Sam Houston State University

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Sam Houston State University
SHSU seal.svg
Seal of Sam Houston State University
Motto The measure of a Life is its Service
Established 1879
Type Public
Endowment $52,000,000
President Dr. Dana L. Gibson
Provost Dr. Jaimie Hebert
Academic staff 598
Students 19,214[1]
Location Huntsville, Texas, USA
30°42′50″N 95°32′50″W / 30.71389°N 95.54722°W / 30.71389; -95.54722Coordinates: 30°42′50″N 95°32′50″W / 30.71389°N 95.54722°W / 30.71389; -95.54722
Campus Urban, 272 acres (1.1 km²) main campus
Former names Sam Houston Normal Institute (1879–1923)
Sam Houston State Teachers College (1923–65)
Sam Houston State College (1965–69)
Colors Orange and White. Blue can be used solely as an accent color
              [2]
Nickname Bearkats
Mascot Sammy Bearkat
Affiliations TSUS
Southland Conference
Website www.shsu.edu
SHSU.svg

Sam Houston State University (known as SHSU or Sam) was founded in 1879 and is the third oldest public institution of higher learning in the State of Texas. It is located approximately one hour north of downtown Houston in the hills, lakes, and forests region of East Texas in Huntsville. It is one of the oldest purpose-built institutions for the instruction of teachers west of the Mississippi River and the first such institution of its type in Texas. The school is named for Texas's greatest hero, Sam Houston, who made his home in the city and is buried there.

SHSU is a member of the Texas State University System and has an enrollment of more than 18,400 students across over 80 undergraduate, 54 masters', and 6 doctoral degree programs. The university also offers more than 20 online bachelor's and graduate degrees, and its programs are ranked high by U.S. News & World Report. It was the first institution classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education within the Texas State University System,[3] and while education continues to be the most popular major among students at the university, SHSU has nationally-recognized programs in banking, performing arts, mathematics and criminal justice.

History[edit]

Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries[edit]

The Sam Houston State University campus was originally home to Austin College, the Presbyterian institution that relocated to Sherman, Texas in 1876. Austin Hall was constructed in 1851 and is the oldest university building west of the Mississippi still in operation. It was renovated in 2012 and is used today for special meetings and events. Notably, Sam Houston himself attended and participated in the original dedication of the building.[4]

Created by legislation signed by Governor Oran M. Roberts on San Jacinto Day, April 21, 1879, Sam Houston Normal Institute's dedicated goal was to train teachers for the public schools of Texas. It was the first teacher-training school in the southwestern United States. On October 10 of the same year, the first class of 110 students and four faculty commenced instruction. The first President of the school, Bernard Mallon, died eleven days after the institute opened.[5]

The one-room Peabody Memorial Library was the first free-standing campus library in Texas; it was constructed in 1901 with funds provided by the George Peabody Foundation. According to the Normal Institute's catalogue, the library was "a very handsome structure, and especially designed for the purpose for which it is to be used. It is said that no school of this kind in the South has a Building equal to it."[6] Fully restored, it is now used as a venue for special university events.

When the university first opened, students received a certification to teach in the state's elementary and secondary schools. After 1919, the university began to award bachelor's degrees. In 1936, the school awarded its first postbaccalaureate degree.

Steps to the Old Main, with a view of Austin Hall.

Twenty-First Century[edit]

SHSU celebrated its 125th year of operation in 2004.

The university launched its first capital campaign in March 2006 with a $50 million goal and closed the campaign's books on August 31, 2010, with $61.2 million in commitments. The university has 110,000 living, addressable alumni and an active Alumni Association with 10,000 members, holding 200 meetings and events annually.

SHSU-The Woodlands Center opened on May 30, 2012, on the Lone Star College-Montgomery campus. It is a 144,164 sq. ft. facility that has a five-story parking garage. The university also operates SHSU-University Park on the property of Lone Star College-University Park in unincorporated Harris County near Tomball.[7]

Name changes[edit]

Throughout the course of its history, Sam has undergone several name changes.

  • April 21, 1879, founded as Sam Houston Normal Institute
  • 1923: Sam Houston State Teachers College
  • 1965: Sam Houston State College
  • 1967: Sam Houston State University

In April, 2007, Texas House Bill 1418 passed without objection in the Texas Legislature, preventing The Texas State University System’s Board of Regents from changing the university's name.

Campus[edit]

Welcome sign.

The oak-studded Sam Houston State University main campus sits on 316 acres in the central area of Huntsville. Two large agricultural complexes feature a 1,600 acre teaching and research farm and a rodeo arena. The campus also features a planetarium, an observatory, a body farm, and an 18-hole golf course named Raven Nest. The mall area of the main campus includes Blatchley Bell Tower and Clock and a fountain.

The campus stood in for the fictional Austin University in the motion picture The Life of David Gale.

Academics[edit]

Sam Houston State's academic departments and programs are organized into seven colleges:

Additionally, the university enrolls more than 350 students in the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College.

Programs within the College of Criminal Justice were recently ranked by the Journal of Criminal Justice in the top five nationally. The theater and dance programs were ranked by Dance Spectrum Magazine in the top 25 nationally, and according to the National Dance Association, SHSU is home to the nation's finest athletic dance team.[8] The university offers the only Professional Golf Management program in Texas, one of 20 in the country. SHSU also boasts one of the oldest speech and debate programs in the nation.

As April 2012, the university offers:

  • Seventy-eight undergraduate degree programs
  • Fifty-four masters' programs
  • Six doctoral programs (Clinical Psychology, Counselor Education, Criminal Justice, Educational Leadership, Special Education, and Reading)[9]

College of Criminal Justice[edit]

SHSU's College of Criminal Justice is the largest and one of the oldest criminal justice programs in the nation. Huntsville has long been associated with criminal justice, being the co-headquarters of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the home of several prisons, including the Walls Unit which houses the state's execution chamber.

In 1970, the College became one of the first programs in the U.S. to offer the Ph.D. in criminal justice, and it was the first institutions the State of Texas to offer the Masters of Science in Forensic Science. SHSU's PhD in Clinical Science with a Forensic emphasis is one of seven such accredited programs in the U.S. The College faculty were recently recognized as the 4th most productive nationally in their field in terms of research, and their areas of expertise range from serial murder, hate crime, and terrorism to policing, law, corrections, and security.

The College of Criminal Justice includes the headquarters of the Texas Forensic Science Commission.[10] It also houses the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, which specializes in training for local, state, and federal law enforcement officers in the area of management and supervision. The College also houses a working courtroom where students can observe and analyze real trials.

Texas Studies[edit]

The university has been commended as of late for offering courses that encourage the study of the lore, the lure, and the history of the Lone Star State.[11] In 2012, digital archivists at the university library worked with officials at a local veterans museum to launch the Texas Military Veterans Oral History collection.

Athletics[edit]

Sam Houston State Bearkats logo

Sam Houston State's colors are orange and white and their nickname is the Bearkats. Sam Houston State sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Championship Subdivision for football) in the Southland Conference. Most recently, the top-ranked Bearkat football team was defeated by North Dakota State University in the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship.

SHSU's athletic teams have been nicknamed "The Bearkats" since 1923 when the University's name was changed by the Texas State Legislature from Sam Houston Normal Institute to Sam Houston State Teachers College. Prior to 1923, the varsity sports teams were nicknamed "The Normals."

It is doubtful those who coined the "Bearkat" nickname had a particular animal in mind. More likely, the name came from a popular local saying of the time, "tough as a Bearkat!" The late Reed Lindsey, who was a student/athlete in the 1920s and later retired as University registrar, once said that "it was a good fighting name of the time." Since the animal in the saying was thought more mythical than real, the spelling settled upon was "Bearkat."

In the late 1940s, then SHSU president Harmon Lowman attempted to change the SHSU mascot from Bearkats to "Ravens" (after General Sam Houston's Cherokee nickname). Mrs. Vernon Schuder reported that the alumni were polled and she voted for the raven but that "all those old Bearkats beat us out!"

A Sammy Bearkat mascot character, with the later addition of a Samantha, began appearing at SHSU sports events in 1959. Samantha is now retired.

Rivalry[edit]

SHSU's primary rival is Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) and tensions between the two schools can run high before major sporting events that pit one against the other. The annual football game between SHSU and SFA, named the Battle of the Piney Woods, dates back to 1923. Since 2010, the series has been played at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The rivalry is the second-oldest Division I Football Championship Subdivision rivalry in Texas.

Mascot[edit]

Main article: Sammy Bearkat

Sam Houston's Bearkat is represented by Sammy Bearkat, a costumed mascot, who has entertained and led crowds in cheers during sporting events since 1959.

Club Sports[edit]

Club sports are very popular at SHSU. Some available to students include: Ultimate Frisbee, lacrosse, rugby, martial arts, trap and skeet, inline hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, and baseball. The Sam Houston Quidditch team is the reigning Quidditch World Cup VI Division 2 Champions.[12]

Campus media[edit]

The SHSU School of Mass Communication operates KSHU, a student-run radio (90.5 FM) and television (cable channel 7) station, broadcasting news, sports, and entertainment programming for the campus and community. "The Houstonian" is the student-published twice-weekly campus newspaper. Broadcast studios and offices for all three media are located within the Dan Rather Communication Building.

The Alcalde was the university's annual yearbook, published from 1910–1998 and 2003–2006; it was named in honor of Texas Governor Oran Roberts whose nickname was "The Old Alcalde."[13]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Online Numbers Soar As SHSU Sets Another Enrollment Record." Sam Houston State University. Retrieved on October 27, 2013.
  2. ^ "SHSU - President update 2002". 
  3. ^ "Sam Houston Receives Higher Carnegie Classification". Heritage: The Magazine of Sam Houston State University. Spring 2009. p. 16. 
  4. ^ Austin Hall. SHSU Campus Map. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
  5. ^ SHSU. SHSU History. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
  6. ^ Peabody Memorial Library. SHSU Campus Map. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
  7. ^ "SHSU To Showcase New Campus With Open House." Sam Houston State University. March 29, 2011. Retrieved on September 18, 2011.
  8. ^ About SHSU. About SHSU. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
  9. ^ "Degrees offered". Sam Houston State University. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  10. ^ "Contact Us." Texas Forensic Science Commission. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  11. ^ "Texas Studies". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  12. ^ "International Quidditch". Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Alcalde". The Buildings of Sam Houston State University. Retrieved 2006-05-24. 

External links[edit]