Texas State’s largest graduating class in history is prompting the university to prepare for extra crowds at commencement ceremonies this spring.
This May there will be six commencement ceremonies held at Strahan Coliseum with nearly 4,500 graduation candidates. Administrators are anticipating crowds larger than the capacity at Strahan and are planning for overflow crowds at the ceremonies. Provostsaid Gym 102 in Jowers Center will have a live stream of the ceremony to accommodate additional guests. The gym is located off one of the main entrances of Strahan Coliseum.
Bourgeois said the College of Education ceremony and the combined ceremony of the College of Applied Arts and the College of Health Professions are both expected to draw overflow crowds.
Debbie Thorne, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said although overflow is only expected at the two ceremonies, they will have the extra room prepared for all six.
The Graduate College will soon see a change in leadership as its current dean retires and passes the torch.
Michael Willoughby, dean of the Graduate College, will retire after a 39-year career at Texas State, 31 of those as dean. Willoughby said he began work at Texas State when he was 29 years old—he is now 68. Andrea Golato of the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign will take over Willoughby’s position.
Associate Provost Cynthia Opheim said Willoughby is retiring after a long and distinguished career. Opheim said she has known Willoughby for a long time, and his broad knowledge of helping students and enhancing the graduate program has made him a “remarkable problem solver.”
“I will miss him very much,” Opheim said. “I consider him a good friend.”
Opheim said Willoughby will officially leave Aug. 31, with some overlap as Golato takes the position in mid-July. She said the overlap will allow for a smooth transition.
The new student-made Victory Star will soon shine at Strahan Coliseum as an indicator of Bobcat success.
The Victory Star committee has chosen to install the structure on the wall above the ticket office at Strahan Colesium. The installation is part of the Lighting the Way initiative, a three-year campaign to find a home for the structure.
The campaign was originally launched to replace the Victory Star above Jackson Hall with a new one. This was not a possibility because of safety concerns—finding a home for the student-made star became the new focus of the campaign.
Administrators will select the university’s next bus-service provider after comparing contract proposals and presentations.
Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of transportation services, said the university received four contract bids from service providers: All Aboard America, Veolia Transportation, Groome Transportation and current bus provider First Transit. Of those four service providers, a proposal review team asked for presentations from First Transit and Veolia Transportation. Nusbaum said the presentations took place April 5 and addressed specific issues from the contract proposals in greater detail.
Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services, said the university will be requesting a “best and final offer” from the two companies. The university will select a contract based on the offer to take to the Board of Regents for approval in May, he said.
Sergio Espinoza and his research team work with composite materials in a cramped room with in the Roy F. Mitte building. The resin the team works with produces such strong odors when heated that people come to check on them even when their vents are on full blast.
Espinoza, manufacturing engineering senior, said the team is working with the resin to find a replacement for heavy metals to improve future technology.
A student-service fee is funding several environmentally conscious projects around campus that aim to make the university more green and sustainable.
The mandatory Environmental Service Fee funds many new green initiatives across campus that are executed by the Environmental Service Committee. Nancy Nusbaum, assistant vice president of Finance and Support Services, said each student pays $1 per semester for the fee, which amounts to $73,000 annually. This year 13 projects were approved for funding from the Environmental Service Committee, including Bobcat Blend and the Spring River Clean Up. Nusbaum said there is a reserve of money because the funding does not get fully expended each year. She said $45,000 is left over this year.
Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services, said organizations propose projects to the committee. The committee then votes on proposals and allocates the funding if they are approved, Nance said.
Criminal justice students are teaming up with the University Police Department to create a threat assessment manual that will be used to determine the risk of buildings around campus and how to handle them.
An intelligence analysis graduate class taught by Wayman Mullins, criminal justice professor, is currently working on gathering data about threats, vulnerability and risks in campus buildings and recording them for the manual. The manual will be distributed to first responders in the surrounding area so they may benefit from the information about the campus’ risks when responding to an emergency. The bomb threat in fall 2012 prompted discussion of creating a threat assessment manual.
Alex Villalobos, University Police Department sergeant, came up with the idea for the project, which began this semester. He brought it to Mullins because it corresponded with the curriculum of his intelligence analysis course.
Two companion bills recently filed in the Texas House and Senate could alleviate some of the financial strain a veteran tuition exemption program has put on Texas State and other universities.
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, filed Senate Bill 1543 March 1 and House Bill 3265 March 8, respectively. The identical bills would help fund the Hazlewood Act, a tuition exemption program for veterans and their dependents. The bills would allow universities to utilize unused funds from the B-On-Time student loan account to absorb some of the unearned revenue of Hazlewood.
Rather than constructing two similar medical buildings within a close proximity, Texas State and Texas A&M University are looking into combining resources for one shared facility.
Both universities have existing medical facilities in Round Rock. Each university has requested Tuition Revenue Bond funding for new medical buildings with cadaver labs this legislative session.
Bill Nance is vice president for Finance and Support Services. He said because the institutions’ Round Rock campuses are “probably less than a quarter of a mile apart,” officials are considering sharing Texas State’s proposed Health Professions Building.
Jobs and revenue for San Marcos and the surrounding area could be a result of the construction of two proposed buildings, according to a report commissioned by the university.
The administration recently asked The Perryman Group to conduct an economic-impact study for the new Science and Engineering and Health Professions buildings. The university is looking to use the information to receive funding for the buildings from the legislature. The report estimates more than $106 million will enter the local economy. Additionally, it estimates 1,230 permanent jobs will be created in the local and regional communities as a result of the graduating classes to be housed in the new buildings.