175th anniversary gala to highlight six honorees

March 28, 2023

Five individuals and an organization are set to be honored at the upcoming April 20 175th anniversary gala hosted by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The honorees include Sister Heloise Cruzat, O.P.; Deacon Gerald DuPont; Trini Mendenhall; The Scanlan Foundation; James Studdert; and Raye G. White. 

HOUSTON — The last of 175 years of the history of the Church in Galveston-Houston is filled with remarkable examples of service and faith.
From its earliest days, this local Church has been marked by the selfless determination and dogged perseverance of women and men who built parishes, schools and orphanages and served the poor and immigrant.

On April 20, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will mark its 175th anniversary with a gala celebration at the Hilton Americas-Houston, located at 1600 Lamar St. in downtown Houston. At the gala, five individuals and an organization are set be honored. They exemplify the countless men and women who have helped the Gospel of Christ flourish in southeast Texas for nearly two centuries through their dedication and support. The six honorees are Sister Heloise Cruzat, O.P.; Deacon Gerald DuPont; Trini Mendenhall; The Scanlan Foundation; James Studdert; and Raye G. White.

“In honoring these individuals,” Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston said, “we recognize those who have generously contributed their time and talent to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the local Church of Galveston-Houston.”

Stan Marek Jr., chair of the anniversary gala, said, “This is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the many ways we live out the Gospel — caring for the poor, the sick, the refugee; supporting our parishes and clergy; it’s a celebration of our faith and why we do it.”

Sister Heloise Cruzat, O.P.

Sister Heloise Cruzat, O.P., was born in Houston and entered the Dominican Sisters of Houston convent in September 1951.

Beginning in 1955, Sister Cruzat taught French, Spanish and Latin at St. Agnes Academy before becoming principal in 1966. In 1981, she began working with alumni and development at St. Pius X High School for three years before serving as their principal from 1984 to 1991.
Following her time at St. Pius X School, she went on to serve 12 years in congregational administration. She served as vicar for religious for the Archdiocese for 13 years and is chair of the Labyrinth Committee.

Deacon Gerald DuPont

Deacon Gerald DuPont is a native of Simmesport, Louisiana, and grew up on the banks of the Atchafalaya River. He and his wife, Peggy, were married in 1968. Together, they have two children and eight grandchildren. Deacon DuPont was called to the permanent diaconate and ordained in 1990.

In 2003, then-Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza called Deacon DuPont to become the first full-time director of the Permanent Diaconate for Galveston-Houston. Deacon DuPont grew the program to become the largest in the U.S. and the world during his tenure. He has been president of the National Association of Diaconate Directors and the International Diaconate Centre. Deacon DuPont retired from the Office of the Permanent Diaconate in 2017.

He continues to serve the Church community at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Bellville and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Industry, Texas.

Trinidad Mendenhall

Trinidad Mendenhall, the co-founder of Fiesta Mart and president of Fulton Shopping Center, has dedicated her life to serving others. In 1997, alongside her late husband, O.C., Mendenhall founded the Trini and O.C. Mendenhall Foundation, which empowers women, minorities and children. She also founded the Mendenhall Achievement Center at the University of St. Thomas. In 2002, she established the Mendenhall Asthma Research Laboratory at Baylor’s Biology of Inflammation Center in memory of her husband.

Mendenhall’s commitment to her Catholic values and her Houston community is made evident by her outstanding work on behalf of children, women and the vulnerable. She is a life director at the University of St. Thomas and serves on the board of Catholic Charities, and her foundation endows scholarships for the CROSS Academies and the College of Education of the University of Houston.

She has served on the boards of Ronald McDonald House, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies Excellence Endowment Campaign Committee, United Way’s Women’s Initiative, Alexis de Tocqueville Society, End Hunger Network, and others.

The Scanlan Foundation

Established in 1947, the Scanlan Foundation continues to provide support and strategic thought to the growth of the Catholic Church in Texas. Through its grant-making capacities, the Scanlan Foundation also recognizes opportunities to support the Church and its ministries in ways beyond financial means.

The foundation stimulates innovative ideas and initiatives which create impact through leadership and innovation; equips organizations with the resources necessary to accelerate growth and transformation; measures impact through research, data tracking and analysis; and continues to expand its administrative processes and procedures for assessing grant effectiveness.

James Studdert

James “Jim” Studdert is a native Houstonian born and raised in the Riverside neighborhood. In 1964, Studdert married his wife Ginny, with whom he had three children. Studdert entered the insurance business in the Houston area in 1962 and retired from the industry in 2002.

In 1969, Studdert was a founding member of Notre Dame parish, serving as a volunteer director of religious education. From 1976 to 1983, Studdert served on the board of education for the then-Diocese of Galveston-Houston, including as president of the board. Additionally, Studdert has served as a member of the finance council of the Archdiocese for over 40 years and helped to establish the benefits committee of the Archdiocese on which he still serves.

Studdert continues to be involved with his parish at St. Cecilia Catholic Church and has been active in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for 13 years, serving for six years as president. He has six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Raye G. White

Born and raised in Texas, Raye G. White is the executive vice president and chief compliance officer of Fayez Sarofim & Co. She has been with the firm since its inception in 1958 and is a chartered investment counselor. She has had a transformative effect on the local Church community.

White is a board member for The Hermann Eye Fund, a life director at the University of St. Thomas, and the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare. Other philanthropic ventures include supporting the development of the Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Priest Retirement Residence at St. Dominic Village, various initiatives of the Archdiocese, including the annual Archdiocesan Prayer Breakfast, and annual support of the San José Clinic​ and Catholic Charities.

To learn more about the gala, please visit www.bidpal.net/agh175.