Founding Rainbow Friends

Rainbow Friends who began supporting the LGBT Resource Center by December 31, 2012 at the Yellow level and above are honored as our Founding Members. Become a Rainbow Friend


Robert Wimpelberg, Ph.D.

Robert Wimpelberg is a Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at UH. He is also the Executive Director of ALL KIDS ALLIANCE which is hosted by UH, and builds civic infrastructure to identify what works for children. Professor Wimpelberg has been OUT since 1998, having raised two children. His daughter, a lesbian, has been OUT since her high school days. Wimpelberg is a founding member of the Advisory Board for the LGBT Resource Center at UH.

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- We have made great strides in bringing LGBT issues into the civil rights spotlight. But LGBT equality on campus is still relatively new. Until LGBT rights have the full recognition – and protection – of state government, we have to do all we can to support our students. And one way to ensure support is by contributing to Rainbow Friends.

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- Be bold and share your Cougar pride -- as much as your LGBT pride! Reach out to the LGBT Resource Center and those of us who are your allies any time you need us.


Phyllis Randolph Frye

is an Eagle Scout, a former member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, a US Army veteran, a licensed engineer, a licensed attorney, a part-time municipal judge, a father, a grandmother and a lesbian wife. Now having lived over sixty percent of her life as the woman she always felt herself to be, Phyllis remains on the cutting edge of LGBT and especially transgender legal and political issues. In 2010 Phyllis was sworn-in as the first out transgender judge in the nation, as a City of Houston Associate Municipal Judge: she requested the part-time, associate judge status to allow her to retain her senior partnership of Frye, Steidley, Oaks and Benavidez, PLLC, which is an out LGBT-and-straight-allies law firm. www.liberatinglaw.com

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- Going through college and being alone, isolated and closeted as an LGBT was a horrible experience. Supporting Rainbow Friends ensures that students today have someplace to be themselves and find peers who can help stop the "horrible experiences."

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- You cannot reach goals unless you set goals. Setting goals can be one or two long goals and lots of short goals. In my life, if I had not been a goal setter, I would not have seen by my sophomore year that graduating in 3-1/2 years was attainable. Many people have given sweat and tears to create a more positive LGBT experience for you: take advantage of our efforts by striving to do your best.


Mitchell Katine

Mitchell Katine is a founding partner with the law firm of Katine & Nechman L.L.P. He is perhaps best known as having served as local counsel for the landmark United States Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas, which created new paradigms in U.S. privacy law jurisprudence. He continues to concentrate on the areas of real estate litigation, homeowner association law, title insurance matters, landlord-tenant disputes, and adjoining landowner issues. He also handles employment and HR matters, estate planning and probate, general and business litigation, as well as insurance, adoption, and disability (including HIV and AIDS) matters.http://www.lawkn.com

Mitchell and his partner, Walter, have fulfilled a lifelong dream of having a family by adopting two children, Sebrina and Sebastian.

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- The University of Houston is one of our major educational institutions in the City. As such, it is important that U of H lead by example in the area of LGBT equality and diversity. The University needs the support of the community in order to continue to make advances in the area of LGBT equality. The support of Rainbow Friends is the way we can all help make sure the University of Houston continues to address LGBT issues for the students and faculty.

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- Rainbow Friends is here to make sure that the University of Houston is a welcoming and safe place for all students to obtain their college education. You can be free to be who you are when it comes to your sexual orientation and gender identification. College should be a place where you focus on learning, both academically and personally, without fear of harassment, criticism, or danger. Welcome to the University of Houston! We are glad you are here.


Ann Alexander

Ms. Alexander was born in Lubbock but reared in Amarillo, Texas. She graduated from West Texas State A&M University in Canyon, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Sociology and English) and later earned her Master's in Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin

Ms. Alexander provided almost 40 years of continuous service as the social worker in the Blue Bird Circle Clinic for Pediatric Neurology, at The Methodist Hospital, and then at Texas Children's Hospital where the Clinic moved in 1998. Her academic appointments included Instructor in Social Work, Section of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine; and Field Instructor for graduate students in Social Work at The University of Texas, Austin and The University of Houston.

Ms. Alexander retired from social work in 2008. However, she and Nancy, her partner of almost 35 years, stay busy with volunteer work, senior exercise at the YMCA, daily walks, and maintaining social and community relationships.

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- There was no such Center when I attended college or graduate school. Actually, no one discussed LGBT at all openly, and there was no information, much less support, available. Society is somewhat different now, thank goodness, but it is still mean out there.

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- I would say be yourself happily (after you work out the kinks of your identity) and keep on going. See a therapist if you need to, so you can be 'out' and unashamed and live your life.


Carlton S. Smith, CPA

Carlton Smith is a local business owner and insurance agent at Smith Insurance and Financial Services. A native Houstonian (born in Heights Hospital), he has come full circle, residing in the Heights since 1997. He graduated from UT-Austin with a BBA in Accounting/Finance and worked as an accountant in Houston's oil and gas industry for seven years prior to transitioning to the insurance industry. Carlton also served as president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in 1999, making for a most interesting year.

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- I believe that I need to do everything that I can to support the LGBT community and becoming a founding Rainbow Friend is one such opportunity. The LGBT Resource Center is going to be a significant asset to the future leaders of our community.

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- Smile, exercise, and think. Tell the truth. Pay attention to everyone. Be assertive. Leave things better than you found them. Accept responsibility. Have compassion. Eschew self-pity. Brighten someone's day, every day. Share of yourself: remember, of those to whom much has been given, much is expected.


Beverly McPhail and Kevin Kulish

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- It is vital to have a supportive and welcoming environment and community for LGBT college students and having a vibrant LGBT Resource Center is an important part in providing that foundation.

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- Be authentically yourself for there is no one else like you. Keep your eye on the prize, your college degree, while exploring all that the University of Houston has to offer. Sometimes you can learn as much outside of the classroom as in it, so stay alert for learning opportunities by joining organizations and actively participating, meeting and talking to people unlike yourself, and looking for internships and volunteer opportunities that challenge and excite you. Regularly try new things outside your comfort zone.


Peter Hodgson

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- It is vital to have a supportive and welcoming environment and community for LGBT college students and having a vibrant LGBT Resource Center is an important part in providing that foundation.

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- Be authentically yourself for there is no one else like you. Keep your eye on the prize, your college degree, while exploring all that the University of Houston has to offer. Sometimes you can learn as much outside of the classroom as in it, so stay alert for learning opportunities by joining organizations and actively participating, meeting and talking to people unlike yourself, and looking for internships and volunteer opportunities that challenge and excite you. Regularly try new things outside your comfort zone.


Howard Glass

Howard Glass graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 1997. The Glass Law Group, PC. www.Glass-Law.com is based in Houston, Texas, and handles all criminal and civil legal matters including Criminal Law, Business Law & Corporations, Litigation: Plaintiff/Defense, Wills/Estates, Contracts Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody/Support, and Personal Injury. Mr. Glass has received numerous awards and recognitions such as Who's Who Among American Law Students (1996, 1997), and is certified as a General and Family Law Mediator.

25% off Attorneys' Fees and Free Consultation if an 
LGBT student, staff or faculty member mentions the UH Resource Center!

Why do you think it is important to support the Rainbow Friends? -- The concept of supporting LGBT students was not understood at all when I attended the University of Houston Law Center ("UHLC") in the 1990s. Luckily, UH and its various components have made much progress in the past 15 years.

As the University of Houston and other prominent universities and colleges continue to encourage more diversity, LGBT students have become a solid and important concern of administrators, instructors, alumni, and students alike, and much opportunity is afforded you here at UH. Your alumni – and the UH LGBT Resource Center – "have your back"!

A lot of gay and lesbian students have a difficult time "coming out" in their formative years, but UH is a place – and allows the time – for you to celebrate your identity and explore the LGBT community in a very safe and understanding environment. That's the main goal of your Rainbow Friends. We're here to support you every step of the way throughout your college years… and beyond, if you desire.

What message would you like to give to LGBT students to help them reach their goals? -- Up until very recently, for many students in our community, the college environment was fraught with anxiety. Derogatory comments went unchecked, exclusive language was used in various communications, and energy that could have been spent on working and creating healthy relationships with administrators, professors, alumni, and even other students was instead spent on maintaining barriers, avoiding social events, and learning how to answer questions about their lives evasively.

Fortunately, nowadays, the founders and other supporters of the UH LGBT Resource Center, along with the rest of the UH community, are extremely proactive, and your dedicated alumni standby to assist you… to take any and all necessary steps to create an inclusive and safe environment so that you – as a UH student – are empowered to reach your full potential.

Keep in touch with the Resource Center's events and opportunities – and keep in touch with your supportive faculty and alumni so that you can achieve your dreams and have the best and most enjoyable university experience possible!