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Inaugural Events Planned For 13th President Installation

Feb. 18, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt


Dr. Gibson and studentsSam Houston State University will add some new twists to old traditions when it officially installs its 13th president on March 8.

The investiture of Dana Gibson will begin at 3 p.m. in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum, followed by a reception from 4-6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom. Classes will be dismissed between 2-6 p.m. that day so students can attend the ceremony.

Both activities are free and open to the public.

”The investiture is an opportunity to celebrate the selection of Dr. Gibson as our new president,” said Richard Eglsaer, associate provost and co-chair of the university’s investiture committee. "It also provides an opportunity for us to showcase the university community and campus."

The ceremony will possess the traditional “pomp and circumstance” of past presidential inaugurations and include a message of “Dreaming and Succeeding.”

The investiture will include a fanfare and processional, during which delegates representing universities across the country will march into the coliseum wearing full academic regalia in the order of their university’s establishment; SHSU’s president emeriti; Texas State University System regents; and other distinguished guests.

The processional and recessional will feature the SHSU Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble, and the Symphonic Band; and the SHSU Army ROTC Bearkat Battalion will present the colors.

After an invocation by Provost David Payne, Gibson will receive congratulatory greetings from Student Government Association president Ryan Bridges, Staff Council president Kristie Kelarek, Faculty Senate chair Mark Frank, and Alumni Association president Alan Tinsely. Other special guests include regents and alumni Charlie Amato and Trisha Pollard.

Following her official installation, Gibson will receive a newly redesigned Presidential Medallion, which will be worn at all formal celebrations during her tenure, and President Emeritus Jim Gaertner will say a few words about his successor.

The reception will feature the Soul Lifter’s Gospel Choir, the Huntsville Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens performing a Ballet Folklórico and the SHSU spirit programs.

Events in celebration of the new president will go beyond the traditional ceremony and reception to engage students and incorporate social media, both of which are among Gibson’s priorities as president, according to Collum.

Through the theme of “Dreaming and Succeeding,” Gibson hopes students will feel invested in the process and tie it into their own goals, Collum said.

A number of student-centered activities will be offered leading up to the ceremony to encourage student participation. These include the first President’s Investiture 5k and Fun Run, on March 5 beginning at 7:30 a.m., and an “Investiture Edition” of the Student Government Association’s service project “All Paws In: Painting the Town Orange,” on March 5, with sign-ins beginning at 8:30 a.m. in Bearkat Plaza.

Gibson will also participate in both, according to Brandon Cooper, assistant director for Student Activities.

“All Paws In is an SGA-sponsored activity for which the group pin-points areas in Huntsville that are in need of revamping, usually residential areas,” he said. “Sometimes people need help building handicap ramps or elderly citizens need help cleaning up their yards. Dr. Gibson will help kick it off, and then she will go to one of the sites and help out.”

Bearkats can have refreshments while getting to know SHSU’s first female president during the meet-and-greet Investiture Student Reception, from 10 a.m. to noon on March 7 in the LSC Lobby.

“The student reception will have a lighter atmosphere than the other investiture events,” said Brandon Cooper. ”There will even be a cardboard cutout of President Gibson for people to take pictures with. It will be a nice opportunity to relax and be with the students, which is something Dr. Gibson loves to do.”

An exhibit in the LSC Art Gallery will showcase the university’s past presidents during this time so students can learn more about those who have come before her.

“Student involvement helps build spirit and traditions, and that’s something we’re always striving for at the university, and we’ve come a long way in that area, I think,” Cooper said. “But the investiture really is such a monumental occasion for the university.

“We’re ushering in a new leader, a new era for the university,” he said. “We had Dr. Gaertner for nine years, and this is a big transition for the university. The investiture kind of kicks that transition off.

“There are a lot of points throughout the investiture that show what Sam Houston is and what we do and what traditions we have, so as students go to all of these programs and events, they get to learn a little bit about their university too, perhaps things they didn’t know before.”

Students who attend the investiture are encouraged to wear their organizational attire, while international students are encouraged to dress in outfits that represent their cultural heritage.

Part of ushering in the new also combines student involvement and Gibson’s initiative to incorporate social media into her presidency. Gibson maintains both Facebook and Twitter pages.

Students will be encouraged to tweet about investiture activities using the hashtag #SHinvest. Those tweets will be projected onto a plasma screen live.

A media wall during the March 8 reception will allow students to have their pictures taken with the newly initiated president, and SHSU will celebrate the launch of its new mobile app with a smartboard where participants can explore the program.

Finally, those who cannot attend personally will have the opportunity to watch live on the Internet and discuss the event in real time through the Investiture page on the SHSU website.

A Texas native, Gibson was named the university’s president in July, following unanimous approval by The Texas State University System Board of Regents.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business-accounting and her Master of Business Administration at Texas Woman’s University. She received her doctorate in business at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Her career in higher education began in 1986 at Texas Woman’s University, and she has since served as a financial vice president for the University of Colorado at Denver, Southern Methodist University and as president of National University. She joined SHSU in 2009 as vice president for finance and operations.

 

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