The story about Southwest Texas’ continuing pursuit of a name change did not bother me until last week. Up until then, I agreed that their name was a geographical blunder, as SWT is not in the Southwestern part of Texas. After a little research, I learned that a SWT name change to Texas State University at San Marcos could be disastrous for SHSU.
When the Texas State University System’s Board of Regents voted to table the name change issue until 2005, the SWT Associated (or as I call it, Arrogant) Student Government went one step above the board and went straight to their State Representative, Jeff Wentworth, who filed Senate Bill 928, which would change the name of SWT effective Sept. 1.
If this bill passes, then the heritage of our university will be in jeopardy. The Board of Regents already decided that if this bill gets serious consideration, they will meet to discuss changing the name of all of the schools in the TSU System, which include along with SHSU and SWT, Lamar, Angelo State and Sul Ross State. So far it appears that the name change will make all the schools Texas State University at (insert city here). This would be a slap in the face to SHSU alumni, faculty, students and ‘ol Sam Houston himself.
The reasons SWT stated for the change are ridiculous and arrogant. They claim they want more national recognition; a double directional name isolates them from achieving this. Well Northwestern University, outside of Chicago, is well known nationally. Why? Because of quality research programs and instructors, motivated students, not party animals that couldn’t get into UT or A&M.
The truth is, SWT will soon be competing at the Division 1 level in sports, and Texas State makes the program seem bigger, like Ohio or Florida State. They say they want to rid themselves of their “party” image. Do you think that they don’t party at Kansas State and Louisiana State? If SWT changes, they would then apply for flagship status in the system. They would get more money, and we would get less. Why should alumni keep making donations to SHSU if that isn’t the name?
We have worked hard to be recognized on a national level. Thousands of folks in Florida now know who we are thanks to our basketball team. Millions know us because of Dan Rather. This bill was filed by a senator who doesn’t even have ties to the TSU system. Senator Wentworth went to A&M and Texas Tech for his education.
I will be graduating this semester and will be proud to hang up my SHSU diploma. I don’t want my kids to look at it and wonder where my school went. I don’t want to apply for a job and have to list my school which doesn’t exist. I urge everyone associated with SHSU to contact their state representatives and President Gaertner to tell them your feelings on the subject, and help us keep our heritage.