Today on a Facebook alumni group, one of my friends asked, “What in your life are you most proud of?”
This is a group of a little less than 200 folks who graduated from San Marcos High School between 1970 and 1980 – and I would guess that at least 2/3 of them moved away from San Marcos after high school graduation. After a split second of thought, I knew my answer(s).
Topping the list would be the Great Love of My Life, and a whole bunch of pretty cool kids, which I go into (probably too much) detail about on this blog and in other social media outlets – often to their chagrin.
But hands down – on a more “community level,” I would have to say that being here on the front lines, watching San Marcos and Texas State University grow together has made me pretty darned proud.
Some of my dearest friends who moved away more than three decades ago, still think of our university as this sleepy little suitcase/ teacher’s college on the hill. After all, when we graduated from high school, the university was less than 1/3 the size it is today -and was comfortably staying within its boundaries “on the hill,” with about 10,000 students.
And since I have been needing to kickstart this somewhat neglected blog page again in 2012, I figured today and this topic are good places to begin. So in addition to random and often tangent driven subjects, I am going to offer a three-part “State of My Community” blog to kick off this year’s resolution to writing more often in this online diary.
√ Texas State University – San Marcos (Be True To Your School)
San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (Oh, The Places You’ll Go!)
The City of San Marcos (We, The People)
While some might scoff at the pedestrian idea of living for more than 54 years in the same place, it does not lack a unique sense of adventure. And the view from here can still take my breath away.
Today’s topic: “Proud to be a Bobcat”
In case you haven’t kept up with such things, with more than 34,000 students, Texas State is now the fifth largest public university in Texas, and the 36th largest in the nation. We have just been named to a very short list of “emerging research institutions” AND our home opening football game next fall is against Texas Tech in our newly expanded stadium seating more than 30,000, and Coach Dennis Franchione leading the Bobcats into FBS Division I NCAA football (the highest level of college football competition).
Lots of great town and gown initiatives bring our “communiversity” together – – like the Bobcat Promise – where Texas State University-San Marcos will cover tuition and mandatory fees for any new freshmen from San Marcos High School whose families have adjusted gross incomes of $35,000 or less. Students may qualify for Bobcat Promise for up to eight continuous long semesters (fall and spring). The program will cover the cost of 15 credit hours of tuition and fees – an award in excess of $7,000 per academic year.
Some of us were in elementary school and got to take a “field trip” to campus when President Johnson came here to sign the Higher Education Act of 1965. Almost a half-century later, I’m thinking he would be pretty proud of the Bobcat Promise today.
And construction crews are working seven days a week on a new performing arts center on the edge of campus. The state-of-the-art facility will feature a 400-seat theatre and a 300-seat recital hall as well as rehearsal spaces, staging areas, classrooms and a grand lobby.
According to the University Spokesman, (who coincidentally is mentioned in the beginning of the third paragraph of this entry) , “the location of the Performing Arts Center was chosen specifically to facilitate interaction with the San Marcos community. A big parking garage is included in the construction plans with easy access to the venue, eliminating the long-standing community complaint about the difficulty of finding parking on campus for entertainment events.”
Good things are happening in San Marcos these days — and you know what? You can come home again.
As Tom Bodette says, “We’ll leave the light on for you!”
Read more about Texas State’s new status as an emerging research institution in the Jan 21, 2012 edition of the New York Times.
Listening to the Beach Boys’ “Be True To Your School”