SAN MARCOS, TEXAS —
Pick an instrument a university president should play - any instrument.
A piano. A violin. How about a flute?
Now pick an instrument a Southwest Texas State University president would play.
How about a banjo? And his wife Cathy, well she can really hold her own on guitar.
“Totally immersed in his banjo and the tune,” said Cathy, describing a picture of Jerry playing his banjo. “There’s no interrupting him. Notice Jerry playing his banjo. He has what are referred to as ’banjo eyes’.”
No fires to put out, no accolades to give, just a pick away from that perfect note.
As Jerry Supple prepares to leave SWT to the greener golf courses of retirement, one can look back at more than a decade of positive changes he has made for the university. A once regional university is now more than 23,000 students strong, with $41.8 million in research funding and four Ph.D. programs.
His accomplishments as a university president are extraordinary, and, to the best of our knowledge, he’s the only claw-hammer banjo pickin’ university president in the world.
The Supples are preparing to perform their last swan song for SWT with their friends from New York, the Newton Street Irregulars, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 24 in the Music Building Recital Hall.
The Newton Street Irregulars got its start in the mid sixties when Supple started his first academic job at The State University of New York in Fredonia. The Supples found that Dick and Carmen Gilman, faculty members in the geology department, shared their love for folk music. The couples soon started playing folk music together in their free time. They sang anti-war songs, civil rights songs, union songs and love songs.
Over the years, other members came along adding additional musical and lyrical talents to the group. Today, three of the couples live in Fredonia, New York, one in Saratoga Springs, New York and the Supples in Texas; therefore, the entire group rarely unites to perform together. In 1997 Cathy organized a reunion, from which their first CD Not Oppressively Formal was produced.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see them play together one last time at SWT. There is no admission for the performance and everyone is invited. For more information, please contact the Department of Music at (512) 245-2651.