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University Star reunion kicks off centennial celebration

Posted by University News Service

April 12, 2010


A reunion of former staff members of Texas State University-San Marcos’ student newspaper, the University Star, scheduled April 30 – May 1, 2010, will kick off a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the university’s oldest continuously published student publication.


Invitations to more than 600 Star alumni, former Pedagog yearbook editors and friends were dropped in the mail last week for this decade’s third all-era Star reunion.  With the spring 2010 kick-off reunion scheduled, current and former Star staffers can celebrate the publication’s centennial throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.


Current University Star editor Amanda Venable, a second-generation Star staffer, is heading up a reunion committee that includes student publications staff and alumni. The committee has been meeting for the past few months to plan reunion activities.


According to Venable, former staff members who did not receive invitations should not be shy about registering for the reunion on the Star website at 


The first Star was published in February of 1911.  The student newspaper was started by then student Fred Adams, son of the founder of Adams Extract and Spice Company.  Adams persuaded the Southwest Texas Normal School administration to let him publish the newspaper.  He promised to pay for it himself, if he could not sell enough advertising to sustain it.  Obviously it survived and thrived.


Just like the university, the Star’s name changed with the status of the school – Normal Star, College Star, University Star.


This spring’s reunion will give returning Star staffers the opportunity to tour the publication’s new home in what is now named the Trinity Building.  Many former staffers will remember that it was the site of the campus print shop for many years.


The reunion will open Friday, April 30, with the Star’s fifth annual Golf Tournament at Quail Creek Country Club.  A continental breakfast and registration will begin at 8 a.m. followed by a 9 a.m. shotgun start.  The tournament will conclude with awards and a buffet meal at 2 p.m.


Early check-in and campus tours will begin at 2 p.m. at the Star office in the Trinity Building.

At 4 p.m., the LBJ Museum of San Marcos will host a reception at the museum, located on the courthouse square at 131 N. Guadalupe St.  Lyndon Johnson served as summer Star editor-in-chief in 1929 during his student days at what was then Southwest Texas State Teachers College.      Friday evening will be dedicated to satellite era or decade group gatherings at varying locations around town. 


Check-in, Star office and campus tours will resume at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 1.  A banquet, silent auction, Fred Adams Hall of Fame induction ceremony and entertainment will begin at 5 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center.  Tickets to the gala evening are $60 and there is an April 20 RSVP deadline.


San Marcos River Inn and Embassy Suites are the designated local reunion hotels, with both offering special Star reunion rates.  April 9 is the deadline for hotel reservations at the designated Star reunion rates.


Student Publications recognized Fred Adams during its first ever all-era Star reunion in 2004 by creating the Fred Adams Award, which was presented  to 11 former Star staffers and advisers at that first reunion and to another five  at the second reunion held in 2007. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the student newspaper, as well as accomplishments in journalism or related fields.  Adams and President Lyndon Baines Johnson were among the first group of Adams Award honorees.


According to Adams, who was interviewed in 1986, the first copies of the Star were printed on the same hand press used to print labels for Adams Extract.


Adams Extract traces its roots back to 1888 when pharmacist John Anderson Adams sold extract door-to-door in the harsh Michigan climate.  John A. Adams moved his family to Texas in 1905.  After refining the formula for vanilla flavoring – which his wife declared “the best” – John A. Adams used $6.71 worth of product to get into the production business.  His sons – Don and Fred Adams – sold the extract door to door. At night, they helped their father print the labels by the light of  kerosene lanterns.