Society / Featured Parties

University of St. Thomas Brings a Second Mardi Gras to Houston — and Some Music Legends Jump Into This $1.7 Million Night

A King, a Queen, The Beach Boys, a Brazz Band and More

BY // 05.23.23
photography Daniel Ortiz

What: The University of St. Thomas 73rd Mardi Gras Gala

Where: Hilton Americas-Houston

PC Moment: Depending on your perspective and probably your age, the big moment at the University of St. Thomas’ 73rd Mardi Gras gala was when The Beach Boys took the stage or when the Bunk Johnson Brazz Band launched a second-line parade weaving through the dining tables. While the Boys entertained with their California-inspired familiar tunes, Bunk Johnson Brazz carried traditional parasols and waved colorful handkerchiefs as they played jazzy New Orleans tunes. It was a win win for the 700-plus guests.

While the event was originally held during the Mardi Gras season, the gala has been moved to May, but the jolly theme remains the same sans Mardi Gras beads and masks. The tradition of crowning a UST Mardi Gras king and queen continued with Calen Anderson and Kailee Mann so anointed.

Patti and Don Murphy USTGala_DOrtizPhoto_050623-024 (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Patti & Don Murphy at the University of St. Thomas annual gala (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Helming the gala that raised close to $1.7 million for student scholarships were Ann and Pat Moran; honorary chair Archbishop J. Michael Miller, University of St. Thomas’ seventh president; and alumni chair Drew Wilson, class of 2002. Adding to the bottom line was the Paddles Up appeal with a $100,000 matching gift from the Hildebrand Foundation. One fun part of the live auction was the chance to win a guitar signed by The Beach Boys and the opportunity to join them on stage and sing “Barbara Ann.”

In the spotlight and thanked for their success were UST capital campaign chairs Liz Ghrist and Judge Carolyn Dineen King.

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KHOU Channel 11 Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan served as mistress of ceremonies with an assist from scholarship student Isabel Garcia. Joining in the program celebrating the honorees and recognizing donors were University of St. Thomas president Richard Ludwick and his wife Melynda. 

PC Seen: Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, Gloria and Jesse Bounds, Madelyn and George Farris, Kathy and Marty Goossen, Lisa and David Doherty, David Harvey, Denise Castillo-Rhodes and Bob Sergesketter, Raye White, Lois Davis, Frances Castañeda-Dyess, Angela and Craig Jarchow, Carol and Paul Beck, Melissa and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Patti and Don Murphy, and Vicki Luna.

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