Friday, December 23, 2011

Alumnus Commits $25 Million For Engineering Technology Program

Today@Sam reports that the university has received a $25 million pledge from the founder of Pennsylvania-based Therm-Omega-Tech, Inc. – alumnus Frederick Pirkle (’70 BS, ’74 MA) – to support the university’s engineering technology components within the current industrial technology program and to establish a new engineering technology program.

The gift will provide funding for three areas. A portion will be applied toward the construction of a state-of-the-art academic facility and associated laboratories, including advanced equipment and technology, to house engineering technology and related academic programs. The building will be named The Fred Pirkle Technology Center.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Writing on the Wall #10

It’s time for another look-see around campus in our ever-on-going scavenger hunt. Can you identify the building or location where we took the below photo?

Here's your haiklu:

gone not forgotten 
seated among wordy memory 
time passes for all

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fire Reported at Business Building

Reports from the Item on the fire at the Smith-Hutson Business Administration Building:
Fire alarms and smoke rising from a small construction accident caused the evacuation of a Sam Houston State University building Thursday, officials said. The Smith-Hutson building closed due to a smoldering panel that fell through its ceiling. The estimated cost of the minor damage is not available at this time. At approximately 3:10 p.m., officials said they received a call reporting smoke on the third floor and fire alarms going off in the building. Contractors had been working on the roof of the building when the panel caught fire and dropped through the roofing level between the new building and the old building cross over, officials said.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

2011 State of the University Address

President Dana Gibson addressed the faculty and staff during the annual State of the University address on Wednesday [Aug. 31]; Today@Sam has some of the highlights, including the recent opening of both Old Main Market and Lone Star Hall, the construction of the Woodlands campus, and ongoing upgrades to University Camp:
Campus planning includes an agricultural complex to be located at the Gibbs Ranch, a new biology, nursing and allied health building to be located where Academic Building 3 is, and an event center, which will feature a ballroom approximately 40 percent larger than the one currently housed in the Lowman Student Center.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sam Houston Village only half occupied due to repairs

The Huntsville Item reports that Sam Houston Village is undergoing renovations during the Fall 2011 semester:
Only half the residents who usually occupy Sam Houston Village were able to move in last week before the start of classes on Wednesday [August 24]. Part of the dorm has been closed as work is being done on the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and the parking garage. Work is set to begin on Sept. 1 and be completed by Aug. 1, just in time for students to move in for the fall 2012 semester. [The dorm] will be shut down completely for the spring semester when students leave for the Christmas break. That will allow construction crews to finish the project so the dorm will be ready for the fall.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Goodbye Cafe Belvin, Hello Old Main Market

The Houstonian [Aug. 25] discusses the new 32,000 sq ft, 600-seating dining facility, Old Main Market:
[It] boasts nine different food stations, each with unique options readily available for the average student.

Old Main Market is a part of Aramark's Fresh Food Company, which is designed to "meet the needs and preferences of today's students, faculty and staff that are looking to balance their health, wellness and lifestyle goals."

The facility opened at the beginning of August.

"This new facility is a great example of honoring our past as the university continues its outstanding progress," University President Dana Gibson said. "The Old Main Market name pays homage to the past in a facility that provides our students a next generation dining experience. "

The nine stations include the International Grille; the Mediterranean Grille, which offers hot dishes made on its round, flat, open grill; the Comfort Station, which serves traditional comfort foods; the brick oven, which serves pizza, calzones and baked pastas; a bakery / dessert Station; a produce market / deli and a 24-hour breakfast station, featuring waffles, omelets and cereal.
The headline mentions Cafe Belvin but the article does not - especially since the new facility actually replaces the decades-old Belvin eatery (i.e. Belvin's not an additional eating option - it's entirely closed). President Gibson's comment of the new dining hall serving as a "great example of honoring our past" also seems out of context unless one understands the significance of Old Main, also not mentioned in the article.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 2011 Regents Report

Today@Sam has a run-down of the capital improvement projects discussed by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, the governing body of SHSU; these include:

  • Design development documents presented by Ford, Power and Carson, Architects and Planners, Inc., of San Antonio, for the restoration of Austin Hall, with a budget of $2.2 million. The project will totally funded by the Higher Education Assistance Fund, a capital funding source provided by the state constitution.
  • Purchase of 2.75 acres located at 2208 Avenue I. Said, President Dana Gibson, “This property will be used for future campus expansion and parking according to the master plan. The property’s location is between the edge of the west campus and Sam South where University Police and Facilities Maintenance offices are located, as well as being adjacent to Raven Village. If it is not acquired, the university could potentially be blocked from growth of the campus to the west and become landlocked.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

Time Capsule: August 12, 1861

On this date 150 years ago, Harry Fishburne Estill was born in Lexington, Virginia. The son of Charles Patrick Estill and Katherine (Fishburne), Harry was born in Rockbridge County and within seven miles from where Sam Houston was born sixty-eight years before.

The Estill family arrived in Texas in 1869 and settled in Washington County. In 1880, the year Harry graduated from the first class at Sam Houston Normal Institute, Charles was named a professor at Texas A&M. Charles came to Huntsville the following year but died after teaching one year. Harry succeeded his father in 1882, eventually rising to vice president of SHNI beginning in 1898.

Harry Estill was named President of SHNI in August, 1908. As president he introduced new programs of study and extracurricular activities, promoted the creation of the Alcalde (1910) and Houstonian (1913), upgraded faculty numbers and preparations, and obtained professional academic accreditation for the school. In 1923 he oversaw the school’s transition into Sam Houston State Teachers College.

Estill helped appropriate funds for a new three-story library, dedicated in 1930, that was named in his honor.  He and his wife, Loulie Sexton, had five children.  Harry died in 1942 and is buried in Huntsville's Oakwood Cemetery.

Writing in 1940, Dr. T.U. Taylor, the first engineering faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin as well as a graduate of SHNI’s first class of 1880, wrote of his fellow classmate:
Harry Fishburne Estill early impressed the class with the fact that he was always prepared on his lessons, was as regular as clockwork, straight-forward, square, and a student thirsting for knowledge. The writer of these lines has been a friend of Harry Estill since October 10, 1879, over sixty years. He has spent sixty years teaching in the schools of Texas, and the writer wishes to bear tribute to his contribution to Texas' civilization.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old Main Market Preview Video

Step inside the Old Main Market dining hall as Raven Films takes us on tour of the “fresh foods concept.” The new eatery, located on the north side of campus at the intersection of Bearkat Boulevard and University Avenue, opened last week.

You can discuss the new "restaurant experience" at the KatFans forum.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Building the Sigma Chi Fraternity House

As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, the Epsilon Psi Chapter of Sigma Chi has created a new website to mark the progress of building a new fraternity house. The house will be constructed east of campus along Bearkat Boulevard near the decade-old Theta Chi house and site of the proposed Delta Tau Delta house.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 2011 Regents Report

Today@Sam has a run-down of the capital improvement projects approved by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, the governing body of SHSU; these include:
  • An athletic office complex.
  • A parking structure at Bobby K. Marks Drive and Bowers Boulevard.
  • A soccer/track/tennis complex.
  • A South Dining Commons
  • Smith-Kirkley Hall.
  • The buildings on Sorority Hill.
Name changes:
  • The Northside Dining Facility will be known as Old Main Market upon completion. The new dining facility is located approximately one block north of the previous site of the Old Main building, which burned in 1982.
  • The agricultural engineering technology center was renamed the William R. Harrell Agricultural Engineering Technology Center in memory of the late Dr. Billy Harrell, who served in a number of leadership capacities in the university’s Department of Agricultural and Industrial Sciences for 37 years.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Payne Concert Hall Dedicated

After 14 years of service to Sam Houston State University as its senior academic officer, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs David Payne will retire on July 31, 2011.  During an appreciation and farewell concert and reception held Thursday, May 5, SHSU President Dana Gibson announced the naming of the David and Grettle Payne Concert Hall within the Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

Today@Sam announced some of the changes to SHSU during Payne’s administration:
  • Increased enrollment by 27 percent.
  • Moved the university from a Carnegie classification of Masters University to the classification of Research Doctoral University.
  • Established internal connections with 18 universities in eight countries.
  • Opened a multi-institution teaching center in north Houston.
  • Established an innovative advising center, which was recognized in 2005 as one of the six best in the nation.
  • Restructured Academic Affairs, adding two colleges.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Writing on the Wall #9

Hey. Long time no write. It’s time for another letter in the big buildingshsu scavenger hunt. Can you identify the building or location where we took the below photo? Here’s this month's letter and haiklu:

Their actions are dreams
Exits and their entrances
Where they gape and point

Friday, April 1, 2011

Historic Hall Reopens for Caffeine-Fueled Students

Today@Sam reports the iconic Austin Hall, which in decades past served as a student social center, will soon be open to students with Austin Mugs Coffee Shoppe:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

SHSU To Showcase New Campus With Open House

SHSU expands further south into northwest Houston with the opening of the SHSU-University Park campus, reports Today@Sam:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Honeycutt Classroom Dedicated

Thomas Joseph "T. J." Honeycutt (1917-2008), Class of '48 and '49 and a former SHSU professor, was honored with a room dedication ceremony at the university on Friday, February 18. The T.J. Honeycutt Agriculture Teacher Education classroom is located in the Thomason building.

Glyn Gilliam, class of ’56 and ’57, said it was Honeycutt’s influence as a professor and life-long mentor that caused him and his wife, Martha, to establish the scholarship and provide funding for the classroom to be named in Honeycutt’s memory. Honeycutt began teaching at Sam Houston in January 1964 and taught for 21 years - many of those years as head teacher trainer - before retiring in 1984 as Associate Professor of Vocational Education.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Plaque at coliseum honors Ron Mafrige

A new plaque honoring Sam Houston State University benefactor Ronald Mafrige and the 112 donors who have contributed to the Mafrige Basketball Challenge is now on display on the concourse level of Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

The official presentation of the plaque occurred prior to Sam Houston State's men's basketball home game Saturday Feb. 12, 2011 with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

More than a year ago, the Houston businessman and 1960 SHSU graduate, issued a challenge to Bearkat supporters to help increase the university's men's basketball endowment with an ultimate goal of reaching $1 million. The endowment provides funding for program enhancements such as equipment purchases and recruitment.  Mafrige agreed to contribute $1 of his Share the Vision Campaign commitment for each $2 given by others. As of Dec. 31, 2010, the Mafrige Basketball Challenge had generated more than $350,000 in gifts and commitments for the basketball program.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bear Bend Cabin Dedication

As part of the dual celebrations for Sam Houston's Birthday and 175th Anniversary of Texas Independence in Huntsville, Today@Sam notes the Sam Houston Memorial Museum will dedicate Bear Bend Cabin on Wednesday, March 2. The cabin is located directly across the parking lot from Sam Houston's Historic Woodland Home on the Museum Grounds.

Bear Bend Cabin is a classic double pen, planked log two-story cabin with a central dog trot. Tradition says Sam Houston often stayed here while bear hunting. It was moved six miles from its original site in Montgomery County and restored by B. Carroll and Mae Tharp in 1987. In October 2010 it was moved again to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds and restored.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Construction & Demolition

To begin the New Year, some news about a number of construction and demolition projects scheduled in the upcoming months and years. First, a recent Request for Proposal (RFP) noted the university’s intention to remove the following eleven structures:
  • Layer and Breeder Building
  • Swine Building
  • Poultry Lab
  • Recital Hall
  • Four wood framed residences located at corner of 15th Street and Avenue J
  • One manufactured home (double wide trailer) located 104 Fraser
  • White House (wood frame home) located at 127 Wire Road
  • Old Ranch Hand House (wood frame residence located at Gibbs Ranch)
The RFP notes the Swine Building and Layer and Breeder buildings each have a one underground waste collection tank that must be pumped and completely removed from the site.