NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

da Vinci Society and Distinguished Alumni Recognition Dinner Held April 4

The da Vinci Society and Distinguished Alumni Recognition Dinner held on April 4 welcomed one new da Vinci Society member and NSM’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. At the event, Gabrielle Kostecki, a mathematical biology major, shared her research journey with donors and alumni. Her presentation provided guests with an opportunity to see how their support impacts the trajectory and lives of our students.

The da Vinci Society honors donors for their extraordinary philanthropic support of the College. The Society recognizes individuals with a cumulative lifetime giving level of $100,000 or more, or who have included NSM in their estate plans at a minimum of $100,000.

Named for Leonardo da Vinci, an interdisciplinary genius and possibly the greatest inventor of all time, each donor inducted into the da Vinci Society has played a transformative role in the development of NSM — just as da Vinci did for modern art and science.

Distinguished Alumni Awards, established in honor of the College’s 40th anniversary in 2017, are bestowed upon NSM alumni for exceptional achievement in their professional field, involvement in the community, and demonstrated innovative change to improve the lives of others through their work.

2023 Honorees

Da Vinci Society: Liz Schwarze

Liz Schwarze is Vice President of Global Exploration at Chevron, leading Chevron’s worldwide exploration program, and Vice Chair of the NSM Dean’s Advisory Board. She is currently the Chevron Executive Sponsor for UH.

NSM Dean Dan Wells & Liz Schwarze She joined Chevron in 1990 as a development geologist in the Gulf of Mexico and has enjoyed a career spanning many aspects of the business including exploration, reservoir management, finance, business planning, and people development. She has also worked on projects in Venezuela and Angola as well as the San Joaquin Valley and Permian Basin areas of the U.S. Since 2016, she has been based in Houston.

Schwarze holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Duke University, a master’s degree in geology from The University of Texas at Austin, and a master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University.

Through her involvement with UH and NSM, Schwarze has been impressed with the care and concern for student success. This inspired her to make a financial gift to support student scholarships, teachHOUSTON, and the NSM Career Center.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: John D. Weete, Ph.D. (Ph.D. ’70)

After receiving his B.S. and M.S. in biology from Stephen F. Austin State University, John Weete came to the University of Houston to complete his Ph.D. in biology. He has had a highly successful career as a university professor, scientist, and administrator.

John D. Weete & NSM Dean Dan Wells He served as a Staff Scientist at the Lunar Science Institute, as Professor, Associate Dean, and Director at Auburn University, as Vice President of Research and Economic Development at West Virginia University, President of the WVU Research Corporation, and Executive Director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation.

Under his leadership at WVU, funding for research more than doubled, and he was instrumental in establishing the infrastructure for linking the research enterprise to economic development. Weete is credited as “architect of the WVU Research Enterprise” in a book on the history of WVU.

Weete authored two editions of his book on Fungal Lipid Biochemistry, has written numerous scientific publications, and holds four U.S. patents.