2004 Service Award Recipients
up, Henry dreamed of playing football
for the Sam Houston Bearkats. After
a successful football career at Robert
E. Lee High School in Baytown, he
was offered a few junior college
football scholarships, but he wanted
to be a Bearkat.
"With no offer from Sam, no transportation
and very little money, Henry hitchhiked
to Huntsville, 'walked on' the football
team, earned a scholarship, and the
rest is history," said one nomination
letter for Henry D. Adair, a 1963
graduate of Sam Houston State Teachers
College with a Bachelor of Science
degree in physical education.
After receiving his degree, Adair
began working for Arco Chemical for
13 years and since has served as
vice president of NGL marketing for
United Petroleum Distributors, executive
vice president of Liberty Terminals
and Trading, Inc., president of Adair
Energy, Inc., government and public
relations specialist for PACIFICORP/TCP,
and an independent consultant for
Currently, the Mont Belvieu resident
is affiliated with Falcon Gas Storage.
Within Sam Houston, he has served
as president of the Alumni Association
and the Lettermen's Association and
currently serves on the board of
directors for the Kat Pack, a support
organization for the SHSU football
"You will find him in Huntsville
each year during the Homecoming weekend
attending the Distinguished Alumni
Dinner on Friday, the Lettermen's
Association Hall of Honor Luncheon
and the football game on Saturday,"
the letter continued. "From those
early college days to the present,
Henry has been a true Bearkat."
Outside his university endeavors,
he is a member of the Citizens Advisory
Board to Area Plant Managers in Baytown.
He has been married for one and a
half years to Cynthia Nicolini, and
the couple has four daughters "between
the two of us."
"Henry has the character and demeanor
that has always brought positive
feelings to the university," another
nomination letter said. "He leads
by example and is loved by all those
who know him."
descendant of pioneer Texans of Walker
County, J.J. Head is a 1955 graduate
of Sam Houston State Teachers College
with a Bachelor of Science degree
in physical education. He also received
his Master of Education degree in
The Huntsville-native coached junior
high and high school, as well as
served as principal, within the Huntsville
Independent School District for a
combined 22 years. He is currently
the owner of Didlake Subdivision
Even after retirement, Head devoted
much of his time to youth, working
with the Walker County Fair Association
to organize and promote a youth rodeo
association, establishing a scholarship
for SHSU rodeo participation and
a scholarship for students who will
attend SHSU through his church.
"In every situation, he rendered
exemplary and successful service
working with young people, striving
to assist them in academic, athletic,
vocational and personal activities,
trying always to guide them in self-realization,
self-discipline, and worthwhile endeavors,"
one nomination letter said.
In addition to his work with the
SHSU rodeo team, he is a lifetime
member of the Alumni Association.
"You will find throughout J.J. Head's
adult life, he has served his country,
the youth of his community, his church
and SHSU," another nomination letter
said. "When he was not teaching in
the classroom or coaching on the
playing field, he was still teaching
by example in giving to others and
being a role model for both youth
and adults alike."
Within the community, the U.S. Air
Force veteran has served on numerous
boards, including the Good Shepherd
Mission, United Way Fund, American
Heart Association, HEARTS Veteran
Museum, Veteran Land Board and served
as co-chairman of the development
committee of the Huntsville Education
Foundation Board, among many others.
"J.J. is proud to be a graduate of
Sam Houston State University and
is interested in the success and
image of the university," another
nomination letter said. "He is always
anxious to assist in worthy causes
associated with the university and
community. He truly is a man who
practices service above self."
owner of his own business in Houston,
Ron Mafrige is a 1960 graduate of
Sam Houston State Teachers College
with a Bachelor of Business Administration
After receiving his degree, he served
in the U.S. Army, remaining in the
Army Reserves for 14 years and achieving
the rank of Major before he retired.
In 1968, he formed what would become
Ron Mafrige Enterprises, Inc., which
has leased over one million commercial
square feet of office space in the
City of Houston, as well as helped
pioneer the suburban office development
as the exclusive agent for Strokes
Adair Enterprises in Houston.
At SHSU, he is on the board of directors
for the Alumni Association, the Kat
Pack and the College of Business
Administration; is a Life Endowed
Member of the Alumni Association;
a lifetime member of the T Association
Letterman Club; director of the Kat
Pack Club; and is a 1997 Distinguished
In addition to many financial and
gift donations, Mafrige and his late
wife, Linda, established a $1 million
endowment for the College of Business
Administration in the name of Glenn
Adams, who was president of his company
at the time; and has had the auditorium
in the Smith-Hutson Business Building
named in his and his wife's honor.
"Ron helped create the alumni garden
and the service award," his nomination
form said. "I see the Distinguished
Alumni Award and the Service Award
as two separate awards. Few individuals
deserve both. Ron is one of them."
Outside of his university endeavors,
the Mafriges have established similar
scholarship programs at his high
school, San Marcos Baptist Academy,
and at the Houston Livestock Show
and Rodeo, where seven of his $10,000-scholarship
recipients have opted to attend SHSU.
He is a lifetime member of the Houston
100 Club, the Houston Livestock Show
and Rodeo, the Republican National
Committee and the Houston Realtors-Political
Action Committee, along with having
served on the board of directors
for numerous other foundations and
"Ron makes a difference in this world,"
his form said. "He knows how to accomplish
his goals, and he deeply cares about
his friends, his schools (SHSU and
San Marcos) and his family."
A distinguished professor at Sam
Houston State University, James S.
Olson is a 1967 graduate of Brigham
Young University, with a Bachelor
of Arts degree in history. He received
his Master of Arts and doctorate
degrees, also in history, from State
University of New York, Stony Brook
in 1969 and 1972, respectively.
Olson has taught at SHSU for 32 years,
serving as history department chair
for 16 years and has earned more
than 20 awards throughout his academic
and professional career, including
the SHSU Excellence in Teaching and
Excellence in Faculty Research awards.
He was also a finalist twice for
the Piper Award and a finalist for
the Pulitzer Prize in Biography in
Many of his written works have been
published on topics such as the Vietnam
War, breast cancer, Native Americans
and John Wayne. In addition, Olson
has taught more than 35,000 students
at SHSU alone, contributed more than
$86,000 in donations to the university
and was a two-time president of the
"He is invariably kind and considerate
to all of his students and helpful
to fellow teachers," one nomination
form said. "He is incredibly hard-working
in his research and writing, as well.
He has written over 40 books, articles
and publications and has put Sam
Houston on the map with his national
and international fame."
Earlier this year, the auditorium
of SHSU's newest classroom and office
building, Academic Building 4, was
named in his honor.
Within the community, he is active
within the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints and has worked
with Boy Scouts of America Troop
1046, the Institute of Religion and
the Latter Day Saints Student Association.
"With all the honors he has received,
Dr. Olson has obviously brought great
distinction to SHSU, and by association,
to this community," another nomination
form said. "What is most remarkable
is that he does all of this with
enormous grace, humility and courage
in the face of tremendous health
challenges, and thus serves as an
exemplary role model for his students
and for all of us."
Daniel Pierce, Jr.
The owner of Heartfield Florist
in Huntsville, Danny Pierce is a
longtime friend of the university.
A graduate of Huntsville High School,
where he moved after his junior year
at Conroe High School, he attended
SHSU and purchased Heartfield Florist
A member of the SHSU Alumni Association
and Bearkat Partners, Pierce has
been responsible for the floral arrangements
at the SHSU commencement ceremonies
since purchasing Heartfield Florist.
"The university is so important to
him, and he has, over the years,
provided student jobs and training
in marketing through the Small Business
Development Office," his nomination
Within the Huntsville community,
Pierce has served as Walker County
Judge since January 2003, has been
president of the Walker County Fair
Association, member of the Lions
and Rotary clubs and chairman of
the Mid-South nominating committee.
"Danny's desire to run for county
judge stemmed from his deep-seated
conviction that we all should try
and make a difference in our community,"
his form said.
He is a board member and president
of the Walker County Rural Water
Agency, director of the Texas High
School Rodeo Association, is a member
of F.T.D. and has been listed in
the "Top Ten Florists for the Houston
Metropolitan and Surrounding Areas."
He and his wife, Cindy, have seven
children, two of which are currently
attending SHSU as agricultural business
majors, and six grandchildren.
"Danny is honest, hardworking, sincere
and down-to-earth. He is a caring
and helpful "people person," ready
to serve whenever called on," the
form continued. "He provides his
talent to create the finest flower
arrangements when called on by SHSU."
A professor at Sam Houston State
University since 1979, Patricia A.
Williams received a Bachelor of Arts
in teaching and a Master of Arts
in English from SHSU in 1973 and
1974, respectively. She also earned
her doctorate in education in 1979
from the University of Houston.
Author, co-author or editor of over
80 published written works, Williams
has served her alma-mater through
memberships on numerous university
committees, including the Faculty
Senate for six years, the university
budget committee, academic policy
council and has been chair of both
the Across-the-University Writing
Program committee and distinguished
lecturer series committee, among
"Patricia gives to the university
wherever and whenever she can," her
nomination form said. ""She provides
her service and economic resources
at many levels. She works hard to
serve the students and the university
She is a life member of the Alumni
Association, Alpha Chi National College
Honor Scholarship Society, Phi Delta
Kappa, and has presented at conventions
of the Association of Teacher Educators
for 14 years, as well as being affiliated
with many other professional and
"She assumed the leadership role
in establishing the Writing Center,
first housed at the university library
building. She did extensive research,
traveled to operating writing centers
for ideas and returned to create
a center to assist students with
writing, math, history etc.," a nomination
"Houston Endowment funded a grant
to assist with this project. This
concept grew and today is maintained
by several departments university-wide,"
the letter continued. "She has served
as a consultant nationally for many
universities and organizations, helping
them to develop their own centers."
Williams is also the faculty sponsor
of the SHSU Texas Omicron chapter
of Alpha Chi, for which she has served
on the national board for 12 years
and was national president for four
"In all of her responsibilities,
her creative endeavors bring nation-wide
recognition to Sam Houston State
University and to her professional
contributions here," her nomination
letter also said. "It would be difficult
to estimate the number of students,
faculty and other individuals and/or
organizations that she has influenced
through the services she has rendered
to the university."
Now a retired teacher, Nancy Perkins
Wilson is a 1953 graduate of Sam
Houston State Teachers College with
a degree in elementary education.
A teacher for 30 years in the Alamo
Heights Independent School District
in San Antonio, where she helped
organize several alumni receptions
in and around the city, she and her
husband, Ben, moved to Huntsville
In 2001, when the alumni director
resigned and she was serving as president
of the Alumni Association, she came
to the association's aid for about
six months until a new director was
hired, according to one nomination
"She was at the Alumni Office virtually
every day doing anything and everything
she could to hold us together until
we had a director," the letter said.
"Not many people could or would do
"She has shown throughout her life
the love she has for Sam Houston
State University," the letter continued.
"Many people have this same love,
but Nancy has backed her up with
dedication, loyalty and hard work."
Wilson has also been involved in
many university committees, including
Homecoming, official university ring,
Bobby Marks investiture and university
theatre committees. In 2003, she
was selected as a "Notable" by the
university theatre committee.
"I can't recall when she was
not chairman of a committee," another
nomination letter said. "All these
responsibilities she has accepted
with pleasure and done outstanding
work for the organization."
Within the community, Wilson has
served as president of the Newcomers
Club of Huntsville, helped reorganize
Walker County Crime Stoppers, has
served as a board member of the Huntsville
Library, is in the Outlook Club of
Huntsville and in the Elkins Lake
Community Association, and is active
within the First United Methodist
Church of Huntsville.
"There are not enough words to express
what a wonderful and caring person
Nancy is," the nomination letter
continued. "Nancy Wilson is one of
Sam Houston's best ambassadors and
truly deserving of any and all honors
we can bestow on her."