Gov. Rick Perry will help Sam Houston State University celebrate its 125th anniversary April 21.
Perry has agreed to speak at a ceremony marking an historic event for the university: the signing of Sam Houston Normal Institute’s charter document by Gov. Oran M. Roberts in 1879.
The ceremony will be held on the south side of Austin Hall at 4:30 p.m., followed by a public reception.
Austin Hall is the oldest in-use educational facility west of the Mississippi. It was dedicated in 1851 with General Sam Houston in attendance and bought by Huntsville citizens for use by Sam Houston Normal Institute, the first teacher-training institution in the Southwest.
“We are honored Governor Perry has agreed to join us for our 125th anniversary,” said James F. Gaertner, SHSU president. “His presence will lend credibility to ceremony and validity to the history of the day.”
Sworn in as Texas’ 47th governor in 2000, Perry was elected to a four-year term in November 2002.
He is a 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University, where he majored in animal science. He also served in the U.S. Air Force for five years, flying in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
The West Texas native and fifth generation Texan was first elected to statewide office in 1990, serving as Texas Commissioner of Agriculture for two terms. From 1985 to 1991, he represented a rural West Texas district in the Texas House of Representatives.
Several April events are scheduled around the 125th anniversary of the signing of the legislation to establish Sam Houston Normal Institute.
They include a President’s Dinner and Concert with alumnus Dan Rather; the inaugural President’s Golf Tournament at Raven Nest Golf Course; James Haley, author of the acclaimed biography “Sam Houston,” as lecturer for the President’s Speaker Series; and the main event featuring Perry at the commemorative signing ceremony.
On Oct. 10, 2004, the university will recognize the anniversary of its official opening with a homecoming week birthday extravaganza.
Story contributed by the office of Public Relations