Marc E. Grossberg (’61), a specialist in Litigation and Controversy-Tax and Tax Law in Houston, was selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers 2015 by Thomson Reuters, which was published in the October 2015 issue of Texas Monthly.

Martin Nathan (’65, J.D. ’66) was recently elected as the national chair of The Anti-Defamation League. Nathan becomes the 19th National Chair of the organization founded in 1913 with a mandate to fight antisemitism and discrimination of all forms.


Barbara B. Ferguson (’72), who focuses her law practice on estate and income tax planning, probate law, marital property law, fiduciary administration, and charitable planned giving, was selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers 2015 by Thomson Reuters, which was published in the October 2015 issue of Texas Monthly.

The Honorable Josefina Rendon (’72, J.D. ’76), a municipal judge for 28 years and the first Hispanic Civil Service Commissioner in Houston, was recognized by outgoing Mayor Annise Parker at the Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Awards with the unveiling of her portrait at the Herbert Gee Courthouse on November 7, 2015.

Geoffrey Gay (J.D. ’77), chair of the Energy and Utility Practice Group at Lloyd Gosselink Attorneys at Law, was named in Best Lawyer’s 2016 listing of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Energy Law.

Donald E. Willhouse (’73) PE, F.ASCE, LTC, USA (ret) has been awarded the highest award given by the Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The Award of Honor was given in recognition of his service to the ASCE at the branch and state level, as well as his high-level service to the profession at the national, state and local level.

The Honorable Margaret Spellings (’79), former United States Secretary of Education, was appointed to lead the University of North Carolina system as System President, with an expected appointment date of March 1, 2016.


Laura Gibson (J.D. ’84) a partner at Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, Longoria & Hall, LLP, was elected president of the Houston Bar Association.

Bill Dudley (M.B.A. ’85), chief executive officer of Virginia’s Bechtel Group, Inc. was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Purdue University.

Kameron Johnson (’88), Juvenile Public Defender in Travis County, has been appointed to the Task Force on Improving Outcomes for Juveniles Adjudicated of Sexual Offenses by Governor Greg Abbott.

Louis A. Riley (’89) has joined Blank Rome LLP as Of Counsel in the Intellectual Property and Technology group, adding to Blank Rome’s recent expansion of the firm’s national IP group in Houston, New York and Washington, D.C. He is based in the firm’s Houston office.


The Honorable Jacquie Baly (’90) was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott’s University Research Initiative Advisory Board. The goal of the new board is to help public universities attract game-changing researchers, resulting in new companies and jobs involved in commercializing the research the universities produce.

Dr. J. Gualberto Cremades (’92, M.Ed. ’94, Ph.Ed. ’99, Ph.D. ’03) was named Fellow by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) for achieving distinction through significant contributions to academic and professional practice knowledge in sport and exercise psychology. Cremades is a professor of sport and exercise psychology at Barry University in Miami, Fla.

Gregory S. Perrin (’92, M.F.A. ’95) is the associate vice president and executive director for development for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. A former theater major and Master’s candidate, he credits the acting and writing skills he learned at UH for his ability actively engage and connect with donors in his current position.

Lisa Jarrett (J.D. ’93) judge of the 436th District Court in Bexar County, has been appointed to the Task Force on Improving Outcomes for Juveniles Adjudicated of Sexual Offenses by Governor Greg Abbott.

Dawn Smajstrla (’93, M.B.A. ’95) was appointed as vice president of Black Stone Minerals.

Victor Carrillo (J.D. ’94) was promoted to chief executive officer of Zion Oil and Gas, located in Dallas, Texas.

David Hinds (M.B.A. ’94) was appointed president of Victoria College in Victoria, Texas.

Christann M. Vasquez (UHCL M.H.A. ’94) has been appointed to Healthcare Realty Trust Incorporated’s Board of Directors.

Rolando Pablos (M.H.M. ’96) of El Paso has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas Racing Commission, which oversees pari-mutuel wagering on horse and greyhound racing.

Maria Rios (FS ’97) president, CEO and founder of Houston-based Nation Waste Inc., explains how she fled a childhood of civil war and became a business leader in the largely male-dominated waste management industry in a July episode of CNBC’s “Blue Collar Millionaires.”

George Kelemen (’97) was announced as the new president and chief executive officer of the Texas Retailers Association.

Rob Steinhoff (’99) has joined the Real Estate Department at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Denver office as a first-year associate.

University of Houston System Regent Paula Mendoza (’95), president & CEO of Possible Missions Inc., has been named one of “Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2015” by Houston Woman Magazine, as well as one of ABC 13’s 2016 Women of Distinction. Possible Missions is an experienced project management company.

A graduate of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, John Streeter (’90) was awarded a Lone Star Emmy for his video production, “Orion: Trial by Fire.” He was the writer, producer and director of the video, as well as the artist who created the artwork shown in the film. He worked on the production with two other UH alumni: Edmond Toma (’94), the editor, and Paula Vargas (’84), who provided graphics. All three work at the Johnson Space Center where they educate the public about space exploration.


The PEN Literary Awards, the most comprehensive literary awards in the country, announced the longlists for 2016, and two University of Houston alumni are recognized. Jennifer Tseng’s (’02) “Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness,” published by Europa Editions, and Jill Alexander Essbaum’s (’94) “Hausfrau: A Novel,” published by Random House, both made the prestigious longlist for debut fiction.

Dr. Cheryl Ann Matherly (Ed.D. ’01) has been appointed vice president and vice provost for international affairs at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn.

Iliana Rocha (’03) won the 2014 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, which includes publication of her book of poems, “Karankawa,” published by University of Pittsburg Press in 2015. She is currently a doctoral student in English at Western Michigan University.

Agnieszka (Kozlowska) Rakhmatullaev (’03, M.M. ’05) has joined South Bend Symphony Orchestra in South Bend, Ind., as executive director. A master violinist, she received her Nonprofit Management Executive Leadership Certificate from Georgetown University in 2012.

Scott Stover (M.S. ’04) was selected as one of three new flight directors who will manage and carry out shuttle flights and International Space Station expeditions. Stover will lead human spaceflights from Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Vicki Blocker Risinger (’05) has been named one of the best young professionals in the oil and gas industry by the Oil and Gas Investor 30 under 40 Program, presented by Grant Thornton. Risinger was selected as one of just 30 millennials who possess the “intelligence, creativity, community involvement and values” who are certain to bring future success.

Jonathan Claydon (’06) was recognized as a state finalist for the 2015 Texas Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

Justin Whittenburg (’98, J.D. ’04) has rejoined the firm Baker & McKenzie in their Houston office. As a Corporate and Securities Partner, he brings a wealth of knowledge and more than a decade of experience in securities, mergers and acquisitions and multi-country internal reorganizations.

Rayburn “Jake” Donaldson (M. Arch ’06) is a founder of Three Square Design Group. The firm designed and built Ellen Lighting and Hardware, an upscale retail, office and distribution space that recently won a prestigious Tilt Up Concrete Association Achievement Award.

Tony Buzbee (J.D. ’07), one of the most successful trial lawyers in the nation, was named “2015 Attorney of the Year” by Texas Lawyer magazine.

Lupe Garcia (’07), Houston Audit Senior Manager at Whitley Penn, will serve on the Accounting and Advisory Board of the Houston Community College System.

Jeremy Rincon (’08), co-founder of Clarus Glassboards, was recently honored by Ernst & Young and named Entrepreneur of the Year.


Hillary Gramm (UHCL M.A. ’11) was included in the 2015 Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award List.

Sidnei McCarty (’11), owner of Sid Simone Solutions, has written featured articles in the November 2015 issues of Inc. and Good Call magazines. She received her M.B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University in 2015.

Mo Haider (’12) began working as a reporter for KRQE News 13 in Albuquerque, N.M. in August 2015.

Troi Taylor (UHV M.B.A. ’13) was included in the 2015 Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award list.

Cara Smith (’15) has been named Houston Business Journal’s new money and law reporter.