Bearkat Tales

He is the face of the university’s administration, he has his own plush office on campus, and was once a Bearkat undergraduate.

Of his years at Sam Houston State University, Dr. James Gaertner did not recollect a single moment, but many. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1965 and his Master of Business Administration in 1970.

Last week’s Homecoming festivities ushered in the Bearkat spirit, especially the Texas football tradition.

“I remember the football games. Back then we played at Pritchett Field,” Gaertner said. “There was always a lot of excitement before games. The men — believe it or not– would wear coats and ties to football games back then.”

A member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, Gaertner experienced his share of college experiences, from the parties to harmburgers at the Corner drug store.

Gaertner said some of his professors at Sam Houston influenced his life positively.

“I remember so fondly some of my old professors. They changed my life,” Gaertner said. “They were such great professors. They really showed me how wonderful a higher intellect is, what it means, and how enriching it is to be around people with high intellects.”

Ideologies aside, even Gaertner had to learn a few lessons the hard way. He did not study much in high school, instead focusing heavily on sports, primarily football.

“One time, when I was a first semester freshman, I was taking a math course and in high school all of my math classes were curved and I assumed that there would be a curve in the class,” Gaertner said. “I asked him what kind of curve there would be and he said there would not be a curve.”

“It like scared me to death because I didn’t have a real good grade without the curve,” he said. “It was my first all-nighter.”

Yes, he did end up passing the class, moving on to the rest of his work at Sam and eventually returning to the campus where it all began.

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