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SHSU Update For Week Of Aug. 27


Alumni Director Retires

Karen Gray, director of Alumni Relations, has announced that she will retire at the end of August to spend more time attending to personal family matters.

"I have enjoyed the pleasure and benefits of serving as alumni director for Sam Houston State University," Gray said. "However, personal responsibilities have created more demands on my non-professional hours.

"I will miss the challenges and adventure my role offered, as well as the many people with whom I worked," she said. "I will always be a Bearkat and will continue to be a part of this wonderful Alumni Association."

Charlie Vienne, who has served as assistant director for membership and marketing, will serve as interim director.

Frank Holmes, vice president for university advancement, said that a screening committee will be appointed and a search conducted immediately to fill the position.

"Karen has been an excellent colleague and will be greatly missed," Holmes said.

"She has worked very effectively with the Alumni Association board of directors," he said. "Activities and participation have increased tremendously. Membership is at a record level."

Gray, a former public school teacher and administrator, has served as director of alumni relations since April 2005.


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Program To Make Money A Laughing Matter

Award-winning speaker and author James Cunningham will teach the essential skills in earning, spending and saving money properly with his financial seminar “Funny Money-Budgeting, Saving and Investing” on Tuesday (Aug. 29).

The program, sponsored by the Office of Student Activities, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

Known for its ability to “radically change the lives of fiscally-challenged students everywhere,” the program uses razor-sharp wit, comedy, and a multimedia presentation to teach the essential skills in earning, spending and saving money properly.

“James Cunningham's ‘Fun’-ancial seminar ‘Funny Money’ is extremely informative about real money issues,” said Leah Mulligan, director of Student Activities. “This program will help our students learn the importance of saving money and financial responsibility.

“I have personally seen this program, and it is wonderful,” she said.

Cunningham, a graduate of the University of Toronto, has been performing at campuses across Canada and the United States for the past eight years.

The two-time “Lecture of the Year” recipient, from the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities, has been featured on “Open Mike” with Mike Bullard, “Comics” and “Madly Off In All Directions.”

In addition, Cunningham wrote and performed his own hour-long comedy special entitled "James and the Giant Speech” for the Comedy Network and has been showcased at the prestigious Montreal “Just For Laughs” International Comedy Festival.

For more information, call the Office of Student Activities at 936.294.3861.


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Hunt To Familiarize Participants With Campus

The Vice President For Student Services office is giving students, faculty and staff the opportunity to explore the campus for hidden treasure with a pirate-themed scavenger hunt on Wednesday (Aug. 30), from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The hunt will begin in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area, where participants will receive an easy-to-navigate map that will take them across campus to various departments.

Giveaways will be distributed throughout the hunt, and grand prizes will be given after the contest.

In addition, a pirate costume contest will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the LSC Mall Area, and prizes will also be awarded for the top three costumes.

For more information, call the Office of the VPSS 936.294.1784.


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CMIT Speaker To Engage Leadership

Clint Swindall, the president and chief executive officer of Verbalocity, will discuss the importance of all three aspects of an engaged leadership and stress the overall importance of having what he calls a “character core” during a free leadership training workshop on Tuesday (Aug. 29).

“Engaged Leadership,” sponsored by the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theatre.

Registration will be held at 7:45 a.m.

“In this training program, Clint will share a considerable amount of useful information, and deliver his message in an entertaining and inspirational style,” said Amanda Bilnoski, coordinator for the Texas Probation Training Academy and Community Corrections Division.

Swindall began his career at SBC Communications, Inc., now AT&T, upon his graduation from Texas State University—San Marcos.

As a participant in the company’s Leadership Development Program, he quickly gained hands-on experience in sales, marketing, customer service, finance and technology.

Although successful in the corporate environment, Swindall chose to use the skills he developed in this advanced leadership program, as well as the experiences gained as the vice president of communications for TSC Communications, Inc., to change lives and help organizations enhance their personal and professional leadership skills.

In 2005, he received the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional designation, which is held by less than 10 percent of speakers worldwide who belong to the National Speakers Association and the International Federation for Professional Speakers.

Although this training is free, registration is required due to limited space. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available.
CMIT is located in the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center.

For more information, contact Bilnoski at or 936.294.1227.


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Alumni Association Prepares For Tailgating Season

With football season kicking off soon, the SHSU Alumni Association is preparing for its first tailgate party on Sept. 9, when the Bearkats take on Arkansas Monticello.

The Alumni Association provides food and beverages at no cost for alumni, students, and other fans during each home ballgame, which builds relationships and develops spirit, according to Charlie Vienne, assistant director for Alumni Relations.

“With tailgating activities planned for eight of the eleven SHSU football games this fall, the Alumni Association is reaching out to alumni, students and friends of the university to bring everyone together for one common cause, their love of SHSU and support of the Bearkats,” Vienne said. “We want to provide a family atmosphere with high energy and excitement for individuals of all ages.”

The association will also take its tailgating atmosphere on the road for games at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the University of Texas in Austin, and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

A charter bus is being made available for the away games at SMU and SFA departing from the Bowers Stadium parking lot, and a minimal charge will apply for the road tailgates, Vienne said.

Tailgating activities will begin approximately two hours prior to kick-off for each contest and conclude just prior to kick-off.
For home games, the Alumni Association tents will be set-up in Bearkat Alley, directly behind the new scoreboard on the north end of the stadium.

Tailgate parties are open to all SHSU alumni and friends, as well as students.

For more information on the Alumni Association tailgating activities or a schedule of dates, call Alumni Relations at 936.294.1841 or visit


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Exhibit Celebrates The ‘National Game’

Baseball Exhibit pic of Wilson
A picture of President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first ball on opening day in 1916 is one of many on display at the Walker Education Center's Exhibit Gallery.

“Baseball: Our Game,” an exhibit of photographs and other memorabilia from the Library of Congress, is currently on display in the Katy & E. Don Walker, Sr. Education Center's Exhibit Gallery.

Photos of such events as President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first ball on opening day in 1916; the grand match for the championship at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, N.J., dated 1866; and the Negro League champion Homestead Grays, which were located in the mill town of Homestead.

The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 10.

For more information, call the Sam Houston Memorial Museum at 936.294.1832.


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Library To Host Open House

The Newton Gresham Library will update students, faculty and staff on services and resources that will be offered throughout the year with an open house on Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 29-30).

Both open houses will be held from 2-4:30 p.m. in NGL Room 155.

The event will be come-and-go, and refreshments will be served.

For more information, call the NGL at 936.294.1614.


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Send Update Items Here

Please send information for the SHSU Update to the Office of Public Relations at SHSU. For electronic access to SHSU news see the public relations Web page Today@Sam.


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SHSU Media Contacts: Frank Krystyniak, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Aug. 27, 2006
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834