SHSU Update For Week Of Nov. 29



Tree Ceremony To Light Up Plaza

Faculty, staff and students will celebrate the spirit of the holiday season during the 89th annual Tree of Light ceremony on Wednesday (Dec. 2).

The tree-lighting event will be held at 6 p.m. in the Bearkat Plaza.

University president Jim Gaertner will speak, the Orange Pride dance team and university choir will perform and holiday snacks will be served. In addition, 99.7 FM K-Star Country will broadcast live from the event.

As the tradition continues to grow, this year an additional ring will be added to make the tree 34 feet tall, according to Brandon Cooper, Student Activities assistant director.

“The Tree of Light is truly one of the greatest traditions that SHSU maintains,” he said. “It is a chance for the entire Bearkat community to share in that great holiday spirit that brings us all together.”

All students, organizations, faculty and staff are invited to participate, as well as bring an ornament to decorate the tree either before or during the ceremony.

In addition, the Department of Student Activities will collect canned goods for a drive that will benefit an area organization.

"The Tree of Light is the university's oldest and most cherished tradition," said Student Activities associate director Angie Taylor. "This tree-lighting ceremony is also a time of giving and reminds students and the university community what the holiday season is all about."

Student Activities will also feature the history of the ceremony and a slide show of the tree assembly during an exhibit in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery Monday (Nov. 30) through Friday (Dec. 4).

For more information, call Student Activities at 936.294.3861.

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A&M Professor To Reveal Cell Effect On Disorders

Hongmin Qin, assistant professor of biology at Texas A&M University, will discuss her research on cells and cell health on Thursday (Dec. 3).

The SHSU Biological Science Department Seminar Series lecture will be held from 4-5 p.m. in Lee Drain Building Room 214.

Qin’s research focuses on cilia, “cellular structures that are important for functions such as cell-to-cell communication, control of cell division, and maintenance of cell health,” according to Anne Gaillard, SHSU assistant professor of cell biology.

“More specifically, she will explain how these structures are assembled, and how defects in the assembly process can cause disorders such as blindness, kidney malfunction and obesity,” Gaillard said.

Qin has been a part of the TAMU faculty since 2006.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Shandong University in China and her doctorate in genetics from the Institute of Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Qin also did postdoctoral work at Yale University.

Held each Thursday, the seminar series is intended for the public and addresses current research being conducted by a guest professor in a way that the general public can understand.

For more information, contact Chad Hargrave, assistant professor of biological sciences, at 936.294.1543.


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Movie Series To Highlight French Films

The foreign languages department and the Office of International Programs will follow up National French Week with three movies that celebrate the French culture.

The first edition of the Francophone Movies Series will kick off on Wednesday (Dec. 2) with the presentation of the Belgium film “When the Sea Rises.”

The romantic comedy tells the story of Irene, a 45-year-old actress traveling from one small town to another with her one-woman show who meets Dries when he stops to help fix her stalled car, according to the Amazon movie review.

After accepting an invitation to her show, Dries soon appears at every stop on tour as her “randomly selected" audience participant, which develops into a affair between the two.

On Friday (Dec. 4), the series will continue with Algeria’s “Exiles,” the story of a young couple, both of Arabic blood, who leave Paris with no money, jobs or connections and travel to his ancestral home of Algeria.

“In search of re-connecting to their roots, the couple inches their way across three countries by foot, bus, train, ship and hitched rides,” according to the Amazon review. “The couple's arrival at their final destination culminates in a riotous ecstatic frenzied 10-minute musical explosion.”

The final showing, Canada’s “Far Side of the Moon,” will be held on Dec. 7.

Called “visually dazzling,” “playfully surreal” and “wryly comedic” by, the movie is a look at the human quest for meaning as two brothers from Quebec find themselves at odds after the loss of their mother.

The movies, presented with English subtitles, are designed to represent “French-speaking countries and their cultural background” and are “for anyone interested in speaking and discovering French language,” according to Madalina Akli, assistant professor of French and event organizer.

All three movies will be shown at 4 p.m. in Academic Building IV Room 303.

For more information, contact the foreign languages department at 936.294.1441.


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Dance Spectrum Showcases Faculty Work

The SHSU Theatre and Dance Department will present its fall Spectrum Dance Concert Thursday through Saturday (Dec. 3-5).

Show times are at 8 p.m. each evening, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, in the University Theatre Center’s Mainstage Theatre.

The Spectrum Dance Concert features work from dance faculty members Jonathan Charles, Dana Nicolay, Andy Noble and Dionne Sparkman Noble, as well as Cindy Gratz, who will reset the solo work “Monolith: The Woman” by Rick Guimond, a work originally danced by Gratz 20 years ago.

Also on the program are works from three guest artists: Meghan Durham Wall, from Ohio State; Charlotte Boye-Christensen, from the University of Texas; and Astrid von Ussar, from New York.

“The dancers had the great opportunity to work with three very different artists this semester,” said Sparkman Noble. “The experience of changing gears quickly to take on new ideas and ways of working has been invaluable. It has been a very exciting and productive time in the dance program.”

The program opens with the contemporary pointe piece “Pterodactyl," by Charles, inspired by his “evenings spent enjoying The Animal Planet programming,” he said.

First-half performances also include Wall’s “One Minute to the Next,” a post-modern work exploring in one-minute sections the various ways to spend 60 seconds; Sparkman Noble’s “Quarter Moon Tides,” a feminist look at iconic female attire, fashion runways and various cycles in women’s lives; and Von Ussar’s “Decisive Moments,” a work inspired by photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s theory on capturing specific moments in time.

Other pieces include Noble’s hip-hop-influenced work, “I Am,” a social commentary on hip-hop and delves into some of the controversial issues surrounding this culture; Nicolay’s “Slide Off,” a moving dance about people coming into and out of relationships; and Gratz’s reset of “Monolith: The Woman,” performed by graduate student Marian Hart.

“While dressing like Lucille Ball and acting like Donna Reed, a 20th century woman was expected to cook, clean, shovel, shop, nurse, grovel, and manage all aspects of a household in high heels,” Gratz said. “That was how I perceived Rick Guimond’s piece, ‘Monolith,’ every time I performed it.”

The evening will conclude with a work by Boye-Christensen entitled “Solitude,” a virtuosic and specific movement exploration.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for students with valid ID.

For more information, contact the Dance Ticket Office at 936.294.3988.


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Music To Host Opera, Percussion, Piano Concerts

The SHSU School of Music will begin winding down the fall semester with three performances, including the Opera Workshop and percussion and piano recitals beginning Friday (Dec. 4).

The SHSU Opera Workshop will present two evenings of “American Vignettes,” one-act operas by American composers, on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Performances will be held in the Recital Hall.

Among the pieces being performed are Seymour Barab’s “A Game of Chance,” Samuel Barber’s “A Hand of Bridge” and William Schuman’s “A Question of Taste.”

“Our setting for all three shows is the undercurrent of despair hidden behind the happy façade found in 1950s America,” said Opera Workshop director Alan Hicks.

The pieces, he said, are an examination of “the growing pains caused by men coming back from World War II and Korea and the women who had made such a difference in the war effort.

“It was the women, after all, who worked in the factories building ships and airplanes giving them for the first time a sense of purpose only to return to their previous lives as housewives as soon as the men returned,” Hicks said. “The men had seen such horrors in the war only to be told to ‘turn it off’ and return to ‘normal life’ when the war was over.

“This can be seen specifically in the discontent of the three women of ‘A Game of Chance,’ and the dark mood of the two couples playing cards in ‘A Hand of Bridge.’”

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for non-SHSU students and free for those with an SHSU ID.

On Sunday (Dec. 6), the SHSU Percussion Studio will perform “Latin American Sketches” of traditional Guatemalan, Chiapan, and Argentinean music for marimba at 4 p.m. in Music Building Room 202.

The recital will also feature three students as soloists performing music by composers of the South and Central Americas, according to John Lane, assistant professor of percussion.

That evening, piano performance and piano minors will collaborate in “dances from all over the world” at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

The Collaborative Piano Recital will feature pieces such as the Dvorak Slavonic Dance, Brahms Hungarian Dance and Grieg Norvegian Dance written for one piano and four hands, according to Ilonka Rus, assistant professor of piano.

“It is going to be a very fun concert since most of the pieces are known by the general public, and so they can easily relate to (them),” she said.

Students will also perform collaboratively with Rus.

Admission to both Sunday performances is free.

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


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French Honor Society Inducts Six

The Eta Iota Chapter of Pi Delta Phi initiated six new members to the national French honor society during its annual ceremony on Nov. 11.

Those inducted include Daniel Dooley, Jennifer Jackson, T. Ben Nyabadza, Grayson Poesy, Brittany Waguespack and Ashley Warren.

Established in 1906, Pi Delta Phi is one of the oldest national academic honor societies in the U.S., with 330 chapters in America 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, according to Shirin Edwin, assistant professor of French and chapter moderator.

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 Veronica Wilkerson and secretary Joanne Blackwell and attended by local members of the society, family and friends of the initiates.

Also welcoming new members were SHSU foreign languages faculty members, including Edwin, Kay Raymond and Rafael Saumell-Munoz.


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Thompson Selected As Outdoor Group’s President

Steve Thompson, assistant director of Recreational Sports, has been elected president of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

The election was held during the association’s national conference, Nov. 4-7 in Minneapolis.

The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education is a professional organization dedicated to providing opportunities, advocacy and skill development for professionals and students in the fields of outdoor recreation and education.

Founded in 1993, the AORE includes more than 500 members primarily from college and university recreational sports programs, degree granting programs, military recreation, community recreation and private outdoor schools.

Thompson, who has been active in the association since 2005, has served on the board since 2007, first as a committee chair and later as vice president.


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Marketing Students Win At Houston Competition

Developing a comprehensive, integrated advertising and marketing campaign for a corporate client in just one day was the task five SHSU marketing and graphic design students excelled at during the student advertising competition sponsored by Houston’s American Advertising Federation.

Earning top honors during the competition were Brittany Smith and Roger Anderson, members of the first place team; and Ki’Tari Riles, Amy Callahan and Allyson Duval, members of the second place team. Forty-one SHSU students participated in the competition, held Nov. 6-7.

Students gained first-hand experience in applying what they learn in the classroom to an actual advertising problem facing a business client, which was Fiesta Mart for this year’s competition, according to Renée Gravois Lee, associate professor of marketing.

“Fiesta challenged us to develop fresh ideas to expand to a new target market,” said Smith, a marketing major. “Another key part of the challenge was to convince Houston area residents that Fiesta offers a comprehensive range of products, not just Hispanic specialty items.”

Each student competitor was placed on a team with students from multiple institutions, and the teams worked for roughly eight hours to develop their campaign recommendations for Fiesta. Their work included primary and secondary research, industry and target market analysis, creative strategy, media strategy, promotion strategy, budgeting and graphic design.

Teams then submitted written marketing/advertising plans and a short video to pitch their ideas. The competition was judged by industry professionals.

“This competition allowed us to experience what it would be like in the professional world of marketing: to debate, brainstorm, and work together on an actual marketing campaign for a real problem,” said Sam Weeks, one of the SHSU student participants. “I think it was a great experience for someone looking to go into the advertising field.”

More than 250 marketing, advertising, communications, and art students from numerous universities and colleges in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma participated in this event, which was designed to give students a glimpse into a “day in the life” of the advertising/marketing profession.

Not only did students gain the experience of developing an advertising campaign from start to finish, they also gained skills in teamwork, working under short deadlines, and pitching their work to a business client, according to Gravois Lee.

“Being able to apply classroom concepts to a real world situation was the most valuable part of the experience,” said Riles, a marketing major. “The competition taught me how to work efficiently under pressure with various personalities and to help manage our team’s time wisely.”


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Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Communications 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 staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

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



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SHSU Media Contacts: Bruce Erickson, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Nov. 24, 2009
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