Welcome and Introduction of New Members

Mr. Powell: Welcome to the opening session of Architecture and Texas, the 171st anniversary of the founding of the Philosophical Society of Texas. It's wonderful to be part of a group like this. There are so many special people here that have so much divergent intelligence that they share with us. It's just great to be a part of it. This is my seventeenth year.

I never cease to be amazed at the people who are part of the Philosophical Society and the exceptional new members who join us. That's how we’re going to start today, by introducing our new members. The program committee decided to pay a little more attention to our new members this year because they're the lifeblood of what we are and what we're all about. I will say something about each of the new members and ask them to come forward.

The first new member I'm going to introduce is John Mendelson. John is the only one of our new group that couldn't be here today. Dr. Mendelson has served as the third president of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since 1996. He has guided an unprecedented growth in the quality and scope of programs at the nation's largest comprehensive cancer center, where he is also a professor of cancer medicine. Under his direction the center has been named the top cancer hospital in the nation in five of the past eight years in the U.S. News and World Report's America's Best Hospitals survey.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he received his B.A. in biochemical sciences from Harvard in 1958 and attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland as a Fulbright Scholar where he researched molecular biology. He received his medical degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School. He was the first undergraduate student of James D. Wilson, Ph.D., who won the Nobel Prize in medicine for identifying the structure of DNA.

John led cancer programs at the University of California San Diego and Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center. He pioneered laboratory and clinical research that led to development of a targeted drug that inspired an entirely new class of anti-cancer agents. John and his wife, Anne, were honored in 2001 by Leadership Houston with the Distinguished Leadership Award.

An avid scholar of history, philosophy and religion, he is an active board member of Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Technology Center, Bio-Houston and Houston Board. Nominated by Isabel Brown Wilson and Richard Wainerdi and seconded by Bruce LaBoon and David W. Leebron.

Our next member is Maconda Brown O'Connor of Houston. Few people in Texas or the nation have benefited poor and troubled children more than Maconda Brown O'Connor. Throughout her life that goal has been the focus of her scholarship, public activism and philanthropy. A graduate of St. Thomas University with a Master's and a Ph.D. in social work from Smith College, Dr. O'Connor is widely known for her pioneering research on children's effective levels and her unflagging support for organizations that aid at-risk kids.

She has been honored by a number of institutions for her social work, including Humanitarian of the Year in 1999 by the Group Psychotherapy Foundation. In 2003 the Greater Houston Collaborative for Children established the annual Maconda Brown O'Connor Spirit of Collaboration Award to recognize organizations committed to developing and sustaining programs that benefit children in Houston.

Beyond her humanitarian commitments Dr. O'Connor has displayed broad interest in and support of the arts and has generously supported art institutions in Texas and throughout the nation. Her efforts at extending and refining the distinguished legacy of her renowned family make Maconda Brown O'Connor a unique and salient member of the Philosophical Society. Nominated by Penny Beaumont and seconded by Isabel Brown Wilson

new mem oconnor escorted by roger beaumont  pennys husband New member Maconda Brown O'Connor escorted by Roger Beaumont. Photo by member John Gullett.

Next is Elizabeth Rogers of Alpine who is an accomplished lawyer and recognized as an expert in her field. She was born in Uvalde, Texas, grew up on a sheep and goat ranch in Uvalde County. After graduating from Texas A&M she received a JD from South Texas College of Law in Houston. She has served as Assistant Federal Public Defender for the El Paso and Pecos divisions of the western districts of Texas since 1984.

Before that, she practiced law in El Paso with the firm of Peticolas, Luscombe & Stephens. In 2000 the National Association of Federal Defenders named her Outstanding Federal Defender. An expert in treaty provision transfers, she has made numerous trips to South America to represent American citizens incarcerated there. In 2004 she spent a month in Mongolia as an advisory to a newly created legal program.

Rogers served on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas from 2005 to 2008. She's a former president of the El Paso Young Lawyers Association and a former director of the El Paso Bar Association and a former member of the El Paso City Planning Commission. In Alpine she is a member of a reading group composed largely of ranch women. Nominated by Lonn Taylor, seconded by Royal Ferguson, Edward Prado and Richard Bartlett.

new mem rogers New member Elizabeth Rogers. Photo by member John Gullett.

Our next new member is Kenneth Shine, M.D., Chancellor ad interim and Executive Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Texas System Administration, world-renowned cardiologist and psychologist.

Dr. Shine was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduated summa cum laude with a biochemical sciences degree from Harvard College and cum laude in 1961 from Harvard Medical School. His career began at UCLA School of Medicine, where he was assistant professor of Medicine and director of the Coronary Care Unit. He was professor of Medicine and Executive Chairman of the Department of Medicine in 1981 and Dean and Provost for Health Sciences in 1986. He served as president of the American Heart Association and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American College of Cardiology. In 1988 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Shine's focus on the health of Texans and meeting their health care needs has been apparent - has been paramount in his role at the University of Texas system. He organized symposia to underscore the importance of cultural sensitivity and health care and led the Task Force for Access to Health Care in Texas, a group that focused their attention on the growing health needs and access to affordable health insurance coverage.

A founding director of the Rand Center for Domestic and Internal Health Security, he has led the center's efforts to make health a central component of U.S. foreign policy and guide the center's evolving research agenda. Nominated by Mark G. Yudof and seconded by Peter Flawn.

new mem shine i think New member Kenneth Shine. Photo by member John Gullett.

Our next new member is an architect. Lawrence W. Speck is a fifth generation Texan who was born in Friendswood. He has gained considerable national and international recognition for his work as an architect and architectural critic, an academic and a teacher.

An American Institute of Architects Fellow, he is a W.L. Moody Centennial professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. Speck served as dean of the school from 1992 to 2001 and he has been on the faculty since 1975. He was selected to be a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, the highest honor given at the University of Texas at Austin in 2004.

Speck is an outstanding teacher, an influential scholar and a design leader. He has published numerous scholarly and professional articles and book chapters in the U.S. and abroad, most recently authoring Technology, Sustainability and Cultural Identity. A registered architect in the State of Texas, Speck is a principal in the architectural firm of PageSoutherlandPage. Over the past 25 years his design work has won 33 national design awards, 21 state or regional awards and 83 local design awards. Lawrence Speck received his Master's of Architecture and second Bachelor's Degree from MIT. Nominated by Frederick R. Steiner and seconded by Boone Powell.

new mem speck New member Lawrence Speck. Photo by member John Gullett.

Our next new member is Lois Farfel Stark of Houston. Lois was a producer and writer of documentaries for NBC Network News. She filmed in Abu Dhabi, Israel, the Trucial Oman, Cuba, Liberia, South Africa, Northern Ireland, England, France and throughout the United States, focusing on a variety of issues ranging from the tenth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution to the conflict in Northern Ireland and to religious cults in the U.S.

Upon returning to Houston she continued to produced for NBC network, KPRC TV and independent organizations with films on medicine, architecture, mental health and the internationalization of Houston. Her films have earned an Emmy, two CNA Golden Eagles and a Silver Gavel from the American Bar Association among many others. In civic affairs she has been a Trustee of the Alley Theater, Texas Children's Hospital, St. John's School, Sarah Lawrence College, Texas Humanities, Texas Commission on the Arts, the Harry Ransom Center and a Fellow of American Leadership Forum and Center for Houston's Future.

Currently she lectures and is writing a book, The Web and the Ladder, tracing the shape of the world views for migratory man through the space age. Lois is a native Houstonian and is married to George Stark. She is a graduate of St. John's School, Sarah Lawrence College and holds two master's degrees in communication and education. She was nominated by Ramona Adams Davis and seconded by Harris L. Kempner.


new mem stark New member Lois Stark. Photo by member John Gullett.

Marshall T. Steves, Jr. of San Antonio is our final introduction. Marshall distinguished himself here at Texas Military Institute and completed his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and received his degree in law from the University of Texas Law School.

Marshall clerked for Federal Judge John H. Wood. He then joined the law firm of Matthews and Branscomb where he served as managing partner before leaving to become president and chief executive officer of Crest Doors, Incorporated. He has served for years on the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors and has enjoyed the avocation of amateur astronomer.

He and his wife Jane collect regional modern art. Marshall is by word and deed the essence of the philosophical. Whether he is the product of the late '60s at heart or influenced by Judge Wood, whom he greatly admired, or simply a product of genes and environment, his personality and interests are a perfect fit for the Philosophical Society. Nominated by Boone Powell and seconded by Baker Duncan, Luci Johnson and John Cornyn.

new mem steves New member Marshall Steves. Photo by member John Gullett.

New members are the lifeblood of this organization. We've been doing a good bit of talking about how we can reinforce our efforts and how we can continue to get the kind of members we got this time. It's a great class this year; I think you'd all agree.

I'll kick off the program, Architecture and Texas, with just a few comments. This meeting's focus on architecture and sustainability is especially pertinent today. It gets more pertinent every year. Issues of energy, global warming, and sustainability all abound in the world today. We read about it in the papers every day. As our program will elaborate, these issues are all intricately related to architecture in Texas.

We've arranged a wonderful, highly distinguished group of speakers for the meeting. The program committee provided superb ideas and assistance. I was joined by Frederick Steiner, Betty Sue Flowers and Ted Flato. We've been working on this for two-and-a-half years; I can hardly thank them enough.

Over those years we developed an ambitious program. It was clear that we were going to require significant financial assistance beyond the ordinary. Many members of our San Antonio group have contributed to this meeting. It's not just a few of us. The generosity of the Steves family, Frost Bank and Charles Butt has been extremely helpful. In addition, Charles Butt hosted us at his superb residence last night and Patsy Steves will do the same at her beautiful home tonight. We are so fortunate to have our San Antonio group's support. Thanks to all of you out there from San Antonio who so generously contributed to the support of the program.

I would also like to thank UTSA School of Architecture. Some of you were fortunate enough to go on the tours yesterday which UTSA put together. In that connection, President Romo was instrumental in making that possible. We are very grateful.

You may ask why architecture is so critical to energy use and sustainability. Various studies that I've seen estimate that 35 to 50 percent of all the energy we use in the United States is consumed in constructing and operating buildings. Now, compare that to the approximately 25 percent we use in transportation to understand why building energy is such a major component of potential energy savings.

Moreover, lest you think the world has been mostly built out, in fact, an estimated two-thirds of the total building development expected for the world of 2050 has yet to be built. The opportunity for creating more efficient buildings and thereby achieving major energy savings is clear. Architects throughout Texas and the U.S. are increasingly involved in addressing this, not just as a problem but as an opportunity for design innovation. There will be more on this specific topic this afternoon.

This is a world challenge, as well as a U.S. and a local challenge. It has been noted quite accurately that we must think globally, but must act locally. We will need to change the way we build our cities and towns. They must be more compact, walkable. They must have mixed use. They need to be connected by public transit to centers and community facilities.

As we grow - and we are growing rapidly - we need to exhibit far more care and stewardship of the land in Texas. In many ways, designers hold the key to creating a far better world than that otherwise in prospect. Now, I would like to introduce Frederick Steiner. Dr. Steiner is Dean at the School of Architecture at U.T. Austin. He's going to moderate our morning session and will introduce our speakers.

boone powell 2008 President, Boone Powell. Photo by member John Gullett.