The University of Houston Magazine

Creating a Legacy

Alumna Encourages UH Supporters to Make a Planned Gift.

by Shawn Lindsey

In 1977, the price of gas was 65 cents a gallon, Jimmy Carter became president, and UH beat Maryland in the Cotton Bowl. Dorothy Nicholson (’77) remembers the year well. It marked her graduation from UH’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Dorothy Nixon“The college today is a long way from the ‘school’ I attended in the ’70s,” says Nicholson.

“What has been accomplished in the last 30 years is nothing less than remarkable.”

The same can be said of Nicholson, who has enjoyed a successful career as a result of her degree. She uses her experience and education as principal of Nicholson Interests, a private equity investment firm.

“Following graduation, I was disconnected from UH for 25 years,” says Nicholson. “An event at my college brought me back and ‘wham!’ ... I was reinspired!”

"Think about what UH and the Hilton College has meant to the city, to education, to thousands of students who went on to make enormous contributions to our world."

As a result of her inspiration, Nicholson became involved with her college by taking on the role as chair of the Eric Hilton Distinguished Alumni Club, which sponsors a biannual lecture series in honor of Eric Hilton. This further motivated her to raise $1.2 million to help fund the Clinton L. Rappole Endowed Chair, the first time an endowed chair has been initiated by HRM alumni. In addition, Nicholson established a charitable bequest, earning her a place in The 1927 Society, a distinguished group consisting of supporters of the UH System who have made planned gifts through their wills or other assets.

“Think about what UH and the Hilton College has meant to the city, to education, to thousands of students who went on to make enormous contributions to our world. And many have then given back to UH so that it would become the premier institution of today. How can I not be a part of that? It’s a small way I can say thanks for the education I received.”

Plan a gift that will CHANGE LIVES,
beginning with yours.

Leaving a legacy—it's about giving back, investing in the future, enriching the lives of others. Join the growing number of alumni, faculty and friends who are leaving their legacy at the University of Houston with a bequest that will support:

  • Presidential Priorities & Initiatives
  • Scholarships
  • College/Department Faculty
  • M.D. Anderson Libraries and Archives
  • Athletics Programs
  • Research

Contact the Office of Planned Giving to learn how you can shape the university's future through a gift in your will and become a member of The 1927 Society.

Office of Planned Giving

Giving Back Feels Great

Education Advocate Credits UH for Paving the Way for Her Success.

by Kelli Ferrell

It was 1963 when Kaye Stripling (M.Ed. ’67, Ed.D. ’85) walked into her first classroom and became a teacher. She was hooked.

This began a decades-long career in education, culminating with her being named superintendent of schools for the Houston Independent School District.

Stripling says she owes much of her success to the UH College of Education.

“They taught me the skills that I needed to be successful,” she says. “They showed a sincere interest in me excelling in my profession.”

Kaye StriplingStripling’s career started with Teacher Corps, then a joint program between UH and HISD to train teachers to work successfully in inner-city schools.

“This gave me the opportunity to really get to know many of the university professors, and they provided guidance and a great opportunity for hands-on learning,” she says.

From there, she held many positions throughout Houston-area schools, which led to her appointment as superintendent in 2001. Stripling retired in 2004, but she still wanted to support education.

In 2009, a $7 million gift from an anonymous donor created the UH TierOne Scholarship program. Stripling was drawn to this program because gifts are matched dollar for dollar, allowing more deserving students to benefit from scholarships.

“It is a great feeling to be able to give back to a university that gave me so much,” she says. “I am proud to be a graduate of the University of Houston, and I want to give that same opportunity to others.

“I had a wonderful career, and I owe much of that to the University of Houston.”

A Heart for UH

Unwavering Devotion Leads to Decades of Generosity.

by Kelli Ferrell

Elizabeth Dennis Rockwell (HON ’99) has always had a place in her heart for the University of Houston, and her loyalty and generosity have never wavered. Her journey started in 1938 when classes were still being held in the San Jacinto High School building, and it continues today, with her presence constantly felt across campus.

Rockwell left UH in 1944 during her senior year to take a job as a cashier with a mortgage company to begin her long career in finance — becoming widely respected as an expert in retirement, estate, investment and tax planning.

In the mid-1970s, she gained national recognition for her work with IRA rules and regulations. She later became executive director of the Private Client Division of CIBC Oppenheimer Corp., retiring in 2001.

As her career spanned decades, she never forgot her UH roots.

“I decided to support three endowed deanships: One at the M.D. Anderson Library, which is the source of information for all fields of learning; one in the Cullen College of Engineering, which takes current scientific thinking and applies it; and one in the College of Education, which prepares the teachers who help students understand prior knowledge and how to use it to make our world better,” says Rockwell, who was awarded a UH Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1999.

Khator and Rockwell“I was very proud to receive this honor,” she says. “Over time, I have seen UH position itself at the forefront of higher education in the 21st century.”

Rockwell’s name adorns many facets of the university: the Elizabeth D. Rockwell President’s Suite in the Houston Alumni Center; the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Career Services Center in the Bauer College of Business; and the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Library.

Rockwell underwrites lectures and events, including the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Library Heritage Lecture Series and the prestigious Elizabeth D. Rockwell Ethics and Leadership Series, which brings national speakers to campus.

“I have an interest in two things — the preservation of the past and the direction of the future. And what better way to secure our future than by supporting the education of tomorrow’s leaders,” she says.


2010 Elizabeth D. Rockwell Ethics and Leadership Lecture

SPEAKER: Nathan Wolfe, Epidemiologist and Self-Described "Virus Hunter."
DATE: Monday, April 26
TIME: 7 p.m.
PLACE: UH Hilton Hotel