ICYMI: Inaugural Black History Month Event at MDCOB
By Laura Wagner
Stormy weather couldn’t put a damper on the inaugural Marilyn Davies College of Business (MDCOB) Black History Month event. Dignitaries in attendance included Eric Goodwine, representing the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and State Representative Christina Morales. MDCOB also had the privilege of welcoming Herschel Frierson, Chair of NABA Inc.’s National Board of Directors and Strategic Networks Leader at Crowe, a global public accounting, consulting, and technology firm.
The focus of the event was MDCOB’s partnership with NABA Inc., a nonprofit membership association dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for Black business leaders in accounting, finance, business, and entrepreneurship.
Frierson spoke with a select group of MDCOB merit scholarship recipients, student leaders, and MDCOB officials at 11 a.m., after which guests and UHD community members gathered in the building’s lobby for a formal presentation. Christine Poleski, J.D., Assistant Dean at MDCOB, welcomed the group and introduced UHD student Kiersten Joe, who sang “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”
UHD Provost Deborah E. Bordelon spoke about the importance of the event, followed by MDCOB Acting Dean Jonathan Davis, Morales, and Goodwine. All were presented with a gift bag and Certificate of Appreciation by Poleski. Frierson spoke last, sharing his passion for volunteering, noting that without people “who look like me” helping him along the way, he would not be where he is. He put the students on notice, “I expect each of the students who are here today to give back. That is an expectation. … Do not get comfortable with what you’ve already accomplished.”
For students considering a career at Crowe, Frierson advocated being a go-getter and learner. “Everything is a learning opportunity. Be committed to learning.” He also noted, “If you want to be at the top of your game, you have to evolve with the world, be flexible to change.” But, he said, smiling, “It’s still okay to have some old-school things—like networking face to face.” Students were able to do just that with Frierson and the other guests.
After presenting Frierson with his gift bag and certificate, Poleski introduced Houston celebrity Chef Willie Holmes and encouraged guests to enjoy a catered meal by Holmes, including chicken, greens, macaroni and cheese, meatballs, mashed potatoes, and vanilla and strawberry teacakes. In addition to lunch, commemorative T-shirts designed by MDCOB student and UHD Social Gator Madeleine Diagne were distributed to all the guests.
“We accomplished our goal,” Poleski said. “We gave our students a rare opportunity to network with a very high-ranking businessman who is setting an excellent example in his industry.” She added, “We want our students to know what’s important to us, and celebrating Black History Month with an event that includes the dignitaries we hosted today shows our commitment to diversity and support for all of our students.”
To learn more about UHD’s NABA chapter, visit the online enrollment page.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.