February 21, 2014: Pride in Sul Ross

At Kiwanis we have a practice of putting up a dollar for every brag we care to share with the group, not unlike a similar practice probably conducted at many civic organizations. I’ve probably “spent” a  few dozen dollars over my year and a half in the Alpine Kiwanis chapter bragging on my wife, my family, and most often, on Sul Ross. A lot of the other Kiwanians also contribute a lot of money at each meeting “bragging” about Sul Ross and other items similar to mine.

I think it is perfectly fine to talk up the things which you are the proudest. We do live in Texas and to some extent, it probably is expected (Great State, Great People—that would cost me $2 if I said it at lunch on Wednesdays). But this morning had I been at a Kiwanis function I would have emptied my wallet talking about Sul Ross.

Early this morning I had the distinct privilege and honor of kicking off the 28th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Marshall Auditorium to a packed house. It also was a captive audience to share with them the benefits of Sul Ross as the #1 most affordable institution of higher education in Texas. Best residence halls, food, and teachers too, all with a low student to faculty ratio of less than 17 to 1. Great weather to boot, although I confess I forgot to tell them I think we have the most beautiful campus in the state and perhaps the best college town too (I would have been out of money at that point had there been a dollar brag jar!).

I also invited those several hundred people in attendance to apply for college admission at Sul Ross since they obviously could recognize a good deal when they saw one. Of course they laughed since probably most had already been to college and quite a few were my age or older. Nevertheless, I also implored them to share the Sul Ross message with their kids who might be thinking of going to school, and even more likely, their grandkids. Lastly, I shared with the audience a poem that I wrote to welcome them to our campus.

Speaking of kids, our own “kids” on campus, who I prefer to recognize as “young adults” (because that is who they have become by the time they show up in Alpine thanks to parenting efforts of a supportive family), I have enjoyed watching them discover the new Bronc Buster statue that was re-located from in front of Lawrence Hall to the anterior of the Museum of the Big Bend. This statue, generously commissioned and donated several years ago by Mr. and Mrs. Al Micallef, was hardly noticed by our student body at its previous location. Now when students walk by they really are seeing it for the first time. And what an impression it makes!

And speaking of the MOBB, last night, my wife and I attended the Trappings Cowboy Tales and Dinner at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas. It was an evening of fond exaggerations and entertaining  Cowboy poetry.  I had the pleasure of sitting with Museum Board members and potential future members.  This was a great way to start out an early weekend of West Texas hospitality.  Later tonight, the Preview Party at the Museum promises to be chock-full of western memorabilia, art, along with new and old friends.

By the way, my wife is aware of my gift for writing poetry (meaning nada), and hence, asked me to keep it short if I was going to venture to give it a try. Having never done anything like this before since elementary school, what I recited is written below. You can be the judge if I should ever attempt this again.

Welcome to Sul Ross
We’re glad all ya’ll are here
To enjoy cowboy poetry
And evenings of good cheer.

Our campus is yours to come and go as you please
To bask in Alpine weather
And take in a fresh breeze.

There’ll be no cowpies to step in
Or decisions to consider
Just kick back and listen to these long-winded kidders.

You’re in Far West Texas
The Greatest of Places
So sit back and enjoy
Our Wide Open Spaces.