News Archives September 11, 2012

Campus News for September 11, 2012

Sul Ross State University will commemorate Pueblo Unido IV with a two-night Micro Cinema film event Friday-Saturday, Sept. 14-15.
Hosted by the Fine Arts and Communication Department, the event will celebrate Latin heritage. Show times for both evenings is 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, Francois Fine Arts Building.
Friday night (Sept. 14) is a short©form format featuring such films as Jai/Life, Mariposa/Butterfly, Un Buen Hijo, Waiting for Trains, and I Am a Virgin for Sure. A longer offering, La Ciudad, tells the stories of Mexican American immigrants living in New York City.
Saturday night’s (Sept. 15) offering is the feature film A Better Life. Set in East Los Angeles, it depicts the struggles of a gardener-father who tries to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had. Demián Bichir was nominated for an Oscar in 2012 for his Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
A short discussion about the films will conclude each evening, and the event is open to the public. A one-day pass costs $5 and a two-day pass costs $8. Advanced tickets are available at or by calling 888-722-SRSU. Sul Ross State University students, faculty, and staff members with a valid ID receive free admission.
For more information, contact Michelle Selk, (432) 837-8794 or
The McReynolds Scholarship Endowment and Scholarship Fund has been established at Sul Ross State University.
The agreement, executed Aug. 13, is open to all majors, and graduates of any high school in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma are eligible to apply.
Preference will be given to majors in Industrial Arts, Education, Agriculture and Criminal Justice, as well as to applicants active or supportive of the Sul Ross Rodeo Program. Beginning freshmen who apply must be fully admitted to Sul Ross. Returning students must be making normal progress toward a degree and maintain an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
Scholarship selections will be recommended to the University Scholarship Committee, who will make the awards.
“We are genuinely grateful to the McReynolds family for their support of present and future Sul Ross students,” said Dr. Ricardo Maestas, President.
Sul Ross endowments exceed $14 million with more than 215 individual scholarships.
For information on endowments, contact Leo Dominguez, (432) 837-8033 or
A scholarship fund to benefit rodeo team members has been established at Sul Ross State University.
The Evelyn Bruce Kingsbery Rodeo Scholarship Fund, established Aug. 31, will award scholarships to Sul Ross juniors and seniors who are current or incoming members of the rodeo team. Eligible recipients must be fully admitted to Sul Ross, in good disciplinary standing and NIRA (National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association) eligible.
Scholarship selections will be approved by the Dean of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, as recommended by the rodeo coach. Final awards will be made in consultation with the University Scholarship Committee.
“This scholarship fund is indicative of the widespread support for Sul Ross,” President Ricardo Maestas said. “We thank the Kingsbery family for their generous contribution.”
Sul Ross endowments exceed $14 million with more than 215 individual scholarships.
For information on endowments, contact Leo Dominguez, (432) 837-8033 or
by Steve Lang, News and Publications
Joey Van Noy’s soil research carried him from ranch land south of Alpine to the University of Kentucky.
Van Noy, New Braunfels, spent the summer in the Blue Grass State working on two UK research farms and in a soil microbiology, ecology and biochemistry lab. The Sul Ross State University senior was offered the internship after making a presentation at a McNair Program conference at the University of Maryland this past March.
“I attended a graduate school fair after making an oral presentation (on baseline carbon levels in Trans- Pecos grasslands), and the first recruiter I met was from the University of Kentucky,” he said. The recruiter referred Van Noy’s research to Dr. Mark Coyne, UK professor of Plant and Soil Sciences. Following about a week of correspondence, Van Noy was offered a summer internship in Coyne’s laboratory.
“At UK, I helped to design and initiate several projects (involving soil sampling),” he said. “I was probably running up to five research projects at one time, so it was pretty hectic.”
“We tried to get Joey exposed to as many different techniques in soil microbiology as possible,” Coyne said. He added that in addition to soil sampling, nutrient analysis, and urease enzyme assays, Van Noy was asked to make media, isolate, and enumerate bacteria and fungi from turf soils that were suffering from brown spot – a condition in which the soil becomes extremely hydrophobic and prevents wetting, which leads to plant death.
Coyne said Van Noy’s primary project was to initiate a study to examine the relationship between grass and legume density on carbon and nitrogen storage in renovated pastures.
“Joey and his other intern colleague from Thailand (Isarapong) were responsible for establishing the transects (sample areas) we will use at a sinkhole site in Woodford County (Ky.), and at a small plot site in Fayette County,” Coyne said. “In both locations they sampled the soil for the initial chemical and properties.”
Throughout the summer, Van Noy was kept busy multi-tasking.
“If Joey looked like he didn’t have anything to do, we also asked him to help other graduate students in the lab with their research,” Coyne said. “So, overall Joey wasn’t in a position to take any one project to completion. But he did a great deal to make sure that various projects got started for the future.
“It was a delight to have Joey work with us,” Coyne said. “He set a very high bar for future interns to meet and in addition, kicked my butt in the Midnight Madness 5K run.”
The internship provided Van Noy numerous teaching moments.
“There was a lot of chemistry involved, but Dr. Coyne is very informative and very much a teacher,” he said, adding that research has preceded some of Van Noy’s classroom experience.
“I am taking my first soil science class this fall,” he said.
Van Noy, who re-enrolled in college after dropping out to help his brother start a landscaping business, transferred to Sul Ross from Austin Community College in 2010. He was encouraged to apply for the McNair Program, which encourages first generation, low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study.
At Sul Ross, under two different McNair Program undergraduate research projects, Van Noy studied carbon and nitrogen levels in grasslands on the O2 and Mims ranches. His internship interrupted his current project, studying fire impacts on soil nitrogen levels. He plans to have the project completed for the upcoming McNair-Tafoya Research Symposium in late October. Dr. Bonnie Warnock, associate professor of Natural Resource Management, has served as Van Noy’s mentor.
“I very much take the McNair Program and all it offers very seriously,” he said. “I am a huge advocate of the program....Sul Ross gave me an opportunity to come back to school and I have thrived since I’ve been here.”
His summer experience could lead to a graduate opportunity when Van Noy completes his bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management in May 2013.
“I have received a tentative offer from the University of Kentucky for a master’s (degree) project,” he said. “I will need to pass the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) and apply to begin next fall.”
Van Noy, who hopes to earn a Ph.D., has already experienced the flexibility of location that the study of soil science affords.
“With soil (science background), I can go anywhere in the world I want,” he said. “It is important to me to have that freedom to travel.”
The Sul Ross State University music faculty will present a recital Thursday, Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, Francois Fine Arts Building. The recital is free and open to the public.
Featured will be Donald Callen Freed, tenor; Heather Ainsworth-Dobbins, bassoon; Christopher Dobbins, trombone; Lana Potts, piano and organ; and Steven Bennack, guitar.
New Deal social programs enacted during the Great Depression can be traced to Civil War policies in Union-occupied Beaufort, S.C., according to John Martin “Marty” Davis.
Davis, a businessman, historian, author and friend of Sul Ross, presented the 24th annual Mary Thomas Marshall Lecture Sept. 5 at Sul Ross State University. He addressed “The First Shuffle of the American New Deal: Social Programs Instituted in Occupied Beaufort, South Carolina, During the Civil War, 1861-1865, by General Rufus Saxton.”
Davis’ lecture provided a summary of social programs enacted in Beaufort after a successful Union invasion captured the city in November 1861.
“The war was over in four hours,” Davis said of the invasion. The subsequent occupation of Beaufort, located between Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga., lasted until the end of the Civil War. The Union military presence effectively blockaded those seaports and created a strong Union presence in the Confederacy. Confederate President Jefferson Davis called the invasion “the beginning of the end.”
Prior to its occupation, Beaufort had a population of 1,000 white residents and 9,000-10,000 slaves, a very wealthy planters’ society community “that became an example of what the (Civil) War was about to abolitionists,” Davis said.
Virtually all of the white citizens left immediately after the invasion. During the subsequent occupation through the end of the Civil War, the city grew to 30,000 former slaves and about 10,000 soldiers. As the war continued and emancipation was enacted, thousands of former slaves migrated to Beaufort.
President Abraham Lincoln appointed Major-general Rufus Saxton, an abolitionist, as military governor of the region in 1862. In this capacity he directed the recruitment of the first black regiments to fight in the Union Army. He was later appointed to a second position, assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, where he pursued the policy of settling freed slaves in land confiscated from white landowners in the Sea Islands.
During his tenure, Saxton established social programs. Those programs, although short-lived, served as models for New Deal policies. The measures implemented included regulations covering fair wages, child care, marriage, peoples’ courts, food banks, clinics and benefits for injured, sick and elderly workers.
Saxton, despite contending with government indifference and land speculators eager to purchase foreclosed properties at bargain prices, managed to initiate the programs as the Civil War progressed. Six separate communities were established, with housing built by ex-slaves and businesses established with skilled artisans. One community, named Mitchellville, elected its own officials, including mayor, sheriff and council members.
“The biggest problem was jobs,” Davis said. “The government did not give one penny to Saxton to carry out his orders, but all the cotton that was grown and picked could be sold to support the mission.”
Sea Island cotton, grown in the Beaufort region, commanded the highest prices on the cotton market because of its long staple and silky texture. Ex-slaves continued to work in the cotton fields, but under better conditions and were paid fair wages under the new policies. In addition to cotton revenue, Saxton helped to establish the manufacture of rush baskets and cedar tubs, two industries still in operation.
In addition to farming and working in military supply depots, a third major source of employment for the growing population was joining the Union Army. Saxton established the First South Carolina regiment of black soldiers (with white commanding officers), which served with distinction against the Confederate Army. Four other regiments were also formed.
Despite the programs, demand did not keep up with supply, in the wake of a growing population, Davis noted. “Saxton got decent housing, but in essence, it was a refugee camp” and the earliest residents had the best accommodations.
Another major challenge facing Saxton’s programs was the presence of land speculators, who outbid freedmen attempting to purchase their own land. Davis said that action by Lincoln set aside a small portion of foreclosed land for purchase by freedmen. Twenty-acre plots could be purchased for $25 and small houses could be built on the parcels for another $25.
The effort to establish a black farming community was largely a failure, although nearly 700 families were able to purchase small tracts, Davis said.
The experiment ultimately ended with Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865. (The War Between the States ended by declaration on May 9, 1865.)
“When Lincoln was assassinated, it (program) was over with,” Davis said. “ (Lincoln’s successor) Andrew Johnson had no use for it; Congress didn’t want to fund it; and the missionary societies (who worked alongside the military) were tired of it.”
Saxton, who had been handed what Davis termed a “thankless job,” left Beaufort in 1866, after being removed from his position in the Freedmen’s Bureau by Johnson. Saxton was re-assigned to the Quartermaster Corps, where he served until his retirement in 1888. He died in 1908 at the age of 83.
Davis, who is a resident of Fort Davis and Beaufort, also presented the 2007 Marshall Lecture, “The Cadillac Jack Collector’s Protocol.” The Sul Ross Lecture Series was renamed in 1985 to honor Marshall, a good friend of the University.
A new tradition – a pledge of personal integrity and respect toward others – highlighted Sul Ross State University’s 14th annual New Student Convocation.
The annual event, held Sept. 6 in Marshall Auditorium, welcomes all new Sul Ross students and acquaints them with the history and traditions of the university.
Following the charge to the entering Class of 2016 and passing of the Spirit Stick, Denise Groves, vice president of Enrollment Management, led the new students in reciting a pledge, then read supporting statements.

The pledge states: *As a member of Sul Ross State University, I will practice personal and academic integrity.
Students will choose to refrain from cheating in classes, games, or sports. Plagiarism, lying, deceiving, and making excuses will not be tolerated.
* I will respect the dignity of all persons.
Students will choose to refrain from behaviors that demean the dignity of individuals and groups. Students will avoid discrimination, hazing, taunting, ridiculing, insulting, or harassing others.
* I will respect the rights and property of others.
Students will choose to respect other individuals by preventing any form of theft or malicious damage to others’ property. Respect will be shown by supporting students’ rights to live on campus safely and conduct their student lives appropriately.
* I will strive to learn from the differences in people, ideas, and opinions.
Students will choose to support equal rights and opportunities for all students, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, disability, ethnic background or socioeconomic status. Students will engage in respectful conversations about viewpoints and background influences to opinions and priorities in life.
* I will demonstrate concern for others and their need for conditions which support their learning and personal development.
Students will choose to create and support an environment that caters to learning. Students will avoid criticizing others questions in the pursuit of an education. Students will be considerate of opposing ideas and opinions, while pushing each other to question rote responses and “think outside the box.”
* I pledge myself to these ideals and discourage behaviors that threaten the freedom and respect that all Sul Ross State University members deserve.
Dr. Ricardo Maestas, Sul Ross’ 11th President, joined Groves and Student Government Association president Johnathan Cruz, San Antonio, in praising the Class of 2016 for making the right choice: choosing to enroll at Sul Ross.
He urged students to “dream big” and set goals, including the goal of receiving a degree in four years.
“In four years I hope you will walk across the stage and receive your diplomas,” he said. “This is your chance to shape your future....When you attend Sul Ross, keep your goals in mind and reach high.”
Maestas called education an investment, and quoted Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education, who said each student must “become a serious investor in your own education. Your education will give you great advantages, but only if you take advantage of your education.”
He also emphasized the importance of Sul Ross traditions and academic traditions in general as a means to build continuity, cohesiveness and pride in the culture and heritage of university life. He referred to the new student convocation, painting and lighting the Bar-SR-Bar at Homecoming, enjoying the Meal on the Mall and hiking to the desk at the top of Hancock Mountain as some of the Sul Ross traditions. Maestas cited the impact of the Bar-SR-Bar brand as well.
“Ride for the brand. Wear it proudly, as it is recognized all over the world,” he said.
In conclusion, he led the class in reciting the motto, “Once a Lobo, always a Lobo!”
Cruz called the convocation “a celebration of your decision to attend Sul Ross State University.”
“You made the right choice to receive a quality education at an affordable price,” he said, and urged the students to set goals and be involved in campus life.
He also emphasized the importance of involvement, both in campus and community activities and closed with stressing the 3 R’s: respect for self, respect for others and taking responsibility for one’s actions.
Antonio Castro, El Paso, a member of the Class of 2015, passed the Spirit Stick to Kyle Hester, Liberty Hill, representingthe Class of 2016
The convocation concluded with singing the “Alma Mater,” led by Dr. Donald Freed, associate professor of Music. Steve Bennack, visiting lecturer in Music, played the Processional and Recessional. The annual Fall on the Mall student organization recruitment fair and an ice cream social on Mall followed the convocation. –0o0–