Society / Featured Parties

Houston’s Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Dr. Peter Hotez and a Music Superstar Shine In $1.7 Million Night for Holocaust Museum

Standing Up For Science and the Power of Having a Voice

BY // 05.15.23
photography Priscilla Dickson

With Noble Peace Prize nominees Dr. Peter Hotez and his research partner Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi in the spotlight as honorees and the remarkable Vanessa Williams as entertainment, Holocaust Museum Houston’s annual Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award Dinner soared as the dinner evening raised $1.7 million for the museum.

“The lifetime work of these ‘soulmates in science’ is simply awe inspiring,” Holocaust Museum Houston CEO Kelly J. Zúñiga said. “Like Lyndon Baines Johnson, Drs. Hotez and Bottazzi turned compassion into action to better humankind.

“Together, their work perfectly exemplifies the meaning behind the Moral Courage Award.”

HMH.PPDickson02_Honoree Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Honoree Dr. Peter Hotez
Holocaust Museum Houston Moral Courage Award honorees Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi and Dr. Peter Hotez (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

Remarks by Bottazzi and Hotez captivated the 1,100 guests that filled the Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom. Bottazzi spoke of their coming together over research that has provided life-saving vaccines worldwide including a patent-free COVID-19 vaccine. Hotez took the subject further.

“Now that our vaccines have reached 100 million people, we have provided proof of concept that you don’t have to be a big pharma company to do big things,” Hotez said. “You have to be in Texas to do big things.”

The doctor whose face and penchant for bow ties became familiar to millions of Americans during the pandemic spoke of “Tikkun Olam,” the Jewish obligation to help “repair the world.”

Celebrate 4th of July

Swipe
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
HMH.PPDickson41_Kase and Eileen Lawal, Dr. Abenaa Brewster, Dr. Robert Satcher
Kase & Eileen Lawal, Dr. Abenaa Brewster & Dr. Robert Satcher at the Holocaust Museum Houston Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award Dinner (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

“Knowledge for the benefit of humankind and that was the vision that Maria Elena and I shared with Mark Wallace, the president of Texas Children’s Hospital, Paul Klotman, the president of Baylor College of Medicine, together with Gary Rosenthal and his wife Lee, and Marc Shapiro,” Hotez said. “In that sense it was very much the involvement of the Jewish community that brought us here 12 years ago.”

Hotez also spoke of “the added and difficult role of combatting the anti-vaxing activism that has become so widespread in Texas and nationally and there’s a lot at stake.” This subject also will be addressed in Peter Hotez’s soon-to-be-released new book titled The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science.

HMH.PPDickson31_Sue Smith, Margaret Alkek Williams, Amy Pierce
Sue Smith, Margaret Alkek Williams, Amy Pierce at the Holocaust Museum Houston Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award Dinner (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

The evening also recognized Holocaust survivors who had passed in the last year as well as first and second generation survivors.

For the entertainment portion of the evening, Vanessa Williams, who admitted to being a grandmother and 60 years old, wowed with her glam looks and excellent voice that appeared not to have diminished over time.

Leading the successful awards dinner charge were chairs Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, plus Host Committee chairs Stacy Soefer Gomar and Luis Gomar, Presenting Sponsor Paula Goldstein and General Reception Sponsor Texas Children’s Hospital also stepped up. Hallie Vanderhider served as honorary chair.

PC Seen: Mayor Sylvester Turner, HMH board chair Barbara J. Herz, Ira Mitzner, Laura and Rick Jaramillo, Eileen and Kase Lawal, Margaret Alkek Williams, Donna and Norman Lewis, Mady and Ken Kades, Brigitte Kalai, Remy Kalai, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Sylvia and Gordon Quan, Cyvia Wolff, Lynn Wyatt, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Sue Smith, Joy and Benjamin Warren, Stephanie and Frank Tsuru, Amy Pierce, Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman, and Khambrel and Debbie Marshal.

Discover Weber Pellet Grill at Bering's
SHOP NOW

Curated Collection

Swipe
X
X