Teaching a Valuable Lesson


When Sam Houston found himself facing enormous political pressure to swear an oath of loyalty to the Confederate States of America, he refused to compromise his personal values and those on which the state of Texas was built.

“Fellow citizens, in the name of your rights and liberties, which I believe have been trampled upon, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the nationality of Texas, which has been betrayed by the Convention, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the Constitution of Texas, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of my own conscience and manhood, which this Convention would degrade by dragging me before it, to pander to the malice of my enemies … I refuse to take this oath.”—Samuel Houston

He understood the importance of staying true to one’s values and was willing to “do right and risk the consequences.” Texas was not kind to Sam after his refusal to take the oath. He was ousted as governor in 1861 and shunned. But, General Houston and the values for which he fought and defended would prevail. Today, he is recognized as the most important figure in Texas history.

Values are deeply ingrained principles that define behavior and guide actions.

Organizational values, just like personal values, form a foundation for decision-making and business practices. Significant and sustainable achievement is the result of a sound framework that aligns the entire organization around a common set of values and a compelling vision.

Leading with values empowers people to understand and develop behaviors that sustain the vision of the organization. This aspirational view of the future is one that everyone in the organization can understand, internalize and stand behind. It helps guide organizational change without sacrificing values.

People are listening to what we say and watching what we do – our words and actions tell a story about what we value. Sam Houston State University’s story is characterized by an unwavering dedication to intellectual development and service to humanity. We remain true to our long-held values of academic excellence, student success, innovation focus, operational efficiency and enduring traditions. These have set the foundation for a dynamic future.

Academic Excellence
Over 138 years ago, Sam Houston Normal Institute was established to train teachers. These educators helped elevate the populace through knowledge, contributing to the long-term economic benefit and well-being of the state. These men and women understood the benefits of a great education and were the first to establish the standards of excellence found at the university today. This core value drives Sam Houston State’s goal of being a leading institution in teaching and learning.

Student Success
Maintaining a student-centric focus leads to student success. The nurturing environment at SHSU only enhances the many nationally recognized success-oriented programs on campus. After all, shaping students into successful graduates is what a university is all about.

Out of 38 public universities, Sam Houston State ranks …   
6 in Retention
7 in Workforce Placement
10 in Degrees Awarded
12 in Graduation Rate

Operational Efficiency
The value of a Sam Houston diploma is determined not only by the quality of education received but also by the comparable costs associated with attaining a degree. In order to build value, the university continually seeks to maximize the resources used to educate and serve our students.


Innovation Focus
Universities conduct game-changing research and play a critical role in the innovation pipeline, providing opportunities that stimulate both economic growth and social well-being.

The pursuit of knowledge at Sam Houston State is generating exciting and intriguing research across our campus. Analyzing the causes and possible solutions for “real-world” scientific, health, and societal issues underlie the extremely diverse projects our faculty are currently exploring.

The benefits of research are not limited to just outcomes. Successfully integrating faculty research and new teaching methods enhances the learning experience by providing innovative instruction and building students’ critical thinking skills.

Teachers graduating from SHSU stay in the classroom, five-year retention rates were 87.7% compared to the state’s 72.5%

Enduring Traditions
Traditions are long-standing beliefs, practices or customs typically handed down through generations. They are integral to defining and connecting to our cultural identity and reinforcing values. Traditions bring us together and help communicate “who we are,” “what we stand for,” and “what we do.”

The annual Tree of Light ceremony has taken place for over 95 years and is the university’s oldest and most cherished tradition. Each year students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community come together to celebrate a time of giving. The ceremony began as an annual Christmas tree lighting and has evolved into a campuswide celebration during the holiday season.

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