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SHSU Update For Week Of Dec. 1

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Tree Ceremony To Light The Way To Holiday Season

Sam Houston State University will light up Bearkat Plaza, kicking off the holiday season with the 93rd Annual Tree of Light Ceremony on Tuesday (Dec. 3).

Tree of LightStudents, faculty and staff can celebrate the spirit of the season with hot chocolate, wassail, gingerbread and cookies, as university President Dana Gibson lights the official SHSU tree, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Orange Pride Dance Team and University Choir also will perform.

“The annual Tree of Light ceremony has taken place for more than 90 years at SHSU and is the university's oldest and most cherished tradition,” said Brandon Cooper, associate director for Student Activities. “Each year students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community come together to celebrate a time of giving.

“The ceremony began as an annual Christmas tree lighting and has evolved into a campus-wide celebration during the holiday season.”

In celebrating the season of giving, the Department of Student Activities will collect canned goods during the event for a drive that will benefit Huntsville’s Good Shepherd Mission.

Students who bring at least two canned good items will receive a free T-shirt, while supplies last.

Students, faculty and staff, and organizations are encouraged to bring one ornament to decorate the tree before or during the ceremony.

In addition to the tree ceremony, Student Activities also will highlight the history and tradition of the Tree of Light Ceremony with an exhibit in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery Dec. 2-6.

For more information, contact Student Activities at 936.294.3861 or studentactivities@shsu.edu.


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Museum To Celebrate Holidays With ‘Houston’ Christmas

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum will once again celebrate the holidays the “Houston” way, returning to the “simpler,” 19th-century way for its Houston Family Christmas on Saturday (Dec. 7).

Santa at MuseumBaked goods, demonstrations and Santa Claus will help kick off the season and keep families merry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Grounds and main rotunda.

In addition, Laurie Cockerell, author of Magnificent Sam—a children’s book released this year—also will be in the museum store to sign copies of her book, and there will be a craft table where guests can make a pinecone bird feeder.

Magnificent Sam: The Amazing Adventures of Sam Houston is a wonderful book for children to learn about Gen. Sam Houston,” said Megan Buro, museum marketing coordinator. “It also includes resources in the back for teachers to utilize the book in their classroom.”

After checking out some of the historical demonstrations—including spinning and weaving, kick wheel pottery, blacksmithing, woodworking, and learning about the Cherokee culture and crafts from the Gulf Coast Cherokee Association—families can head over to the Katy and E. Don Walker Sr. Education Center, where the Angel Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the President Houston Room of the W. S. Gibbs Conference Hall, on the lower level of the education center.

Admission is free to Houston Family Christmas.

“Houston Family Christmas is a great event for the entire family because it has something for everybody, young and old,” Buro said. “The event brings the past and present together, giving families a chance to spend some time together and take pictures with Santa but also learn about Sam and Margaret Houston, the Houston family, and experience some of the crafts from the 19th century.

“We welcome everyone to come join the museum staff and volunteers start the holiday season,” she said.

For more information, contact Buro at 936.294.3839 or "like" the museum on Facebook.


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Health Center To Recognize AIDS Awareness Day

In recognition of AIDS Awareness Day on Tuesday (Dec. 3), the SHSU Student Health Center will do its part to raise awareness about the virus by providing statistics and resource material to students.

An informational table will be set up in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. that day, during which students can learn how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

At the end of 2009, more than 1.1 million people were living with HIV infection in the United States, including more than 200,000 who had not yet been diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It has been estimated that people in their 20s are significantly more likely to be infected with HIV than any other age group, with the highest number of estimated infections in 2011 being the 20-24 age group.

Nearly two-thirds of new infections occur in gay and bisexual men, but African American men and women are also highly affected, estimated to have an HIV incidence rate that was almost eight times as high as the incidence rate among whites, according to CDC statistics.

“We know of at least four new cases of HIV on campus and encourage students to know their sexual health status and the sexual health status of their partners,” said Lisa Clarkson, SHC programming coordinator. “We also encourage either abstinence or safe sex practices, if students do engage in sex.”

Regular HIV testing is recommended for everyone 13-64 years old and is not done automatically; those wishing to be tested for HIV must request the test from a healthcare provider. Testing is also recommended for those who have had unprotected sex, a new sex partner or shared needles or equipment to inject drugs.

The Student Health Center provides HIV testing and partners with the Texas Health Department to offer free STI testing once a semester through the Get Yourself Tested program. If a student tests positive, he or she is referred to a primary care doctor or the St. Hope Foundation, at offeringhope.org.

For more information, contact Clarkson at 936.294.4347.


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Forum To Get Medieval With Lecture On Malory Sources

Adjunct English professor Ralph Norris will discuss his work with Sir Thomas Malory’s “Tale of Sir Gareth,” presenting his new ideas on source material for the tale, found in Malory’s Morte Darthur, on Friday (Dec. 6).

The English Friday Faculty Forum presentation will be from 3-4 p.m. in Evans Complex Room 212.

Morte Darthur is a medieval collection of stories about King Arthur and the knights of the round table, written in the late 1400s.

Norris’s presentation, “Another Source for Malory’s ‘Tale of Sir Gareth,’” examines the sources of the tale, which is considered to be an original tale, not based on stories that Malory translated from French.

“The sole section of Malory's Morte Darthur for which no major source survives is the tale of ‘Sir Gareth of Orkney.’ The list of those who have scrutinized this part of the Morte Darthur to determine what can be learned about its sources reads like an honor role of Malory scholarship who have shown that a major source must have existed.”

Because Malory used minor sources in every other section, Norris believes that he did so in this tale as well, and, in his current research, is speculating that those minor sources are likely 12th century French poet Chrétien de Troyes's Chevalier de la Charette and the prose Lancelot.

An Atlanta native, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, his master’s degree from Georgia State University and his doctorate from the University of Wales, in the United Kingdom.

Norris has studied Morte Darthur extensively—his doctoral dissertation was on the collection’s minor sources and published Malory’s Library: The Sources of the 'Morte Darthur' in 2008.

He has been teaching courses in Chaucer, Early English masterworks, world literature and composition at SHSU since 2012.

The Friday Faculty Forum is designed to highlight research by graduate faculty and fellow graduate students.

For more information, contact Paul Child, professor of English and forum coordinator, at 936.294.1412.


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Service Project To Give Children ‘Ornamental’ Christmas

The SHSU Center for Leadership and Service’s Bearkat Impact board is working to spread “hope” and cheer through a project that will grant holiday wishes.

Through its “Tree of Hope,” Bearkat Impact is taking advantage of the season of giving by asking Bearkats to ensure that children at the Boys and Girls Club of Walker County have a good holiday season by stopping by the CLS Office and selecting an ornament from the tree.

Each ornament contains information about a child and their holiday wish, which participants will then fulfill by purchasing and returning the listed item to the center.

Items are requested by 5 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 11).

Now in its third year, the “Tree of Hope” has helped five children over the past two years receive a total of 80 presents.

“The project started when I met with the Boys and Girls Club, and they told me how some of the kids there did not have much for Christmas,” said Tracy Szymczak, graduate assistant for service programs. “I started the project to ensure that each child has a Christmas and was able to find presents under the tree.”

This year, extra ornaments were added of the success they have had, and eight “angels” have been selected to receive five gifts each.

“This is the season to give back and those who participate are helping out a child who may not have had the things they had growing up,” Szymczak said. “This project impacts the children's spirits because they are so excited when they have presents to open up on Christmas day.

“It also helps the parents out by providing them presents for their kids they may not be able to afford,” she said.

The Center for Leadership and Service is located in Lowman Student Center Suite 324A.

For more information, contact Szymczak at 936.294.1976.


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Dance Students To Take Final Bow For Fall

The Sam Houston State University Department of Dance will wrap up the fall semester with the non-majors’ workshop and the senior studio in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theater.

The Non-Majors’ Workshop, on Tuesday (Dec. 3) at 7 p.m., will present classroom dance works from a wide range of non-major technique classes including jazz, lyrical, ballet, tap and modern.

“Attending this performance is a great way to check out the various class offerings for future decisions regarding dance elective options,” said Dionne Sparkman Noble, assistant professor of dance.

Admission is free, and early arrival is recommended, as the performances are popular and seating is limited, Noble said.

Senior Studio FlierOn Dec. 9-11, the dance department’s graduating seniors will present “XXI Pieces Of A Whole: 21 Choreographers, 3 Nights, 1 Body of Work,” beginning at 8 p.m. each evening in the GPAC Dance Theater.

Choreographed by 21 seniors—the largest Bachelor of Fine Arts degree graduating class the department has had recently—the showcase will include a different program, each night, according to Noble.

“With 21 seniors, no two pieces are the same in this three-night experience ranging from ballet, modern, tap, to even the use of a trapeze,” she said.

Some of the works that will be presented include Abby Douglass’s “It’s a Trap,” “centered around a trapeze, [where] dancers revolve, twirl, ascend, and explore the unknown possibilities that the apparatus presents;” and Alex Hess’s “Never Ending,” a “fire-hot tap dance that portrays what happens when two headstrong groups are not willing to compromise even if they are wrong,” according to each artist.

“The argument affects all of those around them and can cause them to choose sides,” Hess said.

Drawing on a classic, Adorina Nguyen’s “Behind the Painted Scenes,” “focuses on Edgar Degas’ famous ballerina paintings through a comedic eye, portraying how ballet dancers behave when in the presence of a ballet master, and/or mistress, and how competitive they can become with each other,” Nguyen said.

Cordarrell White’s “Passionate Savage,” is a modern/contemporary piece that is “furiously eager and intense, finding one's inner self, peeling away the layers of what you want your life to be perceived as; attacking something but with loving care,” she said.

The avant-garde “With Broken Hands...,” by Otis Berry, “is a choreographic exploration of how humans interact with one another in times of hardship.

“The choreography is derived from a colorful vocabulary, and is matched with ambient musical styling of various artists,” Berry said.

In addition, Julian Grandberry’s “Hello, My Stage Name Is...,” which “flows between realms of imagination and reality,” is “driven by the belief that self empowerment can promote a healthier base for communal equality in the future,” Grandberry said.

Tickets are $8 for general admission and can be purchased through the GPAC Box Office at 936.294.2339.


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Artists To Take Action In One-Night Exhibit

An art exhibition featuring SHSU students will literally be “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” as students perform live for a one-night event on Wednesday (Dec. 4).

woman hanging cloth on a clothing line
The young woman hangs things on the line for last year's performance art show. —Submitted photo

“Here Today, Gone Tomorrow IV” will be presented from 6-7 p.m. in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, in Art Building F Room 101.

The exhibition will feature live performance art works, video and video installations from 13 students in assistant professor of art Annie Strader’s “Performance and Video Art” course, showcasing the “strongest work of the semester,” Strader said.

The exhibit will present the results of an intense semester of practical and theoretical study of performance art and video, she said.

Featured students will include Natalie Barela, Emelia Bates, Keyton Berry, Luis Gaitan, Winston Hoyle, Casey Keen, Townes Lucy, Katelyn Newman, Laura Pregeant, Katy Strouse, Tania Villman, Elise Weber and Jack Weidman.

“Performance art relies on the relationship between the performer and the audience and this one night event allows the students to engage with their peers, faculty and community,” Strader said. “Experiencing a live performance art work is something that can change your perception of performance as an art form; there is no way to truly understand a work unless you experience it.”

For more information, contact Strader at 936.294.1322.


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Exhibit To Showcase Collegiate Careers Of 15 Seniors

Student artists graduating on Dec. 13 will present one last exhibit as an SHSU art major before walking across the Johnson Coliseum stage to receive their degrees.

The Graduating Senior Exhibition will showcase the works of 15 students Dec. 9-14 in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery. A reception to celebrate the students’ accomplishments and work will precede the Dec. 13 commencement ceremony, from 4:30-6 p.m.

white frame with 3D white cat, threads, and sewing push pins
A piece that will be featured in this year's Graduating Senior Exhibit. —Submitted photo

“The senior exhibition is a capstone experience for students completing the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art, photography and animation,” said Annie Strader, assistant professor of art. “This exhibition will feature 15 students working in a variety of media; several works created by each student will be displayed to show a sampling of their larger body of work.”

Students whose works will be featured in the gallery include Misty-Dawn Haney, who will receive a BFA in studio art and will present ceramic and mixed media sculptures of animals that reference various ways that animals are viewed as specimen, trophy and beloved pet; and photography major Jacquelyn Schroeder, whose fictional tableaus are inspired by fashion, cinema and advertising, and her work explores the complexities of romantic relationships.

In addition, studio art major Sergio Barraza will display interactive mixed media sculptures that reference medical devices and explore the feelings of intimidation or discomfort these devices have on people and the subconscious effects they have on the mind and body.

Also showcasing the diversity of the art department and within the exhibit, computer animation majors Lauren Priputen, Carlos Elarba and Kristen Williams will exhibit work they have produced in their final portfolio class that explore environmental design and story-board art among other themes.

Other participants include Elizabeth Gonzales, Townes Lucy, Lauren Martin, Trevin Massey, Casey Mills, Sarah Murff, Cassandra Sawtelle, Jessica Schaper and Grady Williams.

For more information, contact Strader at 936.294.1322.


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Spanish Group Welcomes New ‘Honorable’ Students

Kay Raymond and Sigma Delta Pi initiates
The newest initiates to Sigma Delta Pi, with the group's officer and adviser, Kay Raymond. —Submitted photo

The Sam Houston State University Kappa Zeta chapter of the Sigma Delta Pi National Spanish Honor Society initiated five students into the organization based on their achievement in their foreign language classes.

Inducted on Nov. 14, the 94th anniversary of the organization, were Michelle Fernández, Vanessa Johnson, Lisa Rogers, Adriana Salamanca and Heidy Schields.

The group’s officers presented new members with certificates, membership pins, a red and gold graduation cord, a candle, and a red carnation, the official flower of the organization, according to Sigma Delta Pi adviser Kay Raymond.

Membership in Sigma Delta Pi is limited to students who have demonstrated high scholarship in general and excellence in the academic study of Spanish.

Candidates must have completed 18 semester credit hours of college-level Spanish, have a minimal grade point average of 3.0 in all Spanish courses taken, rank in the upper 35 percent of his/her class, and have completed at least three semesters college work.

"This is an organization that recognizes outstanding student academic performance in classes centering on the language, literature and culture of the Hispanic world,” Raymond said. “A student must have performed very well to be invited to join."

In addition, the honor society elected its new officers for the year. They include Nohemi Silva, president; Nancy Elizabeth Garcia, vice president; Laura Lievano, secretary; and Vanessa Johnson, event coordinator.


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Staff Council Spotlights Visitor Center Technician

Beverly Wiggins, an administrative technician in the Visitor Center, was selected as the “Staff Council Spotlight” for November.

Beverly WigginsWiggins joined the Sam Houston State University staff almost 15 years ago, working in Telephone Services. She recently moved to her position in the Visitor Center from Computer Services, and where she was a senior administrative technician for IT infrastructure and support.

In her position in the Visitor Center, she works with the department’s 20 student ambassadors, which she said she already loves.

“They are all so motivated and knowledgeable about the university,” she said. “I love my job here.”

Her hobbies include traveling (her husband says she keeps her roller skates on always ready to go), collecting hand-carved Santas, scrapbooking, quilting, and cooking.

Over the summer, she traveled to Scotland and England with 26 of her friends from Huntsville.

In addition, Wiggins has 15 grandchildren, who keep her very busy. All are very involved in sports so she loves going to all of their games.

She said she feels very blessed that all live within an hour’s drive.

In the past Wiggins has been involved with 4-H (teaching cooking classes), Girl Scouts, coaching softball, was on the board of directors for the Palpitations Jump Rope Team, and was on the board for the City of Huntsville Sister City Project with Japanese exchange students.

Wiggins said she is motivated by her faith and family.

“I feel am very blessed with my supportive husband and six wonderful children,” she said.


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Today@Sam Seeks Spring Calendar Info

The university Communications Office is now collecting information on campus events for its spring calendar pages.

Departmental calendars or events can be sent to today@sam.edu or jenniferg@shsu.edu or faxed to 294.1834. Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

Information collected for the Today@Sam calendar pages, at http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/calendars/, is used by various media outlets, as well as the Communications Office for news stories and releases.

All information, including story ideas and update items for Today@Sam, should be sent a minimum of a week in advance of the event in order to make necessary contacts and write a story.

To see a full list of the Today@Sam submission guidelines, or to access submission forms for news or feature stories, calendar submissions, or hometown releases, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html.

For more information, call 936.294.1836.


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Submit Update Items Here

In order to assist members of the Sam Houston State University community in publicizing events, the SHSU Communications Office (Today@Sam) is now requesting that students, faculty and staff submit information about events, accomplishments or ideas for feature stories online.

Submission criteria and guidelines, including deadlines, have now been placed online, at http://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html. This information is also accessible through the “Submissions” link in the right-hand navigation on Today@Sam.

From there, those submitting ideas can access forms that will allow them to provide detailed information about their idea, as well as attach event calendars, vitas/resumes or photos, depending on the type of submission.

Ideas submitted to the SHSU Communications Office are directly utilized in several ways: as news stories, “slider” or SHSU home page stories, hometown releases, and on the Today@Sam calendar.

If your submission qualifies for distribution, we will either contact you for more detailed information, or we will edit the information using SHSU/journalistic style and forward the final release to the appropriate media.

All information is verified before release, so please provide complete, accurate and timely information. Please type all responses in appropriate upper and lower cases.

For more information, contact the Communications Office at 936.294.1836 or today@sam.edu.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Nov. 25, 2013
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu






This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office
Associate Director: Julia May
Manager: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu.

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