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Stars shine bright at UTHealth Constellation Gala

University honors luminaries during dazzling event that raises more than $10 million for education, research and patient care

Robert and Jane Cizik
Robert and Jane Cizik

HOUSTON – (Nov. 12, 2018) – Close to 550 friends of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) gathered for the biennial Constellation Gala to honor Jane and Robert Cizik and celebrate the university’s advancements in health care education, scientific discovery and clinical care.

Under a canopy of starry lights at the Marriott Marquis on Friday, Nov. 9, a supernova of applause erupted when UTHealth Constellation Gala Chair Diana Hawkins, together with her husband, Russell, announced that supporters had raised a record-breaking $10.1 million for scholarships, faculty and research endowments, and university programs.

“Everyone here tonight, as dedicated friends and family of UTHealth, has gone above and beyond in their advocacy and willingness to help make this evening a resounding success,” Diana Hawkins, chair of the UTHealth Development Board, told guests. “Tonight is a reflection of your generous spirit and desire to make health care better for our community.”

Highlights of the evening included a touching tribute to Jane and Robert Cizik, longtime supporters of UTHealth, who recently made a transformational gift that includes the establishment of student scholarships and faculty and research endowments at the newly renamed Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth.

“Jane and Robert, the impact you have made to the university and the School of Nursing is immeasurable,” said Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., UTHealth president and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair. “Your gift forever ties your personal values of dedication, service, generosity and community to our school. Our students, faculty and staff are inspired by your legacy to work harder, to support each other and to live up to the high standards that you have exemplified throughout your life.”

Colasurdo presented the UTHealth Medal of Distinction to another special guest, actor William Devane, who is the distinguished voice of the Many Faces of UTHealth campaign. The medal is a symbol of excellence bestowed upon those who have made significant contributions to the university. “By lending us your talents, you have helped us tell the UTHealth story of healing, innovation and discovery,” Colasurdo told Devane.

Among the stars at the UTHealth Constellation Gala: Margaret Alkek-Williams and Jim Daniel, Evelyn Griffin, Leila and Walt Mischer, Ginni and Richard Mithoff, Laura Moore and Don Sanders, Kathy O’Neil and Phil Ferguson, Maria and Christopher Pappas, Bette and Ralph Thomas, State Rep. Gene Wu and Miya Shay, University of Texas System Regents Janiece Longoria and David Beck, ABC13 news anchor Melanie Lawson, who served as the gala’s master of ceremonies, and The Skeletones, a student acapella group from McGovern Medical School that performed during the gala. 

Mercedes-Benz Dealers of Greater Houston was the presenting sponsor of the 2018 Constellation Gala. Their generosity helped to create 14 $5,000 scholarships for students at each of UTHealth’s six schools. Mercedes-Benz Dealers of Greater Houston also partnered with UTHealth and ABC13 to bring the university’s signature “House Calls” series to seven Houston-area dealerships and promote the events on the news station’s website and social media channels. The House Calls featured UTHealth specialists providing the latest on topics ranging from heart disease to healthy aging.

See the photos from the 2018 UTHealth Constellation Gala.

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