Heart of Gold 2013 Alice Graham Baker Crusader Award Honorees

Tony Chase, Chairman and CEO, ChaseSource LP – My dad and Welcome Wilson were great friends and I remember my dad often saying, if you really want to get something done in Houston go to Welcome Wilson.

Bill Boyar, Lawyer and Friend – And I think Welcome is the ultimate re-inventor of himself, he has re-invented himself multiple times in his career to take advantage of what opportunities are out there which takes a certain kind of thinking and discipline to do that, to be willing to say I did this but now I’m gonna do that.

Craig Wilson, Son/Brother – His father put him and his brother on a bus with $20.00 or something, sent them to the University of Houston and said basically if you need something call me and I will tell you why you don’t need it. They lived in a trailer, somehow, they knew a dock worker, they worked on the docks in Galveston and a banana boat came in and so they ended up taking a huge stock of bananas back with them to the trailer thinking that they will just eat on bananas for weeks and save money.  Well they did that, and they ate and ate but eventually the bananas got too ripe the flies came in, it was kind of a disaster.

It actually was almost fate that two of the most important and most influential personalities in the history of the region came together at one time, in almost a combustible mixture that’s Renu Khator and Welcome Wilson.

Dr. Renu Khator, Chancellor and President, UH System      – When I met him first I must say that it was a very interesting experience simply because, which I found out later on, I didn’t know Mr. Wilson had just taken a red eye flight from California to arrive for the interview and in order to stay awake he had just done 50 push ups before he sat down to interview me so his eyes were red, totally and he was just a very straight faced, very serious and I sat right across from him and my first impression was, I don’t think I’m getting this job.

Bill Boyar, Lawyer and Friend – My own experience of him at U of H is very personal to me, while he was Chairman of the Board of Regents my oldest son decided to go to business school there and when he got to the business school he asked to join the real estate club and there was no real estate club, so he went to Welcome Snr and said I would like to see if there is something we can do about a real estate club and what came out of that was the birth of the graduate real estate program at the Baylor school, it is now on track to be one of the best graduate state curriculums in the country.

Mike Laster, Houston Council Member District J      – They are both extraordinarily passionate not only about the University of Houston but the future of this city, the apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree in that regard.

Tony Chase, Chairman and CEO, ChaseSource LP –The Wilsons keep Houston as a place of opportunity by example, by their actions, by their accomplishments, by what they do, by raising the kind of family that they have raised over the last 50 years that I have known them.

Craig Wilson, Son/Brother – Like my father, he is very family oriented he has 4 girls and 1 boy, he used to wake them up every morning for school. So, he would get them up and get them showered and what he would do is, he would take the towels and put them in the dryer real quick and warm them up so that when they got out of the shower they had a warm towel.  So that kind of thoughtfulness is what my brother is.

Dr. Renu Khator, Chancellor and President, UH System  – I feel sometimes the whole Wilson family is ours, all of them they do so much for the University, their passion whether they went to the school or not, it doesn’t matter.  So, when Mr. Wilson, Jnr joined the Board of regents I thought wow got we got a lottery we got 2 for 1 because Mr. Senior is already engaged and now we get Mr. Junior there as well.

Not only does the Senior Junior have a passion for education at the University of Houston but I think the see work that neighbourhood centres does and seize that as an opportunity to connect the two, your primary charter school opportunities are the foundation which we will be counting on in a very short time period as those kids move up and move into the educational structure, hopefully at the University of Houston or other good schools around the State of Texas and they see that nexus and they see the importance of where we are going with that and they are willing to not only make the investments but to defend those programs and to expand those programs.

Bill Boyar, Lawyer and Friend– They represent to me all that’s great about Texas.

Tony Chase, Chairman and CEO, ChaseSource LP –They are amazing and if we simply had more people like them, we would be a better community to live in.


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“Welcome’s efforts as an entrepreneur have enriched the community, led to better lives for untold numbers of fellow Texans, and inspired generations of admirers and followers to do greater things. My hope is that through reading this book, you will come to know Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., as I have–as a brilliant businessman, a loving family man and a proud Houstonian.”

Rick Perry
Rick PerryUS Secretary of Energy & former Governor of Texas
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