Trauth cites year of progress during annual fall speech
Posted by Mark Hendricks
University News Service
Aug. 26, 2008
Texas State University-San Marcos looks forward to a year of continued progress in 2008-09 while still taking the time to honor its past and the legacy of its most distinguished alumnus, University President Denise M. Trauth said Tuesday.
Delivering her annual “State of the University” address during the Faculty-Staff Fall Convocation Tuesday, Trauth outlined measures of progress achieved in the past 12 months, spoke about what lies ahead and outlined plans of the university to participate in the yearlong celebration of the 100th birthday of Lyndon Baines Johnson, a graduate of Texas State.
The university will focus on LBJ as part of a statewide celebration of the former president’s 100th birthday. Partners along with Texas State include the LBJ Presidential Library, the LBJ State and National Parks, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the LBJ Museum of San Marcos.
“Lyndon Johnson was proud of this campus when he graduated from here in 1930. He was proud of his alma mater when he returned in 1965 (to sign the historic Higher Education Act), and he was proud of it when he visited here in 1973, six days before he died. I know those of you gathered here today would make him even more proud of what Texas State has become,” said Trauth.
Trauth said that in the late 1920s when Johnson was enrolled, the university had about 2,000 students and 73 faculty members. This year, the university is expected to enroll 28,600 students with almost 1,000 faculty members. She said another 35 faculty will be hired during the coming year.
“Since I gave my speech at last year’s convocation, we have added 50 new faculty positions, continuing to ease the burden of growing enrollment on our faculty. In just the last six years, we have increased the full-time faculty by 25 percent,” she said.
Trauth cited several other measures of progress, including:
- The formal dedication of the Ingram School of Engineering and the start-up of a new program in electrical engineering, which will begin this fall with an entering cohort of more than 70 students, nearly three times the number originally expected.
- The passage of a student referendum that overwhelmingly approved an increase in student fees to support the university’s athletic program, a move she called “a tremendous vote of confidence in the future of Bobcat athletics.”
- Recognition of the university as a model in higher education for its success in graduating Hispanic students. Texas State’s graduation rate for Hispanic students earning a bachelor’s degree is 16 points higher than the Texas average and 10 points higher than the national average.
- Work by the university’s Emergency Management Committee to draft new emergency management policies and develop better emergency communication procedures.
- Continued progress on the university’s Campus Master Plan.
- The acquisition by the university of the papers of author Cormac McCarthy for Texas State’s Southwestern Writers Collection, and,
- Work by the university to develop and implement doctoral programs in mathematics, materials science (including nano technology), measures she said that “clearly demonstrate that Texas State is stepping up to meet our state’s and our nation’s needs.”
Trauth also outlined the university’s Pride in Action fund-raising campaign, which will be led by alumni Jerry and Linda Fields of Houston. The Fields have donated more than $2 million to endow two academic chairs at Texas State, have purchased 1,200 football season tickets to donate to recent Texas State graduates and pledged a $250,000 challenge grant to support a future permanent tribute to the Strutters in a new Alumni Center.
The Pride in Action campaign will have five “pillars” or areas of emphasis. These are:
- Academic excellence
- A new Performing Arts Center
- A new Alumni Center
- Improvements to the Alkek Library
Trauth said that, through the years at Texas State, there has been change, but also constancy.
“Much has changed at Texas State since Lyndon Johnson walked these hills. One thing that remains the same, though, is the dedication of our faculty and staff. We can and will continue to transform lives. It is a commitment we all renew with the coming of this new school year,” she said.