Latest News from Sul Ross August 15, 2014


               The Board of Regents of the Texas State University System will consider awarding the first honorary doctorate to a Sul Ross State University graduate during their upcoming meeting. The Regents will meet Thursday-Friday, Aug. 28-29 at the AT&T Executive Conference Center, Austin.
               Helen Stewart Estes, Midland, a 1940 graduate who recently turned 100 and spent 60 years in public education, has been nominated for an honorary doctorate, the first in Sul Ross history. If approved, she will be awarded the degree at the Dec. 13 Fall commencement exercises in the Pete P. Gallego Center.
               Other agenda items will include the approval of a donation of a land lease for the new undergraduate program in sustainable ranch management and acknowledgment of over $480,000 in gifts to the university.
               Sul Ross will seek authorization to confer the degree of Doctor of Education, honoris causa, upon Estes.
She was nominated for “her accomplishment as a centenarian and her significant work as a lifetime educator in the state of Texas contributing to the core mission of Sul Ross State University as a teaching college.”
               As a child, Estes wanted to be a school teacher. She began her career in education in 1933, during the Great Depression, when she rode horseback along ranching and farming communities to collect school census information for the local and area schools.
               After receiving a 4-H scholarship, Estes attended Sul Ross State Teachers College in 1934 with the intention to become a school teacher. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1940 and went on to teach mathematics to students in grades from elementary school to high school. She taught at total of 60 years in rural schools and small towns, including: Pleasant Valley, Valley View, Stephenson, Midland, Greenwood, Van Horn, Pyote, and Pecos. During those years, she positively impacted students in the surrounding areas of Sul Ross.
                Estes will also serve as Grand Marshal of the Sul Ross Homecoming parade Nov. 15.
                Sul Ross seeks authorization for the President to accept the donation of a land lease of about 68,800 acres in Brewster County from Lyke Bros. Inc. The five-year lease will facilitate an undergraduate program focused on the education of students in sustainable use of natural resources through ranch management.
               The sustainable ranch management program will include knowledge of an understanding of management of soils, water, energy, nutrients, vegetation, livestock, ranch infrastructure, business, and decision making.  Research of land restoration will also be conducted with a focus on ways to reduce soil erosion, restore native vegetation, and determine sustainable uses.
               Sul Ross’ Department of Natural Resource Management has been involved with educational activities in ranch management and land restoration that would benefit from having a field evaluation site. The university has obtained some funding and is seeking further funding for the project.
               Supervised educational activities related to the ranch management program will include the repair and maintenance of the ranch infrastructure, management of livestock, rotation of livestock, installation of ranch improvements, application for farm bill programs, wildlife monitoring, and records keeping.
               Potential related work conducted by Sul Ross for land restoration research will include monitoring previous and new restoration treatments, monitoring and modification of dirt tanks, invasive species removal, soil modifications, and installation of alternative restoration techniques.
               Gifts from individuals and foundations during the last quarter include:
               * $35,000 from the West Texas Chapter of Safari Club International, Mathew Bell, President, Odessa, to the Borderlands Research Institute’s Bighorn Sheep Restoration Project in support of the Borderlands study about the Bighorn Sheep productivity and survival in the Trans Pecos area.
               * $5,000 from Bonnie Bowman Korbell, Galveston, to the Borderlands Research Institute Stewardship Program to help with the Borderlands operating costs.
               * $20,000 from the Sylvia G. Forchheimer Estate, Juliette Schwab, Executrix, Alpine, for the Paul and Teeby Forchheimer Communication Endowment. Mr. and Mrs. Forchheimer established this endowment to benefit the students pursuing a degree in communication   
               * $50,000 from the Dixon Water Foundation, Robert J. Potts, President and CEO, Marfa, to the Sustainable Ranch Management Program to help with operating costs.
              * $25,000 from Wexford Hunting, L.L.C., Kai Buckert, Victoria, to the Borderlands Research Institute – Lado Ranch Quail Project. The Grant-in-Aid Program five-year project supports the BRI Lado Ranch Quail Project conducting research about Quail density, recruitment and survival.
               * $50,000 from John Franklin Fort, III, Houston, to the Friends of the Center for Big Bend Studies through the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. These funds support the Trans Pecos Archaeological Program and other programs aimed at recovering and preserving significant data in archaeological and historical resources in the Trans Pecos and Big Bend areas.
               * $7,850 from Thad A. Steele, Jr., T&T Staff Management, El Paso, to the Center for Big Bend Studies, supporting the Trans Pecos Archaeological Program and other programs.
               * $5,000 from an anonymous donor, San Antonio, to the Borderlands Research Institute Stewardship Program to help with the Borderlands operating costs.
               * $100,000 from the Nelson Puett Foundation, Austin, to the Sul Ross Support Organization in honor of Dr. John B. Poindexter. The donation has been placed temporarily in the support organization fund and will be transferred to the department or program of Poindexter’s choice.
               * $5,000 from Eric Stumberg, Austin, to the Borderlands Research Institute Stewardship Program to help with the Borderlands operating costs.
               * $67,750 from Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Beeville, to the Borderland Research Institute Mirador Project. This project will enhance the knowledge of white-tailed deer population management and effects to its habitat.
               * $10,000 from the Hillcrest Foundation, Dallas, to the Borderlands Research Institute’s Hillcrest Foundation Fund. This donation helps to strengthen the Borderlands programs by funding innovative research, collaboration and experiential learning opportunities at Sul Ross.
               * $215,000 from JB Bar Ranch Holdings, LP, John Nau, III, Houston, to the Borderlands Research Institute’s Bighorn Sheep Restoration Project.
               * $10,000 from San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc., Pamela Foster, Scholarship Coordinator, San Antonio, to the Borderlands Research Institute – San Antonio Livestock Exposition Fellowship to support graduate scholarships
               * $10,000 from David Wilson, Alpine, to the Small Business Development Center Excellence Fund to help with operating costs.
               * $5,000 from Routt Investment Ltd., Allen Smith, Austin, to the Borderlands Research Institute Stewardship Program to help with the Borderlands operating costs.
               * $25,000 from the Poindexter Foundation, Houston, to the Sul Ross Support Organization in honor of Dr. John B. Poindexter. This donation has been placed temporarily in the support organization fund and will be transferred to the department or program of Poindexter’s choice.
               * $25,000 from the Brown Foundation, Inc., Herman L. Stude, Houston, to the Friends of the Center for Big Bend Studies.  These funds support the Trans Pecos Archaeological Program and other programs.

First day on the new job

Dr. William L. “Bill” Kibler began his new duties as Sul Ross State University’s 12th President on Friday (Aug. 15). He was welcomed by Yvonne Realivasquez, executive assistant to the President (top photo). Later, he performed his first official function, swearing in new University Department of Public Safety officer Omar Alvarado Madrid (bottom photo). Madrid, a Presidio native, previously attended Sul Ross for two years and also worked at the Shafter silver mine. He is a 2014 graduate of the Sul Ross Law Enforcement Academy. (Photos by Steve Lang)


    Twelve teachers from seven area school districts participated in the Summer Writing Institute, held Aug. 6-7 at Sul Ross State University.
    Sponsored by the Sul Ross Education Department, the institute provided professional development in writing. Each year, Texas students in grades 4, 7, 9 and 10 take state tests to measure their writing proficiency.
    Participants included: Noreen Geehan and Carla Valdez, Alpine ISD; Norma Estrada, Balmorhea; Gail Mosher and Manuela Gutierrez, Fabens; Selena Martin, Emily Rogers and Cami Stephens, Fort Davis; Kay Houston and Morgan Stidger, Marathon; Jennifer Gomez, Sierra Blanca; and Martha Stafford, Terlingua.       
    Brenda Hayes, manager of Professional Services for Vantage Learning,  introduced the web-based writing program, MYAccess!, to the group.  During the two days, teachers explored the features of the program and developed plans to implement MYAccess! with their students during the coming school year. Vantage Learning is donating 30 student licenses to each participating teacher.
    Dr. Jeanne Qvarnstrom, assistant professor of Education and program coordinator,  identified the goals to be integrating technology in the writing process and building a Professional Learning Community among the teachers to promote best practices in writing instruction.
    Members of the Sul Ross Languages and Literature Department faculty presented several topics on the writing process. Dr. Theron Francis discussed “The Writing Process:  How It Works”; Dr. Laura Payne outlined “Writing Language: The Literacy Narrative”;  Dr. Kathy Stein explained “The Three Musketeers of Appeals:  Ethos, Pathos, and Logos”; and Dr. Sharon Hileman presented “The Multigenre Research Project.”
    The Alpine Chamber of Commerce provided gift bags for all the participants and gift certificates were donated by Century Bar & Grill, Front Street Books, Guzzi Up, Judy’s Bread and Breakfast, Kiowa Gallery, La Trattoria Restaurant and Reata Restaurant.
    Qvarnstrom said that participants gave the institute high marks.
    “When surveyed, all of the teachers indicated that MYAccess! will be a valuable instructional tool for teaching writing,” she said. “I am confident that the positive writing experience for these teachers and their students will expand throughout the school year.”
    For more information, contact Qvarnstrom, (432) 837-8395 or

    Season tickets are now available for purchase for Sul Ross State University’s 93rd theatre season.
    The Sul Ross theatre program’s 2014-15 bill will include two original plays, two blockbuster musicals, three nights of independent film screenings and three student laboratory productions. Season ticket prices are: general admission, $40; senior citizens/children, $30. Season passes are available online by visiting the website at or call (432) 837-8218 for more information.    “Moises: A Modern-Day Tragedy,” written by Liz Coronado Castillo and directed by Dona Roman, opens the schedule Oct. 10-19. Sul Ross’ first student laboratory production of “East 2nd Street,” a new play by Luke Miller directed by Ashley Jane Page, will be performed Nov. 20-22.
    “Micro-Cinema: Our Native American Experience,” will play Feb. 5-7, 2015. The event features three evenings of screenings of a collection of independent films from Native American filmmakers.
    The Sul Ross theatre and music programs will collaborate to present “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” March 28-April 3, with book by James Lupine and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The Tony Award-winning musical will be directed by Bret Scott with musical direction by Lana Potts.
    “An Evening of One-Act Plays,” featuring student-directed works, rounds out the spring season April 24-26.
    Next summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the Theatre of the Big Bend with Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun,” June 26-July 19 in the S.A.L.E. Arena. Directed by Dona Roman with musical direction by Lana Potts, the summer theatre program revives their original rodeo production of this Tony award-winning musical.
    Two evenings of “Dark Night Readings,” original works by student playwrights, complete the summer season July 14-15 at the Kokernot Outdoor Theatre.