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Higher Education
University of Houston-Clear Lake
News Release
Tuesday, October 03, 2017

UHCL alumni event to honor leaders in aerospace, energy, public health

HOUSTON —University of Houston-Clear Lake will recognize this year’s Alumni Association Awards recipients at the 2017 Alumni Celebration Saturday, Oct. 7 at South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd., League City, Texas.

Guests will enjoy a silent auction and mingling with the UHCL community, which include this year’s recipients of awards for Distinguished Alumni, Early Achievement and Outstanding Professor.

Besides achieving success in their chosen fields, each honoree has also demonstrated a dedication to strengthening their community and helping others succeed. For this, the university is honored to join with our alumni on Oct. 7 to highlight, celebrate and be inspired by their stories,” said Rhonda Thompson, UHCL’s associate vice president for University Advancement.

Two of this year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are deeply rooted in the aerospace industries: Denise S. Navarro, founder and CEO of NASA contractor Logical Innovations Inc., and Estella Hernández Gillette, who joined Logical Innovations as a consultant after a long career at Johnson Space Center.

Navarro achieved a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from the university in 1986 and also a Master of Business Administration in 1991. In 2016, Navarro’s family created an endowment to help fund UHCL’s Hawk Advantage Scholarship program to provide need-based financial aid for UHCL freshmen

Gillette earned both a bachelor in business administration in 1986 and a master of arts in Human Resource Management in 1994 from the university. She began working for NASA as a secretary in 1965. She eventually retired from Johnson Space Center as deputy director of the JSC External Relations Office. Besides working at Logical Innovations, Gillette is an adjunct instructor at University of Houston and UH Sugar Land.

The third Distinguished Alumni honoree is Michael Squyres, founder and president of Flow-Cal Inc., which provides hydrocarbon measurement systems for the global energy industry. Squyres graduated UHCL with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems in 1993. For his innovations and contributions to his field, Squyres was honored by the International School of Hydrocarbon Measurement in 2015 and recognized by Houston Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Energy” in 2013. He currently chairs the advisory board for the UHCL College of Science and Engineering.

UH-Clear Lake’s Early Achievement Award honoree is Michael D. Larrañaga, who is a Dallas-based principal consultant and health-practice leader for Ramboll Environ Inc., a global company that provides environmental, sustainability and public health strategies.

Larrañaga earned a Master of Science in Environmental Science from UHCL in 1998. He has served as a consultant in the automotive, government, construction, educational, transportation, nuclear, refining, chemical and manufacturing industries. He is a member of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Resource Advisory Group and serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

This year’s Outstanding Professor Award will be received by Associate Professor of Humanities Daniel Silvermintz. He was honored earlier this year with the university President’s Distinguished Teaching Award, in which peers and students recognize the recipient for exemplary accomplishment in the craft of teaching. His innovative teaching style has received national recognition. Silvermintz joined UHCL in 2004. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., master’s degrees from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and St. John's College in Annapolis, M.D., and a doctor’s degree from University of Dallas. He currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Philosophy for Business and is an Advisory Board Member for the International Society for Philosophers.

A cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m.; the dinner and program begin at 7 p.m. Black tie optional. For more information, call 281-283-2040, email or visit

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