Author Archive

Natalia Rodriguez (’17)

University of Houston Class of 2017 College of Natural Science and
Mathematics (NSM) alumna, Natalia Rodriguez, MPH, was selected as a
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2021 Ambassador for
the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign. Rodriguez is one of 12
Ambassadors across the U.S. who will work with local leaders to promote
CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign efforts by disseminating HIV
messaging, materials and other CDC resources in the cities that are
identified for campaign implementation efforts. Natalia has a Bachelor’s
degree in Mathematical Biology and is a recent graduate of the University
of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where she earned her
Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology with a concentration in Public
Health Informatics.
CDC Let’s Stop HIV Together website:

Mary Elizabeth (Graham) Dennard (’57, M.Ed. ’72)

Mary Elizabeth (Graham) Dennard
Aug. 29, 1918-Jan. 5, 2021
HOUSTON Houston, Texas resident Mary Elizabeth (Graham) Dennard, age 102, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Elizabeth was born August 29, 1918 in her family cabin located in the mountains of Arkansas, the daughter of Perry and Mary Elizabeth Bettie’ (Fuquah) Graham. She graduated from Pampa High School in 1935 and the University of Houston with a BS in Education in 1957 and a MEd in 1972. Elizabeth was a proud educator in Pasadena ISD and Houston ISD. She was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society and spent her adult life active at Park Place Methodist Church and St. Stephens United Methodist Church.

Elizabeth and her late husband, Henry, were introduced on a blind date orchestrated by Henry’s brother, Dick. Mary Elizabeth Graham and Henry Kennedy Dennard were united in marriage on October 29, 1938 in Pampa, Texas. They were happily married for 67 years.

Elizabeth is survived by her loving and loyal daughter Betty Beck of Houston, Texas; daughter in law Beth Dennard of Seabrook, Texas; her grandson John Beck, his wife Kathy and their son Nicholas of Lufkin, Texas; her granddaughter Christine Murray, her husband Gregg and their children Jarrett, Shane, and Sarah of Dallas, Texas; her grandson Andrew Beck, his wife Sheri and their daughter Chloe of Houston, Texas; her granddaughter Claire Mangrum, her husband Jonathan and their children Eliza and Jet of Houston, Texas. Elizabeth is preceded in death by her parents Perry and Bettie Graham of Pampa, Texas; by her brother James Conrad Graham of Pampa, Texas; her son Michael Dennard of Houston, Texas; her son in law Beau Landry of Alexandria, Louisiana; and her grandson Patrick Dennard of Houston, Texas.

Elizabeth was known for having a quick wit, impeccable hair, a knack for pinching pennies, a world renown Texas Sheet Cake, an affection for her dog, Pookie, and for being an incredible teacher. She won Teacher of the Year while teaching 5th grade at Durham Elementary of Houston ISD. Elizabeth loved to travel seeing most of the contiguous United States on epic RV trips strategically mapped out by her husband Henry, his sister Miriam and her husband, Jim. She cherished memories from a cruise to Alaska and a once in a lifetime trip through Europe. She also loved camping with her young family. Elizabeth loved her friends and family dearly and will be sorely missed. She left an impression on anyone that was lucky enough to have made her acquaintance.

Due to current Covid restrictions, a small family gathering at Bethlehem Cemetery in Carthage, Texas is being planned at this time. Elizabeth will be laid to rest alongside Henry, her devoted husband of 67 years. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Crossroads at Park Place at: c/o Doug Fortner 7843 Park Place Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77087. Crossroads serves the homeless population in the Houston area and is a ministry of Park Place Methodist Church.

Joseph Martin Fogarty

Joseph Martin Fogarty
July 8, 1963 – December 20, 2020

Our beloved Joe went home with the Lord Sunday, December 20th at 1:30 in the afternoon after a two month battle from complications of treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Joe never let this knowledge of this disease define him. He lived; he loved; he laughed. He is preceded in death by his father, John Joseph Fogarty; his sister Mary Elisabeth Fogarty; and his niece, Emily Jane Szafarz. Joe is survived by his wife of 22 years, Neala Shirley Fogarty; his daughter, Bronwyn Elizabeth; his mother Catherine Ann Fogarty; his siblings James Patrick Fogarty, MD and wife Susan Fogarty; Jeremiah John Fogarty and wife Rosalina Fogarty; Jane Marie Falk; Michael Joseph Fogarty and wife Sally Fogarty; and John Joseph Fogarty and wife Beth Fogarty. He is also survived by fifteen nieces and nephews and thirteen great nieces and nephews whom he loved very much.
Joe had many titles throughout his 57 years in this life. He was affectionately known as son, brother, uncle, friend, husband, father, “Uncle Joe”, “Figs” and “St. Joe”. To us, he was an amazing light in the darkness. He never had an unkind word toward anyone or anything. To know him was to be invited as “family”. Everyone knew what that meant including those that worked with him either at Grocers Supply or one of the many vendors he developed relationships with over the years. Joe began working at Grocers Supply straight out of college after graduating from the University of Houston with degrees in both MIS and Marketing. He began in the warehouse and continued working his way up to directorship in the company. He spent 35 plus years with Grocers including the last six after it became C&S Wholesale.
Joe was very active in life. He loved to play softball, coach parish basketball, attend his beloved UH football games, and after his daughter was born, became a patron of the arts. To his softball buddies, he was known as “Figs” or the “Tin Man” which was apparent as he would run the bases. To his parish basketball girl’s teams, he was affectionately known as “Coach” or just plain “Uncle Joe”. His lesson when coaching was, “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, only matters if you had fun playing.”
Joe loved traveling with his family. He often said he couldn’t make up his mind where he liked to be better: the beach or the mountains of Colorado. He enjoyed our Thanksgiving trips on the 30A in the panhandle of Florida and our Spring Break trips to Colorado. However, his greatest joy was his daughter Bronwyn. He always said he stood in awe of her and everything she did and accomplished. It was because of her, he became a patron of the arts and looked forward to every theatrical, musical, and band performance she was in. Friday night lights became our date night because Bronwyn played in the band. Bronwyn was his greatest joy and he felt his greatest accomplishment.
To say Joe will be missed is an understatement. We can only hope that we can carry ourselves as he did; with love and honor of all of humanity.
Visitation/Rosary will be at Earthman Funeral Home in Bellaire 4525 Bissonnet Monday evening December 28th from 6:30pm – 8:00pm with a private family time from 6:00pm – 6:30pm. A Celebration of Life will be held Tuesday morning at 10am at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church 6800 Buffalo Speedway. Interment immediately following at Memorial Oaks Cemetery Reflection Lake Estates 13001 Katy Freeway. Memorial donations may be made to Houston Christian High School at and fill out the “In memorial” section.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 27, 2020.

Chinedu Ogu (’18)

Houston is the reason Chinedu Ogu is so funny
ShaCamree Gowdy
Jan. 10, 2021Updated: Jan. 10, 2021 1:34 p.m.

Comedian Chinedu Ogu is Houston-born and raised, a fact that’s hard to miss if you’ve ever listened to his jokes.
Houston native Chinedu Ogu has wanted to be a comedian since around the age of 6, but he says what sealed the deal was the time he managed to make the entire crowd laugh during his high school talent show.
“We didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood,” Ogu said. “Comedy was always my escape from the things we had to go through. Growing up in the environment we were in, it was always like my safe space.”
He did stand-up for the first time at 16, and that experience marked a moment of clarity: He had found what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Ogu said he had every intention of pursuing stand-up comedy full-time after high school, but his dad got wind of his plans and “kind of scared me out of my dreams.”
He ended up attending the University of Houston, which Ogu says he enjoyed. But eventually, when he got laid off from a job shortly after graduating, he decided to make comedy happen again in 2012.
Houston doesn’t have a plethora of comedy clubs, so he opted to perform at places such as churches and community events. Then he connected closely with fellow comedian Kevin Fredericks.
“My friend KevOnStage was the person who really helped me figure things out in terms of where to go in order to get that kind of stage time to work on my presence and my craft, and also utilize social media as a space for comedy too,” he said. “Not being able to use every stage like I wanted to, I used social media as my stage.”
When he isn’t referencing the Bayou City directly in his stand-up, Ogu likes to talk about the life he lived because of it.
“In my comedy, I always talk about my life and how I grew up and my perspective on things,” he said. “I never try to write jokes about different things I don’t know about, just my perspective.”
While his comedy isn’t all about Houston, the city has impacted Ogu in a major way and he wants it to be known through his work that he will always be grateful and has a great deal of love for it.
“For a lot of entertainers, they usually have to leave to blow or be successful,” he said, noting the number of people who move to New York and Los Angeles in order to catch their big break. “But for me, it was the opposite. I was able to meet next level because of my hometown.”
Ogu said he’s been influenced by the works of legendary comedians like Martin Lawrence and Jim Carrey.
Some of Ogu’s most legendary influences throughout his journey as a comedian have been Martin Lawrence, Sinbad, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell, he said.
Tony Baker once called Ogu the “hardest working man” on Instagram. Baker, in case you’re unfamiliar, is an amazing comedian, according to Ogu.
If you’re looking to pursue comedy, Ogu has some advice: Consistency is important. Believe in yourself and understand that you have to fall in love with the process in order to get there.
“The work that many people try to avoid to get to where they want to get to or the easy way out, that long road is what’s needed to get there,” he said. “Fall in love with that process, and once you fall in love with the process and you love what you do, the money won’t be the focus. Then the real creativity will come out.”
The money and success will come from there, he said.

Cyrus A. Reeder, Jr. (M.Ed. ’65)

Cyrus A. Reeder, Jr.
TYLER — Memorial services for Cyrus A. Reeder Jr., 87, of Tyler will be held on Monday, January 4, 2021 with visitation at 1:00 p.m. followed by service at 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home with Rev. Pike Wisner officiating under the direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home.
Mr. Reeder passed away Saturday, December 19, 2020 in Tyler. He was born July 2, 1933 in Hughes Springs, Texas to Cyrus A. Reeder Sr. and Hazel Maxine Gibson Reeder.
Cyrus was a member of First Baptist Church Tyler. He served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957. He graduated from the University of Texas Austin and University of Houston with a Masters in Economics. He worked at several banks, retiring from J.P. Morgan/Chase in 1994 as Manager of the Trust department.
Cyrus is survived by his wife, Mary M. Reeder; and his loving family including stepson, Wayne Ruark; sister-in-law, Helen Ross; cousins, Barbara and Charlie Brown, Cheryl Lawrence, Nancy Patterson, Ginger Fraiser, Kenny Reeder; and multiple second and third cousins.
The family extends appreciation to Hospice RN, Jeannie Conneen and his loving caregivers, Lou Timmons, Living Angels, Tameka, LaMesa, Shellie, and Ann, for their exceptional dedication and attention.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Tyler, 301 West Ferguson St., Tyler, Texas 75702 or Buckner Ministries, 700 N. Pearl St., Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75201.

Mia Lorick (JD ’14)

(HOUSTON) January 11, 2021 – Mia Lorick has joined Locke Lord’s Houston office as a Partner in the Firm’s Litigation Department, further growing the Firm’s demonstrated dispute resolution capabilities in the region.
“Mia’s strong and varied trial and appellate experience will be an asset to Locke Lord, and we are excited to welcome her,” said David Harrell, Co-Chair of Locke Lord’s Litigation Department and Deputy Managing Partner of the Firm’s Houston office.
A former shareholder at Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey, Lorick is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in civil appellate law and concentrates her practice on real estate litigation, commercial litigation and professional liability defense. She practices trial and appellate law and has argued before the Texas Supreme Court as well as numerous intermediate courts of appeals. In addition to her practice, Lorick has been an advocate for a more equitable legal profession, having founded and directed her former firm’s diversity and inclusion initiative. She regularly speaks on diversity and inclusion panels, most recently for the American Bar Association.
“Mia stands out not only for the outcomes she has achieved in the courtroom but for her passion for bettering the community. We value her leadership in diversity and inclusion and look forward to leveraging her insights to build on our efforts in Houston and beyond,” said Laura Edrington, Managing Partner of Locke Lord’s Houston office.
In addition to serving as an avid mentor in her practice, Lorick is a faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s deposition skills training courses. At the University of Houston Law Center, Lorick serves as an adjunct professor and founded the Suited for Success scholarship, which awards law students the funds needed to buy a business suit for interviewing. The scholarship has since been expanded to the University of Texas School of Law.
“I am thrilled to join Locke Lord, a firm that is a well-known and widely respected Texas staple. I look forward to contributing to its litigation practice and singular culture while further building my practice via its robust national platform,” Lorick said.
Locke Lord’s dispute resolution team has the intellectual depth, creativity and tenacity necessary to prevail in the most complex and contentious disputes, with industry-leading clients including the largest global companies and entrepreneurial businesses. The Firm’s litigation lawyers have a deep skill set and breadth of experience across industries, giving them a unique ability to serve innovative clients who drive change in virtually every industry, including construction, education, e-commerce, energy, finance, health care, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, private equity, real estate and transportation.

Nancy McEvily Davis (JD ’11)

Bracewell Elects Five New Partners

January 5, 2020

Bracewell LLP is pleased to announce the election of five lawyers to the firm’s partnership, effective January 1, 2021.

“I am excited to welcome these exceptional lawyers to our partnership,” said Bracewell Managing Partner Gregory M. Bopp. “Each has demonstrated a commitment to client service excellence and collaboration that are hallmarks of our firm. Together, their diverse backgrounds and experiences strengthen our ability to serve the complex litigation, regulatory and transactional needs of our clients.”

Nancy McEvily Davis, Houston – Davis is a commercial trial lawyer with jury trial experience, who advises US and international companies in healthcare, energy, banking and other sectors. She was named “One to Watch” in Houston healthcare law in 2021 by The Best Lawyers in America. Davis earned her B.S. from University of Notre Dame, and graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from University of Houston Law Center, where she was a member of Houston Law Review, Order of the Coif and Order of the Barons.

Timothy R. Geiger (JD ’11)

Bracewell Elects Five New Partners

January 5, 2020

Bracewell LLP is pleased to announce the election of five lawyers to the firm’s partnership, effective January 1, 2021.

“I am excited to welcome these exceptional lawyers to our partnership,” said Bracewell Managing Partner Gregory M. Bopp. “Each has demonstrated a commitment to client service excellence and collaboration that are hallmarks of our firm. Together, their diverse backgrounds and experiences strengthen our ability to serve the complex litigation, regulatory and transactional needs of our clients.”

Timothy R. Geiger, Houston – Geiger represents clients in litigation and at trial, with an emphasis on patent, trademark and trade secrets matters. He has represented clients in patent infringements and other intellectual property disputes involving a range of technologies in federal district courts throughout the United States. Geiger graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, and magna cum laude with a J.D. from University of Houston Law Center, where he was an editor of Houston Law Review, Order of the Coif and Order of the Barons.

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Chris Williams (’20)

Pair of UH cadets to join the US Space Force
Andrea Leinfelder Jan. 14, 2021 Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 6:54 p.m.

It was during the wee morning hours, holed up in Building 30 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, that University of Houston students Chris Williams and Mitchell Montalvo decided they wanted to join the U.S. Space Force.
They were interns helping to monitor a satellite deployed from the International Space Station in January of 2020. This research and development satellite required 24/7 monitoring in its early days of flights. And the interns were assigned midnight shifts.
Yet despite these hours, Williams recalled feeling the energy of NASA. And Montalvo used his downtime to get career advice from the NASA engineers and a captain in the Air Force.
Both students were cadets with the UH Air Force ROTC. And later that year, an opportunity arose for Williams and Montalvo to join the Space Force after graduating.
For the first time, the Space Force had asked Air Force ROTC programs to find students who wanted to become future Space Force officers. They would graduate and enter directly into the Space Force rather than the Air Force.
ROTC programs from across the country nominated 214 cadets; 70, including Williams and Montalvo, were selected. The decision was made based on their leadership skills, GPA, fitness test scores and Air Force Officer Qualifying Test scores.
“Any time you’re among the first to do something, and you’re competitively selected for it, it’s a true accomplishment,” said Lt. Col. Matt Manning, commander of the UH Air Force ROTC. “And it’s a testament to these two gentlemen’s hard work, dedication to the mission and dedication to service.”
The U.S. Space Force was created as the sixth military branch on Dec. 20, 2019.
Williams, 25, graduated from UH in December with a bachelor’s in chemistry. At that time, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Montalvo, 23, is set to graduate in May with a computer science degree. He’ll remain a cadet until graduation when he’s commissioned as a second lieutenant.
Williams and Montalvo will enter active duty later this year. Both said they’re excited to contribute to something new.
“I want to be on the forefront of the next frontier,” Williams said.
It’s a feeling shared among many UH Air Force ROTC students, Manning said. They’re drawn to the new technologies and possibilities of space. And they understand the importance of protecting assets, mainly satellites, in microgravity.
Satellites are essential to military and civilian life. The Space Force operates GPS satellites used by, well, everyone, and communication satellites used for military operations.
For most people, joining the Space Force does not involve going into space (NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins is an exception as he transferred from the Air Force to the Space Force while on the International Space Station). Remaining on Earth is fine with Williams and Montalvo. Neither have an especially strong desire to experience microgravity.
Instead, their tasks could be related to commanding and controlling satellites, monitoring missile warning systems, tracking space debris or working with commercial launch companies such as SpaceX.
New name: Members of U.S. Space Force to be called Guardians
And as members of the Space Force, Williams and Montalvo will be called Guardians. A name they both like, even though they admitted it sounds like the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Montalvo said the name is fitting. The Space Force protects, or guards, men and women on the front lines by operating the satellites that provide them with orders, intel and, sometimes, life-saving information.
“We might be watching via satellite, but we are always going to be there to protect them,” he said.

Mishell Parreno Taylor (’99, JD ’03)


HOUSTON (January 15, 2021) – Mishell Parreno Taylor, office managing shareholder of the San Diego office of Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, has been appointed to serve on the Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) Latina Commission. Parreno Taylor was selected for this position based on her outstanding achievements, deep commitment to the advancement of diverse attorneys in the profession, and active involvement in the HNBA.

The HNBA Latina Commission serves its community and the legal profession by identifying and studying barriers to the professional development and advancement of Latina lawyers. The Commission develops programs and strategies for Latina lawyers and students to overcome barriers to enter and advance in the profession. Its mission is to inform and shape the policies and priorities that affect women lawyers and the legal culture in which they practice, creating forums to understand the views of Latina lawyers and serving as a voice to advocate for these views.

“I am truly honored to have been selected to serve on the HNBA Latina Commission,” said Parreno Taylor. “I believe strongly in the HNBA’s mission, and I look forward to working alongside leadership to further expand opportunities for Latina lawyers across the legal industry.”

Parreno Taylor has been an active member of the HNBA and has served on HNBA panels addressing leading edge employment law trends related to pay equity and building successful diversity and inclusion programs.

At Littler, Parreno Taylor is a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and the Mexico board of directors, and she previously served as co-chair of Littler’s Reunión Affinity Group – which supports the firm’s Hispanic and Latinx attorneys.

In her practice, Parreno Taylor represents employers of all sizes, ranging from local to global corporations on a broad spectrum of employment law issues. She has extensive experience in handling employment litigation in federal and state courts and administrative agencies across the country with a focus on California and Texas. Parreno Taylor distinguishes herself from many of her peers with her ability to effectively handle employment compliance and litigation in circumstances involving a multilingual and multicultural workforce. In addition, she is committed to helping clients build strong workplace cultures focused on equity and inclusion.

About Littler

With more than 1,600 labor and employment attorneys in offices around the world, Littler provides workplace solutions that are local, everywhere. Our diverse global team and proprietary technology foster a culture that celebrates original thinking, delivering groundbreaking innovation that prepares employers for what’s happening today, and what’s likely to happen tomorrow. For more information, visit