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Supple outlines prestige initiatives to kick off academic year

Date of release: 08/29/00

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Southwest Texas State University President Jerome Supple Monday reaffirmed his commitment to enhancing the quality and prestige of SWT during his annual fall speech at the faculty-staff convocation.

Supple specifically outlined three initiatives the university would continue to pursue during the 2000-2001 academic year:

  • To begin construction of the Texas Rivers Center at San Marcos Springs.
  • To progress toward classification as a Doctoral I university under the current Carnegie Foundation classification system.
  • To continue to seek Division I-A status for the school’s football program.

The Texas Rivers Center is a joint project of SWT and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that will make Aquarena Center the home of a multimillion-dollar educational and research facility focusing on the importance of aquifers, rivers and aquatic systems in Texas. Supple said construction would begin in about a year.

“The goal of the Texas Rivers Center is to education the public about aquatic ecology and it will help to develop in international reputation for SWT in the study of aquatic systems. Hundreds of thousands of visitors will be brought to our campus and see the important work we are doing. This is a dream come true for Aquarena. This is what we hoped we could do with the property ever since we bought it in 1994,” he said.

To achieve Doctoral I status, the university must award at least 40 doctoral degrees a year in at least five disciplines. Currently, the university offers doctoral degrees in geographic education and environmental geography, but Supple said expansion of doctoral offerings is on the horizon.

“We will take an important step later this week when our request to begin a Ph.D. program in education goes to our Board of Regents. This would bring us to Doctoral II, but the status of Doctoral II would be only a brief stop on our way to Doctoral I. And we are looking for additional opportunities for doctoral initiatives,” Supple said.

Supple said a move to Division I-A status in football would result in wider recognition of the university’s athletic and academic programs.

“With I-A status comes a higher profile in the media, which brings more media coverage to other athletic programs as well and ultimately to the university itself. Universities that have made this move before us tell us it brings in more student applications, more prestige to the diplomas students receive and better fund-raising leverage,” Supple said.

Supple said SWT’s first 100 years of progress had been remarkable and predicted greater things ahead.

“Our growth to this point ? since we were founded a hundred years ago and opened the doors to 303 students ? has been remarkable. Look at it ? 22,000 students, 1,000 faculty members, 427 acres of main campus that stretches almost two miles from one end the other. We are big enough and we can’t get much bigger. Our further development must be in programs, quality and prestige,” he said.