After graduating from high school, Alan Gershenhorn (’82) wanted to see more of the U.S. He drove cross-country from New York and decided to take a southern return route through Texas. “That’s where I found the beach,” he recalls. That beach was Galveston, just a stone’s throw away from the University of Houston. “Being from Long Island, I love being close to the water—and the Bauer College of Business had a great reputation even then,” he points out. That settled it—he was UH-bound.

Since graduating, Gershenhorn has lived around the world, working for UPS in a variety of roles. Now, as the global company’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Alan Gershenhorn directs strategy, mergers and acquisitions, public affairs, marketing, sales, product and solution development, customer experience management and key growth strategies across the enterprise. That stellar leadership, in addition to his Cougar spirit and involvement with UHAA, is why he has been named a 2016 Distinguished Alumni Honoree.

Gershenhorn has risen through the ranks at UPS over his career, starting as a part-time package handler while he was a student. “My vision at the time was to become a lawyer, but I fell in love with UPS,” he says. The company required him to graduate before working full time, and in the very last class he took—a required science class—he met his wife, Jackie (’87), a psychology student. “We met in class, and, as they say, the rest is history!” The couple’s two daughters were born in Houston, and their son was born in Dallas. Now, the whole family—including one grandson—lives in the Atlanta, Ga. area.

The Gershenhorns became involved with UHAA about six years ago, and Alan is happy to have opportunities to reconnect; although Houston is no longer home, Gershenhorn acknowledges it as a vital part of his life. “The University gave me a great start,” he muses. In more ways than one, too: “It led to an almost 37-year career and all the opportunities that go along with it, my wife, my family—receiving this award is a real honor,” he says. “I feel like I’m representing all sorts of people who have great stories about going to the University of Houston.”