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SHSU Update for Week of December 5

Gallego is Commencement Speaker

Pete Gallego, a fifth term state legislator known as an expert in law enforcement, criminal justice and victims' rights, will be the speaker for Sam Houston State University's fall commencement exercises Saturday (Dec. 11) in Johnson Coliseum.

Some 952 students, a record number for the fall exercises, have applied for degrees to be awarded in two ceremonies--at 10 a.m. for the Colleges of Criminal Justice and Education and Applied Science and 2 p.m. for the Colleges of Business Administration and Arts and Sciences.

Gallego represents District 74 in the Texas House of Representatives, which includes Brewster, Culbertson, Hudspeth, Kinney, Jeff Davis, Maverick, Pecos, Presidio, Terrell and Val Verde counties. The district covers 34,000 square miles and contains nearly two-thirds of the Texas/Mexico border.

Gallego is the first Hispanic to represent this district and the first freshman member and first ethnic minority member ever elected chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He also chairs the General Investigating Committee and is a member of the committees on Appropriations and Elections.

He has served on the joint House/Senate Conference Committee on Appropriations for the 73rd-76th legislative sessions. He was a member of the Texas Commission of Judicial Efficiency and sits on the Texas Judicial Council and the Texas Sunset Advisory commission.

An Alpine native, he graduated from Sul Ross State University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in political science. In 1985 he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas. He has received numerous awards, and was selected as one of "Texas Monthly's" Ten Best legislators for the 76th Legislative session.

Representative Gallego lives in Alpine and heads the southwest Texas law office of Davis & Wilkerson, P. C. His law practice is concentrated in the areas of medical malpractice and insurance defense.

Mason to Host Quilting Book Party

Melvin Mason, a retired Sam Houston State University English professor once known on campus for his practice of allowing students to use a "cheat sheet" during exams, may become better known as a vocalist.

Mason has completed a book entitled "Martha Mitchell of Possum Walk Road: Texas Quiltmaker," about the late Martha Mitchell, an artist and quilter who worked for the university's alumni association.

An autograph party and slide show scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 7) in the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Walker Education Center will also feature music by Jan Cole, and Mason performing the vocal portion of "The Martha Mitchell Blues," a piece written especially for the occasion by Cole.

"The book is my gift to Sam Houston State University," said Mason, "and if any profit can be made, portions will go to the Martha Mitchell Scholarship Fund and Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Everyone is invited."

Eight of Mitchell's quilts will be displayed, as well as the oil painting used as the cover for the book, which was published by the university's Texas Review Press. Also on the program is a slide show from 1982, featuring Mitchell's recorded narration and Cole's music.

Mason, who retired in 1991, was known among English students for allowing them to use a single page of notes on material he had covered for their tests. He explained that the "cheat sheets" increased their ability to organize and understand the work he had covered and led to more insightful answers to his essay questions.

Funding for Solar Wind Research

A Sam Houston State University faculty member and researcher has received a grant which he hopes will help answer an age-old question: "What is the sun really like?"

Russell L. Palma, professor of physics, has been awarded $30,800 from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to support his research on "The Isotopic Composition of Argon in the Solar Wind."

"Modern theories of the solar system's origin and evolution depend critically on accurately knowing the composition of the nebular starting material," said Palma, who is on leave from SHSU for the fall semester. "This may be accomplished by determining the sun's composition, since it contains about 99.9 per cent of the mass of the solar system."

Palma explained that the sun continually emits a wind of ionized atoms and electrons, and these particles embed themselves in the surfaces of meteorites and the moon. Since changes in the sun's composition during the history of the solar system are largely confined to its core, this solar wind is representative of the sun's original composition.

Palma's research involves analyzing individual metal grains from lunar soil and builds upon previous work with other lunar materials. It is made possible by new instruments which allow counting of individual gas ions released during heating experiments from single soil grains.

Palma is teaching and doing research this semester at the University of Minnesota, where such instruments are available.

20th TubaChristmas

A TubaChristmas participant. (Not Henry Howey).
A Sam Houston State University music professor is preparing for his 20th year of participation in a nationwide seasonal celebration by tuba and euphonium musicians known as Merry TubaChristmas, scheduled for noon Dec. 18 in Houston.

Henry Howey has helped organize and has performed in the event that has become a part of the annual Christmas activity in Houston. It has grown from 100 tuba and euphonium players who met in the Galleria in 1979 to more than 300 expected for this year's program at Williams Tower Park at 2800 Post Oak Boulevard, level 2 auditorium.

This year's TubaChristmas is expected to last 50 minutes, during which nearly 30 tuba carols will be played. All ages are invited to register at 9 a.m., with a rehearsal at 10 a.m. The is no admission fee for spectators.

Free parking is offered in the Williams Tower Garage for participants, who are asked to pay a $5 registration fee to the Harvey Phillips Foundation, which coordinates the event nationwide. The registration fee also covers the cost of a commemorative pin.

Also on sale will be copies of "Carols for a Merry TubaChristmas (Volume 10)," for $10, as well as TubaChristmas scarves, caps, recordings and cards.

For more information, contact Howey at 409-294-1364 or 409-291-0626.

Children's and Family Rights Specialist to Speak

A noted psychologist whose interest in children's and family rights has won him numerous awards will present a lecture in the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Gary B. Melton, director of the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life and professor at Clemson University, will discuss "Bowling (and Caring for Children) Alone: Implications for Legal Policy." The public is invited.

The author of more than 250 publications, Melton has published or is currently developing books on diverse topics of child and family policy and psychology. He has received numerous awards for service and contributions to psychology in the public interest, including the Donna Stone Award from the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and the Nicholas Hobbs Award from the American Psychological Association Division of Child, Youth, and Family Services. He also received the Researcher of the Year Award from the South Carolina Chapter of the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia.

Melton has been a lecturer, researcher, or consultant in 20 countries and territories abroad, and much of his work in recent years has focused on the application of international human rights law to child and family policy. He is currently a research fellow in the Centre for Behavioural Science at the University of the Free State in South Africa, and he has consulted with the Israeli Ministry of Justice on revision of its code to comport with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

He has chaired the American Psychological Association Committee for the Protection of Human Participants in Research and has served on that association's Task Force on Psychology and AIDS.

While visiting Sam Houston State University, Melton will begin work on a third collaborative effort with Phillip Lyons, assistant professor of criminal justice at SHSU, on planning children's mental health services.

Melton and Lyons have collaborated on several research projects and publications regarding ethical and legal issues. A number of doctoral students in the university's forensic psychology program will be providing technical assistance on the book as well.

Alpha Chi Inducts 35

Thirty-five Sam Houston State University juniors and seniors have been accepted for membership in the Alpha Chi national college honor society for the 1999 fall semester.

The new members are Misty Bogan, Natalie Burns, Blaine Burrell, Amy Busby, Jennifer Dockins, Melinda Doskocil, Gloria Eshelbrenner, Tamara Fikac, Nathan Flach, Trista Furman, Joel Galloway, Michelle Glazier, Darrell Hamlett, Donna Harvison, Kammi Hirschfield and Katy Hunt.

Also, Julie Jackson, Shelley James, Stacey Klorres, Keith Kubiak, Marie Maeker, Anna Marshall, Malissa Martin, Clara Medina, Luke Moore, Nathan Pair, Janice Parks, Constance Plant, Cap Roder, Lisa Schmitt, Kim Smith, Rhonda Southard, Stephanie Walters, Mary White and Janice Wood.

Founded in 1922, Alpha Chi is opposed to bigotry, narrowness, and distinctions between people on any basis, and seeks to promote the genuine personal worth of each individual. The motto of the society is "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32.

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SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
December 5, 1999
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