Friday, January 23, 2004
Jerome Supple was only the eighth president in the 100-year history of the institution we now know as Texas State University-San Marcos. That says something about the attachment to the university of the people who oversaw its development.
Institutions may not be capable of reciprocating that attachment, but the people in them are. Anyone associated with the university, previously known as Southwest Texas State, shares the loss of Supple, who died last week of cancer. He is to be buried today in New Hampshire, but there have been a series of farewells here, including one Wednesday in San Marcos.
It has been a long goodbye because it is a difficult one. Supple was only 67 when he died, young by modern standards. Though he left early, the impression he leaves on Texas State is deep and deeply felt. In 1989, he took the presidency of a growing institution that showed great promise and made it live up to that potential.
By the time Supple retired in 2001, his accomplishments included:
Academic and financial statistics don't tell of Supple's devotion to the institution as eloquently as he did, though. Whether in casual conversation or formal presentation, his dedication was palpable. On top of that, he was an easy person to like.
He was the right president at the right time. Texas State University owes Supple its new place in the hierarchy of the state's institutions of higher education. It even owes Supple its new name.
We extend our condolences to the family and to the faculty, staff and students of Texas State University-San Marcos.