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President Marks
Announces Planned Retirement

After serving as a faculty member, dean, vice president and president at Sam Houston State University for four decades, Bobby K. Marks announced Tuesday that he plans to retire at the end of the academic year now beginning.

Marks told faculty members and university employees attending the traditional year-opening "state of the campus" speech that a mild heart attack he suffered in December was not the reason for his decision to step down on August 31, 2001.

"I am feeling fine, and all my tests indicate that I am now doing well physically," said Marks. "My health has nothing to do with my decision to retire at the end of the next fiscal year. I am simply ready to do other things."

Marks, Sam Houston State's 11th president, said he informed the university's board of regents last May of his plans to complete 41 years at Sam Houston State, including six as president.

Marks said he was proud of the efforts of university faculty and staff in the areas of student retention, technology, development and international activities.

"Through you, and because of you," Marks said, "Sam Houston State University is truly a fine university, and we are making outstanding progress in every one of our four strategic initiatives."

In addition, he said, a program of major construction and renovation is nearing completion, and the university has begun a campus master plan update that will consider land usage and facilities needs through the year 2010.

"Construction projects are also coming together nicely," said Marks. "We have had more construction in progress during the last five years than we had for the prior decade, and two major projects are still ongoing." He identified these as the Lowman Student Center renovation and the General Classroom and Office Building.

"All together, we have been dealing with more than $52.5 million in construction in the past five years," he said. "That's a lot of construction, and much of it is now coming to closure. White Hall, the Administration Building, and the new Blackwood LEMIT Building are substantially completed."

Marks was upbeat about his last year at the university which was Sam Houston State Teachers College when he began work there in 1960 as an instructor of management.

"We have a very busy year ahead of us," he said, "with much to be accomplished, including a legislative session and still a lot of construction. As a university community, let's work hard, and let's also have fun while we are doing it."

Also during Marks' tenure as president, which began on an interim basis on Oct. 16, 1995, the university has added six undergraduate degree programs, two masters degree programs, and two doctorates.

The two doctorates are considered the most significant accomplishment, academically, for SHSU since approval of its first doctorate, in Criminal Justice, in 1970. The two additional doctorates automatically place SHSU in the Carnegie Classification as a Doctoral Institution as soon as it graduates the first student from the Ph.D. in Forensic Clinical Psychology, which is expected in May 2002.

Three additional undergraduate degree programs and two additional master's degree programs will be presented to the board of regents this month and additional degree programs are expected during the coming academic year.

Before his service as interim president, Marks served 11 years as a vice president in the areas of academic affairs and student services, and prior to that, 15 years as an academic dean.

His service to Sam Houston State was interrupted twice--in 1963-'64 when he was an instructor of business administration at the University of Arkansas and in 1972 when he was a professor in that university's European Masters Program in Turkey and England.

Marks has served on numerous Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board advisory committees and served as a consultant to individual and private industry groups. He is currently on executive boards of the Texas Council of Public University Chancellors and Presidents, the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities and in July was named chairman of the board of directors of the Texas International Education Consortium.

Regional service has included the Association of Chief Academic Officers of the Southern States, with service since 1991 on the executive council, as vice president in 1994, and as president in 1995.

He has also been active in community service, holding key positions in the Huntsville/Walker County Chamber of Commerce including serving as president and chairman of the board in 1990.

Among the many other community groups with which he has worked are the Economic Development Corporation, Huntsville Leadership Institute, Walker County United Fund, City of Huntsville Planning Commission, and Walker County Industrial Development Corporation.

He has also had a number of publications and textbook reviews on such subjects as university structure and teacher education organization, enrollment management, cost containment, and management principles.

Born in Louisiana and raised in Beaumont, Texas, Marks earned his bachelor's degree at Lamar University, his master's at the University of North Texas, and his doctorate at the University of Arkansas. He is married to Colleen Marks, a former elementary school teacher, who was honored by the SHSU Alumni Association in 1999 for her education, community, and university service.

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SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
August 22, 2000
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