Time Capsule: October 21, 1994

Twenty years ago today SHSU alumnus Dan Rather (’53) was in town for the renaming of the Communication Building in his honor. Rather earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Sam Houston State Teachers College and spent the following year as an instructor in journalism. The Oct. 21 edition of the Houstonian says Rather felt the honor was not one he deserves.
“I am very appreciative to [President] Martin Anisman,” Rather said. “I know in my heart of hearts it is not something I deserve. I’m trying to exercise gratitude to everyone who had anything to do with it.” Rather went on to say that “apart from my family and faith, I don’t know anything that has had such a profound impact in my life other than Sam Houston. I learned a lot at Sam Houston – a lot about myself.”

The day began for us Radio-Television-Film majors in Studio A of the Communication Building with selected students interviewing Rather on Channel 7 about his life and career. The interview was simulcast live on 90.5 KSHU. The audio of that program is below, along with some photographs of the building in the years since the dedication.

At 1:30 we assembled outside the southern entrance of the building. The ceremony began with an invocation by former SHSU president Elliott Bowers, followed by remarks from Houston television personalities Steve Smith and Ron Stone, and then the moment we all assembled for: the unveiling of the signage on the newly-christened Dan Rather Communication Building.

Then we went around to the western entrance and did it all over again. Next it was to Old Main Memorial for the reception, with punch to drink and cake to eat (with plastic forks, no less).

Rather was also quoted in the Oct. 21 Houstonian on the renaming, saying “it’s true that it’s even better than having REM song written about you. This is a monster. Don’t you think?” I do recall people running around with that REM album, trying to get their copy of Monster autographed. I don’t know how successful any of them were. (Why didn’t I think of that?)

All in all – as was often heard that Friday – it was a rather nice day. And then most of us were up early the next day for the dedication of the Sam Houston Statue.


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