SHSU logo
media info
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today@Sam |  Headlines |  Calendar |  Experts  |  Notices |  Archives |  Search

Gaertner Becomes 12th President of SHSU

See also, full text of Gaertner investiture speech.

Dr. Gaertner
James F. Gaertner gives his presidential acceptance speech Thursday.

Beneath blue skies, colorful banners, and the attentive eyes of an enthusiastic coliseum crowd, James F. Gaertner was formally installed as the 12th president of Sam Houston State University Thursday.

The investiture, a pure celebration of not only the new president but also of the university as a whole, began with a processional of university faculty members marching to "Pomp and Circumstance," performed by the SHSU Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Symphonic Band. After the SHSU ROTC Color Guard completed the posting of the colors, the entire crowd sang the National Anthem. The official ceremony was underway.

Greetings were abundant, with representatives from the SHSU students, faculty, staff, alumni, the Huntsville community, and the nation, each offering a special welcome and congratulatory message to Gaertner and the crowd.

"We are glad you have returned and are proud of the accomplishments you have made along the way," said Frank Parker, associate vice president for student services and dean of student life. "Dr. Gaertner, welcome home!"

A performance by several Huntsville area choirs set the stage for Gaertner's official installation and acceptance of his new post as president.

After a few brief personal thanks to people in Gaertner's life, he spoke of his "homecoming" to Huntsville and his "fire of enthusiasm" to SHSU.

"We are brought together today, not as much to celebrate any one individual," said Gaertner, "but rather this event gives us all the opportunity to celebrate our wonderful university and to look to the promise of the future and the great potential of Sam Houston State."

Gaertner outlined three areas of focus for his presidency in his acceptance speech:

      1. To make sure academics come first. Gaertner pledged to continue the process of faculty development and of upgrading academic standards.

      2. To increase the university's visibility. Gaertner pledged to improve the SHSU image so that both current and future faculty, students and supporters will more easily identify with Sam Houston State.

      3. To provide added focus to the university and community atmosphere. Gaertner pledged to better the relationship between SHSU and the Huntsville community.

The ceremony was concluded with the same dignity and fanfare in which it began. Gaertner left the coliseum all smiles to the John Phillip Sousa tune "The Stars and Stripes Forever." The coliseum guests followed suit, with a reception following the investiture ceremony at the Health and Kinesiology Center.

The reception concluded what proved to be a beautifully moving ceremony. Guests got to personally greet Gaertner amid a relaxed atmosphere of music, food and fellowship.

Long after the coliseum became empty and the skies darkened, one thing remained--Gaertner was still all smiles, making sure everyone knew that this ceremony was not a celebration of him; rather it was a celebration of all.
Dr. Gaertner
Many guests enjoyed the reception following the investiture in the HKC.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Audrey Wick
February 22, 2002
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Communications Coordinator: Julia May
Located in the SHSU University Advancement Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834
feedback graphic