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SHSU Update For Week Of Nov. 28


Tree Of Light To Celebrate Holidays On Dec. 1

Faculty, staff and students will celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with the 84th annual Tree of Light on Wednesday (Dec. 1).

The tree-lighting ceremony will be held from 6-7 p.m. in the Academic Building 1 Mall Area.

University president James F. Gaertner and vice president for Student Services Thelma J. Douglass will speak at the event, the Orange Pride dance team and Soul Lifters Gospel Choir will perform and hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

In addition, the Office of Student Activities will collect canned goods at the ceremony for a drive to benefit the Good Shepherd Mission.

For more information, call Student Activities at 936.294.3861.


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Death Penalty Speaker To Kick Of Coffey Series

Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking: An Eye Witness Account of the Death Penalty in the U.S.,” will discuss the death penalty and its abolition on Thursday (Dec. 2) as the inaugural presentation for the Joan Coffey Lecture Series.

The presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Olson Auditorium, or Room 220, of Academic Building 4 and will be followed by a reception and book-signing.

The lecture series was founded in honor of Joan Coffey, a beloved professor in the university’s history department who died in 2003 after a long battle with cancer.

“ Dead Man Walking: An Eye Witness Account of the Death Penalty in the U.S.” was on the New York Times best selling list for 31 weeks and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The book has been translated into 12 languages and has been made into an opera by the San Francisco Opera Company with Terrance McNally as librettist and Jake Heggie as composer. The opera premiered on Oct. 7, 2000.

The book was also made into a motion picture and was written and directed by Tim Robbins. Susan Sarandon received best actress in 1996 at the Academy Awards for her portrayal of Sister Helen in the movie.

Prejean has received many awards, been featured in many newspapers and magazines, and been interviewed on many television and radio programs about the death penalty.

She is honorary chairperson of Hands Off Cain, an international group based in Rome that works for abolition of the death penalty and is a member of Amnesty International and the U.S. National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, where she served as a board member for 10 years.

Presently, Prejean is working on a book for Random House Publishers on two possibly innocent men on death row titled “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions,” scheduled to come out in January 2005.


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SHSU History Book: A Perfect Christmas Gift

Topping Christmas gift lists this year for many Bearkats--both what they plan to give and what they hope to receive--is Sam Houston State University's highly-acclaimed and one-of-a-kind history-- "Sam Houston State University: An Institutional Memory, 1879-2004."

The coffee-table-sized volume by Ty Cashion, with design by Tom Seifert, is on sale through the SHSU Alumni Relations Office at $49.95.

A deluxe leather-bound edition, autographed by Cashion, SHSU President James F. Gaertner, and distinguished alumnus Dan Rather, who wrote the introduction, is expected to be available soon.

" Everything I've heard has been nothing but accolades," said Paul Ruffin, director of the Texas Review Press, which published the book. "Everyone is thrilled with Ty's writing, and with Tom's design and layout."

The book was written as part of Sam Houston State University's 125th Anniversary observance, which is under way throughout 2004.

Copies of the book may be picked up at the Alumni Relations office just west of the Old Main Memorial, or they can be shipped for $5 additional cost.

Scott Stuckey, director of alumni relations, said that approximately 300 copies of the book have already been sold.

To place an order, call 936.294.1841 or 1.800.283.7478.


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Film Maker To Talk To Communications Students

Frank Q. Dobbs, who developed a film-making career from a hobby in which he and his friends made western movies while students at Sam Houston State, returns to speak to journalism and radio/television classes Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Dobbs has won several dozen national and international honors for his film and television production work, including the coveted Emmy Award more than once.

Dobbs began work shortly after his 1961 graduation as editor of the Conroe Daily Courier; then served as an officer in the U. S. Army. He returned to Houston to work for Channel 2, filming the documentary "Passage to Prudhoe" that won the National Press Photographer's "Newsfilm Camerman of the Year" award.

" Tell It Like It Is," a first hand report on life in a big city ghetto, won an Emmy, as did a one-hour special report on reality vs. Hollywood myth, co-produced by Dobbs, entitled "A. K. A. Billy the Kid."

He produced and co-wrote "Gone to Texas," a three hour CBS-TV biographical drama that won the Western Heritage Award and several additional honors.

Dobbs was presented the SHSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1989.


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Alpha Chi Inducts 54 New Members

Fifty-four juniors and seniors have been accepted for membership in the SHSU Texas Omicron chapter of Alpha Chi national college honor society for the fall semester.

Those recently inducted include: Amy Anderson, Jennifer Austin, Stephanie Beall, Megan Buro, Daisy Cano, Ariana Cook, Sarah Delaunay, John Deveau, Tara Driscoll, Nicole Edmonson, Andrea Gauthier, Rachel Haney and Amanda Hardy.

Also, Kayce Hayes, Jennifer Herbrick, Justin Hill, Jessica Holleman, Diana Hook, Shari Hunt, Rachel Iacobucci, Guadalupe Issac, Sheila James, James Jordan, Kelli Kallus, Lisa Gail Lee, Amy Lenderman, and Anela Leon-Guerrero.

Also, Alex Linder, Angela D. Maniha, Maya Mathews, Lorena Martinez, Mandy Maxfield, Leslie Mayen, Bertha Melendres, Lia Merryman, Ashley Millar, Ashley Moses, Kelsey Muller, Justin Nuckols, Brent Pfeffer, and Jessica Poe.

Finally, Ashley Robinson, Annette J. Rodriguez, Amanda Royer, Randall Salazar, Amanda Scogins, Nancy L. Smith, Geri Stout, Charles Swan, Zachry R. Tappan, Jennifer Megan Tobleman, Derrica Y. Walker, Charles Williams, and Robert Eric Zepeda.


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Rec Sports To Host Outdoor Day At State Park

The Outdoor Recreations division of the Department of Recreational Sports will sponsor an Outdoor Day at the Huntsville State Park on Sunday (Dec. 6), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Events scheduled include group mountain biking, at 10:30 a.m.; a kayaking session, at 2 p.m.; and a group trail running workshop at 4 p.m. Bikes and canoes will be available for use.

The event is free, but does not include a $3 per person entry fee to the park, which is waived with a Texas State Parks Pass.

Soft drinks and water will also be provided. For more information, contact Marvin Seale at or 936.294.3656.


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Douglass To Serve On Fulbright Committee

Thelma J. Douglass, vice president for student services at Sam Houston State University, will serve on a 2005 Fulbright Seminar review committee in Washington, D. C., on Dec. 10.

Douglass will assist in the selection of participants for the Fulbright Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) program.

International education professionals and senior university administrators are eligible for three-week seminars in Germany, Japan and Korea. Douglass was selected for the program and traveled to Germany in the spring of 2000.

Douglass, a graduate of Crockett High School, earned her bachelor's, master's, and doctorate from the University of Houston, and was named vice president for student services at Sam Houston State University in 1996.

The Fulbright Program, the United States' top international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.

For 54 years Fulbright programs have exchanged nearly a quarter of a million people, including 86,000 from the United States and more than 144,000 students, scholars and professionals from other countries.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated unusual leadership potential in their fields.


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Strauss To Speak At NTSO Meeting

The Non-Traditional Student Organization will meet on Thursday (Dec. 9), from 11:45 a.m. until 1:00 pm in the Lowman Student Center third floor atrium.

Student Advising and Mentoring Center director Bernice Strauss will discuss “Non-Traditional Stress Management."

“ With finals the very next week and the holidays right around the corner, this is something many could benefit from,” said NTSO vice president John Fennessy. “For those of you that are not familiar with Dr. Strauss, she is a powerful speaker and a great friend to the university student.”

Because of a potentially large attendance at the meeting and so Strauss will know how many packets to prepare, and RSVP for the meeting is requested, Fennessy said.

For more information, or to RSVP, e-mail


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Articles By CJ Faculty, Students Get Published

A new book on transnational crime and international criminal justice contains articles written by four Sam Houston State University representatives, including College of Criminal Justice dean Richard Ward, professor Mitchell Roth, 2003 doctoral graduate Cindy Hill, and current doctoral student Daniel Mabrey.

Ward and Mabrey’s article, “Organized Crime in Asia,” provides a comprehensive overview of organized crime in 11 countries.

Roth’s article provides an overview of how the primary components of the justice system have coordinated their efforts to combat transnational crime.

Hill, who is now a social policy analyst at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., wrote about the problems associated with quantifying and measuring transnational crime.

The publication, “Handbook of Transnational Crime and Justice,” is edited by University of Northern Colorado professor Phillip Reichel and is published by Sage Publications.


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Send Update Items Here

Please send information for the SHSU Update to the Office of Public Relations at SHSU. For electronic access to SHSU news see the public relations Web page Today@Sam.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Thursday for an item to run in the column the following week.


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SHSU Media Contacts: Frank Krystyniak, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Nov. 28, 2004
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
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Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834