Astral Light Award

Rosanette Saragusa Cullen: A Devoted Philanthropist Who Has Dedicated Her Life to the Betterment of Houston


CKW LUXE is proud to announce that Rosanette Saragusa Cullen is our honoree for the Astral Light Award. This award goes to a philanthropic woman who has devoted her life to art, music, education, health care, or science and made a positive difference to people within those communities, and those affected by those communities, by inspiring and transforming their lives.

This is the quote Rosanette lives by: Matthew 22:37-40: “Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and the great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ ” – Rosanette Saragusa Cullen 

Rosanette is proud to be the recipient of the Astral Light Award.

Rosanette was raised by generous and loving parents who taught her to be charitable, starting with neighbors who were in need. She wasn’t raised in a wealthy home, but her family never wanted for anything. They gave to one another, as well as to other family members, who needed any kind of assistance.


Many of Rosanette’s friends knew her parents,  as they were always there to join in. They never missed an opportunity to be part of all their children’s activities. Even today, many of Rosanette’s contemporaries talk about her mother, Angeline, and her father, Joe Saragusa, as if both were still here with us. 

Rosanette was born in Houston at St. Joseph Hospital, now St. Joseph Medical Center. She was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and attended elementary school at St. Mary’s Catholic School. During high school, Rosanette attended St. Agnes Academy and made many lifelong friends at the all-girls school. Important life lessons she learned from the nuns included: how to dress, how to talk, and how to treat your close friends and your not-so close-friends. The lesson learned was: “be kind to everyone.”

After high school, Rosanette stayed in Houston and attended the University of Houston. This was the best time of her life. Starting college at 17 and meeting so many people from across the United States and other countries was very exciting. While in college, the national sororities arrived on campus and took over the local sororities. Rosanette was happy to join and to be in the first Panhellenic group on campus. The first time she was in the Cullen Auditorium, Rosanette was called up as a freshman by a cheerleader who became a friend forever. It was a thrill she never forgot. 

Later that freshman year, an event took place that would change Rosanette’s life forever. She was asked to participate in a fundraiser for Frontier Fiesta. Dressed in western clothes and boots, Rosanette waited to be bid on for a date for that evening. That day, John Berryman had convinced his close friend Harry Holmes Cullen to join in the activities and excitement of Frontier Fiesta. A committee chose Rosanette to be the last to come out, which meant the bidder would know who they were bidding on, and when she did, Harry bid highest. That led to meeting each other for the first time and going on their first date. Rosanette and Harry’s friendship began at the University of  Houston and has continued for 62 years, with the promise of many more years to come. 

Rosanette and Harry married in June of 1957. They built their dream home in  Houston where they raised their two children. They also built a ranch house in South Texas on the Laguna Madre, which is a gathering place for the Cullen family. The first year they started going to the ranch, their son, Harry Holmes Cullen, Jr., married Katie Earthman, and their daughter, Katherine Ann Cullen, married Joseph Dietrich McCord. The real fun began as each had three children of their own. Their six grandchildren are the delight of Rosanette and Harry’s lives. Two married in the last two years. Rosanette and Harry are now the proud great grandparents of two boys, Roy Walter Anderson and Harry Holmes Cullen, IV. 

Rosanette is proud to be part of the Cullen family, the most philanthropic family in the city of Houston. They continue to give in the name of Hugh Roy Cullen, his heirs and their children, and their children’s children. The tradition has been carried on by the later generations by giving and working on boards and raising money for the less fortunate. Without the love and charity of this family, much would be missing in our city, our state, and our country. 

Some of the beneficiaries of the Cullen family’s philanthropy in the community and beyond include: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Houston Ballet Foundation; the University of Houston; the Texas Heart Institute; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Chi St. Luke’s Health-Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center; St. Michael Catholic Church; St. Agnes Academy; Episcopal High School; Harris Health System; Houston Eye Associates; Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy; Retina Research Foundation; UNICEF; and The Salvation Army. 

Rosanette was honored for her work with UNICEF with the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award. She has always been interested in anything that has to do with children, health, education, and caring in every way. Rosanette is very honored to be receiving this special award from CKW LUXE. It is her belief that there is nothing more important to live by than caring, kindness, and wisdom.

CKW LUXE would like to congratulate Rosanette Saragusa Cullen on being the Astral Light Award honoree. As the embodiment of the award, Rosanette believes in the arts, health, education, the cultural development of Houston, and the growth and prosperity of the city and its inhabitants.