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News from CLASS

CLASS Event Calendar

Oct. 3 -12: The Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge
What happens when a handsome young stranger swaggers into a small pub in rural Ireland, telling grand tales and boasting of dark deeds? The townsmen get swept up in his bravado and the ladies vie to win his affection. But what is his real story? Purchase tickets to the School of Theatre & Dance production here.

Oct. 9: Red Block Bash
Red Block Bash is an annual kickoff event for the arts at the University of Houston campus. The celebration is from 4 – 8 p.m. in The Grove and includes pizza, drinks, readings, live music, dance, art, and other performances. Free and open to the public.

Oct. 17 – 18: UH Family Weekend
The weekend offers a variety of academic, social, athletic and cultural events. Visit the website for more information and schedule updates. Register to attend by Oct. 6.
1 – 3 p.m. Oct. 17: Go Abroad! Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs
Agnes Arnold Hall, room 213 (in the Language Acquisition Center)
Study abroad and learn another language to increase your job opportunities – while earning college credit! We offer instruction in 14 different languages; faculty-led study abroad programs in China, France and Spain; and additional summer or semester-long programs in Germany, Mexico and Italy. Departmental scholarships are available. Sponsored by Modern & Classical Languages and Hispanic Studies Departments

4 p.m. Oct. 17: Friday Afternoon Dance
Melcher Gym Dance Studio room 230
Friday afternoon dance is a showing of new in-progress dance works by student choreographers in the School of Theatre & Dance with feedback from faculty. Free and open to the public.

6:30 – 8 p.m. Oct. 17: Blaffer Art Museum hosts "Pre-Theater Happy Hour"
Blaffer Art Museum in the Fine Arts Building
Whether you're on your way to the Alley @ UH or just haven't caught our shows yet, join us for wine, cheese and an art exhibition or two during our pre-theater happy hours! Cash bar will be available.

1:00 – 4:00pm Oct. 18: Saleri Studio Saturday
Blaffer Art Museum in the Fine Arts Building
For the first time, Family Weekend guests can partake in our museum's annual family art-making day! Participants will take a guided tour of the museum and have the opportunity to make art drawings or small architectural models inspired by the current exhibition, Buildering: Misbehaving the City. This event is appropriate for all ages and free refreshments will be served.

Oct. 18: 400th Anniversary Remembrance of the Passing of "El Greco"
The Hellenic Cultural Center of the Southwest and the Faculty Senate of the University of Houston under the auspice of the General Consulates of Greece and Spain present "El Greco: Doménicos Theotokópoulos from Crete to Toledo" on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the death of the Spanish Renaissance painter, sculptor and architect regarded as a precursor to the Expressionism and Cubism styles of art. Speaker: Dr. Maria Elana Solino, Professor of Spanish Literature in the Department of Hispanic Studies. There will also be a screening of the 2007 feature film El Greco by director Yiannis Smaragdis. 5 – 8 pm in the University Center Theater and Ballroom. Lecture and screening are free and open to the public. Tickets required for reception. Purchase them here.

Oct. 21: Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success Kickoff with keynote speech by Dr. Ruth Simmons, 18th president of Brown University, 2001 -2012
A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Simmons inaugurated the first engineering program at a U.S. women’s college when she was president of Smith College prior to her appointment at Brown University. She will share her thoughts as a humanist on why STEM fields need more women scholars during her talk from 4 – 6 p.m. in the Doctors of Texas State Optical Alumni Education Center, Rm 186, College of Optometry.

Oct. 24 - 27: The Tales of Hoffman by Jacques Offenbach
A phantasmagorical mixture of steampunk, the supernatural and romantic decadence woven together into three different stories in one opera. Hear a singing robot, see a Satanic musician who drives a girl to sing herself to death, and glide in a gondola to wicked Venice where you can lose your very soul. Offenbach’s gift for melody is nowhere more evident than in this grand work that includes his famous Barcarolle. Purchase tickets here.

Oct. 25: 18th Annual Noche Cultural Scholarship Banquet
The Center for Mexican American Studies hosts its annual dinner that raises money for the Academic Achievers student scholarships. The keynote address will be delivered by Art Rascon, Emmy Award-winning reporter and anchor at KTRK-ABC13 and president of the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel, Entrance One. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Sonia Ramirez at or 713-743-3136.

Oct. 27: Gandhi and the Politics of Visual Representation by Vinay Lal, author and history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Vinay Lal will examine Gandhi’s life, image, and works in various forms of visual representation, ranging across cartoons to public statuary, as well as paintings and nationalist prints. The 7 p.m. lecture at the Menil Collection is co-presented by the India Studies Program in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies and the Menil. 1533 Sul Ross, 77002.

Oct. 30: John P. McGovern Annual Award Lecture in Family, Health, and Human Values delivered by Jennifer Glass, Barbara Bush Professor of Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Glass’ lecture,” Salary, Family, Climate: What Keeps Women out of S.T.E.M. Fields?” will delve into the factors limiting women’s career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Reception at 5:30 p.m. and lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the University Center Theater, Rooms 103 and 203.

Oct. 31: Graduate Research and Scholarship Projects Day (GRaSP)
A showcase of graduate research-related activities across all disciplines. Activities include poster and oral presentations to judges, GRaSP talks, demonstrations and performances, and a separate publication competition. Posters/demonstrations/performances/publications presented at the event will be reviewed by a panel of invited judges and prizes will be awarded to the top presenters. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom and Theatre - Room 210.

For more events, check the CLASS calendar.

CLASS Alumni/ae Notes

Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, majored in political science at UH. His journey up the corporate ladder is explained in the Business Insider-Australia article, 29 People With 'Soft' College Majors Who Became Extremely Successful.
Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons, a graduate from the School of Theatre & Dance, recently won his fourth Emmy for his role on The Big Bang Theory. The KPRC story, Parsons wins fourth Emmy, makes Houston proud, details Parson’s Houston roots.
Nandita Berry
Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry returned to her alma mater recently to encourage UH student leaders to keep their constituents updated on state election-related details including the voter registration deadline (Oct. 6), voter eligibility, polling options for college students, election dates and where to access voting information. Berry earned bachelor’s degree in political science and a Juris Doctorate degree from the UH Law Center.
Debra Barrera
Debra Barrera’s first solo museum exhibition, Debra Barrera: Avalon, is on display at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston now through Nov. 30. In Avalon, Barrera’s ongoing exploration of the very human desire for escape is explored in drawing, installation, and objects. Her artist talk for the show will be on Oct. 16 at the CAMH. Barerra earned her Masters of Fine Arts from the School of Art.
Gail D. Storey
Several awards, including the National Outdoor Book Award, Nautilus Silver Award and the Colorado Book Award, have been bestowed on I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, the most recent book by alumna Gail D. Storey. She earned a Master of Art in English.
Alexander W. Obregon
The Hobby Center for Public Policy recently awarded Alexander W. Obregon the first Leadership Award during the 2014 Fall Luncheon according to the article Crosby High School graduate receives leadership award in the Lake Houston Observer. The award is given to honor a previous Hobby Center intern that has demonstrated leadership in government and public service. Obregon earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

CLASS Students in the Media

CLASS sophomore and music major Michael Phillips discussed how he spent his summer practicing and performing on his euphonium on the Houston Matters program, How a College Student Spent His Summer.

American Sign Language Interpreting (ASLI) students will perform the National Anthem during the 5:30 p.m. pre-game show at the Thursday, Oct. 2 UH football game against the University of Central Florida in TDECU Stadium. The 6 p.m. game will be televised live on ESPN.

The ASLI program also partnered with the Houston Astros to host the Major League Baseball franchise’s first Deaf Awareness Night at Minute Maid Park on Sept. 19. ASLI students did interpreting during a pre-game tour of the stadium for members of the Deaf community and their allies. The UH ASL & Interpreting Club sold 190 tickets to the Astros game against the Seattle Mariners in support of the ASLI Program and Deaf Community Awareness Night at the ballpark.

CLASS Faculty in the Media

A research study about information recall by people who read printed news or online news led by Arthur Santana, assistant professor in the Jack. J. Valenti School of Communications, was featured in national and regional news outlets:
Readers Remember More From Newspapers Than Online: Study — NBC News
Is reading online different from reading print? My research says yes. — Houston Chronicle
The page is mightier than the iPad — NewsFix: KIAH-CW39
UH study: Print readers recall more than online readersHouston Chronicle
Traveling the world to record accents and dialects used to help fellow actors is the purpose of, a website launched in 2006 by Jim Johnson, director of the School of Theatre and Dance. The Houston Chronicle article, Need to master a Texas drawl quickly? Ask them, details how their website works.

Professor Johnson is also spearheading a collaboration between the School of Theatre & Dance and local theater companies this fall and spring. UH students will act in plays produced by Main Street Theater Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, Stark Naked Theatre Company and Alley Theatre. Additionally, Alley actors will contribute their talents to UH’s production of Moliere’s “The Miser” in spring 2015. The article, Creative Collaborations connecting UH actors with new performance opportunities in The Humble Observer, explains the partnership. took note of the passing of Jemimah Noonoo, a former lecturer in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, in the article, A Journalism Teacher Blessed with ‘Effortless Eloquence.’

Cyrus Contractor, instructional assistant professor, commented extensively about the terror group ISIS in the News 92.1FM stories, UH Professor: ISIS Threat Can Be Eliminated, Professor: Assad May Not Object to Attacks on ISIS in Syria, and Is It ISIS or ISIL?

Art in America Magazine recently ran an article titled, Theory and Matter, which was written by professor of critical studies Raphael Rubenstein.

Houston Matters on KUHF-FM 88.7 recently aired a piece about the characteristics that make a happier place to work. The story, What Does it Take to Make a Better Workplace Experience?, featured L.A. Witt, professor of psychology.

Robert Zaretsky, professor of history, recently wrote the following articles:
Why August is the Cruelest MonthThe Chronicle of Higher Education
Fascism and France TodayJewish Daily Forward
The Gauche Cadaver and the Socialist Tea PartyForeign Policy
A new, two-part exhibition by artist and assistant professor of art Abinadi Meza, called “Air, Condition” was highlighted on the Houston Matters program, Air, Condition: Portraying the Unseen Landscape of Houston’s Radio Waves.

Professor Meza was also mentioned in a post on TribTalk, the blog of the Texas Tribune, praising the launch of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts’ CounterCurrent Festival.

Garth Jowett, professor of communications, discussed the changing role of college newspapers in today’s media in the Houston Matters program, What’s the Role of College Newspapers in An Online World?

According to the Houston Chronicle article, Alley Theatre audiences get a bonus this season - art, patrons of the temporarily relocated Alley Theatre can also take advantage of the nearby art museum. The Blaffer Art Museum, next door to the university's Wortham Theatre, is hosting pre-event happy hours, offering beverages and gourmet cheese trays in its dining area.

Nicolas Kanellos, director of Arte Público Press, was the first author of the fall American Book Review Reading series at the University of Houston-Victoria according to the Victoria Advocate article, Renowned Hispanic literacy publisher to open fall UHV/ABR reading series.

A new undergraduate course taught by Shayne Lee, associate professor of sociology, was featured in the Broadway World article, New UH Sociology Course Focused on Writings of Malcolm Gladwell.

Brandon Rottinghaus, associate professor of political science, was quoted on the challenges third-party candidates face in races for elected offices in Rangel: Third-party candidates struggle to be heard in 2-party system, an opinion column in the Amarillo Globe-News.

The website Orange in the Oven in its Flashback Series: Houston 1836 rehashed the naming controversy surrounding the launch of the Houston Dynamo franchise and the alarm raised by Raúl A. Ramos, associate professor of history, that led to the renaming of the soccer team.