SHSU Update For Week Of May 4



Junior Named Homecoming Theme Winner

Junior Pamela Saunders (second from right) received $200 for her theme idea, "An Orange STATE of Mind."

The 2008 Sam Houston State University homecoming steering committee is hoping Bearkat fans will have "An Orange STATE of Mind" during the week of Oct. 13-18.

The winner of the contest was Pamela Saunders, a junior elementary education major from Conroe who was presented with a $200 check for her homecoming theme idea.

For the fourth consecutive year students, faculty, staff have had the chance to submit ideas for a homecoming theme. 

The homecoming steering committee narrowed down nearly 250 submissions to five ideas that were voted on at the Student Government Association elections in early April, according to Cindy Truax, promotions committee chair.

For more information, contact Truax at 936.294.4388.


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Students To Perform ‘Banned’ Song, Dance

Eight dance students will perform a “scandalous” piece from 18th Century Mexico based on the research of a Spanish professor on Monday (May 5).

“El Chuchumbé:’ A Scandalous Song and Dance Prohibited by the Mexican Inquisition in the Eighteenth Century” will be held at 3 p.m. in the Recital Hall. 

Choreographed by dance professor Cindy Gratz and based upon associate professor of Spanish Frieda Koeninger’s on-going research of the Mexican Inquisition, the song, “El Chuchumbé,” was prohibited for about 40 years during the inquisition to no avail, according to Koeninger.

Within five years the song, introduced to Veracruz, Mexico, from Havana around 1765, had crossed the country and become popular in Acapulco.

”It is because of the inquisition’s meticulous records that we have the words to the song and a description of the dance today,” Koeninger said. “It demonstrates the futility of censorship, as well as the endless efforts of young people to try to shock their elders.”

Koeninger will begin the event with a brief talk on the historical background of “El Chuchumbé.”

 “The students have captured the mocking tone of the dance, as well as the spirit of the Mexican people,” Gratz said.

The program is co-sponsored by the departments of dance, foreign languages and the School of Music.

For more information, contact Koeninger at 936.294.1443.  


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Writing Center To Host Open Reading Night

The Sam Houston Writing Center will give student, faculty and community writers and “word-lovers” a forum for their words to be heard during its second informal, after-hours readings session.

“Designed to be an encouraging forum for those who want to share their creative works with others,” the “Writing @ the Center” reading will be held on Sunday (May 4), at 8 p.m. at the Writing Center, according Dana Allen, Writing Center consultant and English graduate assistant.

“These readings will allow writers to have a place to share works that are complete or in progress,” Allen said. “We welcome poetry, prose, plays, memoirs, and any other type of creative writing that people are interested in sharing.”

The event is open to anyone who is interested in reading or supporting the writing efforts of others.

Door prizes will be given, and coffee and refreshments will be served.

The Writing Center is located in Farrington Building Room 111.

For more information, call the Sam Houston Writing Center at 936.294.3680 or e-mail


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Planetarium Tours Spring Constellations

The physics department will give its final tours of the “Spring Skies and Hubble Vision” for the semester on Friday (May 9) and May 23.

The planetarium series program, which shows attendees which constellations, stars and planets they can expect to see in the upcoming weeks, will be held at 7 p.m. in the planetarium, located in Farrington Building Room F102.

These constellations include Gemini, Cancer, and "what I call 'galaxy country' with the constellations of Virgo, Coma Bernices, Leo and Ursa Major," said Michael Prokosch, staff aid for the physics department.

The program will also explore “all things Hubble,” from its launch, discoveries, and famous images taken, such as the Hubble Deep Field, Hubble Ultra Deep Field, the Pillars of Creation and more with “Hubble Vision,” according to Prokosch.

“The Hubble Space Telescope is expected to receive a final service mission from the space shuttle in summer of 2008 to extend its life well into the next decade,” he said. “Space will never again look the same.”

The planetarium seats up to 29 visitors and includes a dome that is approximately 18 feet in diameter and more than 20 feet high in the center.

“Essentially a time machine, the planetarium's projector can show how the night sky appears to an observer at any point in time from any place on the earth, from 100,000 years in the past, to 100,000 years into the future,” he said.

The program will last approximately one hour, and admission is free.

For more information or current show times for the planetarium or the observatory, call 936.294.3664 or e-mail Prokosch at


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Spring Semester Ends


The spring semester will come to a close on Thursday (May 8).

There will be no classes on Friday for the final exam study day, with final exams being held May 12-15.

The final exam schedule is available online at

Three spring commencement ceremonies will be held May 16-17, with speakers Dirk Van Tuerenhout, anthropology curator at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and current member of the board of regents Trisha S. Pollard are the speakers.

Residence halls will close at noon on May 16 and reopen for the summer sessions on at 11 a.m. on June 2.

Classes begin for the first summer session on June 3.


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Music Ends Semester On High Note


The School of Music will end the spring semester with a quartet of concerts beginning Monday (May 5), when the Electronic Music class will present their final projects.


The concert, at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall, will feature 11 student works that incorporate electronic music techniques—including sound synthesis, audio sampling, audio editing and mixing—within a full 4.1 surround sound environment, according to Electronic Studio director John Crabtree.

Highlighting the concert will be a performance of composer Charles Dodge's "Any Resemblance is Purely Coincidental" by music theory professor Carlo Vincetti Frizzo. 

“Frizzo will accompany, in a humorous theatrical presentation, an electronic manipulation of a vintage recording of Enrico Caruso as Carnio from the opera, ‘Pagliacci,’” Crabtree said.

The concert is free to the public.

On Tuesday (May 6), the SHSU Jazz Lab Band, Jazz Ensemble and the student jazz ensemble Artistry in Rhythm will present “An Evening of Jazz,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom.

The concert will include a number of well-known songs, including Charlie Parker’s and Benny Harris’ “Ornithology,” John Lennon’s and Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird,” and Bret Spainhour’s “Include Me Out.”

The Jazz Ensemble performance will also feature guest artist Rocky Winslow, who has performed on “The Tonight Show,” was part of the 2000 tour of Japan with The Temptations and The Supremes and backed up Wayne Newton on a number of songs for the “Vegas Vacation” soundtrack.

Admission is $10 for adults and children over the age of 6, $5 for senior citizens and SHSU students with an ID and free for children under 6.

Other concerts for the week include a Saxophone Studio recital at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (May 7) in the Recital Hall, and an honor student recital at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (May 8) in the Recital Hall.

Both concerts are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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School To Premier Bell Street Quartet

SHSU music alumnus Sean Nelson and his Bell Street Trombone Quartet will return to campus to kick off their Houston tour with a performance on Wednesday (May 7).

The quartet, all graduate students from the University of North Texas, will perform baroque, classical and modern styles of music at 6 p.m. in Music Building Room 201.

The concert will also feature an original composition by one of the members, Mark Scott, called "Spring Lightning," as well as the quartet’s bass trombonist, Jason Hausback, who recently received first place in the National Solo Contest at the Eastern Trombone Workshop, in Washington, D.C., according to Nelson.

The tour is being held in preparation for the International Trombone Association contest at the end of May.

“We were one of three groups selected, by recording, to advance to the final round, held at the trombone festival in Salt Lake City, Utah,” Nelson said.

Admission is free.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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Graduating Seniors To Exhibit Works

Graduating art majors will reveal their paintings, drawings, photography and other pieces in their design portfolios beginning May 12 in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery.

A reception for the Graduating Senior Exhibition will be held on May 16, immediately following Friday’s commencement ceremony, at approximately 8 p.m.

The reception is open to the public, and refreshments will be served, according to art department audio/visual librarian Debbie Davenport.

The exhibit will feature Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates, who will receive degrees in studio art, graphic design and photography.

The Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, located in Art Building F, is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, call the art department at 936.294.1317 or visit


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SHSU To Auction Property May 10

SHSU will host a public auction on Saturday (May 10) beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the property warehouse in the Sam South Complex, at 2424 Sam Houston Ave.

Items will be sold, “as is, where is,” piece by piece or in lots to the highest bidder.

Some auction items include office furniture, televisions, refrigerators, tables, fax machines, chairs, file cabinets, copiers, a welding machine, harpsichord, kiln and an ice machine, among many others.

In addition, a 1988 Chevrolet half-ton pickup, a 1989 Ford half-ton pickup, 1992 Chevrolet Astro Van, a 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager, a 1998 Chevrolet S10 pickup, a 1998 Toyota half-ton pickup and a 2002 Ford Crown Victoria will be auctioned.

Vehicles can be removed the day of the sale if paid by cash, or check with original current bank letter of credit guaranteeing payment. Otherwise, vehicles will be held for 10 working days to allow check clearance.

Cash or checks will be accepted with proper identification.

All items, except vehicles, must be removed after the sale until 2 p.m. or 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. the following week.

For more information, call Wayne Frosch at 936.294.1903 or 936.294.1908.


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French Honor Society Inducts Seven

The Eta Iota Chapter of Pi Delta Phi initiated seven students and three honorary members into the national French honor society during its annual ceremony on Wednesday (April 30).

Those inducted include Patrick Bashor, Carey Chartier, Tamera Claunch, Erica Hill, Jessica Holland, Ashton Mouton and Ashlyn Remmert.

In addition, assistant professor of French Madalina Akli, professor of Spanish Enrique Mallen and Richard Edwards, sponsor of the Seola Arnaud and R.V. Edwards endowed Scholarship in French, were inducted into Pi Delta Phi as honorary members.


Established in 1906, Pi Delta Phi is one of the oldest national academic honor societies in the U.S. with 330 chapters in the U.S. and two related chapters in France.

The organization is dedicated to recognizing outstanding scholarship in French, increasing the knowledge and appreciation of French-speaking cultures around the world, and stimulating and promoting the study of Francophone cultures.

To be inducted as a member, students must have taken at least 18 hours of French and maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0, with a “B” average in French.

The ceremony was conducted by Eta Iota student president Heather Liner and secretary Jennah Burleson, and attended by local members of the society, family and friends of the initiates.

Also welcoming new members were SHSU foreign languages faculty members Debra Andrist, Shirin Edwin, Mary Gutermuth, Frieda Koeninger, Kay Raymond and Rafael Saumell-Munoz.

For more information on the organization, contact Gutermuth at or Edwin at or at 936.294.4732.


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Picasso Project Receives Five Millionth Visitor


Ten years after adding the counting meter to his online Picasso Project, the Web site has surpassed its five millionth hit.


The Picasso Project was created by Spanish professor Enrique Mallen in 1997 as a classroom project to chronicle the art and literary works of the famous Spanish artist.


The meter was added a year later, on April 7, 1998, to determine its users’ country of origin, according to Mallen.

Since then, the Web site as received approximately 1,370 hits a day worldwide.

Users of the Picasso Project have come from a wide range of countries, including the U.S., with 32.4 percent of the users living there; the United Kingdom, with 8.6 percent; Spain, 5.1 percent; Brazil, 4.4 percent; and Canada, 3.3 percent.


For more information on the Picasso Project, visit


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Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Public Relations electronically at or to any of the media contacts listed below.

Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information for news stories should be sent to the office at least a week in advance to give the PR staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

For electronic access to SHSU news see the Public Relations Web page Today@Sam.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Frank Krystyniak, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt

May 2, 2008
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Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
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SHSU 'In the News'


Brian Domitrovic, assistant professor of history, appeared on Book TV (C-SPAN) May 1-2, speaking about his recent book "Econoclasts: The Rebels Sparked the Supply Side Revolution and Restored American Prosperity" (


Houston Chronicle education writer Jeannie Kever recently turned to Regents Professor of English Paul Ruffin for his views on university presses moving toward "digital books" as opposed to traditional ink-on-paper."We're fulfilling the ancient role of the university press, and that is to produce books," said Paul Ruffin, the Texas poet laureate for 2009 and director of the Texas Review Press at Sam Houston State University. "I don't want to give up the book because it is an art."


Faculty/Staff Birthdays


Monday, May 3

Debbie Birdwell


Tuesday, May 4

Rhonda Callaway

David Gaines

James Walker


Staff Council Spotlights


Jennifer Davis

Sonya Ramirez

Molly Doughtie

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