Monroe and a host of university professors and leaders sat down at 35 tables of 10 for the spirited evening that raised a record $314,000 for scholarships to the prestigious UH college. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and wife Tricia were intrigued by political analyst Richard Murray's take on President Obama's second administration while the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management's Aaron Corsi discussed the craft beer movement.

There was something for everyone whether interests ranged from the politics of Egypt with insights from architect Professor Shafik Rifaat to the current U.S. political divide as discussed by Alison Leland to Ernie Manouse's take on Downton Abbey and the state of PBS.

Key to the evening's proceedings were Great Conversation founders Honors College graduate Jane Cizik and former dean Ted Estess, under whose tenure the successful fundraiser was inaugurated. The two were responsible for launching this delicious feast for the mind in 1993.

Others partaking of the thoughtful evening were Cathy and Dr. Gary Brock, Anne and Dr. John Mendelsohn, Bob Cizik, Adele Manouse, Kimberly and Trey Wilkinson, Mark Leifeste, Cathy Moerer and Robin and Walter Bartel.

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