News Archives Feb. 7, 2012

News for Feb. 7, 2012



Sul Ross State University’s new class ring design will be unveiled Thursday, Feb. 23.

The unveiling ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. on the second floor foyer of the Morgan University Center. Ring sales will be conducted from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.

Ring design is by Balfour Co. of Lubbock.

For more information, contact Liz Beam, Sul Ross Bookstore manager, (432) 837-8194 or




After 26 years on the job, Linda Coleman savors the memories.

"I still get letters and notes from students who say, ‘I wouldn’t have come here except for you,’" she said.

Coleman, a registrar assistant in the Sul Ross State University Center for Enrollment Services, retired Jan. 31.

"Some days, it feels like I have been here just a couple of days; sometimes it feels like 80 years," she laughed. "But all in all, they have been good years."

Coleman began work at Sul Ross in 1985, working for Bob Pannell in Graduate Admissions. Other supervisors were Gaylan Corbin, Bob Hardin, Dot Leavitt and Bob Cullins.

She has seen many changes in her responsibilities.

"Things have improved a lot," she said, "especially the registration process. I remember when students were lined up in the stairways and down the hall."

"I have enjoyed working with and helping graduate students and the professors," she said. "Mr. Cullins (recently-retired registrar) has helped me with any problems with International student admissions, which can be tricky at times."

In May 2011, she received the Bar-SR-Bar Award for Employee Excellence.

She is a native of Tolar, but her Sul Ross ties are strongly secured. Her husband Don and three children are all Sul Ross graduates. Shiloh works for the o6 Ranch, Fort Davis; Shay is employed at PetroPlex in Midland; and Donel Lara is a teacher/coach in the Fort Davis Independent School District.

Moving from East to West Texas was a significant transition.

"I didn’t know a soul when I came out here; I thought I had moved to the end of the earth," she said. "But I have made lots of friends. I love Sul Ross and think it is a great little university," she said.

In her spare time, Coleman enjoys making jewelry, sewing, working in her yard and playing with her grandchildren.




Sul Ross State University will host the 46th annual South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America meeting, March 7-9.

Technical program symposia and themed sessions will cover recent understanding of geology in Big Bend National Park and vicinity, tectonic history of the Trans Pecos, hydrology, water quality, research and restoration in the Rio Grande and its tributaries, stratigraphy and paleontology of the Permian Basin, aquifers of West Texas and outcomes of research pertaining to Mesozoic Era geologic processes in the Western USA.

In addition to presentations and poster sessions, professionally guided field trips covering quaternary geology and hydrogeology of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo (Monday, March 5), recent studies of magmatism in Big Bend National Park (Tuesday, March 6) and a student-oriented technical workshop instructing techniques in field hydrogeology and hydrology (Wednesday, March 7) will be offered. Following the meeting, a field trip of the geology of Colorado Canyon (Saturday, March 10) is planned.

For more information, visit: or contact general meeting chair Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk,(4232) 837-8110 or





A student printmaking exhibition of the "Print Exchange" and selected works will be on display through March 2 at Sul Ross State University.

Works will be exhibited in the Main Gallery, Francois Fine Arts Building. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. A reception for the artists will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, 5-6 p.m. in the gallery. There is no admission charge and the public is invited.

A variety of techniques including relief, intaglio, monotype, monoprints, chine colle`, collagraphs and solarplate intaglio are on exhibition. In this class, the students were asked to print an edition of 30 identical prints for their final.

Print number 11 was framed for the show, and students all drew numbers and received a collection of prints from each student that corresponded to the number they chose.

For more information, contact Carol Fairlie,




by Steve Lang, News and Publications

Forty-eight years ago, the U.S. endured its initial Beatles Invasion – of the musical variety.

Presently, another Beetles Invasion seeks to capture a different audience – the salt cedar.

Researchers at Sul Ross State University are using an imported insect – the salt cedar leaf beetle – to curb the spread of this invasive species.

"The salt cedar is choking out the majority of the waterways in the Southwestern United States," said Dr. Christopher Ritzi, Sul Ross associate professor of Biology. "In Texas in general we have the largest stands of salt cedar anywhere in the country."

Salt cedar, a native of the Middle East and Turkey, were first imported into the U.S. in the 1800s for erosion control and ornamental (shade) purposes.

"Unfortunately, salt cedar was very good at making itself right at home," Ritzi said. He noted that salt cedars form "monocultures" by reproducing and choking out other vegetation.

"Salt cedar consume about as much water as a cottonwood or willow, but their stands are far denser, so they use a much higher amount of water in total," he said.

As salt cedar stands spread, plant diversity declines, attracting fewer animals. When animal diversity drops, "it turns the area into a salt cedar wasteland," said Ritzi.

Coupled with the recent drought and a hard freeze last winter, the salt cedar leaf beetles have been effective in combating the salt cedar spread.

"Both the larval and adult stages attack the plant," Ritzi said. "The beetle reproduces very well and is highly host-specific; it only attacks the tamarisk out here."

The larval and adult beetles attack the salt cedar leaves, causing defoliation. When the shrubs grow more leaves, the beetles resume their attack.

"We are seeing four-five defoliations per year," Ritzi said. "This consumes the tree’s reserves. With the drought and the freeze, we’re actually seeing some of the plants dying already. This process usually takes four to five years to see trees dying, but it’s happening in one to two years, which is very promising."

The only real stumbling block thus far has been that the beetles have also attacked a "sister" tree species used as shade in the area, the athel tree.


He noted that beetles did initially attack the athel trees as well, but seemed to prefer the salt cedar.


"It appeared that the athel was more of a novelty than a primary food source," he said, and that after the first year of attack, the athels are not being as heavily impacted by the beetles as the targeted salt cedar.

Sul Ross and Rio Grande College, along with fellow campuses in the Texas State University System (TSUS), are at the forefront of program set on early detection and rapid response to invasive species.

The TSUS’ Institute for the Study of Invasive Species (ISIS) seeks to deal with unwanted plants and creatures via a centralized effort to assess, monitor, contain, and control or kill off species before they extensive damage. Every entity involved with non-native species at any level will operate with the ISIS in strategic partnerships. The collaborative program will be based at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville.