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Regents rename SWT Science Building for Supples

Date of release: 08/22/03

SAN MARCOS — The Science Building at Southwest Texas State University has been renamed in honor of former SWT President Jerome H. Supple and his wife, Catherine E. Supple.

Meeting Friday on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, the Texas State University System Board of Regents voted unanimously to rename the Science Building the Jerome H. and Catherine E. Supple Science Building.

Former SWT President Jerome H. Supple and his wife, Catherine E. Supple

“ This is a fitting tribute to Jerry and Cathy Supple,” said SWT President Denise M. Trauth, who succeeded Supple. “They did so much for the university and for the San Marcos community. It is somewhat humbling to follow in President Supple’s footsteps, but I inherited a wonderful, dynamic university in large part because of his efforts.”

Supple became president of SWT in 1989. He retired in August 2002. During his presidency, SWT:

  • Raised admission standards several times, making it one of the most selective public universities in the state.
  • Improved student retention from 57 percent to 75 percent.
  • Established several new enrollment records.
  • Began offering the schools first doctoral programs.
  • Successfully completed the university’s first major gifts capital campaign, raising more than $74 million in the process and exceeding the campaign’s original goal by $14 million.
  • Increased the amount of research funding from $5 million annually to more than $42 million.

Jerome Supple came to SWT from the State University of New York System, where he had progressed through the academic ranks from chemistry faculty member to acting president, serving at campuses in Plattsburgh, Fredonia and Potsdam. An organic chemist, he holds degrees from Boston College and the University of New Hampshire and served a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley.

Catherine Supple holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in liberal studies. She did graduate work at Oxford University as recipient of the Treadwell Memorial Scholarship, given by the English Speaking Union of New York. She is a former reporter, photojournalist and English teacher and taught Freshman Seminar courses at SWT.

The Supples sing in the folk band The Newton Street Irregulars. Jerome plays clawhammer banjo, and Catherine plays guitar.

The Jerome H. and Catherine E. Supple Science Building houses the SWT Biology Department and offices of the SWT College of Science. The 95,000-square-foot building opened in 1991. Highlights of the facility include a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse complex, a rooftop observatory and an electron microscopy suite.

The College of Science at SWT includes the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center.