Robert "Bob" Gammage is a native of Houston, Texas, and a graduate of Houston's Milby High School. He worked his way through college, graduate school and law school, earning degrees from Del Mar College, the University of Corpus Christi (now Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi), Sam Houston State University, the University of Texas School of Law and the University of Virginia School of Law. He did additional graduate work in American Studies at the University of Texas, and completed advanced legal and judicial education programs at the New York University School of Law, the Harvard Law School, Northwestern University School of Law, the National Judicial College, and the U.S. Naval Justice School.
Bob served on active duty with the U.S. Army Infantry Human Research Unit and the Korea Military Advisory Group (KMAG), and is a Captain (Retired) in the U.S. Naval Reserve, where he served in both the Intelligence Service and the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, including service as a military judge and as commander of the Naval Reserve Admiralty Law.
Bob was elected to the United States Congress, as well as to the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate. Judge Gammage was elected to the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Appeals, and served as Assistant Attorney General of Texas. Bob also taught at South Texas College of Law, San Jacinto College and Sam Houston State University.
Dr. John W. Holcombe received a B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1963 and his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate School in 1972. He was a Professor of Political Science at Sam Houston State University and a member of the faculty since 1966. He was awarded the university's 1991 Excellence in Teaching award.
Dr. Holcombe taught classes in American politics, legislative politics, and political participation. His research interests included state legislatures and the U. S. Congress.
He served as faculty adviser to the local chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha national political science honor society and to the campus Episcopal Canterbury Club.
Dr. Holcombe authored numerous publications throughout his career, including "Party Systems in Texas: A Two-Party System and a Modified One-Party Democratic System" in the Texas Journal of Political Studies; and "Texas: Our Taxes" in Ernest Crain, Charles Deaton, and William E. Maxwell, The Challenge of Texas Politics. In addition, Dr. Holcombe participated in numerous panels at political science conventions.
Ronald "Ron" P. Koska: A charter member of the SHSU chapter of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, Koska is a 1961 graduate with a bachelor's degree in sociology. After graduation, he began his career in the food service industry and founded his own Houston-based firm in 1969. His business, Institutional Sales Associates, grew to 120 employees and offices in Houston, Austin, Lubbock, Dallas and Albuquerque and had sales in excess of $500 million.
Koska has shown SHSU, and his community, financial support by sponsoring the Student Technology and Lobby areas in the College of Business Administration, supplying food and labor for Athletic Department fundraisers and serving as a lifetime member of the Alumni Association and on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum's "Friends of the Museum" board.
In addition, he serves as a benefactor for Delta Tau Delta National Fraternity, the Brookwood Community, the University of St. Thomas , Pines Montessori School , the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen , Lutheran High North, Houston Choral Showcase, Special Olympics, Pilgrim Baptist Church , Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, Zion Lutheran Preschool and Zion Lutheran Church in Houston.
Ron was designated as a Sam Houston State University Distinguished Alumnus in 2006 and has served on the President's Circle since 2007. He was a founding member of the CHSS Alumni Advisory Council, has been a member of the COBA Advisory Board since 2000, and is a lifetime member of the Alumni Association.
"His drive, determination and integrity have contributed to his personal and business success," said his nomination form. "Ron has consistently shared his business success with his community and Sam Houston State University in hopes of helping improve the quality of life for those around him.
Koska and his wife, Donna, have two sons.
Dr. James S. Olson received his B.A. from Brigham Young University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Olson came to Sam Houston State University in 1972 as an assistant professor and is today Regents Professor of History. He also served as Chair of the Department of History from 1987-2003, building one of the most respected departments in the university. He is the recipient of the university's Excellence in Teaching Award, Excellence in Research Award and Excellence in Service Award. In 2004, the Council for the Advancement of Education and the Carnegie Endowment for Education named him "Professor of the Year, Texas, for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching."
Jim is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of more than forty books, including The Ethnic Dimension in American History (St. Martin's Press); Saving Capitalism: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the New Deal, 1933-1940 (Princeton University Press); Catholic Immigrants in America (Nelson-Hall); Winning is the Only Thing: Sports in America Since 1945 (The Johns Hopkins University Press); Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945 to 1990 (St. Martin's Press); and John Wayne American (The Free Press), which won the Ray and Pat Brown National Book Award from the Popular Culture Association. His book A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory (The Free Press) won the Diolece Parmelee Award from the Texas Historical Foundation. Finally, his book-Bathsheba's Breast: Women, Cancer, and History (The Johns Hopkins University Press)-was nominated by The Johns Hopkins University Press for the Pulitzer Prize in History, won the 2002 History of Science Category Award from the Association of American Publishers, and was recognized by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best non-fiction books in America for 2002.
Jim teaches courses on the Vietnam War, World War II, America Since 1945, and ethnicity and immigration in U.S. history.
MR. RON GAY, has earned two degrees in political science from Sam Houston State University, first in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree, and then again in 1984 with a master’s degree. Since 2008, Ron has served with distinction on the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Board, and in 2016 he was elected as its chairman where he continues to serve. He was elected to the Alumni Board of Directors in 2019, and he is a life member in the Sam Houston State University Alumni Association.
Gay began his marketing career with Fidelity Union Life Insurance Company in 1978. He then moved to Bryan-College Station to work for the Bryan Broadcasting Company in its marketing department. He eventually moved on to have a successful 22-year career as the regional marketing director for the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan. Today, Gay is a registered representative with Cambridge Investment Research. In January of 2017 he opened his own practice—Ron Gay Financial Services—in College Station, Texas.
He is not only dedicated to serving Sam Houston State University, but he is also active serving his local community. Since 1980 he has been an active member of the College Station Noon Lions Club serving in numerous leadership positions at the local, district, state and international levels. In May 2021, he was inducted into the Texas Lions Hall of Fame in recognition of more than four decades of service to his community, state and nation. He is also an active member in the Knights of Columbus where he also served at the local, state and international levels. Gay is a Knight of the Grand Cross in The Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, a Papal honor bestowed on him by Pope John Paul II. He has held countless leadership positions in other well-respected organizations over the years, including the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce and the College Station City Council.
Ron Gay has dedicated his life to the service of Sam Houston State University, his local community and the state of Texas. He and his wife, Terri, are both passionate world travelers. They currently reside in College Station, Texas and have three children and five grandchildren.
MRS. VANESSA F. HICKS-CALLAWAY, pursued her bachelor's degree from SHSU in political science with a minor in Military science while serving in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military police officer. During this time, she also worked as a correctional officer in a maximum-security prison that housed death row inmates. Her service in the U.S. Army as a supply sergeant and intelligence officer included two separate deployments to combat zones ultimately earning her the Bronze Star Medal. She then continued her education by earning her master’s in human resources management from Central Michigan University. In 2011, she released a Christian self-help book called “Decision Precision Vision”, showcasing her devotion to Jesus Christ.
After retiring from the military following 26 years of dedicated service, she instructed junior ROTC students as a Senior Army Instructor and never lost her commitment to service. She has volunteered for multiple non-profit organizations, including the Old Landmark Committee, Disabled American Veterans/Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Warriors Weekend, Court Appointed Special Advocate, Victoria Bach Festival, Victoria Police Foundation, Community and Schools, The Gabriel Project, and the Victoria Business Education Coalition as a student mentor. She has also served as president in the Kiwanis Club.
Mrs. Hicks-Callaway worked as a congressional staffer in 2016 for the Texas 27th Congressional District, U.S. House Representatives for nearly 3 years. She helped lead the fight to re-elect Texas Senator Ted Cruz as his field director for the South-Central Region in the 2018 midterm election. She previously served Texas governor Greg Abbott as his appointee for the council for Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Prevention. This position is especially meaningful to her as a survivor of open-heart surgery. She remains active in politics and served as a secretary, outreach coordinator and Precinct 21 chair for the Victoria GOP. She is a county and state delegate for the Republican party of Texas and is a member of the Victoria County Republican Women's Organization and the Texas Federation of Republican Women. In line with her passion and commitment to helping others, she is a Veterans Service Officer for the Texas Veterans Commission and works as a motivational speaker and plans to write another Christian self-help book.
She has been married to fellow U.S. Army Veteran Jason Ohm Callaway for 27 years and they have been blessed with two sons, Eric and Edward Callaway. Eric, who was a SHSU full scholarship track athlete, not only earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from SHSU in 2021, he also earned a Master of Science degree in Computing and Data Science from SHSU in 2023. Edward is currently a senior at Victoria East High School and plans to pursue a career in the arts.
DR. TERRY M. THIBODEAUX, received his first two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Education and a Master of Education, from McNeese State University in 1978 and 1980, respectively. He then went on to receive a doctorate in communication from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1986. Since 1987, he has dedicated more than 35 years of service to the Sam Houston State University community. He has been a professor, dean, department chairman and more in his years at the university, giving back to the students, faculty and staff around him.
From 2013-2020 he served as a university marshal, a presenter and mentor for incoming freshman events for seven years, as well as judged for the Miss Sam Houston Pageant for four years. In his time as dean of College of Humanities and Social Sciences, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate dean of CHSS he was dedicated to student success. He was an avid supporter of the SAM center and was an advisor in the center for years. Even after retirement he continued to support student success through advising.
As a professor, Thibodeaux excelled in making the class come alive. He offers trips to cultural festivals from surrounding states and areas. He invites guest speakers and lecturers, even musicians on a few occasions, to come speak to his classes. Students to this day keep in touch with him because of his willingness to commit to the classroom and the students. All this is seen on his high scoring teacher evaluations, his development of community engagement courses and his willingness to serve as the Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honor society, advisor. For his commitment to students in and outside the classroom he has won the 2001 Texas Communication Association’s Educator of the Year Award. Recently, he was nominated for a Keys of Excellence Award by the SHSU Orange Keys.
He also served as a member of the editorial board for the undergraduate journal, The Measure. For the last several years he has served on the advisory board for the Texas Review. In 2019, he served on the search committee for a new managing editor for the Texas Review Press. He has served as a paper reviewer, panel moderator and committee member as an active member of the Southern States Communications Association (SSCA). In 2004 he was elected president of the SSCA. Over the years he has published several peer review articles, authored one book chapter, co-authored a book and wrote a textbook.
He has always strived to engage, promote and cultivate a diverse academic community sitting as department chair. He also helped pursue an environment for new faculty to feel welcome and have somewhere to go to feel supported and ensure we are keeping a strong focus on the students.
Past Wall of Honor Recipients: