Today@Sam - SHSU Campus News Online Sam Houston State University Seal
In the News
SHSU Homepage

SHSU Experts
SHSU Stats
Sam the Man
SHSU History
Austin Hall

Heritage Magazine
Huntsville Item
The Houstonian
Gov. Links
Useful Links
Theater & Dance
SHSU Athletics
Rec. Sports
Request Info
General Info
Then & Now
The President
Public Relations
Post Office
Search SHSU

Alumni Recognized For Service

Two former SHSU athletes and a current professor are among those who have displayed outstanding commitment not only to the university but to their respective communities as well and have been selected to receive the 2007 SHSU Alumni Association Service Awards.

Tom Freeman, James Hanscom, Robert Lane, John Magee, Michael Murray and Chris Thompson will be honored at a luncheon on April 27, at 11:30 a.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom, for their fulfillment of the university's motto, "A measure of a Life is its Service."

Tickets for the event are $18 for Alumni Association members and $22 for non-members. Reservations can be made by contacting the Alumni Relations Office by phone at 936.294.1841 or by e-mail at

Tom Freeman

Tom Freeman

Tom Freeman, a 1958 graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, was the owner of Huntsville’s Town and Country Cleaners for more than 20 years.

He is currently the owner of Freeman Investments, LLP, a real estate development company, in Huntsville.

Representing SHSU “exceptionally well in the community,” he has served as chairman for the Walker and surrounding counties’ “Share the Vision” capital campaign, on the President’s Circle Executive Leadership Council, is a Samuel Houston Society member, and a SHSU liaison on the Texas State University System’s Governmental Relations Committee, according to his nomination form.

“Tom Freeman’s consistent support for SHSU has been demonstrated by his financial gifts to the university and his tireless service on behalf of SHSU, especially with the Capital Campaign,” his nomination form said.

His community endeavors include serving as a deacon and active member of First Baptist Church; the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce for many years, for which he was president/chairman of the board for a year; and director of the American Bank for 10 years, as well as director for First National Bank for five years.


James “Jim” Hanscom

Jim Hanscom
“Semi-retired” as chief executive officer and owner of National Market Access, James Hanscom has “an entrepreneurial attitude that has enabled him to build three very successful companies in the industrial safety equipment industry,” according to his nomination form.

Hanscom is a 1962 SHSU graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He also received his Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University in 1978.

A life member of SHSU’s Alumni Association, he served on the board of directors for five years, during which time he was a member of the committee that created the campus’ alumni garden, and was the organization’s president in 2005. Hanscom is also a life member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and is a past alumni president of the local chapter’s house corporation.

His community endeavors include serving on the new clubhouse building committee for Elkins Lake, on the Huntsville Item Advisory Board for the past three years and he is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Huntsville.

In addition, Hanscom is a past member for the long-range planning committee for Elkins Lake, for the Republican Party’s finance committee and is the past Republican Party precinct chairman for Jefferson county, as well a charter member of the Birmingham (Ala.) Sunrise Rotary Club, where he was chairman of the organization’s polio inoculation committee.

His marketing company, National Market Access, which was established in 1992, is now the largest contract sales and marketing company in the safety and health industry in the country. Among his current clients is Justin Boots.

Hanscom was also vice president and division general manager of the Vallen Corporation’s Vallen Safety Division, the largest industrial safety equipment distributor in the country, and was president, CEO and owner of Safety Engineering and Supply Company, a $25 million industrial safety equipment distributor in the Southeast. He sold SE&S to Figgie International in 1991.


Robert “Bobby” Lane

Bobby Lane

A professor and former department chair for SHSU’s agricultural and industrial science department for more than 24 years, Bobby Lane has worked to make a difference not only inside the classroom but outside the classroom as well.

Lane, a 1977 Bearkat graduate with a degree in agricultural education, was “instrumental in expanding the alumni program in agriculture.” During his tenure on the agriculture alumni association’s board of directors the association contributed more than $10,000 to student professional development activities, provided a $500 annual ag alumni leadership award at the agriculture awards banquet and hosted ag alumni annual gatherings in various Texas cities for the past 12 years.

He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in agronomy from Texas A&M University.

In addition, Lane organized and coordinated the first SAM School for Successful Agricultural Management, a two-and-a-half day collaborative educational program for beginners in ranch management involving SHSU and Texas A&M faculty members.

He also coordinates the Area IX and State FFA Forage Evaluation Career Development events on campus each year.

He has previously served as president and board member of the Agriculture Consortium of Texas and the American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources.

“Dr. Lane is recognized as one of the leading agricultural educators in the state and has had an exemplary career as a classroom professor and academic leader at Sam Houston State University,” a nomination letter said. “While he was chair of the department of agricultural sciences at SHSU, the program flourished, research blossomed, and the students won many competitive awards for their knowledge and skills.”

His off-campus accomplishments include leading mission teams for the First United Methodist Church to Mexico, Costa Rica and Alabama; serving as vice president of the Walker County Fair Association, as well as on the Walker County Children’s Protective Services board of directors for two years; and writing a weekly column, “The Scoop on Agriculture,” for three years for the Huntsville Item, among others.


John Magee

John Magee
A retired music teacher for the Brazosport school district, where he taught for 37 years, John Magee brought “pride to that district from all over the state” and influenced “thousands of students who never forgot him,” according to his nomination form.

Magee received his bachelor’s degree from SHSU in vocal music in 1950 and his Master of Music Education degree from the University of Houston in 1954.

As a teacher, he developed a first class choral program at Brazosport; directed award-winning “Sweepstakes” choirs, which are ranked first division in both concert performance and sight-reading; and led Freeport High School to a second place in a statewide recording contest in 1950, which was also recognized at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.

After retiring in 1983, Magee’s influence spread to the community, serving as music director for community musicals, founding and directing the Brazos Area Boy Choir, being honored with two huge reunions of his former choir students, serving as the part-time music minister at three community churches, and having the high school auditorium renamed the John Magee Performance Center in 2001.

Also in 2001, the John Magee Choral Scholarship was established. Eleven seniors at both Brazoswood and Brazosport High Schools have been awarded the $1,000 scholarship, which is funded by former students and friends of Magee.

“Mr. Magee epitomizes the true spirit of public school teaching and has lived a life of dedication and commitment to his students and to his profession of vocal music,” his nomination form said. “His unusual accomplishments started and ended in the classroom and frankly without any great fanfare other than through the eyes and hearts of his students. This, we feel, is what SHSTC intended when it prepared and sent him into the world of teaching.”


Michael Murray

Michael Murray

A former SHSU football and baseball letterman, Murray has used his “fund-raising skills” to benefit both the university’s Athletics Department and Lettermen Association.

The Huntsville native came to SHSU on a football scholarship and earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1970.

Murray has provided years of support for the university and the Athletics Department and is currently the president of the Lettermen Association.

He is initiating a skeet shoot tournament in August, in addition to fundraising for the annual Lettermen Golf Tournament in May, all of which benefits the Lettermen Association.

He is on the board of directors of Kat Pack and a contributor to the Share the Vision Capital Campaign. Murray was also inducted into the Bearkat Hall of Honor in 1993.

“He has shown his support for the continued success of the football auction by donating some of the best selling items, such as hunting trips, fishing trips and Astro baseball tickets,” one nomination letter said.

Outside endeavors include work with the American Cancer Society as a cancer survivor, the Rafiki Foundation, Living Water International, and he is a member of the Houston Northwest Baptist Church.

Murray has been in the insurance business since 1971. He was vice president of Great Southern Life Insurance Company until 1986, when he started his own insurance agency of Murray Insurance and Financial Services, Inc.

He is a life member and annual qualifier of the Million Dollar Round Table, in addition to qualifying for the Court of the Table with that association. He is an annual qualifier for the Grand Council of the Texas Leaders Round Table. Additionally, he qualifies each year for the National Quality Award presented to insurance agents for their production and the retention of business.

“As someone who has known Mike for 47 years and watched him go through high school, college and his business career, I can only say that character, discipline and hard work have indelibly marked him as someone to admire,” another nomination letter said.


Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson
A former “Player of the Year” for SHSU’s tennis team and two-time “Coach of the Year” winner, Chris Thompson serves the university and Huntsville through getting her student-athletes involved in community issues.

Thompson, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education in 1980 and 1982 respectively, has been associated with the university for nearly 30 years.

The tennis coach for 16 years, she currently serves as the associate athletic director, where she is responsible for the athletic academic support program, oversees academic services and NCAA compliance for the athletic department, and administers the Bearkat Learning Enhancement Center, which works with all student-athletes on class schedules, tutors, degree plans, career selection and academic advisement.

Under her guidance, student-athletes have a higher grade point average (2.9) than the regular student body, which was recognized by the Southland Conference Commissioner through awarding the university the Commissioner’s Academic Cup for the past two years.

“The past two years, Sam Houston has led the league in Commissioner’s Honor Roll selections,” her nomination form said. “The hard work of Chris Thompson, along with our student-athletes, has put our university in this preeminent position.”

Stressing importance of community service to her student-athletes, Thompson established the Bearkat Mentor Program in 1982, which requires all freshman student-athletes to mentor to at-risk students in the public schools; has “insisted” that all of “her kids” participate in a local food drive for the Good Shepard Mission since 1997; and in 2006, student-athletes hosted a dog show at the Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter to raise money for a new facility.

“Her dedicated service above self-leadership to the university is reflected by the exemplary drive she provides to the university and community through achievement and professionalism,” another nomination letter said. “Her open approach to assist in many projects provides an atmosphere that enables students and alumni to achieve their highest goals.”




SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
April 9, 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