Latest News from Sul Ross June 28, 2013

               by Steve Lang, News and Publications

                Between hanging out with bats in a cave near San Antonio and swimming with sharks off the southern California coast, the production team of the BBC series “Deadly” filmed mountain lion research at Sul Ross State University.
               The “Deadly” crew, led by presenter Steve Backshall, spent last Sunday-Tuesday (June 24-26) with Dr. Louis Harveson, director of the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross, BRI technicians and graduate students at a research site in the Davis Mountains.
               Although no mountain lions were caught on the “Deadly” cameras, the segment is scheduled to be aired at a later date.”Deadly” is a strand of British wildlife documentary programming aimed principally at children and young people, broadcast on CBBC on BBC One and Two and on the C BBC Channel.


Looking for lions

Members of the BBC "Deadly" series crew, including presenter Steve Backshall (second from left), filmed aspects of mountain lion research at Sul Ross State University. The crew spent three days (June 24-26) in the Davis Mountains with Border Research Institute staff. (Photo by Louis Harveson)


"Deadly" crew, BRI staff

Members of the BBC "Deadly" series crew and Border Research Institute staff gathered for a group photo following three days of filming mountain lion research in the Davis Mountains. From left are: Luke Cormack, Deadly; Nick Allinson, Deadly; Dana Milani, BRI; Steve Backshall, Deadly; Bert Geary, BRI; Price Rumbelow, Sul Ross graduate student; Toby Nowlan, Deadly; and Dr. Louis Harveson, BRI director/Sul Ross professor of Natural Resource Management. (Photo Courtesy Louis Harveson)

               Harveson, BRI technicians Dana Milani, Alpine; and Bert Geary, Fort Davis; and Sul Ross graduate student Price Rumbelow, Van, joined Backshall and crew members Toby Nowlan, Luke Cormack, Nick Allinson and Rachael Kinley at the research site. The “Deadly” crew filmed from dawn to dusk.
               Harveson said that mountain lion activity was recorded on trail cameras prior to the actual filming, and on the last day, a radio-collared lion ventured back onto the site, but eluded the film crew.
               “Despite not filming a lion, it was an enjoyable experience,” Harveson said, adding that “The ‘Deadly’ series has a broad appeal overseas and also in the U.S.
               “It was entertaining to see how they portray field ecology and research,” Harveson said, noting that Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” inspired his career in natural resource management. “I appreciate the ‘new age’ natural history shows like this one. They bring a strong conservation message for adults and children alike, and we (Sul Ross) are honored to have participated in the production.”
               Harveson was first notified in late March of “Deadly” interest in the mountain lion research. He worked with researcher Nowlan to coordinate the filming dates.
               Other Sul Ross BRI research projects, including pronghorn and desert bighorn relocation, as well as the mountain lion research, have been the subjects of documentaries by Texas Parks and Wildlife and The Discovery Channel.
               For more information, contact Harveson, (432) 837-8098 or

    Chandragupta Gudena, Sul Ross State University Chief Information Officer, has resigned his position, effective July 5.
    Gudena and his wife, Archana Dash, who serves as Sul Ross webmaster, will move to Richmond, Va., where Gudena has accepted a position as Chief Information Officer for Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary. The Richard Bland campus is located in Petersburg, about 30 miles south of Richmond.
    Gudena came to Sul Ross in September 2011 after serving as assistant vice president in the Division of Information Technology at Bridgewater (Mass.) State University. He previously worked five years at the University of Texas at El Paso as computer laboratory systems information manager as well as network administrator and research analyst.
    “When I interviewed at Sul Ross, I mentioned an African saying, ‘If you want to go far, go together; if you want to go quickly, go alone.’ At Sul Ross, we have gone quickly and together,” Gudena said.
    He pointed to three major areas of technology improvement: infrastructure, user empowerment and sustaining talent growth.
    Expanded Banner utilization, upgraded distance education capabilities and instructional technology capabilities are among the many infrastructure changes during Gudena’s tenure. A new Sul Ross website, which emphasizes customer empowerment and social media integration, went live on the World Wide Web (www.) in February. The Help Desk was made an in-house operation and currently has a 97 percent resolution rate.
    “Growing and sustaining talent was a challenge that turned into an opportunity,” he said. “We now have an extremely high-performing team in place. OIT staff are talented and ahead of the curve....All in all, it has been an amazing journey at Sul Ross and I hope it continues that way.”
    President Ricardo Maestas said, “Sul Ross is very appreciative of the contributions of Chandragupta and Archana in enhancing our information technology.    "Chandra was instrumental in and did an excellent job of transitioning our IT operations from SunGard (currently Ellucian)to an in-house operation. We wish them well in their next venture.”
    The position has been advertised and a search committee formed to select Gudena’s successor.

    Leo Dominguez has been named Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life at Sul Ross State University.
    Dominguez, who has served Sul Ross in several capacities since 1994, will assume his new duties effective July 1. He was named interim Dean of Student Life in January 2011 and was also Associate Vice President for Advancement and University Relations.
    An Alpine native, Dominguez received his B.S. (1977) in Political Science and M.A. (1984) in Public Administration from Sul Ross. He worked as director of university housing from 1978-80 before entering private business.
    Dominguez returned to Sul Ross in 1994 as director of Development.

    Sul Ross State University will be closed Thursday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day.
    Classes will resume and offices will reopen a 8 a.m. Friday, July 5.

    Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance,” has delighted audiences during its Theatre of the Big Bend run.
    The ever-popular musical will be performed for a third and final weekend Friday-Sunday, July 5-7 at the Kokernot Outdoor theatre. Curtain time is 8:15 p.m.
    “There are no weak links in the performance, and the audience has caught the British humor,” said Dona Roman, director and choreographer.
    “The show has good pace, and based on the post-performance comments, has entertained young and old alike,” she said..
    “Pirates” tells the tale of pirate-apprentice Frederic (played by Gus Arbogast), who meets Mabel (Ashley J. Page), the daughter of the Modern Major-General, and the two instantly fall in love. Many hilarious hijinks and antics ensue as the pirates return for battle against the Major-General and his bumbling police force.


“Pirates of Penzance” cast

The Theatre of the Big Bend cast of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” will conclude performances July 5-7 at the Kokernot Outdoor Theatre.  (Photo Courtesy Dona Roman)

    Roman, Sul Ross State University professor of theatre, noted that producing “Pirates” is fulfilling a personal ambition as well.
    “My goal is to introduce Gilbert and Sullivan to this generation, and the cast has an incredible (learing) opportunity by doing this show,” she said. A pre-show pirate costume contest is held for children attending the show, with participants receiving reduced price admission and the chance to win other prizes.
    The diverse 26-member cast includes students from Sul Ross; Texas State University, San Marcos; Trinity University, San Antonio; Angelo State University, San Angelo; as well as Alpine and Fort Davis high schools. Roman praised the actors for being quick studies.
    “They learned an entire Gilbert and Sullivan operetta in three and a half weeks,” she said. “We have a great collaboration of really talented people from this region. Many of them also worked on putting the set together. There were a lot of 12-hour days worked to get ready for the show.”
    Other cast members include: The Pirate King (Johnathan Salazar); Samuel (Westin Huffman); Ruth (Brooke Siler); Major-General Stanley (Tim Wright); Sergeant (Adrian Soto); pirates (Christina Esparaza, Jason Roman, Mitchell Waechter, Julian Johnson, Daniel Sandoval); maidens (Kaitlyn Wood, Jessica Turner, Holly Sawyer, Catherine Ritzi, Karibeth Page, Stephanie Johnson, Missy Embrey, Ashley Curtis); and police (Kayla Perkins, Mike Gallardo, Tierney Foster, Jacob Brewster, Zane Ivey, Cody Hill).
    In addition to Roman, who is also the costumer, music direction is provided by Sul Ross music faculty Chris Dobbins, Donald Callen Freed and Lana Potts, with early assistance from former faculty member Erin Lippard.  Jeff Wisor, assistant professor of Theatre at Lamar University, Beaumont, is in charge of scenic design and technical direction.
     For advance ticket sales or more information, call 432-837-8218 or visit

    Sul Ross State University offers the GED high school equivalency test every month on the last Thursday and Friday.  
    Persons who are in the process of earning GED certificates and have not yet passed all the tests, have until the end of this year to do so.  Incomplete or insufficient GED scores from the 2002 series will no longer be valid after Dec. 31, 2013.  
    The new test will be computerized, and registration and payment will occur on line.
    Future test dates are Thursday-Friday, July 25-26; Aug. 29-30; Sept. 26-27; Oct. 24-25; and Nov. 21-22. Tests are not administered in December.
    For more information or to register to complete testing, contact Career Services and Testing, (432) 837-8357, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.