It has been an exciting first month as Sam Houston State University’s 13th president. While I expected this to be a wonderful new experience, the numerous supportive comments from many of you have been overwhelming. Alumni involvement is critical for the future of any university, and I so appreciate your encouragement.
We have many wonderful things taking place at Sam Houston State University this fall. We have our largest freshman class ever, and our total student population is over 17,000. With 11 master’s programs now available online, our distance learning enrollment increased significantly from fall 2009 to fall 2010.
We are also excited about the opening of the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center, which was dedicated at the end of September. The Center has planned many thrilling dance, musical and theatre presentations for the fall and spring semesters, including performances by the Houston Symphony Orchestra on October 29 and by the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater of Houston on October 29-30. I hope all of you will have an opportunity to come to Sam Houston to attend one of the events in this phenomenal new facility
You will see other changes on campus as a new dining facility and residence hall are scheduled to open in fall 2011. In addition, groundbreaking will take place for the new Woodlands academic building and 750-space parking garage at the end of the fall semester. This new campus will enhance Sam Houston’s ability to serve a more varied student population, while maintaining the charming character of the main campus for which Sam Houston State University is known.
I especially want to extend to you an invitation to return to Sam Houston for Homecoming activities the week of October 11-16. This annual event is a wonderful celebration for both current and former students, and it’s one of the best ways our alumni can come back to see our beautiful campus and reconnect with faculty and classmates.
We also have the Battle of the Piney Woods at Reliant Stadium on October 23. I hope all you Bearkats come out and show your team spirit. I would love to see Reliant Stadium filled with orange.
Over the next year, I hope I have the opportunity to meet many of you. I encourage you to come visit your alma mater often, and keep your close ties to this grand old university.
Dr. Dana Gibson