News Archives Feb. 14, 2012

News for Feb. 14, 2012



For the first time, Sul Ross State University students and alumni will be able to purchase the same Sul Ross State University ring.

Beginning this spring, the university will introduce an official school ring available to any undergraduate who has completed 75 credit hours or more with a 2.0 GPA or higher or graduate student with 20 hours and a GPA of at least 3.0. The ring will also be available to Sul Ross graduate. By means of this traditional ring program, all students and alumni will wear a ring with the same design.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, at 10:30 a.m., the public unveiling of the ring will take place on the second floor of the Morgan University Center. Everyone is invited to attend the unveiling ceremony and have refreshments afterward. Beginning at 11:00 a.m. after the unveiling, orders will be taken from those who have received a notice in the mail that they are eligible to purchase the ring.

Everyone who orders their Sul Ross ring on Feb. 23 and 24 will receive their ring during a ring ceremony which will be held at the end of the spring term. The ring ceremony itself will begin a new tradition at Sul Ross. The format and details are being planned now for a special event to mark the beginning of a student’s final chapter toward graduation, a major turning-point in any student’s life.

The Sul Ross Alumni Association and University Bookstore are sponsors of the ring program. Together with Student Government Association leadership, student leaders, university officials, academic leadership and university staff, the alumni association and bookstore joined together to design a ring that they believe represents the honor and traditions of the university.

"The goal has been to create a symbol that will immediately identify the individual as a graduate of Sul Ross," said Liz Beam, general manager at University Bookstore. Recently many universities across the country have returned to the idea of a traditional ring after allowing customized rings to be purchased by anyone whether they have an affiliation with the university or not.

"The official Sul Ross ring is a link with classmates and friends," said Don Sugarek, Alumni Association president. "Times will change, but the ring will stay the same. Some schools have retained the tradition of an official ring throughout the years, so people who graduated from a college in 1939 have the same ring design as those who graduated in 2012. There is something special about sharing the same symbol as others who graduated from your school."

According to Sugarek, the Alumni Association and University Bookstore have been working on the traditional ring idea for over four years. When SGA passed legislation supporting the development of the traditional ring in the fall of 2010, a ring committee began the process of a ring design and bids were taken from interested vendors.

Commemorative Brands, which owns Balfour and Art Carved, and is located in Austin, was chosen as the vendor who would be able to handle the Sul Ross program with the best interests of the students and the university in mind. Balfour will be the brand name used and they have had experience in manufacturing rings for several long-standing, historic ring traditions including Auburn, Notre Dame, Rice, Villanova and Texas A&M. The University Bookstore and the Alumni Association will be the only sources for the purchase of the new traditional ring. The ring has been licensed with the intent that only qualified students will be able to purchase the ring.





Sul Ross State University’s spring semester enrollment declined eight percent, but semester credit hours remained level, according to 12th class day numbers. 

State funding for the university is generally dependent on semester credit hours rather than student head-count. Semester-credit-hours increased from 19,480 to 19,486; the student head count for the Spring 2012 semester was 1,793 compared to 1,948 students in the Spring, 2011 semester.


Sophomore and senior class numbers showed increases of 1.9 and 1.8 percent, respectively, while freshman (-10.8 percent); junior (-1.3 percent); graduate (-9.4 percent); and post-baccalaureate (-48.2 percent) totals declined.

"The University is working diligently to identify reasons for this decline in headcount and will develop strategies accordingly, but we are encouraged by the indication that students appear to now be registering for more classes," said Dr. Ricardo Maestas, Sul Ross President.




A hands-on study of human prehistory in the Trans-Pecos will be offered through Sul Ross State University’s archaeological field school, scheduled May 29-July 3. This is a fun and exciting opportunity to study archaeology, hands-on, in beautiful West Texas, as well as a chance to contribute to the growing understanding of prehistory in the Trans-Pecos region.

This six-credit hour course teaches archaeological field techniques to undergraduate and graduate students. At Sul Ross, three hours of the class credit can be applied to Social Science curriculum requirements, and the remaining three hours apply to elective credit. However, students from other institutions may receive credit consistent with their local program guidelines.

Students will be working side-by-side with experienced, professional archaeologists. The course is designed to assist students in learning and developing archaeological field techniques, such as mapping features, profiling exposures, finding and recording sites, and methods of excavation. Fieldwork is augmented by an intensive program of guest lectures, field trips, discussions, and laboratory work. Expect warm-to-hot temperatures—shade set-ups will be used during excavations.

This year's field school will incorporate investigations at several noteworthy locations in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas. This is a unique opportunity for students to engage in archaeological studies in a variety of settings and to gain an appreciation for the diversity of prehistoric lifeways and environments in the Trans-Pecos. The possibilities for study locations include the Nature Conservancy's Independence Creek Preserve in Terrell County, additional renowned and important sites in the Lower Pecos region, sites in the Big Bend region of the Eastern Trans-Pecos, and a range of sites on vast and remote private ranches—all extremely rare opportunities.

Generally, the field school will consist of five 5-day sessions (Monday-Friday) with weekend breaks. However, considerable flexibility may be exercised to accommodate weather and field trip logistics. In many instances, bunkhouse-type accommodations will be available in ranch facilities. When conditions allow, some brief tent/car camping may be needed to facilitate work in remote locations.

All food is provided, with breakfast and dinner prepared by a camp cook. Depending on the final itinerary, Sul Ross can provide vehicle support for field excursions, but students may want or need to provide transportation to base camps. In addition to lectures and presentations, after-class activities will vary according to the itinerary. Possibilities include swimming (at several locations), fishing, birding, exploration, and photography.

Tuition and fees will be $1,257.50 for Texas residents and $3,135.50 for out-of-state residents. A field school fee of $500 will also be charged to cover the cost of prepared meals, transportation, and all lab supplies and equipment. Some scholarships are available to help cover part of the field school fee. The application/registration deadline is May 14. There is a limit of 15 students, so reserve a place immediately by contacting Samuel Cason at, (432) 837-8823.

For more information, contact Susan Chisholm at the Center for Big Bend Studies, Sul Ross State University, (432) 837-8179,

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