Our community partners transform the success of our school and impact our students' lives every semester. From individuals to corporations, read a few of these stories about some of our most notable community contributors.
Tom & Lu Caltagirone: Launching a Student Film Project
Tom and Lu Caltagirone started the Student Film Project fund in 2016 with a generous donation of $25,000. That gift kicked off an annual project where students work on a screenplay as part of an advanced screenplay course in the fall, take the screenplay and prepare it to be filmed in a spring production management course, then shoot and edit the film over the summer.
Tom and Lu started this program so that students could experience a film production process that creates a film that is submitted to festivals. Tom felt that "gaining valuable real-world experience of taking a project from beginning to end, including all the pitfalls you may encounter and understanding the need to meet project deadlines, is so important in their preparation and central to why we wanted students to gain this experience."
Phil Morabito: Preparing Students for Their Careers
Phil Morabito is passionate about preparing students to enter the workforce. He knows that giving students opportunities before they hit the job market can lay the foundation for a successful career - and success is something that Phil knows a lot about. In 1987, Phil founded Pierpont Communications after leaving a prestigious Madison Avenue public relations firm in New York City. Pierpont now oversees the state's largest independent integrated marketing and PR firm – with offices in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
To help prepare students, Phil Morabito has underwritten many events for Valenti School of Communication students – including the annual Careers in Communication workshop. Unlike other career events, this event lets students hear from communication leaders in different industries about what they do, how they got to where they are, and different career paths available in the communication industry. Students are also given the opportunity to have their headshots taken and get advice on their LinkedIn profiles.
Events like this have a direct impact on our students' successes. Without the support of individuals like Phil Morabito, they would not be possible
Comcast: Bringing the Summit on Sports Media to Campus
When the Valenti School of Communication wanted to launch an annual Summit on Sports Media, it didn't have to look far to find support to make it all possible. Without hesitation, Comcast stepped up to the plate and hit a home run that enabled the Valenti School to hold a truly impressive event on campus. Comcast Vice President of External Affairs Ray Purser explains why this was such a natural partnership for their company: "We believe that building tomorrow’s leaders is an area where we can make a real difference in our communities. The Summit on Sports Media provided a great opportunity to hear from leading industry professionals and also showcase how Comcast NBCUniversal is shaping the future at the intersection of media and technology." Comcast's philanthropy extends beyond just writing the check to make the event happen. They build stronger communities through partnerships like this one with the Valenti School. The philosophy behind the support is to give young people every opportunity to prepare for the future. In addition to the support of the Summit on Sports Media, Comcast also provided $5,000 for a student scholarship to be awarded at this year's banquet.
Houstonia: Providing Real-World Experiences
"Houstonia’s internship and fellowship programs with the University of Houston's Valenti School of Communication have been exceptionally successful. In addition to their academic achievements, most of the students who come to us already have real-world experience reporting on their university—and the greater community. It’s incredibly beneficial that they venture beyond the hedges to explore the city itself.
Bright, curious and ambitious, our UH interns and fellows come to us with knowledge of what’s going on not just in the dining scene and the arts and culture world, but of political and social justice issues that affect us all. And they have enriched the magazine’s coverage of the city immensely. It’s our hope that after spending a semester with us, they leave having enhanced their professional skills and gained a portfolio of published Houstonia stories, so that they may go on to pursue careers in the field."
-Catherine Matusow, Executive Editor