Posts Tagged ‘Accomplishment’

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.

Brian A. Bailey (M.B.A. ’78)

May 9, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has named Brian A. Bailey as chair of the Texas Facilities Commission for a term to expire annually. The Commission builds, maintains, and supports state buildings and property across the State of Texas. In addition, the Commission is responsible for the construction of Texas’ border wall along the southern border.

Brian A. Bailey of Austin has served on the Texas Facilities Commission since May 2019. He is a member of the Greater Austin Crime Commission and The University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee. Bailey received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston.

Steve Alexander (’72)

Steve Alexander has published “Exploring Galveston: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Island”

After growing up in Galveston and graduating from Ball High School, Steve Alexander enrolled at the University of Houston, and after four years, graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. During his tenure at UH, “Marine Biology” was his favorite course, one taught by Dr. Nick Fotheringham, a recent doctoral graduate from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The course sparked in him a desire to pursue marine sciences at the graduate level- and he did so at Louisiana State University, completing his doctoral degree in Marine Sciences in 1976.

After graduating from LSU, Dr. Alexander taught college-level courses in marine sciences for 27-years before retiring and returning to Galveston in 2005. There, he taught part-time for 13 years at Texas A&M University at Galveston while also volunteering as a Texas Master Naturalist, accumulating in excess of 2,500 volunteer hours.

His 40-years as a biologist, ecologist, marine scientist, and naturalist working on the Texas coast gave him the perfect background to write a nature guide for the Upper Texas coast. His book, Exploring Galveston: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Island, serves as an excellent resource when wandering the natural habitats of Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula.

Through his series of 25 stories, readers get an expert, guided look at the best natural wonders Galveston Island and vicinity have to offer- the Gulf beachfront, bay wetlands, local parks and preserves, and top attractions. In addition, the book describes the impact of hurricanes and oil spills on Texas coastlines and also includes maps to guide visitors, over 100 color photographs, and a list of coastal plants and animals by habitat.

Dr. Alexander is grateful to the University of Houston for his initial training in biology and for sparking in him a passion for all things marine, a passion that persists in him to this day.

Exploring Galveston: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Island is available locally at The Galveston Bookshop and online at

David Sikora (’86)

April 24, 2023
TDECU Board Elects New Chairman to Guide
Its Digital Transformation

David Sikora | TDECU Board of Directors Chairman
Photo courtesy: TDECU
TDECU, Houston’s largest credit union, is moving in a new direction with the election of David Sikora as the Chairman of the Board.
“I am honored to have been unanimously elected as Chairman of the Board and honored by the trust placed in me by my fellow board members,” said Sikora. “TDECU already does a great job on bringing value to our Members, but we must also focus on the technologies that will enable us to engage with them in an even more personalized way.”
Sikora brings over 25 years of experience in executive leadership roles in the financial services and software industry. He began his career in Houston in 1992 as the President & CEO of The Forefront Group, which provided e-learning software for information technology professionals. He has held senior leadership positions in several financial technology companies, most recently CEO and Director of ALTR which provides data governance and security solutions for data-driven enterprises.
“People in our communities demand convenience and a simple and intuitive experience through any digital interaction,” said Sikora. “At the same time we aim to provide our Members with the same human touch that has been a hallmark of the credit union for nearly 60 years.”
Sikora has a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston. He has been a member of the TDECU Board of Directors since 2015, and succeeds Richard Smith, who has served as Chairman since 2014. Smith will remain on the board as a director.
TDECU CEO and President Isaac Johnson says he is looking forward to working with the new Chairman on taking the credit union to the next level.
“David and I have worked together for years and have a great relationship,” said Johnson. “As the landscape of the financial industry is changing, I know that he has the experience and commitment to assist us on our mission to help Members navigate their financial journeys.”

Judy Haveson Cohen (’86)

Judy Haveson Cohen (’86) released a new book on September 28, 2022.

The publisher description follows:

Growing up in 1970s and 80s suburban Houston, Judy Haveson is funny, sarcastic, and fiercely loyal, especially to her family, friends, and big sister, Celia. When she suffers a series of unimaginable traumatic events, her seemingly idyllic childhood comes to a halt, changing her life forever.

In Laugh Cry Rewind, Judy takes readers on her journey of self-discovery, sharing funny, touching, and heartbreaking stories from her childhood all the way to the birth of her son. Her experiences serve as a reminder that while life is not always fair, ultimately, the choice to surrender or keep on living is ours. Her message to others who have experienced loss or tragedy is this: stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let life go on, and good things will be waiting for you on the other side of the pain.

On November 10, 2022, Judy returned to UH to share her story with a class at Valenti School of Communications.

Thomas Moy (’71)

The Arizona Historical Society was pleased to announce that this year’s winner of the Don Bufkin Award for best conference paper on territorial Arizona is Thomas B. Moy’s submission, “Solving a Riddle: Uncovering Chinese Monopoly of Tombstone Laundry Industry.” Moy is a former teacher, principal, and warden with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. His articles have appeared in the Journal of the Wild West History Association.