Author Archive

Shane Ros (’14) and Ashley Grijalva (’18)

Shane Ros and Ashley Grijalva wed on April 3, 2021 in Gulf Shores, AL.

The Katy, TX native, Shane was a wide receiver (#19) for the UH football team. A former walk-on, he earned a scholarship at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Shane received the Committed Cougar Award, presented annually to a Houston player who shows extraordinary commitment to the UH Football program, at the conclusion of the season that saw him finish with 23 receptions for 337 yards and three touchdowns, along with 12 special teams tackles. His career came to an end due to injury. He remained with the Houston program as a student assistant for Coach Tony Levine, working with the program’s receivers and special teams.

The Gilbert, AZ native, Ashley competed on the UH Swimming Team. As a UH freshman she swam top time at the AT&T Winter National Championships and was named to the All-American Athletic Conference Team as a sophomore and junior. In high school, Ashley was crowned state champion and East Valley Tribune Swimmer of the Year.

Michael Urbis (’85) and Larry McClaugherty (’72)

The Texas Hill Country is Alive with Houston Cougars

After retirement, Larry McClaugherty and his wife Kathy moved to the Texas Hill Country. In a short time Larry has successfully connected UH Cougars living in the Texas Hill Country.

Larry McClaugherty (’72) and Michael Urbis (’85) are connected through Robstown, Texas, The University of Houston and the Texas Hill Country. Larry and Michael both grew up in Robstsown – even living across the street from each other. Michael graduated from the UH Bauer College of Business.

Now they all live in the Texas Hill Country and are part of the Hill Country Houston Cougars. Recently Michael stopped by the McClaugherty home for a photo op with Houston Cougar Boulder.

The “Boulder” is from Boulder Design at the Texas Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg.

Bill Morgan (’63) and Larry McClaugherty (’72)

The Texas Hill Country is Alive with Houston Cougars

After retirement, Larry McClaugherty and his wife Kathy (also a UH graduate) moved to the Texas Hill Country. In a short time Larry has successfully connected UH Cougars living in the Texas Hill Country.

Larry McClaugherty (’72) and Bill Morgan (’63) are connected through their hometown of Robstown, Texas, and The University of Houston and the Texas Hill Country. Larry and Bill are graduates of the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.

Bill’s first job out of pharmacy school was at City Drug in Robstown. Now they all live in the Texas Hill Country and are part of the Hill Country Houston Cougars. Bill recently stopped by the McClaugherty home for a photo op with Houston Cougar Boulder.

The “Boulder” is from Boulder Design at the Texas Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg.

John J. Hammerle (’65, M.Ed. ’69)

John J. Hammerle (Music Education, ’65, M.Ed., ’69), retired Executive Director of Fine and Performing Arts, Dallas Independent School District, named top Director of Fine Arts in North Texas and recipient of the Hummer Award by the Score a Goal in the Classroom, served as Adjunct Professor, Dallas County Community Colleges, is currently a private instrumental music instructor, and has been a professional performer with the Houston Symphony, American Wind Symphony, and the Dallas Wind Symphony. He has taught in public schools throughout Texas, as well as serving as Supervisor of Music in San Angelo Texas, and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. His Internationally famous Westchester High School Band, of the Spring Branch Independent School District, achieved 11 continuous Sweepstakes and numerous Special Awards and trophies. It was the featured band at all Oilers Football home games in the Astrodome. It also captured the coveted Six Flags Over Texas Best of class, topping over 55 bands from 11 states, and won the top honors in the New York Macy’s Parade with 15 minutes of international coverage as the first high school band from Texas in the NY Macy’s Parade. Gov Preston Smith declared an Honorary Day for Hammerle and the band. He is currently an Adjudicator and consultant for National Festivals and consultant for school districts throughout the U.S., most recently serving on the North Central Association of Accreditation of the Chicago Public School Districts.

Bud Buschardt (’63)

Obit in process for Bud Buschardt (’63) Adjunct Professor at University of North Texas. Bud was the
Former Program Director for “Timeless” format at ABC Radio Networks. He Studied Radio and Television at the University of Houston. Buschardt was a Texas Radio Hall of Fame inductee.

Vanessa Gilmore (J.D. ’81)

Houston judge becomes trailblazer for women in law with historic career on federal bench
By Gina Gaston
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 6:00PM

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Judge Vanessa Gilmore is a trailblazer in the legal field who made history when she took the federal bench.

But Gilmore will be leaving the bench on January 2, 2022, pivoting to a destination unknown.

She already bought a retirement gift for herself.

“I just wanted to have a ring that symbolizes me leaving the gilded cage of the federal judiciary and going out into the world,” she said.

In 1994, Gilmore was the youngest ever appointee to a federal judgeship at just 36 years old.

A legal career wasn’t the plan when she enrolled at Hampton University, historically Black college and university, at age 16 to study fashion.

After graduating, she worked as a buyer for Foley’s in downtown. Then an inside job apartment burglary changed everything.

“I filed my little lawsuit, went to court, tried my little case, got me a little bit of money. I thought, ‘Hang on. I could do this some more. I’m going to go to law school.'”

Being a female student at the University of Houston Law School in 1979 was still rare, but she didn’t experience sexism there or when she practiced law.

“Now, do I have lawyers who try to push back on me and think that they might be able to take advantage of the fact that I’m a woman? Of course, I do. Does it work? No.”

And her accomplishments have also not shielded her from racism. You might remember the 2007 trial of Tyrone Williams, the truck driver who smuggled 70 immigrants in the back of his trailer in 2003. Nineteen of them died of dehydration, overheating and suffocation.

Judge Gilmore had Williams’ case, and the other defendants who recruited him.

“I said, ‘I don’t think that this is a death penalty case. Why are you seeking a death penalty against this man? And why are you only seeking a death penalty against this man and not the 13 other defendants that were involved in this case?'”

The fifth circuit took the case from her after she said that.

“There was so much explicit bias in the way that the entire case was handled that it really made me lose confidence in the justice system,” Gilmore said.

The jury eventually agreed with her and Williams was sentenced to life.

Outside of the courtroom, Gilmore speaks to her peers often about implicit bias and to her students about her journey.

Gilmore is also an author of several books, including one for kids who have an incarcerated parent. She lobbied Texas Southern University to start a program to support those families.

“I’m not there in a judicial capacity necessarily. I tell them, ‘I know you don’t think that we’re here to help. You think that we’re just here to put you in jail, but we can help too.'”

But her biggest passion is reserved for her son, whom she adopted when she was 44.

“He got a job as a diaper model, earned some money and we use that and put that money away in his college account.”

Sean is in college now, and his empty nester mom is ready to spread her wings.

Gilmore tells women you can have it all, though not at the same time, and the time has come for her to try something new.

“I’ve enjoyed being here. I would not have picked it for myself but I’m glad it picked me.”

She was the first UH law school grad to sit on a federal bench and is now looking forward to golfing, practicing her salsa dancing, and not shy about saying, making time for romance!

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.