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Trauth delivers annual academic year kickoff speech at Texas State

Date of Release: 08/23/2005

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SAN MARCOS—Progress, ethics, and the concept of higher education as a social compact were central themes as Texas State University-San Marcos President Denise M. Trauth delivered her annual state of the university address during the annual Fall Convocation and General Faculty Meeting Tuesday, Aug. 23.

Texas State, Trauth said, made substantial progress during 2005, illustrated in part by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s approval of planning authority for four new Ph.D. programs at the university. The four programs – in criminal justice, computer science, mathematics and mathematics education, will have a transformational effect on the university, Trauth said.

“These four new doctorates that we received authority for this spring will change the perception of Texas State among our peers, our prospective faculty, the general public and even ourselves,” said Trauth.

Although the Texas Legislature did not approve a tuition revenue bond package that could have funded an undergraduate academic center at Texas State and a second building at the Round Rock Higher Education Center, Trauth said she was encouraged by higher levels of future funding from the Higher Education Assistance Fund and the general appropriation that were approved by the Legislature for Texas State.

Trauth announced the appointment of Department of Marketing Chair Debbie McAlister as a Presidential Fellow to focus on strengthening the university’s emphasis on ethics.

“We want Texas State University to be known as a university that gives its students the preparation they must have to be the citizens we need them to be and the citizens they want to be. This is our legacy. We have been doing this for more than a hundred years, but as times change, so do the requirements of this preparation. We owe it to ourselves and our students to nurture a culture that is forthrightly honest. We must teach our students that there is nothing that being unethical gives them that is greater than what it takes away from them,” said Trauth.

Trauth invoked the memory of Texas State’s most distinguished alumnus, former President Lyndon Johnson, as she emphasized that higher education is a public good and should be seen as a social compact.

She cited statistics that demonstrate that college graduates earn more, are healthier and are more active in the democratic process than those who do not graduate from college.

Trauth told of how Johnson signed the Higher Education Act of 1965 on the Texas State campus, and she said this moment marked a movement in higher education, opening the doors to students who had thought college opportunities to be out of reach.

She said Johnson must have foreseen the impact the Higher Education Act would have in 1965 as he signed the bill in San Marcos.

“He said, ‘So when we leave here this morning, I want you to go back and say to your children and to your grandchildren and those who come after you and follow you – tell them that we have made a promise to them.’ He might have said, ‘Tell them we have made a social compact with them,’” said Trauth.

Trauth announced that Texas State would celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act on Nov. 8 when Arnold Mitchem, president of the Council for Opportunity in Education will deliver the university’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Distinguished Lecture. President Johnson’s daughter, Luci Baines Johnson, will also speak on campus that day.