My Time at Sul Ross State University
My parents met as students at Sul Ross. My father got his degree there in 1949. My mother didn’t get her Sul Ross degree until 2019 when she was 89. My sisters were students there, too. My undergraduate degree is from Sul Ross. In short, Sul Ross is woven into my family’s DNA.
As a legislator who helped draft the final version of the state budget for five separate two-year budget cycles, I invested in the university in my hometown. The Museum of the Big Bend returned to its original home. A new event center was built. Lawrence Hall (where my parents met), the science building, the library, and several other buildings were renovated.
But I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t just students near Alpine who benefited from investment in Sul Ross. In partnership with Southwest Texas Junior College, new Sul Ross State University facilities were also built in Uvalde, Del Río, and Eagle Pass. Those three communities, and the region around them, are significant to the future of Sul Ross.
After the Legislature and Congress, I got the opportunity to be president of Sul Ross - the first alumnus ever to have that privilege. I was president for two years and made the most of every day. From re-making the university’s foundation to streamlining processes and making common sense changes, Sul Ross surged ahead during my tenure.
I put my budget experience to work and invested in people by raising salaries of both faculty and staff. I also invested in students by increasing scholarship opportunities and rejuvenating interest in athletics and rodeo. I also served notice on our athletic conference that we would be moving to NCAA Division II.
We brought Sul Ross closer to the communities it serves through new community events that we thought of and created by Sul Ross faculty and staff. By creating opportunity and listening to communities, students, staff, and faculty, we created a culture of inclusiveness. And, we also showed people it was ok to dream big and make things happen.