Monday, April 22, 2019
The University Star

Our History

The University Star, also called The Star, is the student-run news organization at Texas State University. The Star provides news and information on issues affecting the university, as well as the San Marcos community.

The Star prints 5,000 newspapers each Tuesday during the long semesters that are distributed at locations across campus and the city of San Marcos. The organization also has a website and weekly subscription e-newsletter, as well as a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The Star added an app in the fall of 2018 that can be downloaded for free in the app store.

Fred W Adams
Fred W Adams

The first issue of The Star was published in February 1911 by student Fred W. Adams, son of the founder of Adams Extract and Spice Company. At the time, Adams was milking cows, carrying wood for his room and board, and selling his father’s extracts to pay for an education at a small teacher’s college in the Texas Hill Country.

Adams, who was 20 years old at the time, made a proposal to the college president and assured him that Adams would absorb any printing costs that advertising didn’t cover. In exchange, the president allowed Adams to keep the profits.

With student body approval, the newspaper became the documentation tool of the institution’s history. The name of the paper, The Star, can also be traced to Adams who noted in his diary, “The Star rose again all right today.” And, it has been rising each day on the institution’s grounds ever since.

As one of the oldest student publications in Texas, The Star has published steadily from 1911 through the Great Depression, two world wars, as well as the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars. Lyndon Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, served as the summer editor of The Star in 1930.

Our Alumni

The Fred W Adams Hall of Fame

Fred Adams visits the University Star in 1971.

The Fred W. Adams Hall of Fame was created in memory of the creator of the paper. Besides Adams, other inductees included Don Flores, former managing editor and editor in chief; Walter Richter, founder of the journalism department; Jeff Duffield, former sports editor; Edmond Komandosky, former adviser and editor in chief; Roy Willbern, former editor in chief and author of the White Star Story; Robert Huffaker, former member of the publication’s board; Lyndon Baines Johnson, former summer editor and president of the press club; Charles Barsotti, former cartoonist and Pat Murdock, former editor in chief.

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Fred W Adams

Founder of The University Star

In 1911, Fred Adams was working night and day milking cows, carrying wood for his room and board, and selling his father's extracts to pay for an education at a small teachers' college in the Texas Hill Country.

ISo, what did the 20-year-old Austin resident have to lose when he made the proposal that the college needed a newspaper? Adams assured the president that he would absorb any printing costs that advertising didn't cover. In exchange the president allowed Adams to keep the profits.

IWith student body approval, the newspaper joined the Pedagog; the yearbook that has been published ever since the institution opened its doors in 1903 becoming the documentattion tools of the institution's history. The name of the paper, The Star, can be traced to the embryonic state in Adams' mind. As Adams noted in his diary, "The Star rose again all right today." And, it has been rising each day on the instituion's grounds ever since.

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Charles Barsotti

Cartoonist, 1955 Graduate

Mr. Barsotti kept students chuckling when his cartoons began appearing in The College Star during his undergraduate days. He received the President's Excellence Award on Feb. 25, 1987. The award is presented to individuals who have brought special recognition to the University through significant contributions to society, their professions or the University.

Mr. Barsotti is the creator of the office-worker-and husband P.J. McFey comic strip, which is distributed nationally by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. His cartoons include "C. Barsotti's People" for USA Today and appears in The New Yorker, USA Weekend and Texas Monthly. His cartoons and drawings have also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Kansas City Star/Times, Playboy and other publications. His comic strip, Sally Bananas, ran for four years in the early 1970s.

Professional Achievements

Cartoonist Los Angeles Times Syndicate, USA Today, USA Weekend, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Kansas City Star/Times, Playboy
Cartoon Editor Saturday Evening Post
Writer, Cartoonist, Editor Hallmark
Creator "C. Barsotti's People," "My kind of people," "P.J. McFey," "Sally Bananas"
Book Author A Girl Needs a Little Action, Kings Don't Carry Money, C. Barsotti's Texas
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Robert Huffaker

Publications Advisory Committee, 1974 - 1980

Dr. Huffaker was chairman of the Faculty Student Publications Advisory Committee. He is a distinguished journalist and a scholar. When we student journalists fought open meetings battles with the university administration back then, Bob supported student editors. He wrote a resolution in support of our efforts for a free student press and open government on campus, which was adopted by the Faculty Senate and later by the journalism faculty.

Dr. Huffaker's voice rang out over American airwaves via CBS, cracking with emotion at moments, when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas. He was on the scene of the president's Dallas motorcade, saying Dallas sure seemed to love Kennedy, and then at Parkland Hospital where the president was pronounced dead. Still in his 20s then, he interviewed Congressman Jim Wright, who offered a prayer in response. Bob was also in the basement of the Dallas Police and Courts Building, where he personally witnessed Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald and broadcast the news live over the nation's airwaves before live newscasts were commonplace.

Professional Achievements

Reporter & Newscaster CBS and KRLD News. RTNDA Best Spot News in USA, 1963.
Author & Editor "When the News Went Live: DALLAS 1963, Taylor Trade Books, October 2004.
Author John Fowles, G.K. Hall & Co., 1980.

Editor Texas Monthly, Studies in the Novel, Modern Humanities Research Association.
English Professor University of North Texas, Texas State University. Student choice in top 20 TSU faculty.
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Dionicio 'Don' Flores

Managing Editor, Editor-In-Chief, 1973 Graduate

During Flores' tenure as editor-in-chief and managing editor, The University Star received recognition as a Columbia Medalist, was named All-American by Associated Collegiate Press and was presented a first in overall newspaper by the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Mr. Flores was named Southwest Texas State University's top alumnus in 1992. Governor George W. Bush appointed him to a six-year term on the Texas State University System Board of Regents in March 1999.

Mr. Flores is executive vice president and editor of the El Paso Times. Before coming to El Paso, he was president and publisher of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Since joining the Gannett Company in 1985, he has held editing and management positions at the Tucson Citizen, the New Mexican in Santa Fe, the Visalia Times-Delta and the Gannett West in Reno, Nevada. He was formerly an editor with the Dallas Morning News and has been an editor or reporter for the Dallas Times Herald, the Abilene Reporter-News and the San Marcos Daily Record. Mr. Flores' professional memberships include the American Society of Newspaper Associations of America and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, where he has served as director, vice president and president. He is also a member of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and serves on the boards of directors of Paso Del Norte Health Foundation and the El Paso United Way. Mr. Flores has been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States.

Professional Achievements

Executive Vice President and Editor El Paso Times
Publisher Iowa City Press-Citizen
Editing Management Positions Tucson Citizen, New Mexican (Santa Fe), Visalia Times-Delta
Editor/Reporter Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times-Herald, San Marcos Daily Record
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Jeff Duffield

Reporter/Sports Editor, 1963 Graduate

Mr. Duffield was a reporter and sports editor for The College Star throughout our college years while also working in the SWT information office and for the San Marcos Record. During the summers, he continued to report for the San Benito News, a job he had begun while still in high school, after having been a carrier as a boy. He also was a featured writer for the San Benito High School Greyhound Growls.

After graduation, he became police reporter for the San Antonio Express-News. He then was assigned to the City Hall beat, where he established a reputation as the guy who could get the story before anyone really knew there was a story. In 1969, he received the Sigma Delta Chi award for spot news reporting.

Professional Achievements

Assistant City Editor/Political Reporter
San Antonio Express-News
Director, Community Relations San Antonio School District
Political Reporter San Antonio Light
Assistant Executive Director Bexar County Hospital District
Director, Public Information
Judson Independent School District
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Edmond Komandosky

Managing Editor, Editor-In-Chief, 1966 Graduate

Edmond S. Komandosky served as editor of The College Star in the summer/fall/spring of 1964-65 and again in spring 1966. During that time the newspaper won numerous awards including a Readers Digest Foundation Award for international news coverage. From fall 1972 to spring 1974, Col. Komandosky returned to SWT to serve as faculty adviser to the Star. In addition he taught several courses in the journalism department and was a special assistant to the vice president for Academic Affairs of the university. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He did graduate studies at the University of North Texas in journalism and is a graduate of the Department of Defense Public Affairs School.

Col. Komandosky retired at the end of 1998 after 32 years, nine months of military service including 18 months in Vietnam. For 15 years, he was the director of public affairs for the Texas National Guard. He served on the Dept. of Defense committees for Military Use of Air Space, for Environmental Media Relations and for the Celebration of Troops returning home from the Gulf War. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal and numerous other state and federal military service medals and ribbons. He is a past president of the National Guard Association of Texas and served as editor of the association's magazine for almost 20 years.

Professional Achievements

Executive Editor, Associate Publisher
The Taylor Daily Press
Assistant Inspector General Texas National Guard
Director of Public Affiars Adjutant General and the Military Forces of Texas
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Lyndon Baines Johnson

Summer Editor-in-Chief, President, Press Club, 1930 Graduate

Mr. Johnson served as the summer editor-in-chief of The College Star in 1927 and 1928. He was elected president of the Press Club his senior year and was the organization's delegate to the TIPA convention in Huntsville that year. Mr. Johnson was responsible for the first journalism class taught at Southwest Texas Teacher's College in 1928. He was a member of the Harris Blairs, Pi Gamma Mu, the B.A. Club and secretary of the School Master's Club. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in history.

Mr. Johnson was the first former student to receive in 1959 the Distinguished Alumnus award. The university has paid tribute to Mr. Johnson by naming the student center in his honor. The city of San Marcos has recognized him by naming the main north-south thoroughfare in town LBJ Street. An LBJ museum is also located on the square.

Professional Achievements

Pearsall, Sam Houston High School in Houston
Secretary Congressman Richard Kleberg of South Texas
State Director National Youth Administration of Texas
U.S. House of Representatives, Tenth Congressional District
Senator U.S. Senate from Texas
Majority Leader U.S. Senate
Vice President Running mate with John Fitzgerald Kennedy
President 36 th President of the United States
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Patricia Gayle Murdock

Associate Editor, Business Manager, B.S.1962 Graduate; M.A.1969 Graduate

Ms. Murdock served as a reporter, associate editor and business manger for The College Star for two years. Ms. Murdock has been affiliated with the University since 1968 when she was hired as news service editor and journalism instructor. She has been the director of research services since 1994. She was the English and Journalism Academic Awards Day Honor recipient and a Sigma Tau Delta English Honorary member. She received the Air Force ROTC Appreciate Award in 1975; the School of Applied Arts Service Award in 1976; The Republic of Texas Chilympiad's Don Russell Appreciation Award in 1979; the SWT Alumni Association's Key of Excellence Award in 1984; and the Friend of Student Foundation Award in 1987.

Ms. Murdock serves on a number of University committees and is active in civic and professional organizations. She is a member of the University Council, University Advancement Council, University Planning Committee, 504/ADA Steering and Compliance Committee, Registration Coordinating Committee and Homecoming Steering Committee. Professionally, Ms. Murdock is the past district president of Texas Press Women and is a member of the National Federation of Press Women.

Professional Achievements

Newspaper Adviser, English Teacher
Refugio High School
Journalism, English instructor, Public Information Officer
Hill Junior College
Journalism instructor, News Service Editor Southwest Texas State University
Director , News & Information Service
Southwest Texas State University
Director , Research Services Texas State University
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Roy Willburn

Editor-in-Chief, Author of The White Star Story, B.A.1938 Graduate; M.A. 1941 Graduate; M.A. 1987 Graduate

Mr. Willbern served as The College Star editor in 1937-38. Other SWT affiliations included Pi Kappa Delta, president of the College Players; a member of Purple Mask and Alpha Chi and was a Jeffersonian. Mr. Willbern worked in the library and was an assistant in the college publicity office. Mr. Willbern served as president in 1969 of the SWT Alumni Association.

The Department of Speech Communication presented him the Distinguished Alumnus award in 1987 and the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1989. Mr. Willbern was also the author of The White Star Story, a book, which told the story of the Alpha and Omega Fraternity. The book documents the story of the secret society because fraternities were outlawed on campus and its battle for control of student affairs with The Black Stars, a term coined for the major opponent-football players. Proceeds from the book went toward scholarships.

Professional Achievements

Alvin High School, Reagan High School in Houston
Todd Houston Shipbuilding Corporation
Salesman Air Reduction Company in Houston

General Practice; Partner, Halbkat & Willbern; Partner,Lott & Willbern; Partner, Willbern & Marshall

Director , Co-Founder, Secretary San Jacinto Savings Association
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Walter Richter

Editor-in-chief, Founder, Journalism Department, B.A. Graduate 1938; M.A. Graduate 1939

Mr. Richter attended Southwest Texas State Teacher's College. He became a member of the White Stars, a secret campus political organization (of which Lyndon Johnson was a founding member). Mr. Richter served as editor-in-chief of The College Star and student body president. Mr. Mr. Richter was a member of the freshman tennis team, Jeffersonians, Aquatic Club, Press Club, Alpha Chi and Fidelis Duces. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938 and a Master of Arts degree in 1939. After graduation, Mr. Richter organized and ran the journalism department at his alma mater. Mr. Richter was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the university in 1969 and the journalism department's Outstanding Alumnus in 1989. He served as president of the Alumni Association in 1954.

Mr. Richter, a respected public servant, was appointed by Governor John Connally to lead President Lyndon Johnson's ``war on poverty'' in Texas as Director of the Texas Office of Economic Opportunity. President Jimmy Carter appointed Mr. Richter to the U. S. Architectural and Transportation Compliance Board, which was charged with making all federal buildings accessible to the handicapped. Mr. Richter also served as co-chairman of the Texas Environmental Coalition, one of the earliest volunteer organizations to work toward protection of the state's environment.

Professional Achievements

The Stockdale Star
Todd Houston Shipbuilding Corporation Steck Publishing Company
Salesman Air Reduction Company in Houston

Texas State Senate

Director Government Relations Association of Texas Electric Cooperatives
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Bobby Clay

Writer, Assistant Managing Editor 1976 - 1978

Mr. Clay served as a writer and assistant managing editor for The University Star. Mr. Clay worked for the San Antonio Light where he served as sports editor. The Star experience that stands out the most for him were the nights when the staff did layout, using those plastic pica poles to line up everything perfectly. The attention to detail and nights that stretched into the next morning has served him well in his career. Mr. Clay has been a member of the sports editorial staffs at The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise, The Philadelphia Inquirer, National Sports Daily and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His sports sections at the San Antonio Light consistently received Associated Press Sports Editors awards. Mr. Clay joined Sports Illustrated in 1995, overseeing, across the years, the magazine’s coverage of college football, NASCAR, boxing, track and field, and women’s sports. Mr. Clay’s work schedule with Sports Illustrated magazine followed a similar pattern to the long hours he worked at the Star. The deadline day is Sunday. He would arrive at the office at 9 a.m. and not leave until 2 a.m. Monday. Then, it was back to the office to finish the publication by Monday night. In 2005, he moved to Sports Illustrated’s Web site, where he oversees the NFL, baseball and tennis, among other duties. He is a recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists magazine writing award for his work with Black Enterprise.  He currently lives in White Plains, N.Y with his wife, Debra, and children, Darrah, Andrea and Taylor.

Professional Achievements

Sports Writer
Seguin Gazette-Enterprise
Sports Editor
San Antonio Light
Sports Writer The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Editor Sports Illustrated
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Bruce Roche

Faculty Advisor

1958 - 1967

Dr. Roche served as faculty adviser to The College Star from 1958 until 1967. During that time, the Star received five, first place overall awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association and was constantly ranked at the top among small college papers. Dr. Roche’s journalistic writing talent was displayed through the College News Service where he held the title of director for six years. During his tenure with the news service, Dr. Roche wrote hundreds of news stories about Southwest Texas State University, which were disseminated to media outlets throughout the country. Other journalistic experience consisted of writing stories for Army publications while on active duty and the General Land Office before pursing his education. Dr. Roche taught at the University of Alabama following his Southwest Texas State College experience. He taught at the University of Alabama from 1972 until 1994, retiring as associate professor emeritus. He served as chair of the student publication’s committee at the University of Alabama from 1984-1986. Dr. Roche is the author of A Unifying Voice: A Centennial History of the American Advertising Federation, 1905-2005; and The College of Communication and Information Sciences: A History.

Professional Achievements

Advertising staffs
Newspapers in Waco, Temple and Austin
Advertising staff
Carbondale, Ill.
Director College News Service, Southwest Texas State University

Professional Offices:


Seventh District of American Advertising Federation

President Tuscaloosa Advertising Club
Secretary-Treasurer Alabama Advertising Education Foundation
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Carlos Valdez Lozano

Reporter, Production Manager

1984 - 1987

Mr. Lozano was a reporter and production manager for The University Star from 1984-1987. The first person he interviewed for a Star story was Texas author Larry McMurtry, who won the Pulitzer Prize a few days later for his book “Lonesome Dove.” Mr. Lozano continued to write stories about visiting writers, teachers and some otherwise wily characters, including an award-winning feature on Miss Edna, the proprietress of what was famously known as “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Upon graduation, Mr. Lozano was accepted as an intern in The Los Angeles Times Minority Editorial Training program. He was selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants, including graduates from Columbia, Yale, UCLA and other top ranked schools. Ultimately, he was one of 10 chosen for the program. Mr. Lozano was hired by The Times as a full-time reporter in 1989. He was among three Pulitzer Prize winning editorial staffs for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the 2003 Southern California wildfires. Mr. Lozano was the deputy city editor of the Ventura County Edition of The Los Angeles Times when the paper was a Pulitzer finalist for breaking news coverage of the 2000 Alaska Airlines crash. He was the Ventura County Edition city editor from 2001-2004 and played a significant role in coordinating local coverage of former President Ronald Reagan's funeral in Simi Valley. Since 2004, Mr. Lozano has been serving as assistant city editor of The Times, responsible for immigration coverage.

Professional Achievements

Los Angeles Times
Deputy City Editor/City Editor
Los Angeles Times Ventura County Edition
Assistant City Editor Los Angeles Times
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Debbie Hiott

Copy Editor, Reporter, News Editor, Managing Editor & Editor-In-Chief

1992 Graduate

Debbie Hiott served as a copy editor, reporter, news editor, managing editor and editor-in-chief of The University Star.  She led the staff that took the Star from two days a week to a daily publication. Ms. Hiott served as an Austin American-Statesman correspondent covering San Marcos prior to her Spring 1992 graduation. Following her graduation, the Statesman hired her full-time. Ms. Hiott became an assistant metro editor in 1999, assistant state editor in 2001, state editor in 2002, and metro editor in 2003 before being appointed assistant managing editor over state, local and national news in 2005.

Professional Achievements

Austin American-Statesman
Assistant Metro Editor           
Austin American-Statesman
Assistant State Editor            Austin American-Statesman
State Editor            Austin American-Statesman
Metro Editor                                     Austin American-Statesman
Assistant Managing Editor                                     Austin American-Statesman
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Jeff Henderson

Director of Student Publications

1990 - 1999

Mr. Henderson served as a faculty member and administrator at Southwest Texas State University for 29 years. He served as coordinator for the advertising-public relations sequence for a year before becoming coordinator of the print sequence from 1975-1982. Mr. Henderson developed a number of classes including a Web design course and visual communication, which included a QuarkXpress laboratory. Mr. Henderson served as director of student publications at Southwest Texas State University from 1990-1999 expanding The University Star to a four-day-a-week newspaper, which in 1992 was named the fifth best tabloid student newspaper in the nation as recognized during the Associated Collegiate Press On-Site Contest in Chicago. Under Mr. Henderson’s direction, The Daily University Star became the first newspaper in Texas (both professional or student) to be online with both photos and stories. Mr. Henderson served as assistant dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication from 1999 through 2001. Mr. Henderson’s commitment to collegiate journalism expanded beyond the boundaries of Southwest Texas. He served as the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s executive director for 21 years (1980-2001). During his tenure, TIPA established permanent on-site contests and membership grew from 30 schools to 75 institutions. Mr. Henderson was named TIPA Adviser of the Year in 1992. The organization honored him upon his retirement from the executive director position with the establishment of the Jeff W. Henderson Scholarship for Journalistic Excellence. Mr. Henderson was inducted into TIPA’s Hall of Fame in 2002. He is the author of hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. The Alpine Avalanche, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Crane News, San Angelo Standard Times, Midland Reporter-Telegram, Odessa American and El Paso Times are among the many publications where his work has appeared.

College Teaching Experience:

Odessa College
Director, Student Publications
Southwest Texas State University
Professor Southwest Texas State University
Assistant Dean Southwest Texas State University
Executive Director Texas Intercollegiate Press Association
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Jim Witt



Mr. Witt was a member of The University Star staff from 1972 until 1974. During that time he served as sports editor, news editor, managing editor and editor-in-chief. The streaking fad erupted around the country in 1974 and San Marcos was no exception. Mr. Witt and members of the staff ran back to the newsroom and put together an eight-page special section with dozens of nude pictures of Bobcats running across the Quad, around the library, in front of the women’s dorms etc. It was the paper’s only sellout of the semester. Somehow, the staff forgot to tell student publication’s adviser Ed Komandosky of the special issue, and he almost lost his job over it. Upon graduation, Mr. Witt joined The Waco Tribune Herald in 1974; in 1975, he became sports editor of the San Marcos Daily Record; 1976-1977, Mr. Witt served as the editor-in-chief of the San Marcos Daily Record; 1978-1979, he was page one editor of the San Antonio News; 1980, he served as city editor at The Abilene Reporter News; 1981-1986, Mr. Witt was the assistant managing editor of The Miami Florida News; 1986-1992, he was assistant managing editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; 1992-95, Mr. Witt was the Arlington edition editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; 1995, Mr. Witt was the publisher of the Northeast Tarrant editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; in 1996, Mr. Witt became executive editor and senior vice president of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Professional Experience:

Reporter Waco Tribune-Herald
Sports Editor San Marcos Daily Record
Editor-in-chief San Marcos Daily Record
Page One Editor San Antonio News
City Editor Abilene Reporter-News
Assistant Managing Editor Miami Fla. News
Assistant Managing Editor Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Editor Fort Worth Star-Telegram Arlington Edition
Publisher Fort Worth Star-Telegram Northeast Tarrant Edition
Executive Editor, Senior Vice Presiden Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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Bill Cunningham

Managing Editor


Mr. Cunningham enrolled in Southwest Texas State College in 1967 where he worked as a sports reporter during the fall semester of his freshman year. He was named sports editor the following semester. He remained sports editor during the 1968 and 1969 academic years. Mr. Cunningham became managing editor of The Star in the fall 1969 semester, but left the paper because of philosophical differences with the administration over coverage of an anti-war demonstration movement on campus. Gov. Ann Richards appointed him in 1991 to the Texas State University System Board of Regents. In 1994, Mr. Cunningham was elected chairman of the board. Mr. Cunningham collaborated with Rollo Newsome, distinguished professor emeritus and vice president for academic affairs; and Steve Davis, Witliff Collection of Southwestern Literature, on Lone Star 77 first comprehensive review of Texas crime fiction writing. The University of Texas Press published it in 2007.

Professional Experience:

Writer, Managing Editor Hays County Citizen
Police Reporter San Antonio Express-News
Speechwriter Texas Agriculture Commissioner John White
Campaign Coordinator/Consultant U.S. Congressman J.J. “Jake” Pickle Campaign
Public Relations Founded Cunningham Public Relations
Public Relations Consultant Lower Colorado River Authority
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Jim Kercheville


1961 - 1962

Jim Kercheville started his writing career as a sophomore in high school—with a weekly column on junior high sports for the San Marcos Record. As a sophomore at Texas State, he was named managing editor of The College Star in the spring of 1961. He was elected editor for the summer of 1961 through spring of ’62, when The Star won first place in the annual TIPA competition. Before graduating in January 1963, Mr. Kercheville, won six TIPA writing awards. After a brief stint as a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, he joined Mountain Bell (now Qwest) public relations department as editor of its eight-state employee newspaper. He worked for Mountain Bell in Denver and AT&T in New York for 26 years. He was named assistant vice president-information in 1977 for Mountain Bell’s corporate headquarters. During his Bell System career, Mr. Kercheville managed all phases of corporate public relations—including award-winning employee publications and television productions, media relations, PR planning, and executive speech writing. For several years, he taught a senior-level course in employee communications at the University of Colorado. Retiring from the phone company in 1990, Mr. Kercheville worked in various public relations roles throughout the ‘90s, including head of his own PR consulting and writing business. He also was a contributing writer to several business and technology magazines. He ended his PR career with Ogilvy Worldwide Public Relations as director of editorial services, managing writers in Denver, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Jim’s father, Bob, was head of the college book store and student center in the 1950s, a long-time public address announcer at Bobcat football games, and later a frequent guest lecturer in university business classes. Jim’s son, Patrick, is a 1989 graduate of Texas State.

Professional Experience:

Employee Communications Mountain Bell, Denver
Media relations, PR Planning AT&T, New York
Colorado PR manager Mountain Bell, Denver
Assistant VP, Public Relations,
Human Resources/Training
Mountain Bell/U S West, Denver
VP, Assistant to the President Mile High United Way, Denver
Director/Senior Consultant Ogilvy Public Relations, Denver

Professional offices:

Chairman, PR Committee, Mile High Chapter, Girl Scouts Denver
VP, Mile High United Way Campaign Cabinet Denver
VP, Denver Press Club Denver
VP, Colorado Broadcasters Association Denver
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Pat Murdock

Business Manager

B.A. 1962; M.A. 1969

Ms. Murdock served as reporter, associate editor and business manager for The College Star for two years. Ms. Murdock has been affiliated with the University since 1968 when she was hired as news service editor and journalism instructor. She has been the director of research services since 1994. She was the English and Journalism Academic Awards Day Honor Recipient and Sigma Tau Delta English Honorary Member.

Ms. Murdock is a member of the University Council, University Advancement Council, University Planning Council, 504/ADA Sterring and Compliance Commmittee, Registration Coordingating Commmittee and Homecoming Steering Committee. Professionally, Ms. Murdock is the past district president of Texas Press Women and is a member of the National Federation of Press Women.

Professional Experience:

Newspaper Adviser, English Teacher/Journalism Refugio High School
English Instructor, Public Information Officer Hill Junior College
Journalism Instructor, News Service Editor Southwest Texas State University
Director, News and Information Service Southwest Texas State University
Director, Research Services Texas State University - San Marcos
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Peggy Meek Venable

News Editor


Peggy Meek Venable was the news editor of The University Star in 1973. Ms. Venable and a colleague won a Texas Intercollegiate Press first place award in the breaking news category when they reported about the LaGrange Chicken Ranch. She also ran a liquor by the drink campaign, successfully making Hays a wet county. Ms. Venable has worked in public policy and grassroots campaigns. She has been involvement in both the political arena and private sector for more than 35 years. A native Texan, Ms. Venable spent 15 years in Washington, D.C., working for three White House Administrations where. During her Washington, D.C., appointment she worked on public policy issues in the areas of education, natural resources and transportation. During the Reagan Administration, Ms. Venable was the White House liaison for three cabinet secretaries including the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Education. She was the first White House liaison for the U.S. Department of Education and was there when the idea for “A Nation at Risk” was conceived, which was our country’s first “wakeup call” that the education system was falling behind other developed countries.

Professional Experience:

Liaison Gerald Ford Administration
Liaison Ronald Reagan Administration
Liaison George H.W. Bush Administration
Convention Director Republican National Committee
Convention Coordinator 1984 Republican National Convention
Contributing Editor Lone Star Report
Past President Texas State University Foundation Board
Director Americans for Prosperity
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Polly Ross Hughes

Managing Editor, Editor-In-Chief

1976 - 1977

Polly Ross Hughes served as managing editor and editor-in-chief of The University Star during fall 1976 and spring 1977. She led student journalists in advocating for open government meetings and records on campus. Hughes joined The University Star staff as a reporter during the fall, 1974 semester. Other Star positions include assistant city editor (fall 1975) city editor (spring 1975) and news editor (spring 1976). Hughes owns Media Type, LLC, specializing in public affairs consulting. She was communications director for Mental Health America of Texas, senior reporter for the Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau and senior editor of City Profiles International. Hughes was a staff writer covering economics at The San Francisco Chronicle, energy at The Dallas Morning News, banking at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and business and economics at the Anderson Independent in South Carolina. She received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for “Poor Man’s Justice,” a freelance story for D magazine in Dallas, and several national reporting awards for economics and business journalism.

Professional Experience:

Business Editor/Reporter The Anderson Independent
Freelance Writer D magazine
Economics/Banking Reporter Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Energy Reporter The Dallas Morning News
Economics Reporter The San Francisco Chronicle
Freelance Writer/Editor in Europe International Herald Tribune, Spotlight magazine, Munich Found magazine
Senior Editor City Profiles International
Senior Reporter The Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
Communications Director Mental Health America of Texas
Owner, Media Type, LLC Public affairs consulting
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Wilbur Hopson



Mr. Hopson served as sports editor for The College Star for four years (1935-38) before being named summer editor in 1936. Along with Mr. Hopson’s regular reporting, he wrote a "Sports Slants by Hop" column. As editor-in-chief, Mr. Hopson published the "El Toro" column. Paper circulation grew to 1,200 copies per week and format changed from seven to eight columns. He served as a sports publicist for the Bobcats, working for Oscar Strahan. His reports appeared in the San Marcos, Austin, San Antonio and Houston papers. Mr. Hopson also wrote columns about high school sports for 5 cents a column inch, which were published in the San Marcos paper. He was president of his junior class, president of the German Club, an officer in the College Players, and a member of the Harris-Blair Literary Society.  He was also a member of the then-secret group, “White Stars.” After graduation, Mr. Hopson taught chemistry, biology and general science at South San Antonio High School for two years before being hired by the National Youth Administration that helped young men who could not go to college learn and find a trade.  He was then hired by SWT to teach physics to a training detachment for pilot cadets. Mr. Hopson returned to Southwest Texas in 1946 and taught chemistry until his retirement 30 years later.

Professional Experience:

Science teacher South San Antonio High School
Enlisted U.S. Navy
Chemistry faculty Southwest Texas State University
Assistant Professor Emeritus Southwest Texas State University


The University Star is supported by a combination of student service fee funds, advertising revenue, merchandise sales and donations.

Our current annual budget is $210,319. Of that amount, $111,556 comes from the Student Service Fee, which is collected from Texas State students each term as part of student fees. This fee funds activities that involve or directly benefit students that are separate and apart from regularly scheduled academic functions. This includes student government, student cultural activities, artist & lecture series, The University Star, KTSW, and student programming (such as Career Services and the Counseling Center). The fee is $10 per semester credit hour (SCH) up to a maximum of $90 per semester. The total amount collected from students each academic year is around $6.9 million. The University Star’s portion of this is 1.6 percent.

This past year, we collected just over $250 through our fall T-shirt sale.

The remaining $98,763 comes from our hard-working student advertising account representatives and businesses that see the value in advertising with local student-run media.

The student service fee funds are used to pay small stipends for editors and printing/delivery costs for the print product. The revenue account pays the salaries and benefits of our full-time staff and our maintenance and operational costs. There is no budgeted financial support from any campus department for The University Star.

Support Student Media

Journalism is an act of civic responsibility. We see our work as a public service that is necessary for any community to thrive because knowledge is empowering.

The University Star is editorially independent from Texas State University, meaning fellow students make all the decisions about what to cover and how. The university has no say in our content. Period. Our journalism is by students, for students. We are also venturing out into San Marcos to cover the issues that are important to the community that hosts our university. 

We feel a responsibility to do the best job we can for you, but we can’t do it without you. We receive minimal financial support from Texas State University. Most of our funding comes through advertising revenue, but that just isn’t enough to fund our growing media operation that includes a newspaper, newsletter, website, social media and an app. We are asking those who value the news, information and entertainment we provide to help us keep providing it and to grow. 

For as little as $5, you can support free student voices. Please take a minute to help us keep “Defending the First Amendment.”

– Editors of The University Star

We have numerous projects that need your support this year.

Newspaper Racks

Many of our newspaper racks are old, damaged and/or have been defaced. We feel the state of these racks reflects badly on The Star, since this is our “storefront.” We would like to retire 15 old newspaper stands and buy 15 new metal outdoor stands to place outside buildings on campus. We anticipate the cost of this project to be around $8,000.


Old plastic University Star newspaper kiosk 2 Old plastic University Star newspaper stand Old plastic University Star newspaper kiosk Old metal University Star newspaper kiosk

Website Support

We are pursuing off-site hosting to make our website more reliable. We also have created a Soundcloud account so our audience can listen to the audio from interviews and a Constant Contact account to drive traffic to our website. These tools create additional costs of about $3,000 per year.

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