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Rex presented plaque
Holding a small container marked "Harley Fund," which he had just passed around in front of the family Christmas tree, David Rex, right, presents his father (left) a plaque announcing establishment of the Harley E. Rex Endowed Scholarship. Also enjoying the moment were Marjorie Rex, left center, and Paula Rex.

'Professor Rock & Roll'
Gets Unusual Christmas Gift

A retired Sam Houston State University professor, who taught one of the most popular classes ever offered at SHSU, got an unusual Christmas gift this year--an endowed scholarship in his name, presented to him by his son and daughter-in-law.

The Harley E. Rex Endowed Scholarship was established by David and Paula Rex with a gift of $50,000, the single largest scholarship endowment ever created for the Sam Houston State University School of Music, according to Robert Walzel, who chairs the school.

The elder Rex retired from Sam Houston State in 1997, where he taught a course sometimes referred to as "Rock & Roll 101." While Rex taught for 35 years and was involved in a number of on and off campus musical activities, he was best known among students for the class he started in 1982--History of Jazz, Pop, and Rock & Roll.

For 12 years the class had an enrollment each semester of 800 students and a waiting list of 200.

A saxophonist, Harley Rex passed his musical interest along to son David, an all-state high school drummer for three years, who studied under Rod Cannon, professor of music at SHSU, and enrolled at SHSU as a music major.

David decided he'd rather be a doctor instead of a musician, however, and changed his major to biology. But he continued drumming for the university's marching band and his dad's professional Super Sax Group, a jazz group that played 30-50 concerts per year in the schools, prisons, and parks in the Huntsville and Houston areas.

After spending eight years in medical school at the University of Texas-San Antonio, David received a fellowship to study magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) and ultra-sound at the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center.

David Rex has been a radiologist and MRI specialist at the North Central Medical Center in McKinney for the past eight years and this year assumes the role of chief of staff at the hospital. He is a past member of the Sam Houston State University Alumni Association advisory board.

Harley Rex began his professional musical career 46 years ago with the U. S. Army Band at Ft. Myer, Va., where he played saxophone for the Steve Lawrence Army Dance Band. Another famous person connected with that group was Charlie Woods, now known as Charles Osgood of the CBS "Sunday Morning" television show.

with Dr. Bowers
Sam Houston State University President Emeritus Elliott T. Bowers, center, encouraged Harley Rex, right, to write a pioneering music therapy curriculum for the SHSU music program. Harley and his son, David, visited Bowers to show him Harley's surprise Christmas endowment plaque.

After eight years as a U. S. Army musician, he came to SHSU as director of the Houstonians Jazz Band, taught saxophone, and directed the marching band for a year. In 1974 he was appointed assistant chairman of the music department and chairman of the summer music school and summer music camps, which he directed for eight years.

In 1982, with the encouragement of SHSU President Elliott T. Bowers, Rex wrote a music therapy curriculum for the music department, emphasizing its use in criminal justice. It was the first such program at a university.

In conjunction with that effort, Rex was part-time music supervisor for the Windham School District within the Texas prison system and band director for the annual prison rodeo. His 10 full-time band/choir directors and music therapists in the prison system provided a music program for more than 5,000 inmates per year for 20 years.

with Dr. Robinson
Retired SHSU Vice President Ferol Robinson, center, enjoyed hearing how Harley Rex, left, got his big Christmas surprise. Also visiting with Robinson were Rex's grandson, Travis, and son David, who came up with the idea of a scholarship endowment as a Christmas present.

Now somewhat retired, but still living in Huntsville, Rex directs a 67-voice group called the Huntsville Community Senior Adult Choir. Its membership includes other retired persons who like to sing. Anyone interested is invited to contact him for more information.

With Harley involved with the senior choir, and travel with his wife, Marjorie, a long-time Huntsville real estate agent, he had no clue that the scholarship surprise was in the works.

This past July, David Rex called Harley's son-in-law, Charles Carlow, director of the SHSU business office, and discussed the possibility of creating the endowment. David Rex and Gary Bouse, executive director of the SHSU advancement office, set it up so that additional gifts can be added in honor of David's father. Anyone who wishes to do so may contact Bouse.

Then when David and his family came to Huntsville during the holidays, right there in front of the tree in the Rex home, David handed his dad a wall plaque which says--"Sam Houston State University proudly acknowledges the establishment of the Harley E. Rex Endowed Scholarship. December 25, 2000."

"It was a wonderful surprise and tremendous Christmas present--to me and to Sam Houston State University," said Rex. "I hope it helps many future saxophonists, and even a few other musicians, to study at SHSU."

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Jan. 16, 2001
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