With a pocketful of impressive statistics, University of Houston System chancellor and president Renu Khator drew the crowd in the River Oaks Country Club ballroom to full attention as she touted everything UH, from its research and licensing prowess to the success of the 5-0 football team.
Near the top of the list was the Retailing and Consumer Science program, beneficiary of the fifth annual "A Salute to Retail" luncheon featuring the Merchandising Star Awards. In her remarks, Khator only half joked, "In honor of retail today, I've decided not to go back to the office but to go shopping. And I invite you all to come with me."
With Soraya McClelland serving as chair and Dancie Perugini Ware serving as honorary chair, the luncheon recognized four outstanding students with Rising Star scholarships and honored three Houston-based businesses. Students in the spotlight were Khalid Al-Kalla, Kelsey Noble, Andrea Rodriguez and Martha Villegas.
Key players in the day included Retailing and Consumer Science program advisory board chair Roz Pactor, auction chairs Phyllis Williams and Joann Crassas and emcee KPRC Channel 2's Dominique Sachse.
Filling out the ballroom were guests including Professor Shirley Ezell, Vicki Rizzo, Tamara Bonar, Lenny Matuszewski, Rose Cullen, Garbriela Dror, Regina Rogers, Calli Saitowitz, Lu Caltagirone, Lesha Elsenbrook, Stacey Swift, David Peck, Jean Ruberti, Cherri Carbonara and Terri Hogan-Turner.