Latest News from Sul Ross - Feb. 12, 2013


Sul Ross State University President Dr. Ricardo Maestas outlined the criteria for the university’s next football coach.

He stressed his goal of hiring the best coach the university can attract in order to have a winning program, to help student-athletes to obtain degrees, and to instill discipline.

Maestas met with over 60 returning Lobo football players Monday (Feb. 11) to update them on the hiring process, which will combine the positions of head coach and athletic director.

"I want to move this program forward," he said. "You (players) did an amazing job this year...with the number one offense in the nation (NCAA Division III)."               

The search for a new head football coach/athletic director has attracted considerable interest. More than 25 applications have been received as of Monday (Feb. 11), with more arriving daily. The position was first advertised Jan. 30.

Maestas has formed a search committee of faculty, staff and a student representative to enable a thorough selection process.

"I am committed to football; that’s important to me," Maestas told the players. He said that the team would be involved in the interview process with finalists.

"I am very serious about your input," he said.

"The process to hire a head coach can be lengthy, but Sul Ross is making every effort to fill the position quickly," said Maestas."Although the search committee will do its best to work quickly, ultimately they have been tasked with finding a coach that will be best suited to Sul Ross," Maestas said. "I am committed to hiring the best coach we can attract to move the program forward."





Six McNair Program students from Sul Ross State University have been invited to make project presentations at conferences in Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to encourage first generation, low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study. Students who participate in the program are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.

"I continue to be impressed by our Sul Ross students. They have excelled in the highly competitive realm of undergraduate research," said Mary Bennett, McNair Program director.

"Each of these students submitted abstracts and papers that were peer-reviewed by committees of faculty representing numerous universities," she said. "The dedication of these students and their faculty mentors in achieving academic excellence is commendable."

Four students have been invited to make presentations at the Oklahoma State University Scholar Research Conference, scheduled Feb. 20-22 in Stillwater. Presenters, their projects and faculty members are:

* Jonathan Navarrete, Odessa, An Analysis of West Nile Virus in Feral Swine (Sus scrofa) and Javalina (Pecari tajacu) of Trans-Pecos, Texas. Jackie Denson, faculty mentor.

* Phyllis Dunham, Alpine, The People’s Poets of Texas: Literature Born within the Singer/Songwriter Tradition of the Last Forty Years. Dr. Laura Payne Butler, faculty mentor.

* Angela Greenroy, Alpine, The Mystery of Invention: What Writers Reveal About the Craft of Creation. Butler, faculty mentor.

* Laura Villasenor, El Paso, Maternity Leave and Pregnancy Discrimination Laws: An Analysis of Political, Economic, and Cultural Factors in Latin America. Dr. Amy Moreland, faculty mentor.

Villasenor has also been invited to present at the Southwestern Social Science Association Conference, scheduled March 27-30 in New Orleans, La.

Earnest Jones, Boerne, has been invited to present at the Central States Communication Association Undergraduate Honors Conference, slated April 2-7 in Kansas City, Mo. His project is Evaluating Nonprofit Websites: Development of a Coding Instrument. Dr. Esther Rumsey is his faculty mentor.

Robert LeBlanc, Fort Davis, will present Roots of an EmpathicManagement Theory: Death’s Role in Cultivating Empathy, at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference, April 5-7 in Fort Worth. His faculty mentor is Dr. Jay Downing.

Named in honor of the astronaut who died in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion, the McNair Program was established at Sul Ross in November 2007. It is funded through the Department of Education’s TRIO programs.

McNair students receive a stipend and three semester credit hours (during the first summer session) for completed research projects. In addition to the on-campus McNair-Tafoya Symposium, students are encouraged to present their findings at state and national conferences.

For more information, contact Bennett, (432) 837-8478 or




In one of the most significant exhibits at Museum of the Big Bend, Trappings of Texas will open on Saturday, Feb. 23 with the annual exhibit, sale and reception.

This year’s exhibit will feature numerous artists and gearmakers showcasing the best of saddlemaking, bit and spur making, silversmithing and rawhide braiding, while at the same time celebrating the West through painting, drawing and sculpture. Tickets for the Saturday evening reception on are available for $50/person by calling (432) 837-8143.

Cowboy Artists of America are considered the vanguard of the Western art revival that began in the 1960s, and they continue to set the mark for those who carry on the legacy today. This year, the Museum of the Big Bend is pleased to exhibit Wayne Baize, Dave Powell and Jason Skull.

Skull, a Trappings of Texas sculptor and member of the Cowboy Artists of America, shared some of his reflections..

"Folks seem to want to know who an artist is and how they got to where they are," Skull said. "I grew up in a family that farmed and ranched and has a history of doing so for nearly 180 years in Texas. It's that connection to the land and livestock that has influenced my art from the beginning. From an early age I discovered that I liked the fit of saddle over that of a tractor seat and I've tried to pursue one and avoid the other ever since. Someone once said that, ‘there's something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.’ I believe this, but I have never found it to be true of tractors, posthole diggers or shovels.

"For some, making art is second nature, it's like breathing. From the time I was old enough to hold a pencil and brush or mold a lump of clay, I've never been far away from those materials. Because of my affinity for horses, cattle and the people that work with them, they have been my subject matter of choice since I started pursuing art seriously in 1987. I had the great fortune to study with some great western artists early in my career. That, coupled with constant observation, has lead me to where I am today; sculpting horses, cows and cow people.

"Since God made the first man, artists have been driven to create art, to copy life, to emulate our Creator. It takes the head, heart and hands that we have been given to pursue the creative process. To quote Charlie Russell, ‘Talent is no credit to its owner.’ To have talent is a thing no one can claim as their own doing, it's what you do with it that counts. To make art it takes talent and a knowledge of your subject and materials. I've always felt that art is 10% talent and the rest is very hard but rewarding work.

"My ideas come from many sources; reading, observing cattle, horses, and people - life holds the greatest possibilities. As an artist, ideas sometime and people - life holds the greatest possibilities. As an artist, ideas sometime begin as an image in your mind that ends up as a doodle on a scrap of paper, that evolves into a more complete sketch. You begin to plan, you build your armature, contact models and finally you begin to apply the clay. It's a process that can take months and sometimes years of planning.

"Since I began in 1987, I've enjoyed the patronage of collectors in the USA and abroad, and the blessing of commissions from some notable companies, corporations, associations and private groups. It's been a grand adventure and those I've come to know along the way have made it rewarding and enriching beyond my wildest dreams.

"The most important things an artist has, are the people in their lives who support them in their big adventure. I thank God daily for my wife, Dianne and my son, Will for their faith, love, strength, support and the sacrifices they have made for me and my career."

To view Skull’s work, visit the Trappings of Texas 2013 Exhibit at the Museum of the Big Bend or visit




A new children's play, "Tom Sawyer and the Jackson's Island Pirates," is set to premiere for children and adults of all ages March 1-3 at Sul Ross State University.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, March 1-2 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3 in Marshall Auditorium. The play, written and directed by Sul Ross theatre professor Gregory M. Schwab, follows an epic pirating adventure between three close friends.  Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Joe Harper escape to a far away island and attempt to live as pirates on their own.

Scenery and lights are designed by Jay Sawyer and costumes and sound are designed by Dona W. Roman. Ashley Page is stage manager and Julian Johnson is assistant stage manager.

Cast members are: Widow Douglas (Elizabeth Watson); Joe Harper (Adrian Soto); Tom Sawyer (Concepcion Gomez); Injun Joe (Joseph Rosco); Muff Potter (Gregory Gonzales); Ben Rogers (Michael Gallardo); Susy Harper (Kaitlin Wood); Sally Rogers (Regina Mandy Mata); Becky Thatcher (Laura Ocanas); Huck Finn (Michael Lopez); Doc Robinson (Miguel Pena); Sheriff Hollis (Omar Garcia); Jim Hollis (Chinasa Okorocha); Sereny Harper (Kayla Perkins); Aunt Polly (Carrie Turney); Sid Sawyer (Kyle Smith); Preacher Stevens (Joseph Matthew Hardison); Mary (Tresa Hamner); Schoolmaster Wiggins (Antonio Castro); Gracie Miller (Nora Alicia Elizondo); Riverboat Rosie (Melody Rainer); Ned the Needler (Miguel Pena).

Following the play performances, Jordan Deibel's senior showcase "A Walk Through Hollywood:  from Classics to Present," will be presented. Tickets for the evening are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children, and complimentary admission for Sul Ross students, faculty and staff with current ID.

For more information, contact the Department of Fine Arts and Communication at (432) 837-8218 or email




Dr. Fred E. Smeins, professor of Ecology in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University, will present the 19th San Antonio Livestock Exposition (SALE) Leaders in Agriculture Lecture Thursday, Feb. 21 at Sul Ross State University.

Smeins will address "Natural Resources and Agriculture: Current Issues, Future Prospects and Ecological Constraints." The talk will be at 2 p.m. in the Turner Range Animal Science Center Room 130. There is no admission charge and the public is invited.

Smeins, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1969, teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in ecology and natural resource management. He has received multiple university and professional society awards for excellence in teaching.

He received his B.A. (1963) in Biology from Augustana College and his M.A. (1965) and Ph.D. (1967) in Plant and Animal Ecology from the University of Saskatchewan. From 1967-1969 he was an assistant professor of Biology at the University of North Dakota.

His research focuses on understanding the structure and dynamics of rangeland ecosystems as influenced by herbivory, soil, fire and water. He has conducted research in tallgrass prairies, Edwards Plateau savannahs, longleaf pine savannahs and coastal marshes. Smeins has undertaken research and development work in Kenya, Somalia, Morocco, Venezuela and Italy. He has published over 85 technical papers, book chapters and bulletins.

Since 1987, the San Antonio Livestock Exposition has contributed more than $900,000 to Sul Ross. The San Antonio Livestock Exposition Equine Center was named in honor of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition by the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System.

Scholarship awards are made to freshmen in agriculture and directly related areas who qualify for participation in the Sul Ross Freshman Leadership Program. Criteria for selection include strong academic performance, as well as demonstrated leadership potential indicated by involvement in 4-H, FFA, interscholastic competition, and other activities.

For more information, contact Dr. Rob Kinucan, (432) 837-8201 or