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Today @ Sam

SHSU Alumni Association To Recognize Five For Service

April 20, 2010
SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May


Five individuals who have supported Sam Houston State University "above and beyond the call of duty" with their time, professional expertise, and resources and who have displayed outstanding commitment to their respective communities as well will be honored May 7 with SHSU Alumni Association Service Awards.

Dan Richard Beto, Gordon Brown, Nancy Gaertner, John McManners and Erin Steele will be honored at a luncheon at 11:45 a.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom for their fulfillment of the university's motto, "The measure of a Life is its Service."
Tickets for the event are $25 for Alumni Association members and $30 for non-members. Reservations can be made by contacting the Alumni Relations Office by phone at 936.294.1841, by e-mail at alumni@shsu.edu, or online at alumni.shsu.edu.

Dan Richard Beto

Dan Beto

Dan Beto, an alumnus of Sam Houston State University, spent more than four decades working in the criminal justice system.

He earned both his bachelor’s degree in sociology and his master’s degree in criminology at SHSU and worked as a juvenile probation officer in Harris County, a federal probation officer for the Southern District of Texas, director of Brazos County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, and director of the Judicial District Community Supervision and Corrections Department for Walker, Grimes and Madison Counties.

He was the founding executive director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas at SHSU, a position he held from 1994 until 2005, when he retired.

Beto has been recognized in many criminal justice related arenas. Among his accolades are the President’s Award, presented by the Texas Probation Association for significant contributions to the probation profession; a Special Resolution by the Texas House of Representatives and a Proclamation by the Texas Senate for distinguished service to the Texas criminal justice system; Special Recognition Award by the Texas Youth Commission for supporting its volunteer program; the Theodore Roosevelt Award by the Nassau County Probation Department in New York for correctional leadership; the Hall of Fame Award by the Texas Jail Association; and a Special Recognition Award by the National Association of Probation Executives for exemplary service to the community corrections profession (hereafter this award is known as the Dan Richard Beto Award).

While employed at SHSU, Beto served on numerous university and College of Criminal Justice committees.

He created and helped fund the George J. Beto Endowed Scholarship in the College of Criminal Justice, and the year following his retirement he created and funded the Dan Richard Beto Endowed Scholarship in Correctional Leadership, also within the College of Criminal Justice.

In 2008 he and his wife, Donna, created and funded the Dan and Donna Beto Endowed Sociology scholarship within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and this year, they created and funded the Donna L. Beto Endowed Scholarship in Elementary Education in the College of Education.

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown

A retired coach and public school administrator, Gordon Brown received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from SHSU, where he was a quarterback and three-year letterman, Class President and Class Favorite, named to “Who’s Who,” and was a member of the Ramrod Social Club.

He was a criminal investigator and member of the football team for the U. S. Army; a coach and teacher for Deer Park, Tyler and Groesbeck ISDs; a coach for Stephen F. Austin State University; head coach, athletic director and assistant superintendent for Nacogdoches ISD; and assistant superintendent for Conroe ISD.

Brown was the head coach of the Katy High School state championship football team, District Coach of the Year, and was named Superintendent Emeritus of Katy ISD upon his retirement.

As a public school administrator, Brown hired many SHSU graduates and encouraged faculty and staff to seek further education at SHSU.

In addition to serving as a member and officer of the Rotary Club for over 40 years, Brown organized and chaired the Huntsville Fellowship of Christian Athletes board and was chair of the Huntsville Education Foundation.

He was inducted into the Texas High School Coaches’ Hall of Honor and the Bearkat Athletics Hall of Honor.

He was the charter president of the Kat Pack football fundraising program, and is a member of Bearkat Partners, the Share the Vision Capital Campaign Executive Leadership Council, the SHSU Lettermen’s Association, and a supporter of numerous athletic and academic programs at SHSU.

Brown and his wife, Genevieve, live in Huntsville, where he has served as general manager of the Elkins Lake Recreation Corporation. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

Nancy Gaertner

Nancy Gaertner

In addition to serving as the First Lady of Sam Houston State University for the past nine years, Nancy Gaertner has provided service to the communities where she and her husband, Jim, have lived.

Before her retirement, she taught all subjects in elementary school and worked with all types of students with varying abilities, from struggling readers to gifted math students. However, most years were spent teaching fourth grade math and science.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University at South Bend and took classes at Sam Houston State, Texas A&M University and the University of Notre Dame.

Gaertner was chosen as the Curington Elementary School Teacher of the Year (Boerne) in 1989. She also organized and led an environmental club for many years. Under her leadership, the students built a reading garden, a butterfly garden, and implemented a school-wide recycling program, among other environmental activities. She and a co-teacher also piloted a National Geographic program that connected her classroom with classrooms throughout the world.

Gaertner has been involved in many Huntsville community activities including the Wynne Home Art Center, CASA of Walker County, Boys and Girls Club, Walk Across Texas initiative, and the American Heart Association, for which she chaired the American Heart Walk. She is on the boards of Friends of the Library, Huntsville Youth Orchestra, and the Huntsville Memorial Hospital.

She has volunteered in many university activities such as mentoring at the SAM Center and serving on the University Wellness Committee. She helped organize and chaired the “Let’s Talk” event, which has raised thousands of dollars for the university’s Honors College, and the annual Fall Festival for members of the university community and their children, held each year at the Gibbs Ranch.

Her hobbies include traveling, music, and fitness activities. She is well known for her love of nature and the outdoors.

She is very proud of her family, which includes three children, Scott, Denise and Amanda, and two grandchildren, Riley and Cody.

John McManners

John McManners

John McManners was born in Weldon but grew up in Huntsville, where he graduated from SHSU in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in history.

Through ROTC, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in field artillery, spending his initial tour as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He retired in 1992 after a 30-year military career, which carried him to many parts of the world including countries in Europe, Vietnam, Laos and Bosnia.

McManners is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, the United States Army War College and the United States Air War College. He also has a master’s degree from Webster University.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendations Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Knight of a Million Elephants (Laos). His badges include Senior Parachute Badge and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

After his retirement from the military, he worked for a law firm in San Antonio and Austin specializing in social security disability.

Since returning to Huntsville in 2005, McManners has been an active university and community leader. He is a past president of the SHSU Alumni Association and has served as a member of the Lowman Student Center advisory board, Friends of Museum board and Military Memorial committee. He is also a member of the Rotary Club and served three years on the Huntsville Item reader’s advisory board. He is a past president of the Military Officers Association of America, East Texas Chapter and serves on the advisory board of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

McManners and his wife, Geanie, live at Elkins Lake in Huntsville. They have two daughters, Shannon McManners Hurst, who lives in Arlington, Va. with her husband, Tres, and Kathleen McManners Seleny, who lives in The Woodlands with her husband, Alex. They also have two grandsons, Noah Daniel and John Alexander Seleny.

Erin Steele

Erin Steele

Erin Steele is a native Houstonian who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching degree from Sam Houston State University in 1980.

She was an Orange Key while at SHSU and was inducted into the Sam Houston chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education.

She married her husband, Robert, in 1980, and worked as a speech language pathologist in the Pasadena and Pearland school districts.

In Pearland, Steele has served as PTA president and various committee chairs at the elementary through high school levels. She has received two PTA Life Membership awards. She serves as scholarship chair of the Houston Professional Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. She is president of Keep Pearland Beautiful and is past recipient of the Recycler of the Year and the Golden Pear awards. She is the secretary of Women in Leadership Society of Pearland and is the reporter for her adult Sunday School class at First United Methodist Church of Pearland.

Robert and Erin were named Citizens of the Year for 2008 by the Pearland Area Chamber of Commerce. They serve on the board of the Steele Charitable Foundation and have awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to children of employee of Texas Honing, Inc., since 1998. They support a wide variety of charities in Pearland and Houston.

She and Robert have three children — Travis, Glen and Laura. Laura is a senior marketing major at Sam Houston State University. Travis is a graduate and Glen is a student of the University of Houston.



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