Monthly Archives: September 2010

Rising Stars: Bradley George

Record-setting athlete excels
in the classroom, too

By David King, University Marketing

When he was an 18-year-old kid and his head was filled with dreams of major league baseball, Bradley George had a plan.

When he was 21 and those dreams were fading quickly, he had a plan.

And when he enrolled at Texas State as a 22-year-old freshman on one of the odder football scholarships in school history, he still had a plan.

Education. Always education.

That plan is why the graduate of New Braunfels Canyon High School, former professional baseball player and record-breaking quarterback at Texas State, will earn his master’s degree in geography in December 2010.

“My mom was a teacher, and she stressed education,” George says of his mother, who taught elementary school in the Comal Independent School District. “So did my dad. He didn’t finish college, but he always stressed the importance of an education.”

The Draft

George had wanted to come to school in San Marcos his senior year at Canyon, since Texas State was the only university that was going to let him play both college baseball and football. But then the Cincinnati Reds selected him in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball draft. At 6-foot-5 and 200-plus pounds, he had the look of a big-league pitcher, and he had shown enough potential at Canyon to pique interest of the team’s scouts.

He agreed to sign, but with one caveat: If he decided to go back to college, the Reds would pay for four years of education.

“It was in the back of my mind that if in four or five years, I’m not moving along (toward the major leagues) at a reasonable pace, then I was going to play college football,” he says.

He pitched for five seasons, including parts of three years in Billings, Mont., in the far-flung Pioneer League, but never progressed beyond the low minor leagues. His advancement was slowed by a series of arm injuries, and as he was nursing another one at the end of the summer of 2004, he came to a decision: It was time to try something new.

George started looking around at college football programs across the south, aiming to play quarterback in a passing-dominated offense. He came to San Marcos more or less as a courtesy to an old acquaintance, then-coach David Bailiff, and took a look around at the university that was closest to his home, his parents and most of his relatives, as well as his heart.

“The day Coach Bailiff called me was one of the best days of my life,” he says. “I was leaving to go play somewhere else.”

He enrolled at Texas State that spring.

The 22-Year-Old Freshman

Since the Reds had agreed to pay for him to attend college, George came to the Bobcats football team as a walk-on — a student-athlete not on an athletic scholarship. And as someone who had worked in the building trades as a teenager, he quickly found and chose the university’s construction technology major, even though it typically was a five-year program.

“Being an older student gave me a completely different perspective,” he says. “It wasn’t the mindset that I was 18 and could hang out until I was 25. When I came here I was 22, almost 23, and it was ‘Hey, guy, you don’t have 10 years to do this.’”

The transition from the life of a minor-league ballplayer, with lots of free time and mind-numbingly long road trips, to college student wasn’t easy.

“I was really worried about it,” he says. “I made good grades in high school and all, but since 2000, when I graduated, I don’t think I had read any academic journals or anything like that.

“The first semester, I think I did fine. But I was worried about it, and I didn’t do much else but study. I was hitting the books pretty hard.”

It wasn’t long, though, before he was hitting his stride. After sitting out as a redshirt freshman his first year, he was named the team’s starting quarterback for the 2006 season. His teammates elected him as one of the team’s captains, an honor usually reserved for players with experience on the field, not just in life. And they re-elected him three more times.

“He owns many of our passing records, but to me, to have been elected captain all four years is his most-amazing stat,” says Bobcats head football coach Brad Wright. “It shows just how much his teammates thought of him and the leadership he exhibited.”

The Records Fall

As the leader of the Bobcats’ prolific offense, George wound up breaking virtually all of the school career records for passing, from completion percentage to total yards to touchdown passes. His senior season, he was named the Southland Conference offensive player of the year, throwing for 3,121 yards and 23 touchdowns.

That 2009 season also marked the third time he was named to the SLC academic all-conference team, and he was chosen as the conference’s football student-athlete of the year — while working on his master’s degree in geography.

Thanks to his perseverance, George had finished his five-year undergraduate program in four years, giving him the opportunity to start on an advanced degree while on a football scholarship his last year with the team.

“That was one of the toughest years I’ve ever had,” he says of fall 2009. “I was taking nine hours of grad school courses, and my classes had pretty long papers due at the end of them.

“Right near the end of the semester, when we were getting ready for week 10 or 11, those papers started coming due. That made life pretty hectic. At that point, if I had any hair, it would have been falling out.”

But the work got done.

“He was distracted by non-academic activity in his world . . . but he came to class ready to learn,” says Dr. Ron Hagelman of the Department of Geography, George’s professor for his research design class. “He was a strong participant in a strong group of graduate students.”

Without the distractions of playing quarterback — which George says is like having a demanding, full-time job — he has progressed enough on his course work to graduate in December 2010.

“I had a lot of help,” he says. “With the advising center and the people who are in place to help you be successful, you almost have no choice but to do the work. A lot of the credit goes to those people.”

Having a plan didn’t hurt.

Spotlight: What makes you shine?

What makes you shine?

We believe that Texas State University shines because our students, faculty, staff and alumni stand out in the world. This university is dedicated to excellence, and every member of our community is an example of that excellence in action. So we want to know, what makes you shine?

Julia Juarez ’11
“The Texas sunshine.”

Mackenzi Sweet ’11
“I’ve got a personality to bring more people here.”

Texas State Updates: Enrollment Record

Texas State sets enrollment record; undergrads 25 percent Hispanic

University News Service

Texas State University-San Marcos has announced an enrollment of 32,586 for the 2010 fall semester, an increase of 5.8 percent over the fall 2009 enrollment of 30,803.

For the first time ever, Hispanics now comprise more than 25 percent of the Texas State undergraduate student body of 27,476. There are 6,961 Hispanic undergraduate students enrolled at Texas State this fall, or 25 percent of all undergraduates. African-American students make up 6 percent of the undergraduate student body with undergraduate  enrollment of 1,738.

“We are proud that the enrollment at Texas State is reflecting the true face of Texas. As demographics change in our state, it is important that our institution keeps pace with that change in order to better serve the higher education needs of our citizens,” said Texas State President Denise Trauth.

If the university sustains a 25 percent or greater Hispanic undergraduate enrollment, it will be granted the federal designation of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and be eligible for additional federal funding in the future.

Texas State has the fifth-highest graduation rate in Texas and that graduation rate holds steady among students of all ethnic groups. Trauth said that will remain a university priority.

“It has been our goal to become a Hispanic Serving Institution,” said Trauth. “Now it is time we direct our efforts toward becoming the best HSI in the state. It is not enough to recruit talented students from all ethnicities – we must also continue to retain those students and see that they graduate. We will rededicate our efforts toward those essential goals and continue to become a better university for all of our students in the process.”

Texas State officials had originally hoped to achieve HSI status by 2012.

Texas State also experienced a rise in graduate student enrollment and increased enrollment at the university’s Round Rock Higher Education Center. Enrollment in the Graduate College now stands at 4,387, an increase of 4.6 percent from last year. A total of 1,984 students are attending classes at Round Rock, up 14 percent from last year. This year, the university opened its doors to the first class of nursing students at the Texas State St. David’s School of Nursing in Round Rock. Ninety-eight students comprise the initial class.

This fall’s freshman class of 3,930 is the largest and most diverse in Texas State’s history. Diversity among entering freshmen reached 39 percent, with 28 percent of the class being Hispanic students. A record 3,611 transfer students also enrolled.

“We are pleased to have achieved another record enrollment,” said Perry Moore, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Texas State. “I believe our climbing enrollment numbers indicate very strongly that we have an excellent reputation among the state’s students, parents, teachers and counselors. The academic experience of our students is very important to us.”

Read more:
San Antonio Express-News
San Marcos Local News

Flu Shots at Texas State

Health Center offers flu shots
for students, faculty, staff

The Texas State Student Health Center has received the 2010-2011 flu vaccine.

The vaccine protects against three strains of flu virus, including H1N1. The CDC is recommending that anyone older than 6 months receive the flu vaccine and that vaccination start as soon as the vaccine is available.

Sufficient quantities of flu vaccine will be available this year so that anyone that wants the vaccine should be able to get it. The Student Health Center will be getting shipments of flu vaccine throughout the fall semester.

Additional flu outreach events may be scheduled as more flu vaccine is received.

Cost: $10 (cash, credit card, check)

Sept. 16: 4:30-5:30 p.m., Student Health Center
Sept. 21: 4:30-5:30 p.m., Student Health Center
Sept. 23: 4:30-5:30 p.m., Student Health Center
Sept. 28: 4:30-5:30 p.m., Student Health Center
Sept. 30: 4:30-5:30 p.m., Student Health Center
Oct. 20: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., LBJSC Ballroom

No appointments are necessary. Limited patient parking is available in front of the Student Health Center. The Matthews Street Garage is now open just a block from the Student Health Center and LBJ Student Center for those with red or green parking permits.

Texas State Faces: Football Home Opener

We want to see your photos
from Saturday’s football game

Hey Bobcats: Send us your best picture from Saturday’s football game, the 31-17 victory over Southern Arkansas.

We’ll pick the top 10 and post them on the Texas State Flickr photostream later this week.

Winning photographers will receive a Texas State window sticker, suitable for sticking onto your favorite glass surface. E-mail your photos to Thanks!

Alumni remember Texas State

As the university turns 107, one alumna tells us why she loves Texas State

By Leigh Ann Mitchell ’01

In 2000, I transferred to Southwest Texas State. This was my third college to attend. I spent my first two years at Sam Houston State and really did not feel it was the best place for me. I then transferred to Texas A&M at Galveston to study marine biology, but the school was too small to offer the classes I needed when I needed them. So I looked into Southwest Texas State. I researched their biology program and even made a campus visit. As I walked under Alkek Library and past the Stallions up to Old Main, I knew I belonged there.

My housing assignment was Burleson Hall. When I read about the absence of air conditioning, I was a bit nervous. But after moving in – learning that frozen water bottles set in front of a box fan can ease the Texas heat, radiators are wonderful in the winter time, and meeting the fantastic community that was Burleson – I felt at home.

Meal times at Jones Hall were always fun. We always went as a group, a blend of Burleson and Hornsby residents taking over several tables, laughing and goofing off. The food at Jones Hall was great. There was so much variety, and the giant salad bar was a personal favorite of mine.

Alkek Library was also my second home. Study room No. 7 on the seventh floor was where I spent many evenings studying for tests or reviewing the day’s notes. It was an amazing place to study.

The campus itself was beautiful. The grounds were always kept neat, clean and nicely landscaped. You could see and feel the history of the campus. You also felt the closeness of everyone on campus. On September 11, 2001, the entire campus gathered at the flag poles, prayed and many lit candles at the Stallions. Jerome Supple came and talked to us and then came over and gave many of us hugs, something that we all needed that day.

In December of 2001, it was my time to graduate. I was excited to finally be receiving my biology degree, but I was also saddened that I was leaving many friends and my school. I remember taking a walk around campus the day before I was to move out of Burleson. I walked up to Old Main and took the path around the building. I happened to look at the side of Old Main and saw where many people over the years had carved their names and dates into the bricks. Some were nearly a hundred years old while others were recent – a neat piece of history.

Southwest Texas State is now Texas State, but I don’t feel that this has changed what I have experienced. It’s an amazing school and I hope that one day my children will be Bobcats, too.

Texas State Updates: Football Game Day

Bobcats take on Southern Arkansas
in football home opener Saturday

Texas State Athletics

Updates for Saturday’s 6 p.m. kickoff at Bobcat Stadium

Game Day Shuttle to Bobcat Stadium
Don’t fight parking, ride the Bobcat Tram to the game. Three Bobcat Tram routes will run Saturday starting three hours prior to the game and one hour after the game. For routes, times and more details, visit Game Day Central.

Free parking is available at the Matthews Street Garage (202 Student Center Drive) with free shuttle service to Bobcat Stadium. For routes, times and more details visit Game Day Central.

Tailgating is one of the best Texas State traditions! Get to the game early and tailgate. This week’s featured concert is the Ben Danaher Band! For more information visit the Tailgating – Bobcat Alley page at

Game Day Merchandise
Get your official game day merchandise including t-shirts, jerseys and hats at the University Bookstore, your on-campus bookstore. Click here to visit the fan shop.

Texas State Student Cash Giveaway
The Texas State Athletic Department wants to give you cash this football season! Arrive before kickoff to a Texas State home football game and by swiping in with your student ID to Bobcat Stadium, you automatically will be entered into a drawing for $500! (Remember you must get into Bobcat Stadium before kickoff to be eligible.) Don’t leave early because the announcement of the winner will take place during the third and fourth quarter. See you in the stands! Eat ‘Em Up, Cats!

Game Day Giveaway
2,500 cheer sticks will be handed out on the general admission/student side of Bobcat Stadium courtesy of Nutrishop and Saturday’s game sponsor, H-E-B

Students Get in FREE (with Texas State ID)
Students remember you get in FREE to all Texas State home games with your Texas State ID.

Live Video, Audio and Stats
Can’t make it to the game? Watch the game online live and follow along with live stats at

Click for Live video including post game news conference
Click for Live audio
Click for Live Stats

Rising Stars: Ethie Lee

The seniors from the first class at Texas State, including Ethie Lee, the first student to register at the university. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Ethie Lee, the first student to register
at Texas State, was an education pioneer

Today marks 107th anniversary of opening of university.

Old Main, the first building on campus. (Click on the image for a larger view.)

Amid the dignitaries gathered on the hill overlooking San Marcos, among the 300 or so future students from virtually every corner of Texas, inside the freshly completed Main Building, Ethie Lee was in line the morning of Sept. 9, 1903.

The young woman from Knox County had a single ambition: Learn how to be a better teacher at the Southwest Texas State Normal School, which opened its doors for the first time at 9 a.m. that day.

At 22, she was older than most of the so-called Normalites who made up the first class of the institution that would evolve into Texas State University-San Marcos. Some of her classmates were as young as 16, but she already had been a teacher for two years in her hometown of Munday.

Ethie Lee was committed to San Marcos for a year; that was the length of the teacher education program when the school colloquially referred to as “the Normal” opened. Others in that initial class of 301 were there to finish two years of high school, then take the education portion of the curriculum, the one that would qualify them to become schoolteachers in Texas.

And her commitment was strong. When T.G. Harris, the institution’s principal, opened the school’s “pledge book” to the future students, she was first in line and signed her name at the top of the first page.

It wouldn’t be her last accomplishment of note.

Gov. Sayers’ Influence

Southwest Texas Normal was the fourth public teacher-education school opened in Texas, after institutions in Denton, Huntsville and Prairie View. It had been the vision of Gov. Joseph D. Sayers, a native of Central Texas who worked to expand educational opportunities while in office from 1899-1903.

The first signature in the pledge book belonged to Ethie Lee. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Sayers — whose sister, Jessie, was a veteran teacher and a member of the Normal’s first faculty — was referred to in news reports from that September morning as the “father of this school.” He had been at the ceremonial placement of the cornerstone of the Main Building almost 18 months earlier, and his desire to bring teacher education to the region had spurred the Texas Legislature into action during his first year in office.

He was introduced to the gathering on the hill, which was estimated at 500 people, “among whom are people of State and National reputation,” by Judge J.D. Wood. Wood was the president of the school’s local board of trustees.

“Gov. Sayers’ speech was an eloquent one,” the Dallas Morning News reported. The former governor was followed by several more speakers, including Fergus Kyle, the area’s state representative and one of the school’s bigger supporters in the legislature.

Once the dignitaries had dispersed, the business of education took over with the start of the first of four 12-week terms. Classes, in disciplines from history and civics to botany and zoology, met Monday through Saturday mornings.

A number of students were attending the Normal on state-sponsored scholarships, which paid tuition that could total no more than $450 for the academic year. Ethie was not on any of the published lists of scholarship recipients, but since she already had been working, and her father, James T. Lee, was the only physician in Knox County, she probably didn’t need financial aid as much as some of her fellow students.

It didn’t take long for campus organizations to form. Ethie was one of the early presidents of the Comenian Society, a group that studied art and the child in literature, and she sang alto in the Mendelssohn Choir. That first year also saw the launch of the Pedagog, the school’s yearbook. Each of the 32 students who finished in the spring of 1904 was memorialized with a quote in the Pedagog; hers was “Free to trust. Trustful and almost sternly just.”

Each of those graduates was required to teach in Texas for at least as long as his or her formal schooling at the Normal. Ethie returned to her job in Munday, where she resumed her role on a three-member faculty.

Short Time in Classroom

But Ethie Lee’s teaching career didn’t last long. She met a man named Robert P’Pool, a widower with two sons who lived in the nearby town of Anson, not long after returning to Knox County. They were married in 1906, which meant an end to her career — female teachers at that time were expected to be unmarried, since they wound up devoting so much time to small schools, which sometimes met for less than half the year.

The couple moved to Anson after the wedding and had a child, Roberta, in 1907. By all accounts, Ethie settled into the role of a homemaker, raising the three children. But that normality didn’t last long, either; Robert P’Pool died in 1915 at the age of 41.

There are no records to indicate if Ethie went back to work, although she did return to Knox County, where her sister Shelley — also a Southwest Texas Normal graduate — was a teacher. She settled in the county seat of Benjamin.

A New Role

In 1887, the legislature had given counties the authority to set up an office of superintendent of schools, and in 1907 it became a requirement for a county with more than 3,000 students to have a superintendent.

The education official was elected by the public to two-year terms and served a variety of roles: secretary and executive officer for the county school board, organizer of continuing education institutes for the county’s teachers, supervisor of the smaller districts, accountant for school funds and distributor of textbooks.

In 1927, just three years after Miriam “Ma” Ferguson became the first woman elected to a major office in Texas, Ethie Lee ran for superintendent in Knox County and won. She was the only woman on the ballot listed in the Munday Times, the county’s largest newspaper.

She must have been well-suited for the job — she was re-elected four times.

In her first term, she brought the state superintendent of schools, S.M.N. Marrs, to speak to local residents about his support of rural schools. In 1931, rather than find outsiders to speak to the summer education institute, she commissioned some of the county’s school leaders to present reports, which were published in the Munday Times. She also wrote school news for the newspaper, including reports on graduations.

In 1928, she was invited to speak at the Southwest Texas Ex-Students Association banquet, which was held in conjunction with the state teachers’ convention at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio.

“Mrs. Ethie Lee Pool (sic) of Knox City, Texas, in the first speech of the evening, told of some of her experiences during the first year of the ‘Normal’,” the university newspaper, the College Star, reported on Dec. 4, 1928. “She holds the distinction of being the first student to register in the first session of the College. Very pleasing and interesting was her speech.”

In 1930 she was one of the main sources for a master’s thesis on the educational history of Knox County — both as one of the original teachers, in 1901, and as the superintendent.

She returned to a private life in 1935 when she stepped down as Knox County superintendent. She was mentioned again, albeit only occasionally, for the next 20 years in the society pages of the Munday and Abilene newspapers.

The final reports on Texas State’s first student came in 1956. She died on Feb. 2 of that year in Amarillo, near the Panhandle town of Hereford where she lived with her daughter. Of the obituaries that appeared in the days after her death, only one referred to her history as an “early-day Munday school teacher” and noted that she has been superintendent in Knox County. None mentioned her status as the first student at Texas State.

But her name is forever inked in that pledge book from Sept. 9, 1903.

-David King

Click here to see more photos on the Texas State Flickr page.

Jonathan Valdez: Covering Fashion Week

Alumnus carves unique niche
on national fashion scene

By T.C. Sprencel
University News Service

Valdez and Twitter co-counder Biz Stone.

A new dawn is breaking in the fashion blogging world, and Texas State University-San Marcos alumnus Jonathan Valdez is serving up the most important meal of the day.

On the table is Orange Juice and Biscuits, Valdez’s award-winning fashion and pop culture blog that has garnered a spot at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 show, to be held at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Sept. 9-16.

Valdez earned a seat at fashion’s premier event after being approved for official press credentials by global entertainment and production company IMG. The month-long approval process required Valdez to submit writing samples and prove his status as creator, writer and editor of Orange Juice and Biscuits.

“I was really honored,” says Valdez. “Not everyone gets approved for these credentials.”

While at Texas State, the Bay City native co-hosted Orange Juice and Biscuits, a KTSW morning talk show that focused on fashion and pop culture. Encouraged by fans to continue after graduation, Valdez turned the hit show into a blog in August 2009, three months after completing his degree in communication studies. He has been hard at work, catering to a rapidly growing fan base and building a fashion journalism brand, ever since.

“As far as the writing and content, I do all of that,” Valdez says, noting that his blog is equal parts work and passion.

“You have to filter out what would be perfect for your audience. When I go to an event I’m working, networking, covering the story. It’s a whole editorial process.”

Valdez’s success — he was named a “Top 5 Best Blogger to Follow” for 2009 by Internet news site — represents a changing landscape in the world of fashion journalism. Traditional media institutions are increasingly giving way to new media journalists who, given the advantages of Web publishing, provide more specialized content at a much faster pace. This massive power shift has caused some turbulence in the industry.

“A lot of these people have worked 20 or 30 years to get that front row seat at an event, and all of a sudden these young, witty bloggers pop up at fashion shows,” he says. “Some editors don’t consider them real press.”

Things have gone smoothly nonetheless for Valdez, who states matter-of-factly that “the hierarchy is slowly dying.”

“Everybody has been really positive for me, and I’m going to continue to do my own thing,” he says.

Judging by reader response, Valdez is doing a good job at doing his own thing, even as his profession is undergoing a complete transformation. At the dawn of a new day in fashion journalism, Jonathan Valdez is giving readers the juiciest scoop on the Web.

Visit Jonathan Valdez’s blog at

Happenings: San Marcos Roller Derby

Texas State students bring roller derby to San Marcos

Roller Derby PosterBy Billi London-Gray

Last Friday, Sept. 2, a young woman wearing a T-shirt and athletic shorts roamed the Quad holding a clipboard while she yelled an invitation at passers-by: “ARE YOU A BAD ASS!?”

So goes the recruiting message of the newly formed women’s roller derby team in San Marcos. And it’s working remarkably well.

Casi Moss, a sophomore at Texas State and a communication design major, is one of the students at the forefront of the recruiting efforts. Moss designed a poster that can be seen on walls and bulletin boards around San Marcos advertising the roller derby with a pin-up cowgirl.

“It started as just a student club, but a lot of local residents were interested, so we decided to try and make it a community organization that is open to everyone,” Moss said.

The team has recruited around 20 local women, many of whom are Texas State students.

“It’s kicking off faster than we anticipated,” Moss said. “We are ready to get things started.”

Roller derby is an extreme sport for women characterized by rough competition and dramatic athletic personas. Competitors create alter egos, complete with flashy uniforms, trademark moves, and noms de guerre like “Smackie Robinson” and “Clob Dylan.”

During competitions, referred to as bouts, racers roller skate around a flat track and earn points by lapping their opponents. Of course, the easiest opponent to lap is one who is lying on the track. While there are rules that prohibit tripping, punching and head butting, roller derby gets its rough-and-tumble reputation because of the hard-hitting nature of the sport.

Moss and team organizers Ashley Taylor, a senior majoring in theater education, and Kenzie Moss, a sophomore also majoring in communication design, have created a Facebook group page for San Marcos Roller Derby. To find out more about the team or to sign up, send a message to one of the organizers through Facebook or email

Those interested in participating in roller derby should have medical insurance, quad roller skates, a helmet, a mouth guard and protective pads. At this time there is no cost to join, but that could change in the future. In order to hold sanctioned bouts, the San Marcos team is seeking acceptance by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), which requires annual dues.

The team is still in the process of securing practice and competition facilities, but Moss thinks the team will hold practices in San Marcos and participate in bouts with the Austin league. Once enough women have joined to form several teams, San Marcos could form its own roller derby league.

So why should you consider stepping out for roller derby?

“It’s a great way to make some friends and be part of a team,” Moss said, “as well as keeping in shape and kicking ass.”