If it weren't for the high-level group of honorees recognized at the University of Houston Alumni Association awards gala, it would have been university mascot Shasta that stole the show. That is Shasta in the form of a larger than life painting, created on stage by speed painter Dan Dunn of PaintJam. That beauty was auctioned off for a cool $19,000.
More than 480 alumni and friends of UH gathered at the Westin Houston, Memorial City for the black-tie gala that saluted with the Distinguished Alumni Awards five individuals who make the university proud.
Taking bows were Alywin Lewis, president and chief executive officer of Potbelly Corp. and a board member at the Walt Disney Co. and Starwood Hotels and Resorts; Bill Worrell, Houston Rockets play-by-play announcer; Rushion McDonald, executive producer of the Emmy-winning Steve Harvey Show; Ken Bailey, founding partner of the civil litigation law firm Bailey Peavy Bailey, PLLC.; and Dominic Ng, chairman and chief executive officer of East West Bancorp.
Also honored were Laurie Rutherford with the UHAA Distinguished Service Award, John T. McNabb and Drue DaSilva with the Outstanding Volunteer Award and ESPN anchor and sports journalist Robert Flores with the Rising Star Award. Presiding over the evening was University of Houston Sysem chancellor Renu Khator.
Among guests were Suresh Khator, Sherry and Steve Mueller, Marc and Lauren Martin, Carole Bailey, Kimberly and Trey Wilkinson, Rani Ramchandani and Cedric Bandoh, Eloise Dunn Stuhr, Lori Blackmon-Shcroeder, Darrly Schroeder, Christiana McDonald, Cicely McDonald, Danette Canion and Richard Phillips.