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 2018 Wall of Honor Recipients:
Mr. Robert L. Mann
Mr. George Miles Jr.
Dr. Mary Alice Conroy
Dr. Ralph Pease III
The official ceremony for the Wall of Honor was held on Friday, February 16, 2018 at 5:30pm in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom on the Sam Houston State University campus. A dinner honoring the recipients followed the ceremony.
GEORGE MILES JR., graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He then attended Southwestern Graduate Banking School at Southern Methodist University. The majority of his career was spent in the banking industry, retiring as executive vice president for First National Bank of Huntsville after 22 years before returning to serve as marketing coordinator on a part-time basis.
Miles served as president of the SHSU Alumni Association in 2006 and was directly involved in the origination of the Alumni Garden, the designation of the "Presidents Tree," the completion of the Bell Tower, the restoration of the Old Main pipe organ and its installation in the Peabody Library, and the initial establishment of regional alumni clubs that have led to greater participation in the association. He also initiated an alumni committee that organized the successful movement to prevent any possible name change for SHSU.
His work within the university and Huntsville communities is vast, including positions in leadership and fundraising. Miles received the Huntsville Citizen of the Year Award in 2007, the SHSU Alumni Association Service Award in 2008, the Edwin G. Sandhop Spirit of Huntsville Award in 2013, the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce Mance Park Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 and was named a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in 2014. In addition to serving as chair of the board for the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce, Miles also served as founding chair of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Board, as a member of SHSU's President's Circle, the Executive Leadership Council, Sam Houston Memorial Museum Board and the Mass Communication Advisory Board.
Miles' love for SHSU knows no bounds as he is always seen wearing orange and even named his cocker spaniel, Sammy. His favorite hobby is volunteering for the community.
ROBERT L. MANN graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He soon launched his career with the Fort Worth Star- Telegram, where his coverage of the Martin Luther King assassination in 1968 aided him in becoming the youngest person in the history of the publication to hold an editorial position.
Mann later relocated to Colorado to become the managing editor of the Longmont Daily Times-Call while simultaneously completing his Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Colorado. After returning to Texas, Mann became an assistant professor and chair of the journalism department at Southern Methodist University from 1972 to 1977. During this time Mann ran a weekly news editorial program at KERA radio in Dallas. Among his notable stories, he exposed backhanded dealings between the Dallas media and local political leaders while also highlighting the plight of minorities in the Dallas workforce. He then moved to Maryland in pursuit of his doctorate, but halted his studies to work as the press secretary for US Representative Bob Krueger's 1978 campaign. After the campaign, Mann became the assistant deputy director of Jimmy Carter's Council on Wage and Price Stability and later the Director of Public Affairs from 1979-1981.
His work on Krueger's US Senatorial campaign was noticed by the Kennedy family who hired Mann to serve as press secretary for Senator Edward Kennedy and the Kennedy family from 1984-1987. This experience helped him secure several lecturer positions at George Washington University and the University of the District of Columbia. In 1989, he became a Distinguished Professor and Department Chair at Emory and Henry College. During the 1990's, Mann served as the Communication Director for the Texas General Land Office and became a political consultant for several state and national agencies.
Mann currently resides in Austin, Texas, and credits his daughter Liz as his anchor and his ultimate source of inspiration and companionship.
MARY ALICE CONROY graduated from Michigan State University in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. She earned her Master's degree from Colorado State University in 1972, and entered the doctoral program at the University of Houston where she was awarded the Ph.D. in Psychology in 1976. Upon graduation, she began a career devoted to the psychological treatment of the incarcerated in Texas and Missouri and later became a consultant to the Department of Corrections in Nevada and Michigan.
From 1983 to 1989 Conroy served as Chief of the Psychology and Psychiatric Program at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners while holding an adjunct faculty position at the Ford Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri. Conroy later held the Chief of Forensics position at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky while continuing to teach psychology and psychiatry at the University of Kentucky. In 1997 Conroy accepted a faculty position at Sam Houston State University where she was named the director of the Psychological Services Center the following year, a position she still holds. While at SHSU, Conroy served on the Texas Committee to build the Psychological Jurisprudence Examination, the Texas Taskforce on Forensic Training and on the National Judicial Council on Mental Competence Committee. She currently spends her summers teaching psychology to the prisoners at the state prison in Huntsville.
Conroy is the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Contribution to Education Award from the Texas Psychological Association, the Distinguished Contribution to Forensic Psychology Award from the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and the SHSU 2015 Excellence in Service Award. In 2013, she was named a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and is one of the most cited mental health practitioners by the US Supreme Court for her research and publications in forensic psychology.
When she is not working, Conroy spends her time showing horses and is a member of the Texas and American Saddlebred Horse Associations.
RALPH W. PEASE III earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas before serving his country for four years in the United States Marine Corps. Following his officer enlistment, he went on to earn degrees from Southern Methodist University (MA) and Texas A&M University (Ph.D.).Pease joined Sam Houston State University in 1972, where he began a 45-year teaching journey that only partially drew to a close last year, when he announced his retirement. Throughout his career, Pease especially enjoyed teaching Twain and Shakespeare and he taught his beloved "Literature and Film" class for more than three decades earning excellent teaching evaluations and spawning two generations of film lovers.
Pease won SHSU's Excellence in Teaching Award in 1983 and the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award in 1987, the latter award honoring ten professors state-wide for "outstanding academic, scientific, and scholarly achievement and for dedication to the teaching profession." In addition to the teaching excellence he brought to SHSU, Pease's influence extended far beyond the campus. He taught for a decade at the Houston Police Academy, working with police officers on writing and grammar skills. In Huntsville, he taught literature to inmates incarcerated in nearby prison units. He traveled the state presenting at workshops for the Texas Association for Court Administration and the National Association for Court Management. He was a sought-after dinner speaker at galas, graduations, and political events; he wrote film reviews for The Huntsville Item; and he taught honors classes at Huntsville High.
Even in his retirement, Pease's teaching and civic engagement continues. He teaches regular film classes at the Wynne Home Arts Center where he also "volunteers" under the supervision of his wife, Linda Pease, the city's Cultural Services Coordinator. The two have been married for 56 years and have two sons and two grandchildren.
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: