A Road to UST and Then the Stage
Anuar Yamin ‘00 is a busy man. As the host of two television programs in Toluca, Mexico, the UST graduate goes from one station to another. When he is not appearing on TV, he co-produces and hosts “Entre Amigos,” a magazine-style show on social media. As if that was not enough, he periodically performs in theater productions.
With two academic majors under his belt, International Studies and Spanish, Yamin attributes his achievements to the values he received in college.
“A thirst for success,” Yamin said. “That’s what the University of St. Thomas produced in me. My professors opened horizons and showed me I could do whatever I set my heart on.”
Honored as “Illustrious Citizen”
Speaking about achievements, Yamín’s journey recently earned him the recognition of “Illustrious Citizen of Toluca” by the Secretary of Culture in his hometown.
According to the director of this entity, Cecilia Portilla Luhrs, the award recognizes his contribution as an ambassador of the arts.
Portilla said, “We chose Anuar for his role as a communicator but also for the way he is connected in general with the cultural offerings in Toluca. Anuar is a steady presence in cultural initiatives and serves as a bridge between citizens and culture, which we consider a transforming instrument of society.”
Overcoming Obstacles to His Dream
Still, his journey has not been easy. It was an uphill battle. As the eldest grandson of a deeply conservative Mexican Lebanese family, Yamin’s future was decided by his grandfather.
“My father died when I was nine years old. My grandfather took over [as] the father figure. Being born in 1925, he had a very different perspective on life and would only support me if I studied an academic program he approved.”
Being An Actor Was a No-no
Pursuing the arts was definitely not approved. Attending Julliard School in New York, as Yamin wanted, was out of the question. After much negotiation, Yamin’s family agreed to support him if he enrolled in an academic program that was unique at the time.
“In 1995, University of St. Thomas was the only school in Houston that offered the International Studies Program,” Yamin explained. “My grandfather wanted me to enter the field of politics. That was the plan.”
A Life-threatening Condition Brought Him to Houston
Another factor that contributed to Yamin’s arrival at UST was his health. In his last year of high school, Yamin was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer that brought him to Houston for medical treatment.
“Back then, I didn’t know if I was going to live. Well, I did. Today, I have the secondary effects from the chemotherapy. I cannot have children and have a calcium deficiency that requires regular medical checkups. So, I try my best to lead a healthy lifestyle. “
Grateful to a UST Professor
Today, Yamin is grateful to one of his UST professors who, seeing his potential, encouraged him to take classes outside of the core curriculum. He recommended classes that included singing and acting.
“He told me to take these classes and see what happened. I think he wanted me to find, on my own, what my calling was. That was [the] breakpoint in my life because, after that, it became my life.”
During the five years he spent at UST, Yamin sang at Mass at the Chapel of St. Basil and participated in numerous theater productions. Little did he suspect that the president of UST at that time, Fr. J. Michael Miller, CSB, would become a supporter.
“I so appreciate he was one of my biggest fans,” Yamin said. “He used to come to the theater, watch the plays and the recitals. He liked my job and was really supportive.”
As for his professional life, Yamin is grateful for being busy. His grandfather, who passed away a few months ago, did not miss the opportunity to express his feelings.
“Before he died, he finally said, ‘I am very proud of you. I was always proud of you. I didn't agree with what you chose, but I was very proud for everything you had accomplished.’”