Dobie Ceremony for Stockinger, Four Alumni Set For Tonight

Dobie Ceremony for Stockinger, Four Alumni Set For Tonight
Posted on 01/26/2016
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Dobie alumni selected for the Hall of Honor are Robert Marling, Class of 1974; Dr. Mark Yandell, Class of 1983; Rev. Sean Horrigan, Class of 1984 and Phil Sandlin, Class of 1987.

sideFour Dobie High alumni representing four diverse professions – banking, science, the clergy and law enforcement – will be inducted tonight into the school’s Hall of Honor. The public is invited to attend the 7 p.m. ceremony in the Dobie auditorium.

Banker Robert E. Marling Jr. (Dobie Class of 1974), research scientist Dr. Mark Yandell (Class of 1983), the Rev. Sean Horrigan (Class of 1984), and Harris County Constable Phil Sandlin (Class of 1987) will be honored at an induction ceremony next month at the high school.

The late Carole Stockinger, a longtime English teacher at Dobie, will also be inducted.

The 2016 group of Dobie inductees – the fourth group to be selected since the Hall of Honor was established in 2013 -- will bring the total of honored alumni, teachers and community supporters to 35. Stockinger will join previous teaching inductees Richard Golenko, Scott Talton and Catherine Haney.

Marling is currently chairman and CEO of Woodforest Financial Group, Inc., the parent firm for Woodforest National Bank. Under Marling’s direction, the bank has expanded to include more than 780 branches in Texas and 16 other states.

Dr. Yandell is one of the nation’s top researchers in the field of genetics. An expert in the mapping and sequencing of human genomes, he currently supervises a laboratory at the University of Utah.

For the past 12 years, the Rev. Horrigan has served as pastor of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church and Parish in the Cypress area. Under his leadership, the church has become one of the largest – and fastest-growing –in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

Sandlin has served as constable for Precinct 8 since 2011. His service to the precinct dates back to 1992.

Stockinger, who taught at Dobie from 1991 until her death in 2007, is well remembered for starting and sponsoring the Étalage, an award-winning literary magazine featuring poems, artwork and stories produced by Dobie students.

The Hall of Honor is maintained as a plaque display in the center of campus.

New inductees are selected year by a campus panel of faculty and administrations with input from alumni and the community.

The new inductees: 

ROBERT E. MARLING JR. / Class of 1974

Marling began his banking career shortly after graduating from Dobie. His first stop was First City Bank at Fuqua and the Gulf Freeway. In 1989, after moving up the ranks within the First City financial group, he made an investment that changed his life.

Marling and his partner, E.G. (Ken) Kendrick, Jr. (now the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks), purchased a small, 10-year-old bank in Galena Park named Woodforest National Bank. Marling took the role of the bank's executive vice president, became the firm's major stockholder, and in 1990, became its chief executive officer.

In 1996, Marling took the bold step of opening a Woodforest Branch in a Walmart in Conroe. Today, Woodforest is Walmart's largest retail partner and a banking staple in 17 states across the South and Midwest.  The bank has $4.5 billion in total assets with more than 4,800 employees and 756 branches.

Marling is currently the chairman and CEO of Woodforest Financial Group, Inc. He also serves on the boards of  Woodforest National Bank (chairman), Woodforest Charitable Foundation (chairman), Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions, the Pulse/Discover Oversight Committee, the Woodforest Golf Club and the Greater Houston Golf Charity. 

He also serves as an advisory director for Texas Children's Hospital/The Woodlands and the Sam Houston State University Banking Board. He is also a member of the Lone Star College Chancellors Executive Advisory Council. 

Marling has previously served as board chairman for The Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and as an advisory director for the Memorial Hermann Foundation.  Marling was the 2003 campaign chair for the Montgomery County United Way and served on the executive committee of the North Channel Area Chamber.

Marling has been named to the 2015 Texas Bankers Hall of Fame and as a 2011 Hometown Hero in The Woodlands. He was honored as the 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Houston and Gulf Coast area, as a 2004 finalist for the award, as a 2003 Montgomery County American Heart Association Gala honoree and as 2003 Businessman of the Year in Montgomery County.

A resident of The Woodlands, Marling holds distinction for both his business and charitable endeavors in Montgomery County.  

DR. MARK YANDELL / Class of 1983

Dr. Yandell is currently a professor of Human Genetics at the University of Utah and a leading researcher into the mysteries of the human genome.

A biology major at the University of Texas, Dr. Yandell earned a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1996. After three years as a fellow at the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis, he joined Celera Genomics in Alameda, Calif., where he led the corporation’s software research and development team.

Along the way, he became a leading authority in the application of computer technology to the biological sciences – especially to the field of genome research.

In 2002, Dr. Yandell was named a senior scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Cal-Berkeley. Two years later, he joined the faculty at the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Utah’s medical school.

His work as principal investigator of the Yandell Lab involves complex analysis of genomes, the genetic material of organisms. Dr. Yandell applies informatics – the process of using computers to mine biological information from conventional sources – to his genome sequencing research and uses that research to develop new informatics tools and methods.

In 2012, he was named to a prestigious H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowed chair at the University of Utah. 

Dr. Yandell is the son of prominent South Belt realtor Sandra Yandell. 

REV. SEAN HORRIGAN / Class of 1984

From the press box to the pulpit, Sean Horrigan today counts audiences in terms of congregations, not crowds.

After graduating from Dobie, Horrigan studied journalism at the University of Houston, and wrote for the school paper for four years, covering a variety of areas from sports to politics to the arts. His work appeared in a variety of publications including the Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press. He spent many nights covering local college and professional sports, and while his love for writing has never faded, his affection for communication has evolved into something far more spiritual.

A lifelong parishioner at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Sagemont, he chose to study for the priesthood beginning in 1992. After studies and formation at the University of St. Thomas School of Theology and St. Mary’s Seminary, he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1998.

In 2004, Father Sean – as his parishioners know him – was appointed pastor of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in a growing area of far northwest Houston and Cypress. He immediately went to work on a master plan that over the past 12 years has led to the transformation of the former rural parish into a massive church community of more than 100 ministries and 6,500 families.

With continued growth in Cypress, Fr. Sean oversaw the development and construction of a beautiful new 1,600-seat sanctuary for Christ the Redeemer in 2008. A few years later, the parish achieved perhaps its most ambitious goal with the opening of Christ the Redeemer Catholic School in 2014.

As the first new Catholic school in Houston in more than a decade, the school’s opening – seen as part of a growth trend of parochial suburban schools – was featured in a front-page story in the Houston Chronicle. With more than 170 students in its first year, and more than 300 in its second year, the school is poised to extend classes through 8th grade with more than 500 students enrolled in the next three years.

Fr. Sean maintains a prominent role in the local Catholic community, as an advisor to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo on the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and various other committees and boards. He also is consultant for the Catholic Leadership Institute and travels regularly to advise bishops and priests throughout the U.S. and Canada. 

PHIL SANDLIN / Class of 1987

There was little doubt that Sandlin had big boots to fill five years ago when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Precinct 8 Constable Bill Bailey, one of Harris County’s most popular community leaders. Since then, Sandlin has become his own man, elected in own right in 2012 and now a prominent public servant and source of community support.

After graduating from Dobie, Sandlin studied criminal justice at San Jacinto College before beginning his career as a peace officer, first with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. In 1992, he signed on with Precinct 8 as a patrol deputy. Promotions to corporal, sergeant and lieutenant followed. He was placed in charge of the Patrol, Toll Road and Warrant Division in 2001, three years later made captain and year later chief deputy for the precinct.

When Bailey abruptly announced his retirement in 2011, Harris County commissioners quickly named Sandlin to replace him. He was elected to a full term the following year, carrying 74 percent of the vote.

Precinct 8 takes in Pasadena, Webster, Deer Park, Seabrook, La Porte and other communities in southeast Harris County, as well as portions of Houston, including Clear Lake.

A member of the Future Farmers of America at Dobie, Sandlin contributes to various activities and functions associated with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Sandlin also serves on the board of the Space Center Rotary Club. He is a member of Deer Park Masonic Lodge No. 1362 and the chambers of commerce for Pasadena, Clear Lake, Deer Park and La Porte.


Rarely did a spring break sneak up on Stockinger. She always had plans.

Springtime meant press time for her pride and joy -- the Étalage, the Dobie High literary magazine she launched in 1997.

Her spring breaks were spent at the school with students as the finishing touches were put to a publication that came to be honored statewide – and even nationally – for the quality of the essays, poems, short stories and other literary works contained inside.

Stockinger came to Dobie in 1991 after nine years at Thompson Intermediate. She taught Pre-AP English for sophomores for nearly her entire tenure at Dobie. Six years after her arrival – after attending several seminars on how to start and advise high-school literary magazines – she organized a staff and supervised the production of the first Étalage, taken from a French word meaning “showcase.”

The publication attracted hundreds of submissions each year from Dobie students. Stockinger and her student staff worked long hours, especially during the spring but even during Christmas break – to sort out submissions, edit text and lay out pages.

In 2006, the Étalage earned a bronze medal in nationwide competition sponsored by Columbia University.

Stockinger’s devotion to teaching and dedication to students was apparent in all other aspects of her role as an educator. She was particularly adept at taking students with an indifference toward literature and making a connection through the meaning, structure – often humor – to be found in the classics.

Her precision as a writer often surfaced in the writing expertise shown by her students in other classes. Her colleagues remember her for long hours spent poring over research papers and meticulously pointing out ways a paper could be improved.

A graduate of Texas Women’s University, Stockinger began her teaching career in the Pasadena ISD in 1981 at South Houston Intermediate before moving on to Thompson and then Dobie.