UNCF hosts 2022 “A Mind Is…” Gala, raising Vital Funds to Support HBCUs and local Houston Students

Delivering impact for students across Texas, event honored the pioneers of the past and the innovators of tomorrow.

The 33rd annual “A Mind Is…” Gala was a smashing success, conducted November 19, 2022 at the Hilton Americas Hotel. The Gala raised $571,635 after returning to a live event for the first time since 2019.

The gala co-chairs were Gaynell Floyd Drexler and Heidi McDonald Smith. Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, curator and director, University Museum at Texas Southern University, and scholarly advisory committee member for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, was the event honorary chair. Additional participants included U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX); Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; Houston City Council Member Tiffany Thomas; Bryce Kennard, Houston UNCF Leadership Council; Valentine Emesih, Houston UNCF Leadership Council Chair and CenterPoint Energy executive; the Rev, Dr. Joe S. Ratliff, Brentwood Baptist Church; and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. Gala host Khambrel Marshall with KPRC Local 2 kept guests engaged and entertained throughout the evening.

Honorees included Nicholas Perkins, chairman, president and CEO of Perkins Management Services Company and Black Titan Investment Corporation—the first African American to own a national hamburger franchise system (Fuddruckers); Rommel Quarterman, executive managing partner, Johnny Carrabba Family Restaurants; and Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, president, Prairie View A&M University.

Sponsors of the “A Mind Is…” Gala were ConocoPhillips, H-E-B, Waste Connections, Wells Fargo, Brentwood Baptist Church, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, NABORS, Benny and Nikki Agosto, Jr., Comcast, Stephanie K. Tsuru, Texas Children’s Hospital, ARCA Continental Coca Cola Southwest Beverages, Shell USA, Inc, KPRC-2, Prairie View A&M University, Elijah & Diana White, Texas Southern University, The Fort Bend Church, Jackson Walker, Motiva, Gilbert Andrew Garcia Garcia Hamilton & Associates, LP, Alliant Group Black Collaborative, CenterPoint Energy, Tristar, Williams, Kethia and Jeff Webber, The Astros Foundation, Uncle Funky’s Daughter, Rice University, Ascent Emergency Medical Center, Dr. and Mrs. B. Keith Ellis, Lone Star College, Kroger, Liberty Bank, Reliant, Johnny Carrabba Family Restaurant, Julie Fitzpatrick and Friends, Southern Sounds, Tristar, Perkins Management Services, Fuddruckers, Branwar Wine, Gaynell Drexler and Friends, Lyondell Basell, Walton Family Foundation, LaTrelle’s, Fisk University Alumni, Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, LP, and Insperity.

Highlights from the Event