Breakthrough (College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics)

UH College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics Breakthrough (College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics)

da Vinci Society and Red Jacket Distinction: Celebrating Impactful Donors

Dinner Event Recognizes the Power of Transformative Giving

In April, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics held its annual da Vinci Society Induction & Recognition Dinner honoring donors whose gifts have made a significant impact on the College.

da Vinci Society Induction & Recognition Dinner

The da Vinci Society honors donors for their extraordinary philanthropic support of the College. These individuals have a cumulative lifetime giving level of $100,000 or more, or have included NSM in their estate plans at a minimum of $100,000. The Society is 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. Eighty-eight members have been inducted since the program’s inception in 2018.

The Power of da Vinci: Emily Kracklauer

At the 2023 dinner, Emily Kracklaur was added to the group of distinguished da Vinci Society members. The Kracklauer family owns Sparkler Filters, Inc., located in Conroe, Texas.

Emily, who lives in Weimar, Germany, established the Kracklauer Family Endowment in memory of her husband, Aloysius “Ollie” Kracklauer, and her in-laws who founded the company. Though neither Emily nor Ollie were UH alumni, she noticed a recurring mention of UH and the research in NSM while going through her late husband’s papers. She also noticed his notes on overcoming challenges and a desire to excel despite circumstances.

Ollie’s notes inspired Emily to help UH students. Each year, the Kracklauer Family scholarships will support one junior and one senior majoring in biochemistry, mathematics or physics who may be facing hardships, but who demonstrate perseverance to pursue a degree. Her goal is to ensure that deserving students are free from financial hardship in their final semesters.

Red Jacket Distinction: $1 Million Cumulative Giving

In 2020, NSM established the Red Jacket Distinction — a level of recognition for donors who have a cumulative lifetime giving of $1 million or more to the College. Each donor has the option to receive a commemorative red blazer.

At this year’s dinner, NSM honored four Red Jacket members in attendance: May P. Chu, Ph.D., Paul C. W. Chu, Ph.D., Rikki Raflo and Harry Skewes, Ph.D.

Their generosity is impacting NSM students through faculty recruitment, research opportunities and scholarship support.

Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics