It is rare for busy students and working professionals, some not having been on campus since graduation, to return to campus for anything other than an occasional football game. However, nine scholars who have benefited from the Paul and Barbara Frison Scholarship over the years seized the opportunity to return for a visit, celebrate the generosity of their benefactors, and to share stories of their successes.
At a luncheon during the 2015 fall semester at Eric's Restaurant in the UH Hilton, a proud couple, Paul and Barbara Frison, expressed their appreciation for the time taken by everyone to pay a visit with them. The gathering was especially meaningful because the Frisons established the scholarship in 2005. The couple agreed that helping young people finish their education was an essential part of their mission.
"It gives us pride that we are able to help out, especially since most of the students worked and went to school at the same time," said Mrs. Frison. Their hard work was rewarded, not only with the Frison scholarship, but in the professional world. Dean William Fitzgibbon pointed out that each one of them has a successful career or technology-related job, even the current students. "Your collective success is amazing," he noted. "If you were to reach your hand into any college in the country, you'd be hard pressed to find a group as successful as we have here."
Gloriella Gonzalez ('06) was the very first recipient of the scholarship and has enjoyed a rewarding career at Chevron since graduation. "The Frisons not only provided me with the scholarship," she recalled, "but also allowed me to be an intern for the Houston Technology Center." She added that Mr. Frison recommended her as marketing chairperson for the Houston chapter of Women in Technology International (WITI), and she served in that capacity for several years after graduating.
Other recipients report similar experiences, citing that the scholarship led to connections for their first internships and jobs. Now holding responsibilities that range from IT planning and support to engineering, and information systems security, the scholars openly expressed their gratitude, which for some relieved them from debt, worrying about taking time off to earn enough money to help cover tuition, or whether they would graduate on time.
Paul Frison, an energetic member of the College of Technology's advisory board, is the founder of the Houston Technology Center, which serves as a business incubator and accelerator for budding entrepreneurs. Frison has served on the board member at the University of Houston's College of Technology since 2000. Originally from California, Mr. and Mrs. Frison have made their home in Houston since 1975, although Mr. Frison's career has taken them all over the country and the world. Some of their extraordinary adventures include Hollywood acting (Mr. Frison decided to give it up at age 14 to have a "real" childhood) and Mrs. Frison had aspired to be a competitive tennis player. Now, they focus on spending as much time as possible with their children and grandchildren - who can catch one of their grandfather's classic movies on TV now and then.
The Frisons' generosity inspires many to give back to UH in the future to help afford the same opportunities to other students. Javeria Pirzada, is anxiously waiting to earn her master's degree in information systems security and accept one of several positions already offered to her. "I definitely have plans to give back! Coog for life!"