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Five Named
Distinguished Alumni

Five Sam Houston State University graduates with lifetimes of service and accomplishment will receive Sam Houston State University Distinguished Alumni Awards for 1999.

They include:
  • Dr. W. C. "Bill" Daniels of San Marcos, a dentist who has worked with community theater and historical groups and numerous Lions Club projects;

  • Patty Sanders Davis of Huntsville, who has taught music in public schools and at SHSU and performed with community groups and Houston Grand Opera;

  • Don Allen Gilbert of Austin, Texas Commissioner of Health and Human Services, with 25 years service in the mental health field in Texas;

  • L. N. "Sonny" Sikes of Huntsville, who won personal and coaching honors in intercollegiate rodeo competition and retired from SHSU after 40 years service; and

  • Thomas G. "Tommy" Stone of Temple, who retired as brigadier general in the U. S. Army to become a business owner and city government and civic worker.
The awards will be presented at the Sam Houston State University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner Oct. 15 during 1999 SHSU homecoming activities.

Dr. W. C. "Bill" Daniels

Daniels earned his bachelor of business administration degree in 1961 from SHSU and his dentistry degree in 1969 from the University of Texas. As an SHSU student he was a charter member of the Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and worked for PPG Industries while attending night school. He was a member of the Psi Omega Dental Fraternity at the University of Texas.

He served in the U. S. Army from 1969-71 and has continued his public service with such community groups as First United Methodist Church of San Marcos, the Wimberley Players theatrical group, of which he was founding president, Wimberley Lodge #1445, Austin Scottish Rite Bodies, Ben Hur Shrine in Austin, the Heritage Association of San Marcos, which he has served as director and president, Preservation Associates of Hays County, Hays County Community Health Foundation (serves as director), Twin Valley District Friends of Scouting, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity at Southwest Texas State University, the Mayflower Society, Sons of the Republic of Texas, New Braunfels Area Car Club, San Marcos Cattlemen's Association, and San Marcos Cemetery Association.

His civic awards include the Distinguished Service Award by the Texas Historical Society and being named Citizen of the Year by the San Marcos Area Board of Realtors.

His professional memberships include the River District, Texas, and American Dental Association. He was named a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry in 1978, served two terms as director of the 10th District Dental Society, and was selected as one of the 12 outstanding dentists in Texas in 1981.

He has participated in and directed numerous Lions Club projects at the local, district and statewide levels, held many Lions Club offices including District Governor and won several awards including San Marcos Lions Club Lion of the Year, the district Golden Spur Award, the Melvin Jones fellowship, the Ed Flood Award, the Harry Reasonover Award and a Texas Lions fellowship.

Patty Sanders Davis

Davis earned her bachelor of music education degree in 1956 and master of arts degree in 1959 from SHSU. She has worked as an elementary, junior high and high school teacher in the Huntsville school district for 16 years, directing various choral groups and also teaching English. She also has taught elementary vocal music in the Houston school district, was a second grade teacher in the Aldine district, and taught junior high vocal music and choir in the Aldine district.

She has worked as creative director for the Huntsville Advertising Agency, has sung with the Houston Grand Opera, and was a studio voice teacher for 11 years at SHSU.

Her personal affiliations and recognition include Alpha Chi, Pi Kappa Lambda, the national Association of Teachers of Singing, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association (state secretary and board of directors 1983-84, American Guild of Musical Artists, Coordinator of Music for the First United Methodist Church of Huntsville (1996-98), and Huntsville Cooperative of Women Artists Secretary (1998-99).

Her civic and humanitarian service includes the Huntsville Arts Commission (advisory member, Huntsville Community Theatre (patron and performer), First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir (member and alto soloist), director of music for Huntsville Enrichment Activities Program for productions including Heidi, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, The King and I, Fantasticks, Oliver, South Pacific, Lil' Abner, Grease and Gypsy, soloist for the Huntsville Community Choral Society including performances of Ahmal and the Night Visitors and The Messiah, Bach Choir of Huntsville (member and alto soloist), United Way Benefit Concert (including writing, production and performance), and Huntsville Arts Commission concerts for nursing homes, schools and other community events.

Davis has received many awards for service and professional accomplishments, including Outstanding Young Women of America, the SHSU Music Department Outstanding Alumni Award, and held memberships and offices in Sigma Alpha Iota (president while at SHSU, chapter financial adviser as an alumnus), SHSU University Women (president), SHSU Friends of Music (patron), Raven Honorary Advisory Board of the SHSU College of Arts and Sciences, the Bearkat Club, and East Texas Children's Choral Festival (adjudicator for SHSU).

She has performed as alto soloist for churches and schools in Austin, Houston, Huntsville and surrounding cities, with SHSU choirs and orchestra, and with the Bev Henson Chorale of Houston. She was a member of the New York cast of Nixon in China and member of the original cast recording of Nixon in China for RCA.

While a member of the Houston Grand Opera she performed in Madame Butterfly, The Flying Dutchman, The Magic Flute, Eugene Onegin, La Traviata, La Boheme, Faust, Don Giovanni, Anna Bolena, Boris Gudonov, Norma, Falstaff, Turandot, Nixon in China, Aida, Andrea Chenier, Lohengrin Manon, The Marriage of Figaro, Masked Ball, New Year, The Passion of Jonathon Wade, Parsifal, Rigoletto, Rusalka, Samson and Delilah, Tannhauser, Tosca and Il Trovatore.

Her Huntsville High Chorale was awarded first division honors by the Texas University Interscholastic League every year from 1969 through 1983, with several years being awarded the Sweepstakes honor. Her Huntsville High Chorale was named "Outstanding Choir" among 49 choirs in the Astroworld Music Festival in 1975, and an honor choir for the Texas Music Educators Association in 1967, performing at the association's convention in San Antonio.

In addition, she has served as alto section leader for the Region IX choir and all-state choir, adjudicator for Interscholastic League choral, solo and ensemble contests in the Houston area from 1974-1997, adjudicator for the Houston Schools Choral Festival in 1978, and clinician for the Galveston Junior High Region Choir in 1978.

Davis' husband, Thomas F. Davis, professor of mathematics at SHSU, also received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996.

Don Allen Gilbert

Gilbert earned a bachelor of business administration degree from SHSU in 1974 and master of business administration degree (with honors) from East Texas State University in 1978.

From May 1974 to May 1993 he held various administrative positions within the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, including work in the areas of personnel, fiscal services and hospital support. He was superintendent of the Terrell State Hospital and Deputy Commissioner for Mental Health Services for the state of Texas. He served three years as head of the Dallas County Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation's service system for people with disabilities.

From 1995-98 he headed the state mental health and mental retardation system, and in 1998 was appointed by Gov. George W. Bush and confirmed by the Texas Senate to lead the state's health and human services agencies as commissioner of health and human services. His responsibilities include oversight of 13 separate health and human services agencies, with total spending of $14 billion per year and 54,000 employees.

Gilbert is a member of the American Public Human Services Association, member of the board of directors of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, on the board of governors representing Region VI, and a certified board examiner of the Association of Behavioral Healthcare Management, member of the American College of Health Care Executives, and adjunct associate professor of the Department of Psychiatry, Southwestern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas.

Gilbert has authored several articles in such professional publications as Journal on Quality Improvement, AMHA Leader, The Journal of Mental Health Administration, Community Support Network News, The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, and a book chapter on state hospital reform.

L. N. "Sonny" Sikes

Sikes earned his bachelor of science degree in agriculture in 1955 and master of education degree in agriculture in 1957, and did post-graduate work at Texas A&M University. He taught in public schools in Mexia for one year and returned to teach at SHSU in 1959, retiring as a full professor in 1997.

As a student he was a member of the first National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association championship team, and won four national titles during his years as a collegiate cowboy.

As a coach he has had eight national championship teams and many individual champions, with the best win record of any college or university in the nation.

He served as executive secretary for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association for 18 years and led the association during its growth. He has built three rodeo arenas at SHSU with little or no cost to the university, and the SHSU Rodeo Club is one of the oldest and best known in the nation. In addition, he established the SHSU Rodeo Alumni Association which provides scholarships to SHSU students.

He has a number of professional, civic and community honors including election as honorary member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, Who's Who Among America's Teachers, lifetime member of the SHSU Alumni Association, honorary lifetime member of the SHSU Rodeo Alumni Association, and life member of the Pro Rodeo Association.

He is also a member of the Texas Senior Pro Rodeo Association, the Texas Association of College Teachers, served on the Huntsville school board for six years, is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Huntsville, lifetime member of the Walker County Fair Association, served as judge for the Texas Prison Rodeo for many years, served on the SHSU Registration Committee since its inception and on the Convocation Committee for 25 years.

The Texas State University System board of regents adopted a resolution honoring him for his service to SHSU in 1996. He was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1999, and established the Sikes Family Endowment at SHSU. His wife, Joanne, and both children-Sherri Stephens and Larry Sikes, are graduates of SHSU.

Thomas G. "Tommy" Stone

Stone graduated from SHSU in 1956. He was a member of Bearkat football teams in 1954-56, including the 1955-56 Lone Star Conference championship team, and was selected junior class favorite. He earned his masters of education degree from Hardin-Simmons University, attended the United States Army War College and the Center for Personnel Management for Executives.

A retired brigadier general in the U. S. Army, Stone currently serves as president of the Temple Industrial Development Authority, Inc., is a trustee of the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, and is a past three-term city councilman in Temple. He is owner of ProAdvisor Safety Consultants, with offices in Temple and Fort Hood.

He is also founder and past president/chairman of StoneMedia Communications, has served on the Texas Military Legislative Task Force from 1980 to the present, was a public school administrator, and Texas ombudsman in the program to increase employer support for individuals in national guard and reserve service.

He has served on the Temple Civil Service Commission, the Killeen-Temple Urban Transportation Committee, the Temple Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, and has been a member of the Texas State Teachers Association.

He has received the Temple Distinguished Citizen Award, Temple Rotary Citizen Award, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and numerous other military and civic awards. He is a member and deacon of Immanuel Baptist Church.

His wife, Claudette, and three children - Keith Stone, Janet Williams and Kelly Thompson, are SHSU graduates.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
September 13, 1999
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