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SHSU Update For Week Of Dec. 2


Syracuse Prof To Lecture On Middle East’s ‘Turn’

David Tal, the Schusterman visiting professor of international relations at Syracuse University, will discuss how “it is a crucial moment in the history of the Middle East” on Wednesday (Dec. 5).

The 4th Annual Joan Coffey Symposium lecture, "Israel in the Middle East – an Historian Point of View," will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Academic Building IV’s Olson Auditorium.

Tal will address Israel's place in the Middle East, “the world’s most volatile area;” Israel's notion of peace, and past issues in Arab-Israeli relations, as well as present issues and future concerns, according to David Mayes, SHSU assistant professor of history.

“Those things have taken a turn for the very interesting over the past couple weeks because the two sides- the Palestinians and the Israelis - have outspokenly agreed to map out a Palestinian state,” Mayes said. “If things go forward as planned, a Palestinian state will be in place in about two years.”

These meetings, including significant leaders from other Arab countries throughout the Middle East are unusual because they are countries that don’t normally talk to the Israelis, Mayes said.

“Everyone was united, saying peace, two states, and Palestinian and Israeli states living side by side,” he said.

The Joan Coffey Symposium was established in honor of Coffey, a faculty member of the history department for about 12 years until her death in 2003 after a long battle with cancer.

The first three symposiums covered the topics of the death penalty, Islam in southeast Asia, and the Houston Riot of 1917.

“Ideally, the symposium is designed to draw attention to issues and subjects pertaining not only to the U.S. but also to the wider world so that SHSU students and faculty and the broader Huntsville community are attuned to them and informed about them,” Mayes said.

For more information, call the history department at 936.294.1475.


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Department To Celebrate Holidays Internationally

The foreign languages department will wish faculty, staff and students a “Feliz Navidad,” “Frohe Weihnachten” and “Joyeux Noël” during its multicultural holiday celebration on Monday (Dec. 3).

Cookies and punch will be served during the event, which will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Evans Building.

In addition, faculty, staff and students will lead anyone who wants to participate in multilingual seasonal carols.

“We will have written versions of the lyrics in the various languages (French, German and Spanish) and will choose well-known tunes,” said Debra Andrist, foreign languages chair.

For more information, call the foreign languages department at 936.294.1441.


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Banquet Ticket Deadline Is Monday

The deadline for buying tickets for the first Hall of Honor banquet honoring both men and women former athletes at Sam Houston State University is 5 p.m. Monday (Dec. 3).

The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom.

Tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple, and may be purchased from Jan McPike by calling 936.294.4205 or e-mailing

The athletes being honored and their sports include David Amaya, basketball; Jeff Bellnap, golf; Megan Burnham, tennis; Chris Burton, baseball; Wendy Gray, golf; Scott Horstman, basketball; Cathy Nelson, track; Julie Thomas, basketball/softball; and Julie Franzen, volleyball.

Administrator and coach Rebecca Bilsing, who died in 1986, will also be honored.


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Baseball Camps To Swing Students Into Season

SHSU head baseball coach Mark Johnson will lead off the baseball season with two baseball camps for players of all ages on Jan. 12-13.

The “Collegiate Showcase and Instructional Camp,” for players in ninth through 12th grades will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with check-in from 8-8:45 a.m., on Jan. 12 at Don Sanders Stadium.

Participants will receive hands-on instruction and teaching from SHSU’s coaches and will be evaluated on batting, running and defensive skills through ‘pro’-style defensive tests. Pitchers will also be evaluated by mechanics and radar gun times, and a special segment will be devoted to the recruiting process.

The cost is $90 per camper, which includes lunch.

The first “Parent-Son Baseball Instructional Camp,” for players in kindergarten through eighth grade, will be held from 1-4 p.m., with a noon to 12:45 p.m. check-in, on Jan. 13, also at Don Sanders Stadium.

The clinic will allow parents to act as their child’s partner and coach, covering the fundamentals of hitting, throwing, fielding and base-running.

“This is a great way for parents to play an active role in the development of their child,” Johnson said.
The cost is $75, which includes one adult and one child, and $30 for each additional child.

All campers must have a signed parental consent, doctor’s permission and physician’s statement form along with the application, available online at

A former player for the New York Mets, Johnson became SHSU’s sixth baseball head coach in July 2006.

In his first season at SHSU, the Bearkats had one of the three best turn-around seasons in NCAA Division I baseball in 2007, rolling up a 40-24 record, the most wins by the Bearkats since 1987.

For more information, contact assistant coach Philip Miller at 936.294.4435 or


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‘MoonDreams,’ ‘Autumn Sky’ To Take Final Tour Dec. 7

The physics department will give its final public tour of “what’s currently up in the autumn night sky” and information on the Geminid Meteor Shower on Friday (Dec. 7).

The planetarium series program, which shows attendees which constellations, stars and planets they can expect to see in the upcoming weeks, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Planetarium, located in Farrington Building Room F102.

Physics department staff aide Michael Prokosch will discuss the annual Geminid Meteor Shower, which can best be viewed at 10 p.m. on Dec. 13, and why it is unique compared to other meteor showers, he said.

The program will also include "MoonDreams," the story of Perseus and Andromeda that “talks about our moon and where it comes from, as well as introduces other moons in the solar system,” and a discussion about this year’s Dec. 24 Mars Opposition and the "Mars Hoax," an e-mail that circulates every August making exaggerated claims about the planet's visibility from Earth, Prokosch said.

The show will last approximately one hour.

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

Admission is free.

For more information on current show times for the Planetarium or the Observatory, call 936.294.3664 or e-mail Prokosch at


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Theatre To 'Experiment' With Original Scripts

The department of theatre and dance and Alpha Psi Omega will get ‘experimental’ on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 7-8).

“Experimental Theatre,” at 8 p.m. each night in the University Theatre Center’s Showcase Theatre, will include original works and “decidedly unique performances,” according to Alpha Psi Omega president Scott McCarrey.

The pieces, written by students, faculty and staff, are rehearsed by the playwrights in collaboration with student directors, actors and designers.

This year’s showcase features short plays by students Glen Philip, Erik Holm and McCarrey, as well as by theatre professor Ron Song Destro.

Admission is free, though donations will be accepted. All proceeds will benefit theatre scholarships.

“Experimental Theatre” contains adult content and language; therefore, children under the age of three will not be admitted.

For more information, contact McCarrey at 210.269.0075 or


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Music Concerts Bow Out Semester

The School of Music will pay homage to the holiday and winter spirits with two concerts beginning Monday (Dec. 3).

The SHSU Choirs and Festival Orchestra will present Handel’s “Messiah” on that day, at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Huntsville.

“Messiah,” which features the “Hallelujah” chorus, is probably the most popular oratorio of all time, according to director of choral activities Allen Hightower.

Frequently performed at both Easter and Christmas, the oratorio, a large-scale work for chorus, orchestra and soloists, is frequently based upon biblical characters and stories.

“It is a bit like a sacred opera, but without people moving around the stage,” Hightower said. “It is more of a ‘concert piece’ than drama, but it does tell a story.”

The SHSU Symphonic Choir is comprised of 120 SHSU choir members, including “both music majors and students from across campus who enjoy singing great classical music.”

Tickets are $10 for adults and non-SHSU students, $5 for SHSU students and senior citizens and free for children under the age of 6.

On Tuesday (Dec. 4), the Sam Houston Society of Composers will premiere eight new works by student composition majors for "Winterreise—A Winter's Journey through the World of New Music in America."

The concert, featuring both undergraduates and graduate students, as well as two faculty members, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

Composition students also will perform three of the most famous experimental compositions of American 20th century by Steve Reich and John Cage, and faculty composers Trent Hanna and Kyle Kindred will play their original works.

The concert is free and open to the public.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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Dance Students To Give End-Of-Year Performances

Dance students will demonstrate what they’ve learned throughout this semester with three concerts beginning Monday (Dec. 3).

The non-major workshops, for any student enrolled in dance classes, will be held at 7 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday in the Academic Building 3 Dance Theater.

The shows will consist of beginning ballet, beginning modern, Latin dance, swing dance, tap dance and other genres, which are performed as the students’ final examinations.

On Wednesday, program majors will perform a variety of dances, including contemporary modern, ballet and jazz, as well as other student submissions.

The concert will also be held at 7 p.m. in the Academic Building 3 Dance Theater.

All three workshops are free and open to the public. Seating is limited in the theater, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early.

For more information, call the dance program at 936.294.1875.


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SAM Center Reaches Out To Hispanic Students

HHS proteges

Huntsville students learned about pre-admission tests, preparing for the SAT and ACT tests and CLEP tests from Testing Center coordinator Terri Harvey as part of the SAM Center's mentoring program.

Huntsville High School students have spent the semester getting acquainted with the college life thanks to a mentoring program coordinated through SHSU’s Student Advising and Mentoring Center.

The eight-week program allowed HHS Hispanic students to learn from one of 10 SHSU mentors about the application process and the benefits of higher education, as well as career assessments, financial aid and pre-admissions tests.

In addition, HHS students were allowed to “scope out the campus, talk about self esteem and work on a project the student will need to present on the last class day of the program,” said Margaret Ferguson, SAM Center staff associate and mentoring program coordinator.

“The program initially reached out to particular groups that were the most at risk but the program is open to all students wanting to find out more about higher education and what is involved in moving forward after high school,” Ferguson said.

This is the third year of the “El Siguiente Paso” (“The Next Step”) program, sponsored in the fall for ESP1 students and in the spring for ESP1 and 2 students.

SHSU mentors are “university students in good academic standing and have a strong desire to serve as mentors to students needing help with finding out more about higher education,” Ferguson said.

This semester’s mentors include Travis Baker, Nicole Gonzalez, Ryan Pope, Mark Guevarra, Megan Konarik, Mauricio Lopez, Maritza Martinez, Paz Medina, Edgard Sanchez, Erica Thomas.


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Send Update Items Here

Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Public Relations electronically at or to any of the media contacts listed below.

Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information for news stories should be sent to the office at least a week in advance to give the PR staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

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. 30, 2007
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