Latest News from Sul Ross April 9, 2013


Sul Ross State University’s student publications – The Skyline student newspaper, The Brand yearbook and The Sage literary magazine – and contributing students earned 34 awards at this year’s Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) conference, held April 4-6 in Fort Worth.

Awards included overall excellence citations for both The Skyline (second place) and The Sage (honorable mention). Awards and scholarship winners were announced at ceremonies held at the Fort Worth Hilton on Saturday, April 6. More than 400 students attended workshops and on-site contests the two days previous.

Forty-three of the 66 schools representing TIPA attended this year’s conference.

Sul Ross student photographer/sports writer Peter Dindinger, El Paso, garnered eight individual awards: first place in sports news story, sports feature and sports action photos; second in sports action and newspaper feature photo; third in photo story and sports feature photo; and honorable mention in feature photo.

Brenda Gallegos, Presidio, brought home five yearbook awards: second in title page and sports copy, and HM in feature/student life package and copy, and cover design.

Other winners included firsts in yearbook, single-subject page design and yearbook sports package, Leinora Alimboyoguen, Alpine, literature magazine short story, Rachel Lehman, Tahoka; newspaper, non-photo illustration, Emily Patterson, Midland; and newspaper sports page design, Kaitlyn Wood, San Antonio.

Others were second place in yearbook people spread/mugshots, Brooke Bankston, El Paso; and newspaper in-depth reporting, Angela Greenroy, Alpine. Third place was awarded in literary magazine feature story to Elizabeth Ashley; newspaper information graphic to Jazmin Gonzalez, Penitas; literary magazine illustration to Mike Ortiz; newspaper feature story to Billy Overton, Fort Stockton; and newspaper ad design to Greenroy and Wood.

Honorable mentions went to literary magazine essay, Bowie Adams, Austin; literary magazine short story, Amber Kelly-Anderson; yearbook sports package, Alimboyoguen; yearbook academic photo, Thalia Aparicio, El Paso; newspaper non-photo illustration and editorial cartoon, Patterson; newspaper feature story, Gonzalez; and newspaper ad design, Greenroy and Wood.




Sul Ross State University student Daniel J. Tidwell, Sachse, will present an academic poster at "Texas Undergraduate Research Day" at the State Capitol in Austin on Friday, April 26. 

Tidwell, who participates in the McNair Program, will present a poster on his research entitled "Artificial Water Utilization by Translocated Pronghorn in the Trans-Pecos, Texas." He conducted his research with mentors Dr. Louis Harveson and graduate student Justin Hoffman, Bellevue, a former McNair fellow.

In addition, an article by the same title, summarizing the research with accompanying photographs, is published in a recent issue of Texas Wildlife magazine, a publication of the Texas Wildlife Association. Tidwell, Harveson and Hoffman co-authored the article.

At Texas Undergraduate Research Day, up to 86 projects will be presented in poster format. The presentations will reflect the work of numerous undergraduate students representing over 50 general academic institutions across Texas, both public and private/independent universities and colleges.

The event is coordinated by the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors (CPUPC), the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc. (ICUT) and the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC).




Attending Sully Showcase proved to be the tipping point for a number of uncommitted students.

"Getting on campus and looking around seemed to be the deciding factor (to enroll)," said Mary Beth Marks, Sul Ross State University director of Admissions.

The second bi-annual event, held Saturday (April 6) attracted over 100 prospective students among 225 guests. Sully Showcase featured campus tours – including a guided tour by President Ricardo Maestas for admitted students – visits with faculty and staff and information on admission, financial aid, housing and academic and extra-curricular opportunities.

Marks noted a number of positive responses to Saturday’s activities.

"One parent emailed and said her daughter had planned to come to Sul Ross for one year and transfer," Marks said. "After coming to campus, she decided to go all four years here."

Sul Ross officials were praised for providing a warm and welcoming environment, and one email stated that a new student "is so excited and ready to get the wheels rolling and ready to start in the fall."

Representatives of Sul Ross academic departments, student and service organizations and clubs staffed information tables in the Pete P. Gallego Center. KISS FM 103.3 Radio from Midland/Odessa conducted a live broadcast during lunch in the Morgan University Center Dining Services. Following the closing ceremony, an open house was held at the Turner Range Animal Science Center.





Dr. Jay Downing, professor of Psychology, will deliver the seventh annual Sul Ross State University Arts and Sciences Lecture Wednesday, April 17. There is no admission charge and the public is invited.

Downing will address "From a Burr Under the Saddle to a Flower in the Desert: Anti-Authoritarianism in Political Psychology and Higher Education." The lecture will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Lawrence Hall, Room 300.

One of the purposes of the convocation is to recognize the research and performance activities throughout the School of Arts and Sciences. Just as in previous years, the program will include a listing of research and performance accomplishments. 





An abstract by Sul Ross State University faculty members Dr. Chris Estepp and Dr. Byron Housewright, and Mary Bennett, director of the McNair Program, has been accepted for presentation at a national conference.

Estepp and Housewright, assistant professors of Animal Science, and Bennett will deliver an oral presentation, "The Development of Best Practices in Mentoring Undergraduate Research," at the annual conference of the National Association of College Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA).

The 2013 NACTA conference will be held June 25-29 at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va.

For more information, contact Estepp, (432) 837-8210 or




For Dr. Ira Blanton, retirement may be a misnomer.

Blanton, an associate professor of Language and Literature at Sul Ross State University, will retire as a full-time faculty member after the 2013 Summer Session II after 25 years. He will remain on the faculty under the Early Retirement Option II (50 percent time), teaching two classes and organizing programs for the Ira Blanton Folklore Endowment at Sul Ross.

In addition to part-time teaching, Blanton's future plans include ranching, fish farming, land development, and traveling to Austin to visit his two sons, Ira and George, who are in the music business there.

"Staying busy will not be a problem," he laughed.

Blanton was born in Marfa, noting, "Mom couldn’t make it all the way from the ranch to Alpine," but spent most of his formative years in Austin, where he graduated from high school and attended the University of Texas, broadening his education in business and history before ending his tenure at UT in the Classics Department.

After leaving the University of Texas, Blanton returned to his family’s Peitas Ranch in Presidio County and worked with his father, Ira Blanton, Sr. After working for several years on the family ranch, Blanton became an announcer at KVLF Radio in Alpine and, later, KERB Radio in Kermit and KPEP Radio in San Angelo. Later, he worked at KUFO, a rock ‘n’ roll station in Odessa owned by country music legend Lynn Anderson.

Following his time in the music world, Blanton returned to Alpine and enrolled at Sul Ross. He earned a B.A. (1985) and M.A. (1986) in History from Sul Ross, and then received an M.A. (1988) in English. He began teaching as a lecturer in English in 1988 and, after a two-year leave of absence to complete coursework for his doctorate, he received his Ph.D. from Texas Tech University in 1999.

During his tenure at Sul Ross, he has taught a wide range of subjects, including freshman composition, Literary Types, Technical Writing, Introduction to Folklore, Southwestern Folklore, Southwestern Literature and Writers of the West. In 1995 Ira Blanton, Sr. established the Ira Blanton Folklore Endowment to provide scholarships in folklore and monies to bring folklore artists to the Sul Ross campus.

Over the years, Blanton and the Department of Languages and Literature have provided numerous opportunities for the Sul Ross community and the public to hear professional storytellers, enjoy storytelling and readings by noted Southwestern author Denise Ch

ávez, and immerse themselves in musical performances by Patrick Ball and Doyle Bramhall. He was a co-sponsor of Alpha Chi, a national honorary society, and, as co-sponsor of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor society, helped set up and staff many a coffeehouse and book sale, as well as assisting with the Cowboy Poetry Gathering for many years.

"It has been an honor to work outside the classroom with so many of Sul Ross’ finest students," Blanton said.

"It has been a great experience for me," he said. "Sul Ross could not have been a better fit: to be living here and to be able to work here. I am indebted to Sul Ross."




Sul Ross State University faculty and staff who have attained 20 to 45 years of service and five to 25 years of accident-free work will be recognized at a reception Wednesday, April 17, 2 p.m. in the Espino Conference Center, Morgan University Center.

In addition, two recent recipients of the Bar-SR-Bar Award for Employee Excellence will be feted, along with 12 retiring employees. Rio Grande College (RGC) employees will be honored by the Associate Provost’s office at a later date.

Longevity awards are as follows:

45 years: Dr. Avinash Rangra, Chemistry.

35 Year: Rob Matthews, Business Administration; Dr. Paul Will, Animal Science. 35 years.

30 Years: Dr. James Whitford-Stark, Geology, Linda McAnally, Business Administration; Dr. Barbara "Barney" Nelson, English; Dr. Beverly Six, English.

25 Years: Jesus Spencer, Accounting Services; Dr. Roger Grant, Physical Education; Dr. Raymond Kessler, Criminal Justice; Johnnie Holbrooks, University Department of Public Safety (UDPS); Dr. Robert Kinucan, Dean, College of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; Gregory Schwab, Theatre; Dr. Ira Blanton, Languages and Literature.

20 Years: JoAnn Garcia, TRIO Project; Rosa Ramirez, Library; Nieves Kolesar, Accounting Services; John Sanders, Office of Information Technology; Leo Dominguez, Dean, Student Life; Dr. James Downing, Psychology; Dr. Scott Ericsson, Animal Science; Dr. Randal Stitts, Business Administration, Rio Grande College; Dr. James Zech, Biology; Dr. Paul Wright, Geography/Sociology; Dr. Tim Wilson, Education, RGC; Dr. Francine Richter, General Studies, RGC.

Safety award recipients are as follows:

Five Years: Adan Reyes, Physical Plant; Robert Stolz, Publication Services; Alicia Layne, Business Administration; Luticia Pauls, Facilities Planning, Construction and Operations; Reeda Peel, Center for Big Bend Studies; Jessie Lara, Physical Plant; Velda Madrid, Physical Plant; Jon Brooks, UDPS; Claudia Portillo, Business Services, RGC; Juan Tamez, Student Services, RGC; Francisco Leyva, Physical Plant; Samuel Anchondo, Talent Search; Susan Chisholm, Center for Big Bend Studies; Diana Smith, Advancement and University Relations; Manuel Villarreal, Hispanic Institutions Transfer Access Project.

10 Years:

Michael Howard, Archives of the Big Bend; T. Paulette Harris, Office of the Dean, RGC; Paul Spitzer, Physical Plant; Mary Sue Belles, Criminal Justice; Florence "Jerri" Garza, Archives of the Big Bend; Tammy Jamison, Finance and Operations; Sam Orona, Physical Plant.

15 Years: Estella Vega, Hispanic Institutions Transfer Access Project.

20 Years: Ramirez.

25 Years: Spencer.

Sul Ross retirees are: Rangra; Blanton; Six; Nelson; Kessler; Merced Muniz, Physical Plant; John Rayburn, Office of Information Technology; Dr. Nancy Antrim, English and Linguistics; James Senneff, Center for Enrollment Services; Joyce Robinson, Office of the Dean of Professional Studies; Robbie Ray, Mathematics; and Kay Whitley, Physical Education.

JoAnn Garcia and Noemi Acosta, secretary at the Museum of the Big Bend, will receive the Bar-SR-Bar award for Employee Excellence.




Among the lesser-known features of West Texas are lighthouses – many of them perched on Dr. Nancy Antrim’s shelves.

Antrim, Sul Ross State University professor of English and Linguistics, plans to add to her collection through upcoming travels upon her retirement. She will retire Aug. 31, 2013 after 11 years on the faculty.

"According to my son, I have thousands of lighthouses, but he counts the ones on the shower curtain and quilts," she laughed. She admits to owning about 100 replicas of lighthouses from Boston, Mass. to Ireland to the Caribbean.

Growing up in a military family, Antrim lived in various parts of the world, usually in large cities, before coming to Alpine in 2002. Her travels, both for pleasure and professionally, have taken her to numerous points on the globe. She has made linguistic presentations in England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada and Mexico.

"This is the first time I have ever lived in a small town," she said. "I have really liked the experience. You don’t go anywhere without running into someone you know – including Stripes in Monahans."

Antrim joined the Sul Ross faculty from the University of Texas El Paso, where she was an assistant professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics since 1995. She received a B.A. (1968) in history and M.A. (1993) in general linguistics from UTEP and her Ph.D. (1996) in linguistics from the University of Southern California. She taught freshman writing at USC and also taught English, history and English as a Second Language (ESL) at several El Paso schools.

While at Sul Ross, Antrim has taught a wide variety of courses and has developed 21 online courses in linguistics, English and bi-lingual education. She has developed a number of linguistic courses for sociology, anthropology and women’s studies.

"What I have enjoyed about being here is being able to take my expertise into other areas of study," she said. "I also love the small class sizes where I have really gotten to know my students. I have enjoyed them a great deal."

Another highlight of her Sul Ross tenure has been the privilege of handing diplomas to her son, Kenneth, daughter, Megan, and daughter-in-law Ashley, during commencement exercises.

"I really loved giving diplomas to my children," she said. "I don’t know of any other university that allows that."

In addition to traveling, Antrim plans to stay active in the Alpine community. She serves on the Ministerial Alliance for St. James Episcopal Church and serves as a hospital chaplain, is vice president-elect and chaplain of the Alpine Pilot Club, serves on the board of directors of the Alpine Food Pantry and on the board for Casa Hogar, an orphanage in Ojinaga. She has also volunteered as an ESL tutor for the Alpine Public Library and enjoys reading, particularly mysteries. Her two cats, Pia and Topaz, keep her company.

Living in Alpine keeps her centrally located to visit her children. Daughter Megan is an Alpine resident and travel companion. Son Kenneth, wife Ashley and grandson Walker live in Grandfalls; daughter Stephanie Ballard and grandson Scott are El Paso residents; and daughter Heather Andrus and granddaughter Autumn live in New Braunfels.




GED testing will be offered at Sul Ross State University Thursday and Friday, April 25-26.

Testing begins at 8 a.m. each day in the Morgan University Center, Room 211B. Pre-registration is required a week in advance. To pre-register, call Career Services and Testing, (432) 837-8357 or 837-8178.

GED tests are administered the fourth Thursday and Friday of each month excepting December. Future testing dates are: May 30-31; June 27-28; July 25-26; Aug. 29-30; Sept. 26-27; Oct. 24-25; Nov. 21-22.

This the final year for the current test battery. Persons who need to pass an individual test or tests to receive their diplomas have until Dec. 31, 2013 to complete the testing. Otherwise, all five tests must be taken beginning January 2014.

Also in January 2014, the GED test will change from paper-based to computer-based testing format.

For more information, call (432) 837-8357 or 837-8178.