A year in review…

13 years ago Comments Off on A year in review…

The year has finally come to a close and what a year it has been. Sam Houston State University has had a myriad of significant (often historic) events take place over the course of the last four months.

Like everything, if progress is to be made, change must occur and that is exactly what has been taking place. Colleges have been split in half, new positions have been awarded, new traditions have begun and new facilities are on their way to completion. These changes are all in the hopes of making the university a better place. The following is a retrospective of the events that shaped the campus for better or worse over the spring semester.

Parking became an even bigger issue than before as over 210 spots were usurped by construction for a new science building in the lot located directly across from Academic Building 3. These 210 former parking spaces were an addition to the 40-50 that were taken up following the erection of the campus’ newest eating facility, the Southpaw (which also opened its doors this semester). Across campus, staff and faculty parking was taken up when construction of the Smith-Hutson annex began. Many students’ reaction to so much parking being removed has been generally negative, they complain of a lack of convenient parking even though the recently opened five-story Sam Houston Parking Garage still has yet to be filled half-way to capacity.

Several changes in the realm of academics took hold this semester as well. A change in policy now requires students who take a class more than twice to pay out-of-state tuition for the hours taken. Additionally, the college of arts and sciences was split in half to create the college of humanities and social sciences. Another split involved dividing the college of mass communication in two, producing the college of mass communication and the college of speech communication. The decision to do so was made by administrators in an effort to help the college of mass communication achieve accreditation.

Also new to the university is the position of provost, given to Vice President of Academic Affairs David Payne. The position of provost (as defined by Payne himself) “is second in command to the president” and is an extension of his duties as vice president of academic affairs. Payne said earlier this semester that his overall goal in the position of provost is “to provide the best quality education to all the students in the most efficient way.”*

This semester, the student body dealt with a wide range of emotions, both joyful homecomings and tragic losses. In February, eight Bearkats who spent a year of service in the Army stationed in Iraq returned home. Chris Fortune, Todd Turner, Aaron Heidbreter, Grady Rockett, Anthony Kresta, Juan Rodriguez, Larry McCray and Willard Johnson all either have or are attending Sam and all served together in the same unit in Iraq. Sam also lost two of its students, however, in car accidents both within less than a month of each other. Serena Baker died Friday March 12 and Michael Bond died April 1.

Other changes around the university are found in the sports department including the construction of the new baseball field (slated to be completed by next year’s baseball season) as well as student Dustin Long transferring from Texas A&M to serve as the Bearkat’s newest quarterback.

Finally, April was a historic month for the university as it proudly celebrated its 125th anniversary. The anniversary celebration had notable guests such as alumnus Dan Rather and Governor Rick Perry visiting the campus. Rather toured his old stomping grounds in addition to speaking with students, staff and faculty in a general assembly. Perry arrived on hand for a ceremonial re-enactment of the signing of the legislation that established Sam Houston Normal Institute in 1875. In addition to these events, a new tradition began with the university’s first official ring ceremony.