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Center for International Studies Throws Garden Party Gala, Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary

(From left) Rodolfo Coronado, Consul General of Peru, UST Professor and CIS Director Richard Sindelar, UST President Richard Ludwick ,UST Professor Ulyses Balderas University of St. Thomas’ Center for International Studies (CIS) celebrated 40 years of inspiring and educating future leaders for a changing world at the Garden Party Gala hosted at Hermann Park Conservancy’s Cherie Flores Pavilion. The event on Friday, Sept. 17, drew a crowd of 120. CIS honored its many long-time supporters and colleagues, esteemed alumni and Houston-area consuls and U.S. diplomats.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers were CIS alumni Flor Dimassi ‘92, CEO of GlobalSpeak Translations, and David Ortiz ‘05, Colorado State Representative for Colorado District 38.

Dimassi spoke on “Inspiring Leaders to Change and Improve our Ever-Evolving World.” After graduation, Dimassi founded GlobalSpeak Translations, which provides technical translations for a wide range of industries. She credits her CIS degree with affording her everything she needed to make her plan of action a success. She wants future CIS students to know, “This degree in International Studies encompasses a wide variety of subject matters that serve as a strong base for jumping into what you want to do in your business life. This is the ticket you need to accomplish all goals in your career, whether in the public or private sector or as a bold entrepreneur.”

Ortiz, recently elected to represent his district in Colorado, spoke on leadership and how his degree in International Studies prepared him for his new role. 

Center is First Degree Program of its Kind in Texas

Founded in 1981 by visionary Ann Tiller, the Center for International Studies is the first degree program of its kind in Texas and the third largest undergraduate major at UST.

Richard Sindelar, professor and director of the Center for International Studies, said, “It is our calling to encourage our students to become bold entrepreneurial thinkers and leaders prepared to choose lives imbued with service, learning and compassion.

“We educate our students to be problem-solvers who are analytical, eloquent, cross-culturally competent and critically minded. Our graduates are ready for further study or for careers in the public and private sectors in the U.S. and abroad,” Sindelar said.

The Center provides interdisciplinary academic programs that draw on the expertise of our faculty. Programs offer practical experience in applied settings and complement that with extra- and co-curricular programs to strengthen student experience and community engagement.

Give to the CIS Endowment Campaign

A CIS Endowment Campaign to solidify the program’s legacy for the next 40 years was announced at the Gala.

The endowment will ensure the capacity to reach out and inspire interest in international affairs and careers, expand educational programs, and drive marketing outreach to better connect to young future diplomats from Houston and Texas.” Sindelar said.

The future-minded endowment will also benefit the Center’s new B.S. in Cybersecurity degree program and establish a renewed focus on the Middle East region and the international migration crisis.

Give to the Endowment here.

Seen in the Crowd

Seen in the crowd, were Eduardo Aguirre, U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra; Ramiro L. Lascano, Deputy Consul of Argentina; Robert Rusiecki, Chief Consul of the Republic of Poland; Abrar Hashmi, Consulate General of Pakistan-Houston; Rosales Serge Liliana Teresa, Consul General of Colombia; Myung-Soo Ahn, Consul General of Korea; Phil Berquist, Consul General of Croatia; Rodolfo Coronado, Consul General of Peru – Dean of the Consular Corps in Houston; Bettina Gardelles, Cultural Attache of France; and Christopher Olsen, Mayor’s Office of International Relations, City of Houston.

Also in attendance were Faye Tiller, daughter of Ann Tiller; Carl Cunningham, brother of the late Prof. William Cunningham who served as the Center’s second director: UST President Richard Ludwick; Dr. Hans Stockton, past director of CIS; and Dr. Yao-Yuan Yi, chair of the international studies degree program.