2018 Awards Gala

UH Alumni Association Announces 2024 Alumni Award Honorees

The University of Houston Alumni is proud to announce its 2024 Alumni Award honorees. This year’s honorees include names that are prominent both nationally and locally, as well as on the UH campus. The UH Alumni Association will recognize these deserving individuals at its Alumni Awards ceremony in April 2024. Date and venue details are forthcoming.

Award recipients include:

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes individuals whose professional accomplishments bring credit to the University of Houston.

State Senator Carol Alvarado (’92 MBA ’08): Alvarado serves as senator for District 6 in Harris County and was first elected in a 2018 special election. An active advocate for both women’s health and reproductive rights and voting rights, Alvarado has passed legislation to assist victims of sexual abuse and ensure access to the ballot.

Mark Berman (’78): Berman covered sports news for 43 years. Starting as a weekend anchor and reporter at KOSA-TV in Midland-Odessa, Berman’s hard work ethic earned the title “Scoop,” where he served as sportscaster at KIKK Radio (1980-1988) and FOX 26 (1986-2023), serving consecutively 1986-1988, and advancing to sports director at Fox 26 in 1988.

The Honorable Alfred H. Bennett (’88): Bennett is seated as the United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas and is actively involved in the community in various events, communities and associations.

Don Chaney (’89): American former professional basketball player and coach, Chaney is most known for winning two championships as a player on the Boston Celtics, making the NBA All-Defensive Second Team five times and being named Coach of The Year while leading the Houston Rockets.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals for their loyalty and efforts to further the goals and support of UH Alumni Association programs.

Charles Dorn (’80): Dorn is the managing director of The Dorn Group, Ltd. in Rye, New York. Dorn is dedicated to the club management industry and has held leadership roles in various professional associations. He continues to be involved in hospitality education as an adjunct faculty member and board member at various universities.

Katina Jackson (’90): Jackson, senior associate Athletics director for special projects/special assistant to the vice president of Athletics, has worked at the University of Houston since 1998 in various roles. Jackson serves as the administrative liaison for the men’s and women’s golf programs and has overseen multi-million-dollar fundraising campaigns and major gift opportunities, including the $125 million TDECU Stadium and $60 million Fertitta Center.

Chair Award

The Chair Award recognizes non-alumni who have consistently and voluntarily given extraordinary support to the University of Houston.

Kelvin & Karen Sampson: Kelvin, Six-time National Coach of the Year, and his wife Karen are longstanding donors of the University of Houston, both financially and in volunteerism. The Sampson’s have two children, Lauren, who is now the director of athletic operations, and Kellen, UH assistant coach.

Billie Schneider Outstanding Volunteer Award

The Billie Schneider Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes individuals who exemplify a spirit of volunteerism and work to advance the mission of the UH Alumni Association.

Kaitlyn Palividas (’17): Palividas is a senior manager at NES Fircroft. An active supporter of her UH alma mater, Palividas serves as co-president of the Young Alumni Association and is also involved in multiple alumni boards and committees. In 2023, she married a fellow UH alumnus, and they enjoy supporting UH Athletics and exploring Houston’s food scene.

Rising Star Award

The Rising Star for Achievement Award recognizes and honors young alumni who have excelled beyond the norm, early in their careers.

Natara Holloway Branch (’98): Branch is director for Super Group (SGHC) and director and chair of the audit committee for bleuacacia ltd (BLEU). She has recently joined the startup movement and assumed the role as CEO for Houston Exponential.

Posthumous Distinguished Alumni Award

The Posthumous Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the talents and contributions of an alumnus(a) who has passed.

Kenny Rogers (’58): A Houston native, Rogers was an award-winning singer, songwriter and record producer for over six decades. Primarily a crossover artist, he enjoyed enormous success on both the country and pop charts and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

For more information, please visit houstonalumni.com/events/alumni-awards.