Fostering History: Bobby K. Marks

Last week, “Fostering History” mentioned that Sam Houston State University has a rich history of presidents that have guided our campus to what it is today. In addition to Elliott T. Bowers—last week’s subject—one of those presidents was Bobby Kees Marks, the 11th SHSU president.

Marks was a journeyman born in Louisiana. He was raised in Beaumont where he earned his bachelor’s degree at Lamar University. He continued his education, garnering his master’s degree at the University of North Texas and his doctorate at the University of Arkansas.

Marks came to Sam Houston State Teacher’s College as an instructor of management in 1960. Marks also was an instructor of business administration at the University of Arkansas in 1963. In addition to teaching in the United States, he also was a professor for a European Master’s Program in England and Turkey in 1972.

During his time at SHSU, Marks served 11 years as vice president for academic affairs, and he was the Dean of the College of Business Administration for 15 years.

In 1990, Marks was not only active at SHSU, but he also held key positions in The Huntsville Walker County Chamber of Commerce. This included serving as president and chairman of the board. Marks also worked in various community groups: The Economic Development Corporation, Huntsville Leadership Institute, Walker County United Fund, City of Huntsville Planning Commission and Walker County Industrial Development Corporation.

Additionally, Marks took part in the The Association of Chief Academic Officers of the Southern States. He served on the executive council as vice president and as president between 1991 to 1995.

In October 1995, Marks was appointed interim president after the resignation of Martin J. Anisman. After Marks served eight months as interim president, he was selected and approved by the Texas State Board of Regents to become the university’s president in June 1996.

Marks’s administration set its goals on using technology for instructional programs, student retention, fund raising and international activities. Marks helped the university establish nine additional undergraduate degree programs, four master’s degree programs and two doctorates. The added doctorates were significant accomplishments for SHSU since receiving the first Ph.D. in Criminal Justice over 25 years ago.

Marks also developed the business and economic program into four individual departments, that increased faculty members from 19 to 54 and student majors from 1,800 to 2,600. Additionally, Marks established the Research and Sponsored Programs function at SHSU, which oversees the Texas Regional Institute for Environment Studies that had attracted more than $17 million in funded research between 1991 and 1996.

Marks retired in August 2001. He was named President Emeritus—a title reserved for those who have retired, but deserve eternal recognition—and the Administration Building was renamed in his honor as the Bobby K. Marks Administration Building. Marks dedicated 41 years of service as a faculty member and administrator for SHSU.

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