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Center for International Studies Celebrates 30 Years

William J. Cunningham, FSO, Ret.The University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies celebrated three decades of excellence in education and service with a 30th Anniversary Reception on Jan. 27.

Nearly 200 guests joined in recognizing the late Dr. Ann Q. Tiller’s founding vision for a pioneering program in interdisciplinary and global studies. The Center recognized William J. Cunningham, FSO, Ret., associate professor emeritus and former director of CIS, for his three decades of service. The reception also celebrated the accomplishments of generations of students, alumni and community friends. The Center announced it will begin awarding the new Ann Q. Tiller Scholarship in International Studies this spring. 

Following the benediction by the Rev. Michael Buentello, CSB, University chaplain, remarks were shared by Ms. Michele Malloy, chair of the UST Board of Directors, and the Rev. Joseph Pilsner, CSB, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.  Alumni from the Center’s first graduating classes, Daniel Stoecker ’80 and Deborah Churm ’81, gave warm reflections about Dr. Tiller. Danny Shebaclo ’10 closed with humorous “Top 10 Reasons” to pursue international studies.

View a video about the 30th Anniversary of the Center for International Studies, with alumni success stories.

CIS Group PhotoFood was provided by Carlos Gonzalez ’04, Maria Padilla-Gonzales ’02 and Mama Lycha Foods.  Gonzalez and Melissa de Benedictis ’02 provided music. The event was planned and organized by an alumni planning committee, including Churm, Shebaclo, Gonzalez, Amanda Duhon ’08, Michael Black ’10, Maurielle Balczon ’10 and Molly Reyes ’05. 

The Center for International Studies is the oldest degree-granting academic program of international studies in Texas and the only program of its kind in Houston. The evening marked a landmark and celebrated legacy, while also looking to the future. 

View photos of the event at

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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