Awardees Recognized for Exceptional Achievements

University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) reached a milestone birthday this year.

Three hundred sixty guests celebrated the College’s 40 years of bold research, bold teaching and bold students at the sold-out IMPACT gala on Saturday, April 8.

Prior to fall 1976, NSM was part of the College of Arts and Sciences. The creation of the College, solely dedicated to math and science, led to the development of stronger, more robust research programs within its departments.

“Our many achievements over the years helped the University attain its Tier One research status,” said NSM Dean Dan E. Wells.

The event honored Carolyn Farb with NSM’s Legacy Award and 12 inaugural recipients of NSM’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Emcee for the evening was Dominque Sachse (’90), anchor at KPRC-TV, Channel 2.

Learning Commons Builds Sense of Community

The gala, led by honorary chairs May and Paul Chu, raised funds for the NSM Student Learning Commons. The 3,000 square foot facility, designed to build a sense of community for NSM students, will provide a home for tutoring, college/career panels and student programming.

“It is fitting to look to the future as we celebrate this milestone,” Wells said. “The Student Learning Commons is a true investment in the future and will fuel the strength and success of our students.”

Carolyn Farb: Legacy Award Recipient

In 1999, Farb chaired the Quest for Excellence Award Gala benefitting NSM. Her efforts raised $3 million to support NSM faculty and students and made a lasting impact on the College. The event remains the largest fundraising event in the University’s history.

Eighteen years later, the funds raised at the Quest for Excellence event have provided over 400 scholarships to NSM undergraduate and graduate students. NSM honored Farb’s generosity and this lasting achievement with the College’s Legacy Award.

“Carolyn’s work continues to impact our College and many students’ lives. Her work has assured us that the next generation will be prepared to test boundaries and make a difference,” Wells said.

The event ended with a touching tribute to Farb. Several hundred NSM students flooded the ballroom carrying placards of “Thank you, Dr. Farb!” and “NSM Impact” as a representation of the 400 student lives impacted through Farb’s scholarships to date.

“Supporting the dreams of all students and nurturing an environment for scientific discovery has been a driving passion for me as I have worked with the University to bring this dream to fruition,” Farb said.

Rushion McDonald (Mathematics ’83)

Chief Executive Officer, 3815 Media

Rushion McDonald is a two-time Emmy Award Winning television producer and writer, film producer and award-winning baker. He used his UH mathematics degree and marketing talents developed at IBM to become one of the top brand managers and marketing experts in the media industry. He is also the architect who developed the Steve Harvey global media brand. His television career credits include producer of the “Arsenio Hall Show,” supervising producer of the sitcom “Sister, Sister,” co-executive producer for the “Jamie Foxx Show,” and executive producer of the “Steve Harvey Talk Show” and “Steve Harvey Morning Radio Show.”

McDonald, a recipient of the UH Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015, has been recognized by the Living Legends Foundation in 2014 with the Entrepreneur Award and in 2015 by the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Talk Series.

See all 12 NSM Distinguished Alumni Inaugural Class.