08:33 AM

Enthusiastic Alumni from North Houston Region at USTMAX Mixer

Dr. Harne Inspires Group With Renewal of Core & New Offerings

“Family” gathered at the USTMAX Center on Conroe’s Main Street in early May to enjoy fellowship and learn more about the great stories coming out of University of St. Thomas. It was the Center’s second mixer for UST alumni who live in the north Houston region. Always warm and hospitable, Dr. Carla E. Alsandor, USTMAX senior director, and Brenda Banegas, recruitment counselor, greeted the guests.

Breaking Bread Together & Getting the Inside Scoop

As the comfortable group savored tasty morsels from nearby Flour-ish Restaurant and a variety of sipping refreshments, they met an advocate for student flourishing. Special guest speaker Dr. George Harne, UST’s executive dean for the School of Arts & Sciences, is a champion of the great Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions. His talk was titled “Renewing the Core and More: UST’s Vision of Student Flourishing.”

Harne said, “I had the great pleasure to introduce our renewal of the core curriculum and new majors and programs within the School of Arts and Sciences. We discussed the principles and perspectives guiding the renewal: an emphasis on fundamental questions and primary texts, the cultivation of wonder, the nature of classical liberal education, and the integration of our core courses so that they are ordered to human flourishing.”

Alums Confirm “Treasuring” the Core

Talk of the core renewal received enthusiastic approval from the group and prompted personal memories and gratitude from some of the attendees.

“I appreciated those studies the most after I graduated,” Cathy Landry ’67 said.

Aimee M. Stuart ’81 said, “I will always treasure the experience of having philosophy and theology classes. I learned so much, not just about the history of religion and philosophers. I could see myself evolving into a much better thinker because of those courses and my wonderful professors….[They’re] not just for Catholics but for anyone desiring an exceptional, quality education.”

New UST Offerings Delight

Eleno Flores ’70 and a UST Alumni Association Director, Ayan Martin, MBA ’16, found themselves energized by what they discovered.

“I learned that the Department of International Studies offers a fully online accessible B.A. in Global Cybersecurity,” Flores said. “I passed this on to my son, who is currently in a cybersecurity community college program in Austin. I also found out that someone is teaching a class in creative writing at the USTMAX Center, and I may be interested in taking it the next time it is offered. I think this might help me as I just completed my autobiography of fourteen chapters, 373 pages, and over 113,000 words.”

Martin added, “It was great to learn the ‘why’ for the changes, and it made me excited to see how UST will continue to be a great university.” 

A Welcoming, Rewarding Get-together

Two members of the UST faculty also joined the evening gathering. Dr. Serena Flores, associate professor from UST’s School of Education, and Dr. Birgit Mellis, associate professor of chemistry and physics, shared new developments in their departments. St. Thomas now offers both Electrical Engineering (EE) and Chemical Engineering (CHE) degrees starting fall 2021. These add to the well-established B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and B.S. in Engineering Physics.

Senior Director of the USTMAX Center Carla E. Alsandor, Ph.D, said, “It is great to have alumni at the Center, especially when they can interact with our deans and faculty members. We want them to feel welcomed and that they are a part of what we are doing here; and to help us spread the word about UST in Montgomery County.” 

The evening’s holder of the earliest graduation date summed up the camaraderie felt by all.

Landry said, “What I liked best was that it was a small group, so we had a chance to get to know the other participants a little.”

What About Next Time?

By all accounts, the evening was a rousing success. The next alumni mixer will take place Thursday, December 9, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Save the date!