Posts Tagged ‘Accomplishment’

Ignatius O. Okeze (’79)

Over the years I have written two books. In addition, I wrote an article, “Aim High and Soar like an Eagle” published by Toastmaster, January 2015, the magazine of Toastmasters International with a worldwide readership of over 370,000 International audience. I received great feedback from readers who were enthusiastic about it and applauded it. Last year I was invited by the president and CEO of Westchase District to speak to her Rotary Club members. I’ve been invited by the President/CEO of Harris County Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA) a number of times to give the invocation before the Board of Directors meeting.

Currently my hope is to connect with University of Houston Alumni Eagles (top successful UH alumni) who have acquired wisdom, expansive knowledge and experience. I welcome Eagles to play the roles of advocates, mentors/coaches, to direct and guide me to notice possibilities and encourage and help me understand and develop alternatives in solving problems inherent in my project – City of Hope City of God (CHCG). This is a state of the art infrastructure complex, comprising Light of Life Leadership University, Medical Center, Libraries, Ministries and a philanthropic foundation to God’s glory and for World Class education of the young and future generations of leaders. CHCG is located in Imo State, Nigeria on 11k – 16k acres of land, the size of the land area of George Bush Airport, Houston. I strongly believe (based on human history and success stories), there are many UH alumni Eagles, retired or still working in their careers, who will be excited about this project. My challenge is finding and connecting with them.

Here is a compelling message pastor Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston sent to me: “Dr Ignatius, you were called for a cause. You are anointed for a cause.
When we have a cause, we’ll believe for the impossible. So, let’s not just build our kingdom; let’s build God’s kingdom.”

The pastor’s message revitalized my vision for the project. I have always believed that the impossible is what God does.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at: Dr Ignatius Okeze, Ed.D, MBA / / P.O.BOX 720582, Houston, TX 77272

Parveen Kumar (’83)

Mr. Parveen Kumar is currently the Founder and Managing Partner of PKMK Investments, LLC with $5 million of capital investment and $12 million under management.

Mr. Kumar graduated from University of Houston in 1983 with a degree in Management Information Systems and Executive Masters in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University in 2009.

After his MIS degree in 1983, he had a very successful corporate career at Infor, Deloitte, Accenture and KPMG, then retired to start Wealth Management Company.

After retirement, he founded PKMK Investments in 2022 and grew it exponentially due to his business and entrepreneurial skills. Concurrently, since the early 2022, he has been managing portfolio’s for corporate and individuals client.

In addition, he provides leadership in organizing Community Events and is a member of Alumni with University of Houston and Southern Methodist University. Furthermore, he has published several books including, “The Greatest Economic Expansion: How Wealth was created”. He is a faculty member at Collin College.

Kevin Hromas (J.D. ’92)

This is why we missed the last 2 Cougar basketball games!

Lorri and Kevin (JD ’92) Hromas rep the Coogs in PORT LOCKROY, ANTARTICA 12/24/2023!

Tanzeem Chowdhury (’16)

“Being is a Coog is a lifestyle and what better way to showcase that love than showing everyone the UH Flag and our Coog Paw!

As a proud alum, I carry both of these things during my travel, so everyone knows where I belong and who I am.”

– Tanzeem Chowdhury (B.S. in Civil Engineering, 2016)

Donna Marie Barr (’74)

Donna Marie Barr’s memoir, My View from the House by the Sea: A Life Transformed by Samoa and the Peace Corps, has been published by White Hawk Press.
After growing up in Nebraska, Donna joined the US Air Force which brought her to Texas where she was stationed at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth. She enrolled at the University of Houston after discharge and completed her Bachelor of Arts in English in 1974 and received her Master of Arts from UH in 1976 in Public Administration.
Donna began her career in Houston at Andrews, Kurth, Campbell and Jones as a paralegal on the contested estate case of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. For the next fifteen years she worked as a real estate paralegal and law office manager for the Denver offices of Kutak, Rock and Campbell and Kirkland and Ellis. Transitioning into real estate portfolio management, Donna was Director of Real Estate for the Archdiocese of Denver and retired in 2004 as Real Estate Asset Manager for the State of Colorado.
At the Community College of Aurora in Aurora, Colorado, she taught paralegal courses for 14 years and was instrumental in the founding and development of the American Bar Association approved paralegal program at that institution.
Upon retirement, Donna returned to the Big Island of Hawaii where she has family and had lived for a time in her 20s. There she worked for two non-profits and at the age of 57 went to the South Pacific islands of Samoa as Peace Corps volunteer. That life-changing adventure prompted her to write My View from the House by the Sea, her first book.
Her memoir tells the story of adapting to unfamiliar customs and foods, and also to the post-retirement phase of her life. Among the tales of life in Samoa—harrowing bus rides, challenging projects, rewarding relationships, and the joys of living by the sea—she reflects on how the experience changed her and continues to be a vital part of her life today.
My View from the House by the Sea is available online at and other booksellers.

Maj. Gen. (ret) Barrye Price (’85)

Maj. Gen. (ret) Barrye Price (’85)
Maj Gen (ret) Barrye Price (’85), author of several books, wrote a screenplay about Martin Luther King titled “Interview with a King”. The screenplay is now an animated short-film that’s entered in numerous film festivals. You can view the trailer.
Price’s journey started at military college before he transferred to the University of Houston, where he attended what was then known as the College of Business Administration.
“After a season in a military school, where you’re outside every day for formation in the dead of winter, I remember one winter day freezing, standing, saying ‘Man, I’ll be in Houston next year. There won’t be any of this this type of weather,’” Price said.
After graduating in 1985, Price served in the United States Army, earning the rank of Major General, one of just 150 in the entire branch. After retiring in 2016 with countless honors and designations, Price again turned his focus to serving others through leadership in a new role.
“My roommate my last three years of college, Carl, was exposed to crack cocaine by his girlfriend and unfortunately, he was addicted and suffered from substance use disorder for 30 years,” Price said. “A year before I retired, Carl succumbed to addiction, and that was probably the greatest failing of my life my feeling that I couldn’t help him. All I was armed with was ‘just say no.’”
Price now serves as the President and CEO of the non-profit Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), an organization that emphasizes the power of community coalitions to prevent substance misuse through collaborative community efforts.
“Carl’s picture sits on my desk right now every day as a reminder of what I’m doing right now,” Price said. “I was ill-equipped to help my roommate, but since I couldn’t help him, I decided to take this job so that I might help scores of others who are similarly suited, and it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life today.”
Price also lends his service to his alma mater, actively involved with Bauer College as a donor and mentor.
“When my wife died, I wanted to create a legacy to immortalize her, and so the thing that I thought of, especially since her parents and her family were all from Houston, was to gift the school and create a memorial scholarship in her name,” he said. “That has been a remarkable opportunity for me to re-engage with the school and for me to see the difference in the school.”
Price continues to build on this legacy by connecting with current Bauer students to share the perspective and wisdom he’s earned through his personal journey, most recently become active in connecting with students in the Bauer in D.C. Fellowship Program.
“I’ve just recently connected with some students who are here in Washington, D.C., and I want to be a part of the sowing of the new seeds of paying it forward to the next generation,” he said. “I want to show them that a part of growing up and becoming a leader is to give back.”

Diane Makar Murphy (FS ’81)

Halloween Eve, D.M. Murphy launches her first novel.

Two surprises hide in that statement. First, her degree isn’t in Creative Writing. She studied Theatre at the University of Houston and journalism at San Jose State University.
Second, she attended UH in 1980!

Murphy, now 67, is publishing a fantasy novel she dreamt of even before she called herself a Cougar. “Down, Down, Down” is about an old detective who gets a do-over on his life. The price is a journey into hell. It’s available at

“Down, Down, Down” was a long time in the writing. From idea to publication, Murphy got two degrees, a husband, two children, two careers, and a lot older.

Langston Hughes asks, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” Not always. Sometimes, after 46 years, it comes true.

Rachel Van Nieuwenhuise (’10, MBA ’22)

RACHEL VAN NIEUWENHUISE (’10, M.B.A. ‘22) started riding horses at six years old and has been making history ever since.
In 2020, she was appointed as the first female wagon outrider for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Rodeo was cut short but Rachel was able to fulfill that appointment and see the opportunity come to life in 2022.
For 28 years, each Houston Rodeo daily performance has begun with a parade of the Grand Entry Committee featuring dignitaries, on horseback, in wagons or on firetrucks, that circle the arena to call attention to the start of events. Outriders have the job of keeping all the riders safe.
Preceding the 2022 event, Rachel was the first female head scout of the Valley Lodge Trail Ride, a 70-to-80- mile caravan of horses and wagons into Houston to promote the Rodeo coming to town.
When she’s not spending time with her horses or preparing for the Rodeo, Rachel works as a Marketing Manager for Wood Partners, one of the nation’s largest multifamily real estate developers and managers. In 2022, she received an executive MBA in global business from the University of Houston.

Rachel’s interest in horses began when her dad was transferred to Norway for work. To keep the move exciting and provide an incentive for the girls, her sister was promised violin lessons and Rachel was promised horseback riding lessons.
“The sorority gave me a place as a home. I was able to have an experience that I wouldn’t have had if not for Phi Mu — just like a trail ride.”
“I don’t think they ever planned on following through with their promise,” Rachel said. “I’m the type of person that won’t let things go. Once my mind is made up, it is happening.” In Norway, she went to riding school and trained a few days a week. When her family moved back to Houston, she continued lessons and was connected with the Houston Rodeo and the Valley Lodge Trail Ride by her trainer and mentor, Barbara Arlington. Rachel has now been a part of the Trail Ride for 26 years.
When trail rides began, marketing wasn’t what it is today. Horses and wagons would come together for the 70-to-80-mile trail ride into Houston with the intention of getting the communities along the way excited for the Rodeo. Now there are 10 to 12 trail rides associated with the Houston Rodeo, and when they all reach Houston, they become part of a parade and celebration.
“The Valley Lodge Trail Ride became a strong community for me, basically a family. Kind of like Phi Mu,” said Rachel.
Initially, Rachel wanted to join a sorority so she could have an excuse to take her own car to and from campus. Her father was a professor at the university, so she struggled with independence in college while living at home and catching rides with her dad to class. After recruitment, she moved into the Phi Mu house as quickly as she could and loved every second of her time as a collegian. “Being able to join Phi Mu gave me a true college experience.”
As an alumna she continued her involvement with the Houston Alumnae Chapter as Secretary, Membership Director and Philanthropy Chairwoman. Rachel enjoys the philanthropic aspect of membership and loves fundraising and volunteering with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Being a part of something bigger than just you is so special. That also ties into the Rodeo — they both give you an opportunity to give back to your community.”
From Phi Mu national magazine, The Aglaia- Summer 2023

Didi Anofienem (’14)

DIDI ANOFIENEM (’14) Originally from Houston TX, the hometown of Beyoncé and Meg the Stallion, Didi is a novelist and educator residing in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her MFA from University of San Francisco in 2017, a BS from UT-Austin in 2010, and a BA from University of Houston in 2014. Passionate about words, Didi wrote her first story at the age of 8. She grew up reading Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Ntozake Shange. As an adult, her favorite authors are Octavia Butler and Laurell K. Hamilton. In the past, Didi has written romance novels, a poetry collection, several short stories, plays, and personal essays. When she’s not teaching English and creative writing, she spends her time traveling back and forth to Houston, re-reading her favorite books, dancing to Beyoncé, and playing The Sims. Author Instagram: @didi_iah_lax Author Twitter: @didianofienem
DEBUT WRITER LAUNCHES AFROCENTRIC, ALT HISTORY FANTASY SERIES Los Angeles, CA — What would the world be like if Africa had never been colonized—and if the transatlantic slave trade had never happened? The only daughter among five brothers, Essien was raised in a village where women are bred to tend to their husbands and bear children. One night, after she is led by akukoifo—mythical beings of Alkebulan folklore—to a fabled river, Essien emerges from the waters with superhuman abilities: hands that burn with the flames they contain, and the strength to overpower any of the men around her. Unsure of what this newfound power means, Essien returns to an unfamiliar world a changed woman. And when militant rebels destroy her father’s fields, leaving him crippled for life, Essien is left with no choice but to defy the social conventions of her upbringing and become the first woman to enlist in Alkebulan’s formidable military. Without the presence of her family and friends, surrounded by fellow soldiers who want her dead and powerful forces that seek to manipulate Essien’s inner magic for evil, Essien must learn to control and harness her new powers, even as she fights her destiny to become her country’s long-awaited goddess. But not everything is as it seems. Will Essien step into her destiny as Goddess of Alkebulan, or will she make a decision that will alter the course of Alkebulan history forever? Fueled by ancestral magic and the power of gods on earth, Descendants of Fire & Water is the thrilling first book in the powerful new Essien of Alkebulan series.

Nancy (’62) and Hainds (’63) Laird

Nancy and Hainds Laird presented a recital for their 60th wedding anniversary on July 23, 2023. Nancy played the Sonata for Oboe and Piano by Francis Poulenc; Hainds played the Rhapsodie for Alto
Saxophone and Orchestra by Debussy. They also performed two duets, one of which they played together at their Senior Recital at the University of Houston in 1962.
Nancy and Hainds met as freshmen in 1958 when they joined the UH band under the direction of James Matthews. Nancy would go on to graduate with a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1962. Hainds
followed with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1963. Nancy taught music in public schools for several years, but always kept playing the oboe. Hainds kept up with the saxophone, and both of them played in community orchestras and bands through the years, at times professionally.
Nancy also played English horn and oboe for several years in a professional orchestra in Lawton, Oklahoma.
After sixty years, they are still making music together and sharing it, as they have done all these years, with the public, their family, and friends.
Nancy and Hainds were married on December 22, 1962, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Porter, in La Porte, Texas. They postponed their 60th Anniversary celebration and recital until July 2023 so that all their children and extended family members could attend. The recital was held at 3:00 P.M. on July 23, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church in Wichita Falls followed by a Reception.