From the Hill, An Update from President Denise M. Trauth
 
2015 Spring II
 
 
Dear Friends,
 
As we prepare for commencement exercises this spring, I thought I'd share some news that puts an exclamation point at the end of an already successful academic year.
 
Today, the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation announced that one of our faculty members, Vedaraman Sriraman, a professor of engineering technology, was selected as a Piper Professor for 2015. Piper professors are an elite group in Texas and only a handful are chosen each year. They are recognized for excellence in teaching and community service. Sriraman, who has been on the Texas State faculty for 23 years, is a most deserving honoree for the Piper award, as he has won many other awards of distinction at Texas State. I’m proud to note that Sriraman becomes the 21st Texas State faculty member to receive the Piper award. Only one other Texas university has more Piper professors than Texas State, UT Austin.
 
2015 Piper Professor Vedaraman Sriraman
 
2015 Piper Professor Vedaraman Sriraman
 
Technology Partners
 
We recently signed agreements tied to two technology giants that expand existing partnerships and strengthen our commitment to engaging in broader research that benefits our university, our partners, and our state.
 
One is with Austin-based Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., which would provide about $281,000 in equipment and program support to the Ingram School of Engineering. The cash portion of the gift will fund summer research grants for undergraduates; research and development on embedded hardware, software and systems; and the development of course and text materials to be used in new graduate and undergraduate curricula. Additionally, a small portion of the funds will be used to support lectures presented by Freescale employees to our students.
 
The other is with the NEC Foundation of America – an arm of Japanese technology leader NEC – and involves a $200,000 grant to be used for research projects aimed at addressing our state's most critical challenges, including water and transportation. One of the projects would focus on ground water detection technology and the other on vehicle passenger detection camera studies.
 
Texas State has been involved in partnerships with Freescale since 1996, and you may recall that just last fall the university announced a strategic partnership with NEC on a variety of projects centering on sustainability.
 
These new agreements help illustrate our growing research activity at Texas State, and further demonstrate that technology leaders are interested in partnering with us because they recognize our research prowess in many areas. These partnerships are beneficial for our students and faculty, who get hands-on experience in innovation and discovery; and for society in general, which benefits from new technologies that improve our quality of life.
 
Student Accolades
 
This time of year gives us the opportunity to highlight some of the many accomplishments of our outstanding students. Among them is Army ROTC Cadet Walter Brinker, who was honored in March with the George C. Marshall Award, the training corps' highest recognition for leadership distinction. Brinker, a Spanish major who graduates this spring, was one of 15 cadets chosen nationally for the award. The 15 honorees were winnowed from a national pool of approximately 5,500 cadets. Read more about Brinker’s award here.
 
Sophie Sledge
 
George C. Marshall Award winner Army Cadet Walter Brinker (Lara Dietrich/University Star)
 
Enactus, our student free-enterprise team that won last year's national championship, placed in the top eight out of 533 teams in this year's competition, and one of the team's members, Sophie Sledge, won one of only five National Student Leadership Awards for free enterprise.
 
Sophie Sledge
 
Enactus National Student Leadership Award winner Sophie Sledge
 
Three of our theatre students, Jordan Morille, Kevin Talley, and Joel Britt brought home national honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in April. Morille won the John Cauble Short Play Award for Norma's Rent; Talley placed second in the Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award for Snake Oil; and Britt won second place in the O'Neill Lighting Fellowship for his lighting design in Rent. Texas State has sent at least three finalists to the elite national theatre competition in each of the last five years. Read more about the Kennedy Center awards here.
 
Jordan Morille, Kevin Talley, and Joel Britt
 
2015 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival winners, from left: Jordan Morille, Kevin Talley and Joel Britt
 
Six of our graduate students in the College of Applied Arts – Adriana Aleman, Shawntel Lopez, Eric Molina, Dagoberto Osorio, David Vela, and Elise Claire Valdes – were selected as 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture fellows. This national program aims to increase the number of individuals in the food and agricultural sciences. Only 20 students are selected nationally for the fellowships and Texas State had more students selected for the program this year than any other university.
 
2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture fellows
 
USDA graduate fellow awardees are (from left, starting with fourth person in front row): Elise Claire Valdes, Shawntel Lopez, Erica Molina, Adriana Aleman and Dagoberto Osorio. David Vela is third from left in back row.
 
Honorary Doctoral Candidates
 
Finally, Texas State is fortunate to be associated with so many outstanding individuals who have been tireless advocates for the university and who have demonstrated extraordinary support in making our institution better. From time to time, we honor these individuals with honorary doctoral degrees. This spring, we honor two such people for their countless contributions to Texas State: Alan William Dreeben and Dionicio "Don" Flores.
 
Dreeben is a former chairman of The Texas State University System Board of Regents and currently is director of The Texas State University System Foundation. He is one of the foundation's most generous supporters and has funded a number of initiatives. Flores, also a former chairman of The Texas State University System Board of Regents, is a Texas State graduate, a recipient of the university's Distinguished Alumnus Award and was named to the university's School of Journalism and Mass Communication Hall of Fame. Flores also is past president of the university's alumni association and a member of the board of trustees for the Texas State University Development Foundation.
 
Dreeben and Flores will become the 16th and 17th individuals to be awarded honorary doctoral degrees at Texas State since 1962, when President Lyndon B. Johnson became our first. We are delighted to hold up these remarkable people as shining examples of civically engaged individuals of whom we all can be proud.
 
Sincerely,
 
Denise M. Trauth
 
 
 
 
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