La Soirée Élégante

Bauer College Celebrates Night of Parisian Excitement at Third Annual Bauer Gala

The C. T. College Bauer of Business celebrated an evening of French-themed entertainment during the third annual Bauer Gala, themed La Soirée Élégante, at the Post Oak Hotel. The night celebrated award winners while bringing together prominent members of the business community with Bauer College faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors. 

 Can-can dancers began the night of celebration followed by Bauer alumna Lisa Shumate (MBA ’16), associate vice president of Houston Public Media, giving her opening statements as emcee for the second year in a row.   

“As a University of Houston alumna, adjunct professor for Bauer and the associate VP of Houston Public Media, it is safe say that I am passionate about this school. I am proud of this community, and I know you are too,” she said. “I consider it quite a privilege to be here this evening, and tonight we honor the extraordinary accomplishments of the college as well as recognize three tremendous names making a difference not only at Bauer but also throughout the Houston community.” 

Bauer Dean Paul A. Pavlou spoke shortly after expressing his appreciation and joy to the crowd,  and making a special announcement about Bauer’s recent success. 

“In 2019, we introduced the Bauer Strategic Plan to become a top 50 business school in the nation,” he said. “Last year, Bauer College ranked as the 43rd undergraduate business school, officially making us a top 50 business school two years early. We now have our sights on 2030 with an even higher goal of being a top 25 business school in the nation!” 

Pavlou closed his remarks with an introduction of the award portion of the evening. The college presented three prestigious awards, Entrepreneurship Award, Community Impact Award and Lifetime Achievement Award, to honor those who have made a significant impact on both Bauer College and the City of Houston.  

 UH System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator stepped to the stage to begin the awards. She presented the first award of the night, the Entrepreneurship Award, to UH System Board of Regents Chairman Tilman J. Fertitta for his local and global entrepreneurial success in the hospitality industry. 

“I want to tell you about the man behind the success that you may not know,” Khator said. “He has an unbelievable passion and authentic commitment for whatever he takes on. I can tell you about his vision. Any big and bold idea I present, he pushes me to think bigger and bolder.” 

“Bauer is such a wonderful school and has made the University of Houston so proud,” Fertitta said. “It is a great honor to receive this award, and thank you all for coming out and supporting this great university.   

“Make sure to always keep your dreams alive. My dad asked me after I opened my fourth restaurant why I don’t relax and settle down. Can you imagine how mad I would have been if I stopped after four?” 
Tilman Fertitta, Chairman, University of Houston System Board of Regents

Hewlett Packard Enterprise received the Community Impact Award for their outstanding service, advocacy and contributions to Houston. The award was presented by the prior year’s recipient, Deloitte, with Executive Vice President & General Manager of HPE Operations Mark Bakker accepting the award on behalf of HPE. 

“In many circumstances, we would be receiving an award for something in technology,” he said. “However, tonight is because of another thing we pride ourselves in. That is being a force for good. It is an enormous honor to represent the 60,000 people who make this happen every day, and it is even more of an honor to accept this award on behalf of the company. We are thrilled about the work we do with UH and Bauer College and are excited about what’s to come.” 

"It is an enormous honor to represent the 60,000 people who make this happen every day, and it is even more of an honor to accept this award on behalf of the company."
Mark Bakker, Vice President & General Manager, HPE Operations

The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award ended the evening with alumna Karen Duddlesten (BA ‘01), president of the Wayne Duddlesten Foundation, accepting the award for her work creating the Wayne Duddlesten Free Enterprise Institute at UH in honor of her late husband. Elaine Finger, whose late husband Marvy A. Finger accepted the same honor at the first Bauer Gala, presented the award. 

“Wayne believed in the power of education to propel individuals to reach their full potential as productive members of society and would be proud that his legacy will live on though the scholarship he created,” Duddlesten said.

“The Institute, which extends entrepreneurial opportunities and resources to all of UH, is a wonderful tribute to him. My wish going forward is that the Institute not only serves ambitious individuals, but also is a cornerstone for traditional American values and great enterprise.” 
Karen Duddlesten, President, Wayne Duddlesten Foundation