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SHSU Update For Week Of Aug. 13


Convocation To Welcome Freshmen Aug. 19

This year’s incoming freshman Bearkats will receive their official welcome to Sam Houston State University by university president James F. Gaertner, Student Government Association president Christopher Whitaker and approximately 100 university faculty and staff members during the second New Student Convocation on Saturday (Aug. 19).

The ceremony, for students and their families, will be held at 5 p.m. in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

“This is their official welcome to SHSU and where they become official Bearkats,” said First Year Experience director Keri Rogers. “It’s our opportunity to help them get started on the right foot for college, since the first day of class will only be two days off.”

Rick Rigsby, motivational speaker and a faculty member in Texas A&M’s communications department, will discuss "Making an Impact, Not an Impression" as a special speaker.

The ceremony has a graduation-like atmosphere, with faculty, staff and administration members dressed in caps and gowns and the traditional processions, but students and their families are not required to dress up for the event, according to Rogers.

The FYE Office and the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce have also worked together to familiarize students with off-campus activities in the community after the event by providing discounts for students to eat at various restaurants, as well as entertainment sites around town.

For more information, call the First Year Experience Office at 936.294.3422.


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Office To Host Orientation For International Students

The Office of International Programs will host its first international student orientation Aug 17-18.
"It’s a totally new activity,” said Reiko Clark, director of the Office of International Programs. “To my best knowledge, an orientation for internationals that lasts two days hasn’t been offered."

The international student orientation will include many of the things that a domestic student orientation includes. Things like advising, computer account setup, and class registration will be offered.

In addition, international students will be offered information that domestic students don't usually get, such as information on basic immigration laws and regulations, where to go to buy groceries and how to use the school health care system.

OIP received help from students in the International Student Organization, who put together a video for the orientation.

"The main point of the video is to let students know that we support them," said Yusuke Kamiya, ISO member.

The OIP and the ISO both want to see a more friendly internationalization process happening at SHSU.
Clark said it is important for international students to have a good experience at SHSU in order to keep internationals coming back.

"Our goal is to internationalize Sam Houston, to get more internationals coming in and more people going abroad," Kamiya said.


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Calendar Information Sought For Today@Sam

Need to publicize an event?

Share your information with the Public Relations Office!

PR is currently updating and creating its calendar pages for the fall semester. Send your departmental calendars or events to or or fax the information to 936.294.1834.

Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person. These calendars are continuously updated throughout the semester, as well as the year.

Information collected for the Today@Sam calendar pages, at, is used by various media outlets, as well as our own office for news stories and releases.

It is requested that information be sent to the office (to Frank K, Julia, Jennifer or through the e-mail link on Today@Sam) at least a week in advance to give us ample time to write a complete and thorough story, as well as give us plenty of time to make necessary contacts.

For more information, call 936.294.1836.


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Schedule Outlines Times For Fall Class Preparations

Various departments will be on hand to provide students with assistance in registration, financial aid and making payments Aug. 17-18.

Students will be admitted to the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. based on the Registrar’s fall alphabetic schedule, found at

Stations will be set up for various needs, including Residence Life, for housing and food contracts; Student Accounts, for changes to parking or installment options before paying tuition and fees; Financial Aid, which will also be for students with past due balances; Cashiers, for payment of tuition and fees; Visa/Mastercard Cashier, for those paying with a credit card; and University Police, for parking permits, which will require a paid fee statement.

Those who need to obtain a Bearkat OneCard should go to Coliseum Door 14 or Lowman Student Center Room 320, and those making payments or who need financial aid processed should go to Coliseum Door 26.

In addition, those who need assistance with registration should report to Estill Building Room 331 at the designated time, outlined in the alphabetic schedule, with a tentative schedule, including CID numbers and alternate selections.

All students must present a picture identification card, such as a driver’s license or a Bearkat OneCard, to be admitted.


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Professors ‘Communicate’ At Peruvian Conference

Speech communication professors Debbi Hatton and Mary Evelyn Collins, along with mass communication professor Ruth Massingill, recently spoke at the Congress of the Americas Conference held in Lima, Peru.

The SHSU professors were three of only 100 Americans competitively selected to attend the conference, which brings together leaders from academia, business and politics to discuss advances in technology, public policy and intercultural communication.

At the event, Collins discussed the Texas stone house as a cultural icon, while Massingill and Hatton gave two presentations; the first focused on aspirational advertising's effect on the Mexican culture and the second examined communication systems used by prison inmates and officials to disseminate their message.

The prison information was based on their new book, “Prison City: Life With the Death Penalty in Huntsville, Texas,” which is due out this fall, according to Hatton.

“Overall, we were thrilled with the opportunity to meet colleagues from around the world and discuss the possibilities of forming collaborations for future research projects,” Hatton said.

“Many times, the immigration debate clouds Americans' perspective of the Latin people, which has a culture rich in history,” she said. “All the Latin American scholars were excited about the potential for future dialogues that would ease tensions for both sides of the issue because we all understand that communication is paramount to opening markets, solving problems and building bridges to the future.”

Conference participants were chosen based on their submissions and reputation in the communication discipline. All three of the SHSU professors who attended have worked extensively with international organizations dealing with communication issues.

The bi-annual Congress of the Americas Conference, held Aug. 2-5, was joint-sponsored by the International Communication Association, the American Communication Association and the University of San Martin de Porres.

Following a nation-wide news conference the delegates from the conference were welcomed by the legislature of Peru.


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Book On Fort Worth Featured In Star-Telegram

In the 1930s, an African-American banker named Bill McDonald made history in Fort Worth.

During the time of the Great Depression, McDonald’s Fraternal Bank and Trust Company lost $209,500 when Texas National Bank collapsed, and because he had invested his money in that bank, McDonald said it was his responsibility to replace the loss.

He quelled concerns about his Fraternal Bank and Trust Company by writing a personal check to cover the loss.

Those kinds of stories are the ones found in SHSU history professor Ty Cashion’s book “The New Frontier: A Contemporary History of Fort Worth & Tarrant County,” recently featured in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which tells about the city beginning at the turn of the 20th century.

“The entire project rested on the assumption that the frontier had been beaten to death,” Cashion said in the article. “So I was going to begin with the year 1900 and do a chapter for every decade in the 20th century.”

He also added an introduction covering Fort Worth’s first 51 years at a reader’s suggestion.

The book could be considered a coffee-table book because of its more than 350 photographs, many of which have never been published before, but Art Chapman, Star-Telegram staff writer, called that assertion misleading.

“All too often, the term signals a book that is only graphically pleasing—the kind of book you simply flip through looking at the images, giving only cursory attention to the text,” Chapman said in the story. “That would be a mistake with ‘The New Frontier.’ Cashion’s narrative is informative, engaging and well-written.”

While the book cannot be called a complete history of Tarrant County because of many omissions, “compared to its many predecessors, it measures up well,” Chapman said.

Cashion’s book costs $49.95 and is available on, as well as on a limited basis through bookstores.


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Davidson Receives National Beto Award

Christie Davidson the assistant director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, an institute within SHSU’s College of Criminal Justice, was presented with the Dan Richard Beto Award on July 23.

The award is presented to an individual who has provided distinguished and sustained service to the probation profession.

She received the award at the annual awards breakfast of the National Association of Probation Executives in Chicago, Ill.

Davidson joined the CMIT in 1994 as its first employee. Beginning as an administrative assistant to the executive director, she took over the responsibility of the NAPE secretariat in 1995, and has been the primary point of contact for NAPE members since that time.

During her tenure with the institute, she earned a Master of Business Administration degree and assumed positions of increased responsibility, including project coordinator and chief of staff. She was later promoted to the institute's assistant director.

In 2004, Davidson was named executive director of NAPE.

In presenting the award, outgoing president Cherlyn K. Townsend spoke about Davidson's commitment to NAPE, her significant knowledge base, and excellent relationship she has developed with the probation profession.

"I feel very honored that the association decided to give me the award. I am fortunate to have a good working relationship with the association," Davidson said.

Dan Richard Beto, retired director of CMIT and a NAPE past president for whom the award is named, was extremely pleased with the selection of Davidson, who worked closely with him for more than 11 years.
"I could not think of a better choice for this award," Beto said.


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Hotel Manager Earns Top Honors At Conference

Richard Serrill
University Hotel general manager Richard Serrill (right) accepts the outstanding student award from THLA chairman James Walsh during the 61st Annual Short Course conference.

Richard Serrill, general manager at SHSU’s University Hotel, was recently awarded the 2006 Dr. James Taylor Outstanding Student Award, given to the most “outstanding individual,” during the 61st Annual Short Course held in Houston.

Serrill was selected as the award recipient of the Taylor award after having been chosen by his peers as the top student in his group. More than 200 students attended the conference and were divided into six groups.

“I feel very fortunate to have won the award especially after being chosen from 203 others from various companies (such as Marriott, Hilton and Omni),” he said. “I've only been in the hotel side of hospitality for a year and a half when the course took place.

The annual conference, hosted by the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, is an overview of the hospitality industry touching on all possible subjects of the industry over the five days of the course, with most of the emphasis on the Texas portion of the industry, according to Serrill.


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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.


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SHSU Media Contacts: Frank Krystyniak, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Aug. 13, 2006
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