Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A Note from the President

Fall is a special time on our beautiful campus, and each new academic year brings a renewed sense of energy and excitement that is undeniable. We are especially delighted to have another record enrollment, together with the opening of the Sam Houston Village residential apartments to welcome our largest and most academically qualified freshmen class.

James F. Gaertner, President

125th Anniversary Events Planned for October

125th Committee

125th WebsiteThe 125th Anniversary Planning Committee has organized a very special campus-wide event to celebrate the official opening of our institution in October of 1879 with 110 students, four faculty and the first principal, Bernard Mallon. The week of October 11th has been designated as our homecoming week this year and all of the homecoming events will have a "Birthday Bash" flair.

Tuesday, October 12th I have authorized the early dismissal of second period classes at 10:30 a.m. and the entire 3rd period class, which begins at 11:00 a.m., in order for the campus community, faculty, staff and students to participate in special activities to commemorate our opening in 1879.

The entire campus community will be invited to a brief ceremony at Austin Hall. After the ceremony, faculty, staff and students will be invited to join in a march through campus to Intramural Field #2 for a panoramic photo of all faculty, staff and students and 125th Anniversary Birthday Cake.

Panoramic photos have been a tradition for Sam Houston State University. The last official panoramic photo was taken on our 100th Anniversary. Read more about this special campus tradition.

Sam Houston State University:
An Institutional Memory 1879 - 2004

Thanks to the leadership of the 125th Anniversary Planning Committee, the 248 page coffee-table styled history book: Sam Houston State University: An Institutional Memory 1879 - 2004 is on the press. We owe a debt of sincere gratitude to our colleagues, author Ty Cashion and art director, Tom Seifert. Completed in what must be a record nine months and published by our own Texas Review Press, under the direction of Paul Ruffin, this special historical memento should be delivered to campus by the end of September.

Texas State University System Chancellor Search

You need to be aware that the Texas State University System Chancellor, Lamar Urbanovsky, recently decided to relinquish his duties as Chancellor. He will become the Vice Chancellor for System Construction and Executive Director of the TSUS Foundation once a new chancellor is named.

President Denise Trauth from Texas State University - San Marcos and I represent the institutions on the search committee established to identify a new chancellor. The committee is led by Mr. Alan Dreeben, Chairman of the Board of Regents, with Regents, Don Flores and Kent Adams also serving. The committee has selected the executive search firm of Korn Ferry to assist us in identifying and attracting a new system chief executive officer. We are attempting to complete the process during this calendar year.

Campus Administrative Reorganization Implemented

Early in 2004 we announced a number of strategic administrative changes to cater more effectively to student needs and help the university to work toward its mission to keep academics first. The majority of those changes have been implemented this fall semester.

Most impact will be made through the reorganization of the colleges and the creation of the fifth College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the addition of a Vice President for Enrollment Management. These, together with other changes, provide a more homogeneous academic and administrative structure, eliminate or reduce duplicate or conflicting reporting lines and increase efficiency.

New organizational chart

Heather Thielemann began her duties as Vice President for Enrollment Management September 7, 2004. The President's Office will host a university-wide reception October 5th from 3-4:40 p.m. in Austin Hall. Please join us in personally welcoming our new Vice President to campus.

More about our new Vice President for Enrollment Management

University Substance Abuse Focus Group

Early in the summer semester I called a task force of representatives from all over our campus to participate in an open discussion on alcohol and other substance abuses as they relate to our students. Of the 31 representatives invited, all 31 attended, which attests to the high level of campus-wide commitment we have to the issue. We brainstormed in an open forum to discuss our roles as leaders at this institution and our obligation to provide the safest environment possible for our students.

As a result, several members of that group initiated a valuable survey on student alcohol and substance abuse. It is designed to help steer our ultimate plan to more proactively address a problem not unique to the Sam Houston State University campus. This is an issue that every university in America faces today. For more information you can visit the following websites on nationwide trends.

Alcohol and Other Drugs on Campus: The Scope of the Problem
The Wasted Years
AASCU: Task Force on Student Life and Alcohol Abuse

Our Capital Campaign

Preparations for the university's first capital campaign began this past spring. Cargill Associates, a Fort Worth-based consulting firm, conducted a comprehensive assessment of the university's development office and internal preparedness, and they tested potential campaign priorities and giving levels with important alumni, friends, faculty, and staff.

Cargill's report was presented at the end of August. It contained aggregate survey data revealing opinions about the university and its strategic plans, including a valuable external perspective about the most important fund-raising priorities. The report recommended a very ambitious goal.

Cargill anticipates that the university will need approximately twelve months to visit with its most important supporters to provide them with information about the campaign's priorities and to secure major gift commitments that would be essential to publicly launch a campaign in the fall of 2005.

In addition to addressing significant priorities, the successful completion of the capital campaign will produce positive fallout in terms of a more engaged and informed constituency that possesses a stronger sense of ownership in the continuous expansion and refinement of Sam Houston State University's programs.

SHSU Historical Documentary

Another very special project, which we hope will bring attention to Sam Houston State University as we continue the celebration of the 125th Anniversary, is the release of an upcoming documentary. We have partnered with the Texas Foundation for the Arts and Houston-based Sunset Productions to produce the program, which will be part of their ongoing "Texas: Our Land Our People" documentary series.

Set to air first on Houston Public Television KHOU in early November, the documentary will focus on the evolution of the Texas college experience using the history of our school as the backdrop.

According to the producers, they are following how college life has changed over the years, what it was like in the 1800's, the early '20s, the '60s and '70s," - a transformation of college life and how colleges change with the times.

They are working to produce a story that a lot of Texans might not know. While it isn't being made as a direct promotion for SHSU, the producers, sponsors and 125th Anniversary Planning Committee are hoping that the documentary will be beneficial to helping the university grow.

Execution of a Master Plan

| Project Schedule PDF |

Recent building, renovation and major campus projects have certainly energized the Sam Houston State University campus. Public perception is that we are on the move. We believe this heightened activity is first beneficial for our campus community, but can only have a positive influence over increased economic development in our community. There is already visible evidence that this is the case.

With the exception of some adjustment to meet the resident student market demands for housing, Sam Houston State University is moving forward to execute the institutions master plan Y2K+10 prepared in July, 2001 by architect, Ralph Spencer, Sr. This plan is a working document that is revised annually to provide necessary flexibility as we move forward. The Planned Projects portion of the schedule is related to our pursuit of Tuition Revenue Bonds to construct Academic Building V and a Performing Arts Center. The Planned Projects portion of the schedule is related to our pursuit of Tuition Revenue Bonds to construct Academic Building V and a Performing Arts Center.

Another trend lends a certain sense of urgency to our mission. All Texas higher education projections point to a significant future increase in our college age population in the coming years. With the larger state institutions reaching or exceeding their physical capacities, it is incumbent upon institutions like us to quickly maximize our own physical and service capacities to meet those certain higher education demands of the future.

Our two residential projects, the apartment-style Bearkat Village I & II and Sam Houston Village - at a combined price of $33.8 million - represent the first new campus housing construction since 1962. Add the costs of renovations to existing residence facilities recently completed or underway, and the amount climbs to $49 million. These projects are funded by the revenues they generate and the Higher Education Assistance Fund (HEAF).

A $36 million investment in academic space includes two new structures, renovations and additions to science, business, and education buildings. These projects are funded by HEAF, Tuition Revenue Bonds and General Use Fee Bonds.

Revenue fund balances and bonds, other local funds, general use fee and designated tuition bonds have been used for our parking garage, expansion of the Health and Kinesiology Center, a Visitor and Alumni Center, the new baseball-softball complex, and the first dining facility on the south side of campus This $21 million caps the execution of the master plan-for now.

Current Projects

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