An Update from President Denise M. Trauth of Texas State University

2015
Fall II
Dear Friends,

The start of the fall semester brings us a sense of renewal, and it is particularly invigorating when we can begin our academic year on a high note.

This week, Texas State is announcing that it has acquired the literary archives of internationally acclaimed author and poet Sandra Cisneros. Cisneros, among the first Latina writers to be published by a major press, has helped pave the way for other Latino writers. Her books, rich in their interpretations of life in the Southwest and Mexico, have been translated into more than 20 languages. Cisneros' most popular work, The House on Mango Street, has sold more than 6 million copies and inspired generations of readers worldwide.

Her documents comprise more than 250 boxes of manuscripts, diaries, travel journals, correspondence, photographs, videos, publicity materials, personal effects, interviews and speeches which collectively chronicle her literary career. This treasured archive is a perfect fit for the Wittliff Collections, which is devoted to preserving and illuminating art and literature depicting the Southwest. Cisneros' documents will serve as a valuable resource, enhance the visibility of Latino literature and provide inspiration to young writers seeking to find their own voices for self-expression.

Also coming with the start of an academic year is a new student body, and this year's count of 38,006 students makes it our 18th consecutive year of record enrollment. It represents an increase of 1,242 students, or about a 3.4 percent increase in enrollment over this point last year. The increase isn't necessarily surprising because last May we received our 27,000th application for admission, which was 13 percent more than we received a year earlier. Although our rising enrollment presents space challenges for us, it tells us that Texas State increasingly is becoming the school of choice for many prospective students across the state.

Thousands of students pack the quad every day

On another important note, last spring the Texas Legislature passed a bill that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns in buildings on university campuses beginning August 1, 2016. The law gives universities some limited discretion to regulate where guns can be carried. Chancellor Brian McCall has named a Texas State University System committee to look at policies across the system and I have formed a 25-member Campus Carry Task Force. This task force is composed of faculty, staff, students, and administrators and I charged this group specifically with considering relevant student and facilities data; gathering additional data; becoming informed about specific safety concerns and suggestions from our faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and other campus visitors; and developing recommended policies, guidelines, signage, and other appropriate documents by the end of the fall 2015 semester.

The task force will continue its work during the spring 2016 semester by vetting the proposed recommendations through public meetings and discussions, revising the recommendations based on feedback from the public meetings, and presenting final recommendations to me for consideration by early March 2016. Of paramount importance will be the safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors -- and we will do everything we can to preserve a safe academic environment.

There are two noteworthy celebrations I wanted to be sure you were aware of this fall: the 25th anniversary of the Alkek Library and the 20th anniversary of the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award. The Alkek celebration will be on September 23 and will feature a re-enactment of the 1990 symbolic move to the new building, when the university formed a human chain between the old and new libraries and passed along several key volumes in conveyor-belt fashion. The Alkek soon will undergo some updating, as we have a plan to move our non-circulating books to an archive center to free up space for more individual and group study areas. We also are expanding the library's digital resources and are adding research staff to better serve our students and faculty.

The Albert B. Alkek Library opened in May 1990

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, Texas State will hold a conference on Mexican American children's literature on September 25, which will feature a keynote address from Juan Felipe Herrera, who is the 2015 United States Poet Laureate, and the first Mexican American to hold that position. The conference will be followed on September 26 with a literature fair at the San Marcos Public Library. The Rivera book award was established by the College of Education to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience.

The book award's namesake, the late Dr. Tomás Rivera, was a nationally recognized author of Mexican American literature and is a Texas State Distinguished Alumnus. His writings often depicted the struggles of migrant families, and his legacy is being honored this year through the university's Common Experience, which is a yearlong initiative that cultivates thematic conversation, enhances student participation, and fosters a sense of community throughout the university.

I hope that you are having as much fun this fall as we are!

Sincerely,

Denise M. Trauth
Office of University Advancement
601 University ​Dr. • San Marcos, ​TX ​78666
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