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SHSU President To Serve As Commencement Speaker

July 27, 2010
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

SHSU President Jim Gaertner

Jim Gaertner, Sam Houston State University’s 12th president, will be the commencement speaker for graduation ceremonies on Saturday, Aug. 7.

Gaertner, who has served as the university’s president since 2001, is retiring on Aug. 31.

Some 974 students have applied for degrees to be conferred in two ceremonies, including 725 bachelor’s, 238 master’s and 11 doctoral.

The 10 a.m. ceremony is for the colleges of Arts and Sciences; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Criminal Justice. The 2 p.m. ceremony is for the colleges of Business Administration and Education.

Under Gaertner’s leadership at Sam Houston State, enrollment grew by 30 percent and the number of faculty increased by 41 percent. In addition, the university added 16 new academic programs.

The university also achieved a Carnegie Doctoral Research classification, placing SHSU in the top 7 percent of all institutions in the United States.


Nearly $280 million in construction projects were completed, including such notable campus landmarks as a bell tower and outdoor plaza, as well as a parking garage, new residence halls, new academic buildings and additions, facilities for athletics, a visitor’s center, dining facilities, and a performing arts center which is scheduled to open in August.


He also initiated the university’s first capital campaign in which more than $59 million in commitments were raised, passing the $50 million goal set at the beginning of the campaign.


Other occurrences under his direction include: the establishment of the Official Ring Ceremony, the President’s Speaker’s Series, and the nationally recognized Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative for students; a reorganization of existing university structure and the implementation of new programs and projects; and the establishment of over 40 articulation agreements with community colleges in Texas, making SHSU a leader in such agreements in the state.


Before coming to SHSU as president in 2001, Gaertner served in various capacities at the University of Texas at San Antonio including dean of the College of Business and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. His career includes seven years at the University of Notre Dame where, among other positions, he served as director of their London Master of Business Administration program.


He is a member of the board of directors for Tandy Brands Accessories, Inc., and served as board chairman for 11 years.


Gaertner earned his Bachelor of Business Administration (1965) and Master of Business Administration (1970) degrees from Sam Houston State and his doctorate (1977) from Texas A & M University.

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