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SHSU Update For Week Of Nov. 26


Ceremony To Light Mall Area

Faculty, staff and students will celebrate the spirit of the holiday season during the 86th annual Tree of Light on Thursday (Nov. 30).

The tree-lighting ceremony will be held from 6-7 p.m. in the Academic Building I Mall Area.

University president James F. Gaertner will speak at the event, the Orange Pride dance team and university choir will perform and hot chocolate, hot wassail, gingerbread and cookies will be served.

In addition, the Department of Student Activities will collect canned goods at the event for a drive to benefit the Good Shepherd Mission.

All students, organizations, faculty and staff are invited to participate.

"The Tree of Light is the university's oldest and most cherished tradition,” said Student Activities program coordinator Angie Burns. “This tree-lighting ceremony is also a time of giving and reminds students and the university community what the holiday season is all about."

In addition, the office will encourage students and organizations to bring one ornament to decorate the tree both before and during the ceremony, Burns said.

This year, Student Activities will also be featuring an exhibit in the LSC Art Gallery that highlights the history of the Tree of Light ceremony. The gallery will be open for viewing Monday (Nov. 27) through Friday (Dec. 1).

For more information, call Student Activities at 936.294.3861.


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Theater, Dance To Present ‘The Nutcracker’

The SHSU department of theatre and dance, with the help of area youth, will present the classic holiday ballet “The Nutcracker” Wednesday (Nov. 29) through Sunday (Dec. 3).

Show times are 7:30 p.m. each day, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday and Sunday, at the University Theater Center’s Mainstage Theatre.

“The Nutcracker” tells the story of a young girl, Marie; her God Papa Drosselmeier; and her adventures in the Land of the Sweets with the Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Choreography is by dance professor Dana E. Nicolay and designers include theatre professor Kristina Hanssen, costumes; Jerry Hooker and theatre assistant professor Gregg Buck, set; visiting assistant professor Eric Marsh, lighting.

The cast includes nearly 80 SHSU students and youth ages 6-14 from the Huntsville and area communities.
Tickets are $12 general admission and $10 for senior citizens and those with an SHSU ID.

Tickets go on sale Nov. 15 and can be reserved through the University Theatre Centre Ticket Office at 936.294.1339.


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Western Michigan Prof To Give Economics Seminar

C. James Hueng, associate professor of economics at Western Michigan University, will present his paper "Why did the sign of price-output correlation change? Evidence from a structural VAR with GARCH errors" on Thursday (Nov. 30).

The lecture, part of the economics and international business department’s Fall 2006 Seminar Series, will be held at 2 p.m. in Smith-Hutson Building Room 139.

Hueng has been a faculty member at Western Michigan University since 2003. He previously taught at the University of Alabama from 1997 to 2003.

His areas of expertise include open economy money demand and monetary policy; economic growth and the business cycle; asset pricing and stock market fluctuations; and applied time series econometrics.

Hueng received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the National Taiwan University and his Master of Science and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The event is open for all SHSU students, faculty and staff.

His paper can be downloaded at

For more information, call 936.294.1265 or e-mail Hiranya Nath, assistant professor of economics, at


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Exhibit To Pay Homage To Tree Ceremony

A photo exhibit detailing the 86-year history of the Tree of Light ceremony will be on display in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery through Dec. 1.

The Tree of Light ceremony will be showcased through mounted printable copies of pictures from old Acaldes, as well as current pictures, to present a “Then and Now” timeline of the event, according to Student Activities program coordinator Angie Burns, who has been working with university archivist Barbara Kievit-Mason on the project.

The main goal of the exhibit is to educate the community on the evolution of the Tree of Light and show how it has changed and progressed through the years,” Burns said.

Some of the pictures that will be included date back to 1921, just a year after the first ceremony.
A cookie and punch reception will be held the day of this year’s ceremony, on Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, contact Gayle Bullard, LSC reservations coordinator, at 936.294.1760 or or Burns at


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Physics To Give Final Glimpse Of ‘Autumn Sky’

The physics department will give students, faculty and staff a final opportunity to witness "The Autumn Sky" on Friday (Dec. 1).

The final installation of the series, which shows attendees the constellations, stars and planets they can see during the season, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Planetarium, located in Farrington Building Room F102.

The featured movie for the program will be “Orion."

The program, which was piloted this semester, aims at increasing public awareness and interest in the field of astronomy, according to Michael Prokosch, staff aid for the physics department and SHSU alumnus who also teaches elementary school at Lansberry Elementary in Trinity.

The show, which will last approximately one hour, will include a tour of the night sky, including any unusual events in the near future such as the Nov. 8 Mercury Transit, and one of the department’s prearranged movies specifically formatted for viewing on a dome-shaped screen.

The Planetarium, which seats up to 29 visitors, includes a dome that is approximately 18 feet in diameter and more than 20 feet high in the center, Prokosch said.

“Essentially a time machine, the planetarium's projector can show how the night sky appears to an observer at any point in time from any place on the earth, from 100,000 years in the past, to 100,000 years into the future,” he said.

Though the three presentations will essentially be the same, the December show may include winter constellations, Prokosch said.

Admission is free, and if seating is full, a secondary show may be given if time permits.

For more information on current show times for the Planetarium or the Observatory, call 936.294.3664.


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Huntsville’s Promise Director To Speak At Meeting

Scott Atnip, the executive director of Huntsville's Promise, will discuss what the organization has to offer to the families residing in the Huntsville community, as well as volunteer opportunities for the non-traditional students at SHSU, during the Non-Traditional Student Organization meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 5).

The meeting, which will include Atnip’s 45-minute PowerPoint presentation, will held from 1:45-3 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 319.

Atnip will also discuss what fun activities the Huntsville community has to offer for families during the Holiday Season, according to NTSO business manager Andrea Woodlief.

Huntsville's Promise was created to help strengthen the commitment to the families and youth of the Huntsville community and Walker County.

The organization was created as a result of a resolution passed on Oct. 3 by the Huntsville City Council, which states that “the City of Huntsville is a community of strong families and will endeavor to strengthening the commitment to the family and the youth in our community by identifying needs and priorities of families and youth, promoting developmental assets within our community, promoting effective collaboration between governmental agencies, and assisting and supporting community organizations dedicated to improving and advancing the needs of family and youth.”

Anyone interested in joining the NTSO can do so by visiting the group’s Web site at

For more information on Huntsville Promise, call Scott Atnip at 936.291.5950 or visit, and for more information about the NTSO, contact Woodlief at


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Biology Students, Faculty Stand Out At Meeting

Three SHSU biology students and a faculty member made a “superb showing” during the 2006 Texas branch meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, according to biological science department chair Matthew Rowe.

Students Robert Faris, James Spurlin and Rachelle Alderson were three of eight students awarded for their poster presentations at the meeting.

“There were 46 poster presentations at the meeting, most from post-docs or PhD students representing major research universities in the state,” Rowe said.

Alderson was awarded as the best poster, the top prize, in the undergraduate division, and Faris and Spurlin received honorable mentions in the graduate and undergraduate divisions, respectively.

Biological sciences professor Harold Foerster was also honored with the "Distinguished Lifetime Service Award" for “his significant contributions to microbiology” during the conference, Rowe said.

In addition, several biology students made “lasting impressions on several big guns in the field of microbio” during the event and have been invited to join graduate programs in Austin and Houston, including undergraduate Ryan Williamson, who was invited to apply to apply to the University of Texas at Austin's graduate program, and Alderson and Spurlin, who were invited to apply to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s “prestigious program,” according to Rowe.

Next year, for the first time ever, SHSU will serve as the host for the 2007 annual meeting of the Texas branch of ASM.

“This means work for us, but it brings honor and prestige to the department, to the college, and to the university,” Rowe said.


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Lesesne Shares Book Smarts As Speaker

Teri Lesesne, professor of library science, has taken her expertise in the fields of young adult literature, adolescent literacy and audio books across the country, recently discussing those topics at two events.

Lesesne presented on a panel session on “ways to motivate teachers and librarians to work together with kids,” closing the achievement gap and the use of audio books in the classroom, the latter of which is her newest research interest, during the National Council of Teachers of English annual conference, she said.

The annual meeting of English teachers, from the kindergarten through university levels, was held Nov. 16-21 in Nashville, Tenn.

Now celebrating its 100th anniversary, the conference was anticipated to have over 5,000 teachers at the event.

“I’ve spoken at the event every year for the last 20 years, probably,” she said. “I’ve been a (NCTE) member for about 25 years; I’ve served elected office, I’m on committees, you name it, I do it.”

Lesesne also addressed adolescent literacy as a keynote speaker for the annual Literary Extravaganza held at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Rockland County, N.Y., in October.

“Instead of being as concerned about illiteracy among kids especially, we’re not as concerned as we are about the statistics that have to do with kids who know how to read but choose not to participate,” she said. “Those are the kids that I target, the reluctant learners, and so I talk about how to engage them in books and reading.”

Lesesne also spoke at the first Literary Extravaganza, a conference for area teachers, students and community leaders. The event is now in its 10th year.


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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
Nov. 26, 2006
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Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
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