Wall of Honor 2017

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Wall of Honor was established by the CHSS Alumni Advisory Board to acknowledge faculty and alums who have distinguished themselves throughout their careers through personal and professional achievements and who have made significant contributions to SHSU, the students, society, and thus have brought honor and distinction to our university.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the 2017 Wall of Honor Recipients:

Distinguished Faculty
Distinguished Faculty

The official ceremony for the Wall of Honor was held on Friday, February 24, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. in the CHSS building on the Sam Houston State University campus. A dinner honoring the recipients followed the ceremony.

Rupert KoeningerRUPERT C. KOENINGER, known for his contributions to the fights for academic freedom and civil rights in Texas, Rupert C. Koeninger began his career at Sam Houston State Teachers College, SHSTC in 1947.

As professor and chair in the Department of Sociology, Koeninger developed a reputation for his hands-on applied sociology, teaching students about issues of equality while also having a major impact on educational and criminal justice issues in Texas. Under his leadership, the sociology department expanded from one to five faculty members, earning a national reputation for excellence, on the bachelor's as well as on the master's levels.

Between 1948 and 1954, he concurrently held a position as the first Director of the Bureau of Classification at the Texas Prison System. He collaborated over a number of years on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, testing prisoners as well as students. He taught advanced sociology courses within the prison, and trained SH students in sociological research methods. A number of his articles spearheaded prison reform programs and led to great improvements within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Koeninger's work also had an impact on the nation. His essays, "Capital Punishment in Texas, 1924-68" and "Rape, Race, and Death in the State of Texas," shaped the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Furman v. Georgia decision, which forced state legislatures throughout the nation to revise and clarify statutes on the death penalty in an effort to prevent discrimination. Justices William O. Douglas and Thurgood Marshall claimed the study on rape, race and death as the prime empirical evidence for voting against the death penalty.

For a number of summers, Koeninger taught in the SH Mexican Field School. Always adventurous, he not only took students to major urban areas of central Mexico, but he also led them through small towns across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and several times up to the crater of the Popocatépetl.

Koeninger was dismissed from SHSTC in 1962 because of his activism in helping African-Americans in Walker County register to vote and because he denounced the lack of implementation of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. He enlisted the legal aid of the Texas Association of College Teachers and the American Association of University Professors. Sam Houston was censured by these groups between 1963 and 1970 because of his dismissal. A direct result of Koeninger's appeal was that the Texas Legislature formed the Higher Education Coordinating Board, which took action to protect the academic freedom and tenure of university faculty in the Lone Star State.

Koeninger earned his Bachelor of Arts from Texas Technological College in 1929, his Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1936, and his doctorate in sociology from The Ohio State University in 1939. In 1934, he married Ethel Childers, a graduate of the University of Kansas and a fellow Texan. She typed and edited many theses for SH sociology students. They raised four children: Fiamma di Gioia, and Cliff, Frieda and Art Koeninger. His eleven grandchildren remember him as at his happiest when he had a fishing rod in his hand. He died at the age of 84 in 1991; Ethel died at the age of 97 in 2004.

Rupert Koeninger from Sam Houston State University on Vimeo.

Jerry BruceAMOS JERRY BRUCE earned a bachelor of arts in Religious Studies from Anderson University in Indiana, a master's, and doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia.

Since joining the SHSU Department of Psychology in 1970, Jerry Bruce has demonstrated his leadership in the department, in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and in the College of Education.

Currently serving as CHSS associate dean and professor of psychology, Bruce works with the college's probationary undergraduate students, chairs its curriculum committee, serves on the university curriculum committee, and is a driving force for undergraduate research in the college.

He previously served as chair of the Department of Psychology and Philosophy for more than 25 years, and under his helm, the department established a master's program, as well as the clinical psychology doctorate, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at SHSU is highly ranked.

During this time, Bruce also fostered the department's Bachelor of Science degree in emerging as one of the largest and most respected majors on campus.

His efforts didn't go unnoticed, and in 2013, Bruce was tapped to serve as interim dean of the College of Education for a year following the retirement of Dean Genevieve Brown.

Throughout his years of leadership, Bruce also has been noted for his dedication to his students, being cited for his reputation of putting students' success above all.

Still teaching half-time, while serving as an administrator, he has taken up the cause of making textbooks more affordable for students, experimenting with writing his own textbook and making it available on the Blackboard platform with no charge.

"He labors to make his lectures up-to-date, interesting, and relevant to students of psychology," a nominator said. "He struggles with providing a learning environment that is both stimulating and comfortable for students as they process the history of psychology information through critical thinking assignments."

Outside of the classroom, he has written or co-written articles on psychological attachment, police officers' ability to cope with trauma, religion and pedagogy assessment, among other topics. He also is active in the Huntsville community, having taught the same Sunday school class for over forty years at First United Methodist Church. In honor of his dedication and service, the class established an SHSU scholarship in his name.

In 1963, he married Betty, a prominent realtor. They have two sons and four grandchildren. Having moved nearly as often as the fifty-three years they have been married, Jerry aspires to one day write an autobiography entitled Living with Betty: A moving experience.

Jerry Bruce from Sam Houston State University on Vimeo.

GayMR. 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.

Hicks CallawayMRS. 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.

ThibodeauxDR. 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:

2011 Wall of Honor

2012 Wall of Honor

2013 Wall of Honor

2015 Wall of Honor

2016 Wall of Honor

2017 Wall of Honor

2018 Wall of Honor

2019 Wall of Honor

2022 Wall of Honor