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Photography: Priscilla Dickson, Jacob Power

The Celebration

On Thursday, November 10, 2022, the Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) welcomed 800 guests to the Hilton Americas-Houston for the museum’s annual Guardian of the Human Spirit Luncheon. This year’s recipients of the Guardian of the Human Spirit Award, a platform for acknowledging dedicated individuals and institutions who have worked to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind, were Y. Ping Sun and David W. Leebron, who embody the meaning behind the award. According to Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga, CEO of HMH, “This was a well-deserved celebration of one of Houston’s most spirited couples. Ping and David have served our community for 18 years, and never for the accolades. They simply show up and do the necessary work to make Houston a better place. They truly are guardians of the human spirit.”

The couple came to Houston when Leebron accepted the position of president of Rice University in 2004. In the 18 years since, the university has experienced unprecedented growth in student enrollment and diversity, community engagement, and campus expansion. Sun has made her mark as university representative and as counsel at Yetter Coleman LLP. She has also served on numerous boards, held important community positions, and brought international visibility to Rice. Together, the couple’s contribution as community leaders and global ambassadors for Houston is immeasurable.

Ross Moody was the honorary chair of the event. Anne and Albert Chao, Nancy Li-Tarim and Dr. Soner Tarim, Cindy and Frank M.K. Liu, and Macey and Harry Reasoner were the luncheon chairs. Cynthia and Bucky Allshouse and Inna Wizig were the host committee chairs.

The Story

Opulent orchid centerpieces provided by CentralMarketgraced the luncheon tables. The mouth-watering kosher menu featured an appetizer of hummus and Nazareth olive-basted pita chips;anentrée salad of soy glazed salmon on bibb and romaine lettuces with shredded cabbage, caramelized almonds, shaved radishes, and Mandarin orange; and a rice salad with honey ginger dressing. The dessert swappers of lemon meringue cake with raspberry coulis and chocolate opera cake with chocolate sauce delighted even the most discerning palate.

The Moments

The keynote address was delivered live from New York City by ABC News Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang.

PaperCity Magazine served as the media sponsor.

Over $680,000 was raised for HMH’s general operating funds with a focus on educational programming.

Guests: Mayor Sylvester Turner; Lynn Wyatt, Nancy and Jack Dinerstein; Rhona and BruceCaress; Bill Baldwin and Fady Armanious; Mady Kades; Beth Wolff; Regina Rogers; Jeri andMarc Shapiro; Laurie and Dr. Milton Boniuk; Jim Crownover; Khambrel Marshall; PaulaGoldstein; HMH Board Chair, Barbara J. Herz and Buddy Herz; and HMH CEO, Dr. Kelly J.Zúñiga and Luis Zúñiga.

About Holocaust Museum Houston

Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH), Lester and Sue Smith Campus, is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. It was founded in 1996 by Houston-area Holocaust survivors, their descendants, and members of the community and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims who lost their lives during this terrible period in history, and honoring the survivors’ legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, HMH teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice, and apathy.

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