Latest News from Sul Ross April 23, 2013


Earnest Jones, Boerne; and Laura Ashley Anderson, Odessa, were named the 2013 Sul Ross State University Man and Woman of the Year at the annual Honors Convocation, held Monday (April 22) in Marshall Auditorium.

Jones, a senior communication major and McNair Scholars Program participant, has been active in numerous on- and off-campus activities since enrolling at Sul Ross. He plans to pursue a Master’s degree in organizational communication at Texas State University-San Marcos, then a Ph.D. at Rutgers University or the University of California Santa Barbara, also in organizational communication.

Anderson, a senior vocal music education major, has been active in music and theatre performance at Sul Ross. She has also directed the children’s choir at First Baptist Church of Alpine and maintains a 3.65 grade point average. She will student teach in San Antonio this coming fall.

Jones, who grew up in New Orleans, La., relocated in Texas due to Hurricane Katrina and graduated from high school in Boerne. He came to Sul Ross to play football, but after two years on the varsity, decided to focus on his academic work.

He participated in the McNair Scholars Program for two summers, and his undergraduate research poster presentations twice won top honors at the Central States Communication Association Undergraduate Honors Conference. In addition to his scholarship, Jones has been active in Student Support Services, winning the student of the year award his second year. Along with other members of student support services he regularly volunteers at the Alpine Food Pantry.

He helped re-organize the Black Student Association and served as their president and was instrumental in organizing a fund raising effort to take members of the group to Washington DC. He also helped with re-establishing Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Honor Society and is the current president. He was named the 2013 Outstanding Communication Student.

Jones also worked off-campus for the majority of his four years at Sul Ross, first at Bealls as a sales associate and more recently at the Gage Hotel, Marathon, as a waiter. His work off campus has enabled him to help his younger brother and sister also successfully complete high school and prepare for college. His long-term goal is to found a non-profit organization to work with young people in inner city areas.

Anderson, the daughter of Patricia and Bill Anderson, graduated from Odessa High School and attended Odessa College before transferring to Sul Ross. She was a voice student of Dr. Erin Lippard and is currently a voice student of Dr. Donald Callen Freed. She has been a vocal music excellence award recipient and a soloist with the Sul Ross Concert Choir.

She has performed on all student recitals, including voice and piano, and successfully performed her senior capstone voice recital to a full house in the Studio Theatre.

Anderson has also been a significant participant in musical theatre productions, assuming lead roles in the productions of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Damn Yankees, The Will Rogers Follies, Xanadu, and Anything Goes, among others.


2013 Woman, Man of the Year

Laura Ashley Anderson (left), Odessa, and Earnest Jones, Boerne, were named Sul Ross State University's 2013 Woman and Man of the Year at the annual Honors Convocation Monday (April 22) in Marshall Auditorium. Anderson is a senior music education major and Jones is a senior communication major. They are pictured with Dr. Esther Rumsey, chair of the Sul Ross Fine Arts and Communication Department.  (Photo by Susanna Mendez)


The Man and Woman of the Year award is the top honor a Sul Ross senior can receive. The following departmental awards were also given at the convocation.

Animal Science

Outstanding Equine Science Student – Autumn Rusher, Westcliffe, Colo.

Outstanding Agricultural Education Student – Isabel M. Whitehead, Alpine

Outstanding Animal Health Management Student – Alexandria Pochert, Kentwood, Mich.

Outstanding Animal Production Student – Quinten S. Stanford, Alpine

Outstanding Meat Science Student – Brian R. Hinton, Devine

Outstanding Reproductive Physiology Student – Jose L. Etchart, El Paso

Outstanding Animal Science Graduate Student – Christina L. Jones, Alpine


Behavioral and Social Sciences

Clifford B. Casey Book Award – Aaron I. Razo, Marfa

Outstanding History Major, Phi Alpha Theta History Award – Georgia E. Savery, Alpine

Psychology Student of the Year – Robert LeBlanc, Fort Davis


Outstanding Undergraduate Biology Student Award – Erin Lynn, Carlsbad, N.M.

Outstanding Graduate Biology Student Award – Jeff Keeling, Aledo

Business Administration


Outstanding Administrative Systems & Business Technology Student – Nichole S. Ahrens, Alpine

Outstanding National Business Education Association Award of Merit – Deborah A. Jernigan, Alpine

Outstanding Business Administration Student – Elisha N. Jimenez, Alpine

Outstanding Master of Business Administration Student – Kolawole A. Oke, Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria; Leslie E. Owobu, Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria

Outstanding Master of Business Administration Online Student – Michael C. Yearwood, El Paso

Computer Science and Mathematics

Outstanding Senior in Computer Science – Albert B. Brautigam, Austin

Outstanding Freshman in Computer Science – Johnathon W. Hand, Loop

Gilley Mathematics Excellence Award – Marley K. Boyd, Alpine

Outstanding Senior in Mathematics – Andrew R. Kennedy, Brackettville

Criminal Justice

Outstanding Freshman Criminal Justice Student – Brandon Montoya, Mercedes

Outstanding Sophomore Criminal Justice Student – Roman R. Corrales, Van Horn

Outstanding Junior Criminal Justice Student – Dennis S. Avila, Presidio

Outstanding Senior Criminal Justice Student – Isai Hernandez, Presidio

Outstanding Graduate Criminal Justice Student – Mark E. Busbee, Uvalde

Earth and Physical Sciences

Julius Dasch Outstanding Undergraduate Geology Student – Hunter T. Krueger, Jourdanton

Lance Forsythe Memorial Outstanding Graduate Student Award – Taylor C. Bruecher, Alpine

Outstanding Non-Traditional Geology Student – Stephen L. Wick, Terlingua


Education Excellence Award – Brooke A. Bankston, El Paso; Amber L. Diaz, Del Rio; Vickie G. Driskell, Carlsbad, N.M.; Bailen Goodloe, Big Lake; Jennifer A. Hada, Andrews; Delaney C. Lattimer, Alpine; Reagan T. Reed, Terlingua; James D. Reynolds, Midland; Katherine E. Rodriguez, Del Rio; Ngozika V. Ughanze, Abilene; Jesus H. Villa, Presidio; Lori A. Villarreal, Miles

Fine Arts and Communication

Outstanding New Art Major – Shelby Rogers, Midland

Outstanding Art Student – Joe Aaron Brooks, Alpine

Outstanding Communication Student – Earnest Jones, Boerne

Outstanding Freshman Theatre Student – Adrian Soto, El Paso

Outstanding Theatre Student – Ashley Page, Alpine

Outstanding Vocal Music Student – Laura Ashley Anderson, Odessa

Outstanding Vocal Performer – Raven Thrasher, El Paso

Outstanding Instrumental Music Student – Travis C. Lutz, Alpine

Honors Program

Honors Program Graduates – Bankston; Geoffrey H. Schuette, Midland

Languages and Literature

Outstanding Senior English Major – Phyllis Dunham, Alpine; Angela Greenroy, Alpine

Outstanding Senior Spanish Major – Anthony Jimenez, El Paso

Natural Resource Management

Outstanding Natural Resource Field Volunteer – Dana Milani, Alpine

Outstanding Conservation Biology Graduate Student – Katie Dennison, Alpine

Outstanding Graduate Student in Range and Wildlife Management-Range – Masahiro Ohnishi, Alpine

Outstanding Graduate Student in Range and Wildlife Management-Wildlife – Andy James, Amarillo

Outstanding Underclassman Student in Natural Resource Management – Michael Stangl, Alpine

Outstanding Upperclassman Student in Natural Resource Management – Daniel Tidwell, Sachse

Physical Education

W.H. Perryman Scholarship – Maile J. Hoyt, Toyah




Dr. Robert McLean, University Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Texas State University-San Marcos, will present the 19th H. J. Cottle Lecture Friday, April 26 at Sul Ross State University.

McLean will address "The Importance of Surface-Adherent Bacteria on Earth and in Space" at 2 p.m. in Warnock Science Building, Room 101. The lecture will discuss the importance and impact of surface-adherent bacteria, those bacteria that create biofilms capable of sustaining life in varied habitats, both on earth and possibly in other environments.

The Biology Club will host a reception outside the lecture hall iimmediately following the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

McLean was named a Regents’ Professor by the Texas State University Board of Regents in 2012. This designation and honor is based on a lifetime of excellence in teaching, research and service, as well as demonstration of commitment to science and education in the TSUS.

He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph and a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary. McLean has earned numerous awards for outstanding teaching at the institution, state and national levels and has updated and taught multiple courses in microbiology, pathogenic microbiology, microbial biology and physiology.

This annual lecture series is named in honor of Dr. Harve James Cottle who was a distinguished researcher, educator, and member of the Sul Ross Biology Department for several years in the 1920s, and promoted student interactions with outstanding scientists of various fields.

Previous Cottle lecturers include: Dr. Tanya Shenk, National Park Service; Dr. Barney Lipscomb, The Botanical Research Institute of Texas; Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Idaho State University; and Dr. Millicent Goldschmidt, University of Texas Health Science Center.

For more information, contact Dr. Chris Ritzi, (432) 837-8112.




Sul Ross State University student-athletes will be cited for their 2012-2013 performances during the annual recognition banquet Tuesday, April 30, 7 p.m., in the Espino Conference Center, Morgan University Center.

This year’s Female and Male Athletes of the Year, Scholar-Athletes and Sportsmanship Award recipients will be announced.

In addition, individual awards for each varsity sport will be presented.




A ribbon cutting/naming ceremony of the newly-acquired Scanning Electron Microscope is among the featured events of Sul Ross State University’s "Science Friday," slated April 26. There is no admission charge and the public is invited.

Other events include Marfa Public Radio (KRTS, 93.5FM) "Talk at Ten" discussions by Dr. James Ward, Angelo State University assistant professor of Geology; and Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk, Sul Ross professor of Geology and director of the Rio Grande Research Institute. They will discuss the many prospects students have to participate in and laboratory research opportunities at small colleges and universities such as Sul Ross, and the academic and professional rewards of their chosen careers in science.
From 12:30-2 p.m., the ribbon cutting and naming ceremony of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) will be held in the Rio Grande Research Center, Warnock Science Building, Room 115. SEM images will be shown and refreshments will be served. Guests will also be given a chance to "Name That Thing," Name That Other Thing" and "Name That Thing Some More," as well as suggest names for the SEM.

At 2 p.m., Dr. Robert McLean, University Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Texas State University-San Marcos, will present the 19th H. J. Cottle Lecture in Warnock Science Building, Room 101. McLean will address "The Importance of Surface-Adherent Bacteria on Earth and in Space." The lecture will discuss the importance and impact of surface-adherent bacteria, those bacteria that create biofilms capable of sustaining life in varied habitats, both on earth and possibly in other environments.

Ward will address "Small(ish) Texas Towns, Fast Horses and the Magnificent Study of Geology" at 7 p.m. in Lawrence Hall, Room 300. Refreshments will be served.
Ward grew up in Balmorhea, graduated from Sul Ross and received his doctorate from University of Kentucky. His passions for Geology and Thoroughbreds have accommodated his inspiration to help establish a Geology Department at Angelo State University where he mentors students, conducts research and oversees a growing program

For more information, contact Rebecca Loos, (432) 837-8648 or




Sul Ross State University Student Health Services will conduct a blood drive Monday-Tuesday, April 29-30.

Donation hours are 1-6 p.m. Monday, April 29 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 in Room 129, Pete P. Gallego Center (downstairs).

Donors are encouraged to schedule an online appointment at Use zip code 79832 or 79830 to locate the correct blood drive.

For more information, contact Student Health Services, (432) 837-8102.





Noemi Acosta, secretary at the Museum of the Big Bend, has received the Bar-SR-Bar for Employee Excellence at Sul Ross State University.

The honor, which recognizes exemplary employment and university service, includes a citation and cash award.

Acosta, who joined the Museum staff in 2010, was praised for her commitment, dedication and multi-tasking abilities.

"She is required to wear many hats and the day-to-day duties change rapidly," her nomination stated. "Noemi handles the numerous deadlines with grace and works well under pressure....Often, Noemi works on the weekends to ensure that the museum openings, events and fundraisers run smoothly."

Acosta drew praise for her excellent record-keeping and organizational skills and was also cited for her campus-wide efforts.

"During the Texas State University System and Sul Ross Campaign last fall...Noemi was a key player in garnering over 500 support letters and kept records. Additionally, Noemi believes strongly in the student-centered campus ideology by making herself available to assist our student workers with challenges they may be encountering on campus and in their personal lives."

Acosta said that she has had an enjoyable Sul Ross experience. "I enjoy working on such a beautiful campus, with such nice surroundings’" she said.  "I am very lucky that I get to work at the Museum of the Big Bend because I have the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all over the world.  Although we are a small staff and the challenges are many, I can honestly say I am never bored."

A native of Presidio, she graduated from Presidio High School and attended American Commercial College, Odessa. Prior to coming to Sul Ross, she worked as a secretary to the superintendent of San Vicente ISD, Big Bend National Park, where her husband, Sam, was stationed with the U.S. Border Patrol. Acosta also has 18 year’s experience as a legal assistant with a number of law firms.

She and her husband have two daughters, Raquel, a Sul Ross graduate; and Kassandra, a freshman at Alpine High School. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, listening to music and playing basketball.

"I am thankful for the people I work with as they embraced me from the first day," Acosta said. "We are all fortunate at the museum because we inspire each other day to day and are proud of what we continue to build upon at the Museum of the Big Bend. Thank you, Museum staff, for choosing to nominate me for this prestigious award. I am very honored and it means so much to me!"


Bar-SR-Bar award

Noemi Acosta (center), secretary at the Museum of the Big Bend, received the Bar-SR-Bar award for employee excellence from Sul Ross President Ricardo Maestas. The award was presented April 17. Also pictured is Liz Jackson, Museum of the Big Bend director. (Photo by Steve Lang)





The Zeta Delta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at Sul Ross State University will hold the spring initiation ceremony for qualifying undergraduate and graduate students on Friday, May 10.

Induction ceremonies begin, at 7 p.m. in Espino B, Morgan University Center. Friends and family of the new members are invited to attend, along with the Education faculty, to recognize the outstanding academic accomplishments of these students.

Dr. Jeanne Qvarnstrom, Zeta Delta Chapter counselor, and Delaney Lattimer, Alpine, Chapter president, will lead the ceremony honoring the new members. Graduating seniors also will be awarded Kappa Delta Honor Cords during the event.

The Society inducts only those individuals who have exhibited the ideals of scholarship, integrity in service, and commitment to excellence in teaching and its allied professions. Selection as a member of Kappa Delta Pi is based on high academic achievement, a commitment to education as a career, and a professional attitude that assures steady growth in the profession.

Founded in 1911 at the University of Illinois, Kappa Delta Pi is the largest honor society in education, representing 582 undergraduate and professional chapters and more than 45,000 active members. Its most distinguished members over the last century have included Margaret Mead, Albert Einstein, George Washington Carver, and current leaders in education Howard Gardner, Maxine Greene, and Carol Gilligan.

For more information, contact Qvarnstrom, (432) 837-8395.





JoAnn Garcia, data specialist for the TRIO grant program, has received the Bar-SR-Bar for Employee Excellence at Sul Ross State University.

The honor, which recognizes exemplary employment and university service, includes a citation and cash award.

Garcia has worked 22 years at Sul Ross, first in the Department of Vocational Nursing. She was praised for her work ethic, dedication and work with students.

"JoAnn is always here early, often works through lunch, and sometimes I have to yell at her to leave at 5 p.m.," her nomination stated. "She greets students with a smile every day and makes them all feel special.

"She never complains and always volunteers to help with whatever needs to be done....The most important thing is what she does for the students; she goes above and beyond for them."

Garcia ranks the students at the top of her Sul Ross experience list.

"I have enjoyed working up on The Hill because of the many wonderful students who come to Sul Ross, and then seeing them graduate," she said.

Garcia grew up in Marfa and graduated from Marfa High School. She and her husband, Tiburcio "Bucho" have two children. Son Pedro-Alcario is a Sul Ross graduate and lives in Lubbock. Daughter Jessica Lily is an Alpine High School senior.

Her family is her first priority, but she also enjoys cooking and baking for family and friends.

"I am looking forward to retiring soon so I can make quilts!" she said.



Bar-SR-Bar award

JoAnn Garcia, data specialist for the TRIO grant program, received the Bar-SR-Bar award for employee excellence from Sul Ross President Ricardo Maestas. The award was presented April 17.  (Photo by Steve Lang)





The late Dr. Abelardo "Abe" Baeza, Alpine native and longtime Sul Ross State University faculty member, will be honored posthumously during the 2013 Alpine Cinco de Mayo observance. The annual celebration, with the theme "Honoring Education," will be held May 3-5.

Baeza’s brother, Armando, will serve as parade Grand Marshall. The parade will be held Saturday, May 4, at 11 a.m. The parade begins at the Alpine Civic Center and will proceed east on Holland Ave., ending at Jackson Field.

Baeza, who died in 2004, was a two-time Sul Ross graduate and later a member of the faculty for 34 years. In addition to his teaching, he was a prolific writer and was a 2008 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. He was the first Hispanic Ph.D. to teach at Sul Ross.

He was born May 14, 1944 in Alpine, the son of Marcelino and Anita T. Baeza. He attended Centennial School, then Alpine High School, graduating in 1963. He received his Bachelor’s (1967) and Master’s (1970) in English and Spanish from Sul Ross, and his Ph.D. (1979) from Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

"Dr. Baeza was known for the high quality of his classes," a friend and colleague noted at the time of his death. "He taught his classes with a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement. His classes were an adventure for the students...alive, creative events."

On a number of occasions, Baeza arranged for authors being studied in his classes to visit with the students – either in person or via telephone or video conference. Authors included Rudolfo Anaya, Edward Albee, Judy Blume, Richard Rodriguez and Ernest Hemingway’s son, Patrick.

During his long tenure at Sul Ross, Baeza served in numerous capacities, including instructor, associate professor and professor of English and Spanish; Minority Affairs director; director of Title V; and director of Mexican American Studies. He received the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1997 and was twice nominated for the Piper Professor Award presented by the Minnie Stevens Piper Association.

Baeza both wrote about and promoted Chicano/Chicana authors and literature. His first book, "Keep Blessing Us Ultima," served as a reading guide for Anaya’s memorable novel, "Bless Me, Ultima."

He is survived by his brother; and one sister, Maria T. Gonzales. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Tomas Tarango; and sisters, Francisca T. Mendoza and Elida Tarango.




Flag presentation to Sul Ross alumni

Dr. Barbara Tucker, Sul Ross State University assistant professor of Education, recently presented a university flag to Sul Ross alumni employed at the Jane A. Hambric School, El Paso.  The Sul Ross flag will be displayed in the cafeteria with other university flags. The Jane A. Hambric School is the largest pre-Kindergarten-eighth grade school in the state of Texas, with approximately 1600 students. Pictured (from left) are: Donna Tyler, ‘06, elementary principal; Ray Granado, ’89, assistant elementary principal; Angelica Herrera, ‘98, assistant elementary principal; Tucker, ’97; Diana Romo, Fall 2013 graduate, elementary teacher; Vicky Ochoa, Fall 2013, elementary teacher; Noel Rodriguez, Spring 2013, elementary teacher; Ron Reeves, ’03, elementary school counselor. (Photo Courtesy Barbara Tucker)