Ceremony To Honor Former, Current Professor

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The College of Humanities and Social Science will have two additions to the Wall of Honor Friday at 4 p.m. One will be former professor Rupert C. Koeninger and the other will be current professor Jerry Bruce. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in the first floor lobby of the CHSS building.

Bruce is in his 47 year at Sam Houston, and has chaired the Department of Psychology and Philosophy for over 25 years.

During his chairmanship the department, he established a master’s program and the Clinical Psychology Doctorate. Bruce has helped shape a Bachelor of Science degree as one of the largest and most respected majors on campus.

In 2013, Bruce was asked to serve as interim dean of the College of Education for a year following the retirement of Dean Genevieve Brown.

Along with teaching, Bruce has written or co-written several articles on psychological attachment, religion and pedagogy assessment and Police Officers’ ability to cope with trauma.

Bruce now teaches part-time and remains active in the Huntsville community. He has taught the same Sunday school class for more than 40 years at First United Methodist Church, where the class established an SHSU scholarship in his name.

The other honoree, Koeninger started at Sam Houston Teachers College in 1947 as a professor and chair in the Department of Sociology. Koeninger developed a reputation for his passion in teaching students about issues of equality and his major contributions on educational and criminal justice issues in Texas.

Koeninger lead the sociology department to expand from one to five faculty members and earned the sociology department a national reputation for excellence on the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

He taught summers in the Sam Houston Mexican Field School, and taught advanced sociology courses within the prison. He held the position of the first director of the Texas Prison System’s Bureau of Classification, between 1948-1954. He authored several articles of prison reform programs which led to great improvements within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Koeninger was dismissed from SHSTC in 1962 because of his activism in helping African-Americans register to vote in Walker County. A direct result of Koeninger’s actions lead Texas Legislature to form the Higher Education Coordinating Board, which protected academic freedom and tenure of university faculty in the Lone Star State.

Koeninger’s daughter, Frieda Koeninger, has been with SHSU for 20 years as Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

“There will be several tributes to my dad from two students, three friends and two historians,” said Koeninger. “I am very grateful to the history professors who nominated my dad for this award and to the CHSS Alumni Board who decided to bestow this honor on him – to me this is evidence that ‘the long arc of history bends toward justice.’”