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SHSU Update For Week Of Sept. 10


Assistant Dean Of Students To Retire

Mary Ellen Sims

After 31 years in education, 29 of which were at Sam Houston State University, assistant dean of students Mary Ellen Sims will retire from SHSU on Friday (Sept. 15) to pursue another career opportunity.

She will begin her position as membership and events coordinator for the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 18.

“One of the things that is important me is the relationship between the city and the university, and I really feel like I’ll be in a position to continue to strengthen those ties,” she said of her position with the chamber. “That’s important to me.”

Sims came to SHSU in 1977 as a secretary for the Lowman Student Center, where she worked for a year before transferring to the University Housing department, now Residence Life. There, she served as coordinator for the northern area of campus and student, program and staff development.

In 2001, she accepted her current position in the Dean of Students’ Office.

A Beaumont native, Sims received her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Lamar University and finished her master’s degree in counseling and guidance from SHSU while working for the university.
A retirement reception in Sims’ honor will be held on Sept. 15, from 2-4 p.m. at Austin Hall.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Sims said. “I’m very grateful for all of the people I’ve worked with, the opportunities I’ve had, and most of all, I have enjoyed working with the students.

“Working with students has been so fulfilling for me; I think I learned more from them than they learned from me,” she said. “I’m going to miss that very much.”


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Professor To Address Economics For Seminar

Professor Nathan S. Balke will present his paper, “Sectoral Effects of Monetary Shocks,” during the SHSU Economics Seminar Series on Thursday (Sept. 14).

Balke, professor of economics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas since 1986, serves as a research associate at Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

He received his doctorate in economics from Northwestern University, and his major research areas include macroeconomics and time series analysis.

Balke has published extensively in major economics journals such as International Economic Review, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Journal of Political Economy and Review of Economics and Statistics.

The seminar will be held at 2:30 p.m. in Smith-Hutson Business Building Room 139.

Balke's paper is available through the economics department Web site at


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Theatre Group To Perform, Discuss ‘Black Women’

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum and the Huntsville chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., will celebrate the lives of many prominent black women in history and discuss the Voting Rights Act during a free workshop and program on Saturday (Sept. 16).

The Talking Back Theatre Living Theatre group will have several readings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Katy and E. Don Walker, Sr., Education Center for the “Black Women of Texas” forum that day, according to Naomi Carrier, director of outreach education for the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and director of projects for Talking Back Living History Theatre.

“We will also highlight some of the events in the lives of Corretta Scott King and Rosa Parks because they were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, as was Mary McLeod Bethune, the organizer of the national council (NCNW),” Carrier said.

The group will also have an exhibit on display that will focus on civil rights and the importance of the Voting Rights Act.

“It should be pretty interesting because they debate whether the Voting Rights Act was really necessary,” Carrier said. “And one of the women we will spotlight is Barbara Jordan because of her connection to Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was the Texas president that signed the Voting Rights Act, which was just recently renewed by another Texas president, George Bush.”

The group will also talk about the importance of the local chapter of NCNW in the community, which sponsors outreach programs such as mentoring, tutoring and creates education initiatives; spotlight ways to keep the local chapter alive; and discuss the possibility of creating a chapter of the organization on the Sam Houston State University campus.

The workshop is open to the public.

For more information, call the Sam Houston Memorial Museum at 936.294.1832 or visit the Talking Back Living History Theatre Web site at

For more information on the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., visit its Web site at


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Higher Education Commissioner To Speak

Raymund A. Paredes, commissioner of higher education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will field questions from SHSU students on Wednesday (Sept. 13) at 5 p.m.

The Grassroots lecture will be held in the Academic Building IV Olson Auditorium.

“Grassroots seeks to bring notable minority leaders from all over the state to discuss leadership in a diverse community,” said Bernice Strauss, director of academic support programs for the Student Advising and Mentoring Center. “Dr. Paredes has achieved a great deal in his career, and we believe that he is an excellent role model for our students.”

A reception where students will have the opportunity to chat with Paredes will immediately follow the speech in the SAM Center, in Academic Building IV Suite 210.

Born and raised in El Paso, Paredes received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and after serving for two years in the U.S. Army, he resumed his education at UT, receiving a doctorate in American civilizations.

Among his previous positions are serving as vice president for programs at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, where he was responsible for scholarship and outreach programs, and director of creativity and culture for The Rockefeller Foundation, where he managed a budget of over $20 million and awarded over 200 grants annually in the arts and humanities to individuals and organizations around the world.

He also served as associate vice chancellor for academic development for 10 years at the University of California Los Angeles, where he was a professor of English.

Paredes’ areas of research and writing have been Mexican American literature and culture and the impact of demographic changes on American culture, art and education. He has presented over 150 lectures at universities, scholarly conferences and meetings of professional organizations around the country.

The event is sponsored by the academic support programs of the SAM Center, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, the Elliott T. Bowers Honors Program, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program and the International Hispanic Association.

For more information, call the SAM Center at 936.294.4444.


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Library ‘Muses’ Sam Houston In Podcast

Did you know that Sam Houston Normal Institute, SHSU’s earliest name, was the second institution of higher learning established by the state of Texas, following Texas A&M and its Prairie View A&M branch?

However, Texas A&M was not the first university to grant diplomas to its students, according to Paul Culp, special collections librarian.

“SHNI had the first class ever to graduate from a state institution, as Janie Park literally skipped across the stage to lead off the graduates in Huntsville earlier the same day that A&M was to present its first degrees, June 16, 1880,” he said.

These types of facts are what students, faculty, staff and visitors will find on the first of the Newton Gresham Library’s new online podcast series “Musings from Sam Houston’s Stomping Grounds,” found online at

“Did You Know,” the first of the series, will share little known facts about the university for two weeks before the cast is changed to provide information on a different topic.

“You don't have to have mp3 or Ipod software to listen, just click on the blue link ‘Did You Know’ to hear Paul Culp inform the SHSU community and those on the World Wide Web about SHSU's bragging rights,” said Ann Holder, NGL director of library services.

In addition, the page also links to the library’s digital collection of photographs, SHSU history and LEMIT papers, and the “Current Research@SHSU” link provides access to SHSU dissertation to authorized SHSU students, faculty and staff.


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PC Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

The Program Council will say “Viva Hispanic America” with a number of events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month beginning on Wednesday (Sept. 13).

At noon on that day, the PC will host a kick-off rally in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area.

“We will celebrate, salute, and honor the contributions and the struggle of Hispanic Americans past and present, throughout the years with the student body,” said PC Hispanic heritage chair Ebony J. Debrow. “Tres leches and agua fresco (cake and a fruit drink) will be handed out to students along with entertainment and other surprises.”

Among the events slated for Hispanic Heritage Month, held from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, will be “PC Celebrating Our People: Mexican American Struggle,” which will be held on Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. in the LSC Theatre.

Co-sponsored by SHSU’s sociology department, the lecture will feature Jose Guiterrez, one of the founders of several Hispanic civil rights organizations, and a video presentation on the Hispanic-Americans’ fight for independence.

For more information on these or other events associated with the month, call the Program Council at 936.294.1763.


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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
Sept. 10, 2006
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Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
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Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834