Holocaust Museum Houston to Honor Long-Time Community Leader as 2008 Guardian of the Human Spirit

HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 2, 2008) – A long-time Houstonian who has dedicated his energies to educational initiatives, health care improvements, charitable endeavors and strengthening Houston’s business climate will be recognized for his efforts this fall as Holocaust Museum Houston presents its 2008 "Guardian of the Human Spirit" luncheon.

The event, which drew more than 830 people last year, will honor Houston banking executive Marc J. Shapiro and is set for 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, at the Hilton-Americas Houston, 1600 Lamar St.

The Museum established the Guardian of the Human Spirit award in 1997 as a platform for acknowledging dedicated Houstonians who have worked to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind.

"Through his actions, Marc Shapiro has made Houston a better community for all of us. Whether raising funds for public charities such as the United Way, working to improve our health care system, devoting his time and energy to education or leading Houston’s business community, he has made a tremendous difference in the lives of all Houstonians," Museum Chair Walter Hecht said in announcing this year’s honoree.

Shapiro has a long history of community involvement. During his career, he has served as chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership, chairman of the Houston United Way Campaign, and as founding chairman of the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

In 2005, Shapiro and his wife Jeri co-chaired the Museum’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award Dinner, raising more than $2 million to support ongoing educational programs that promote awareness of the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

A strong believer in the importance of the Texas Medical Center, he served for many years as a member of the board of the Harris County Hospital District. He is currently vice chair of the board of Baylor College of Medicine and immediate past chairman of the Board of Visitors of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He also serves on the board of BioHouston and on the Menninger Board of Visitors. Across Main Street, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Rice University and the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Shapiro is a native Houstonian who graduated from Kinkaid High School, completed his undergraduate work at Harvard and gained his master’s in business administration at Stanford Business School.

He began a banking career in 1972 at Texas Commerce Bank, and his progression through the Texas Commerce organization included service as chief financial officer beginning in 1977. In 1989, after the bank was purchased by J.P. Morgan Chase, he was named chief executive officer of the statewide organization. He moved to New York to work for the parent company in 1997 as vice chairman for finance and risk management. 

Since his return to Houston in 2003, he has served as non-executive chairman of Chase Bank of Texas. He is also a director of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Mexico Fund and Weingarten Realty Investors.

Previous recipients of the award have included Lester and Sue Smith; Sandra Weiner and Martin Fein; Naomi Warren and Fred Zeidman; Joan and Stanford Alexander; Ed Wulfe; the H-E-B grocery chain; Jack Blanton; The Houston Chronicle; the Rev. William A. Lawson; Ron Stone; Julie and Ben Rogers; Linda P. Lay; and Siegi Izakson. 

This year’s luncheon is chaired by Murry Bowden and James Crownover.

Proceeds from the luncheon presentation of this award are used to continue the Museum's worldwide educational programming and its policy of free admission to the general public so that there is never a financial barrier to anyone interested in learning the lessons of the Holocaust. For ticket information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 130 or e-mail spiritlunch@hmh.org.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the six million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline Street, Houston, Texas 77004.

For more information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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Holocaust Museum Houston is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

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Museum Hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

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$12 for adults
$8 for active-duty military and AARP members
Free for children, students and college-level students with valid ID
Free admission on Sundays

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