PVAMU’s 10 in ’13

December 20, 2013
Prairie View A&M University

That’s it! The finals are taken, graduating seniors have now become alumni and the students have returned home for the holidays. The year is officially over and it’s been a great one!

Take a look at the highlights of 2013 below:

Confucius Institute:

A partnership with Xi’an International Studies University will aid PVAMU in the formation of a Confucius Institute. The Institute will be one of 300 in the nation. Plans are under way for a 2014 opening.

New website

The University’s new website got a new look during the fall semester of 2013. The new website features a streamlined, modern design that makes navigation easier. Now, frequently visited areas and special features like maps and directions are only a click away.

Directional signageChanges to Campus Landscape

Since this summer, the campus is undergoing a major transformation near the William “Billy” J. Nicks Building. The new student recreation center has a projected completion date of spring 2015. Also, new directional signage has been installed. Each of the signs point visitors to the campus to buildings and key areas. Each building is currently being outfitted with uniform signage.

The new additions to the campus are rounded out by the completion of University View, the new residential complex adjacent to the Carden-Waller Cooperative Extension Program building. The facility took in residents for the first time in August. Additionally, the Zone dining facility has opened in Farrell Hall near the rear of campus. The cafeteria offers healthier food options for students, faculty and staff.

Baseball Grandstands Undergo Renovation

The newest athletic facility and the first project in the grand scheme of transforming PVAMU athletics will include the construction of covered grandstands with 512 total seats (192 chair backed seats; the remaining seats will be bleacher seating).

A brand new concession stand which will also feature a storage facility and restrooms will be erected in addition to brick dugouts for both the home and visiting teams. The facility will also feature a new press box while the current chain-linked fence will be torn down and replaced with a brick backstop along with a net/pole backstop. The renovation is scheduled to be completed for the 2014 season.

2013 PVAMU Commencement '3'PVAMU Commemorates President Wright’s Decade of Dedication

This semester was one of reflection and celebration, all in honor of Dr. George C. Wright in honor of the completion of his tenth year as PVAMU president. In November, a roast, whose proceeds will support a scholarship fund created to honor his deceased daughter, capped off a string of various events held throughout the semester. From a movie night featuring his favorite movie, The Godfather, him being honored as the grand marshal of the Homecoming Parade, to a conversation with female students where he shared the wisdom he has gained in 40 years of marriage and a successful career, Wright’s semester long celebration allowed him to interact with small groups of students, talk about some of his favorite things and share his perspective on current events and life issues.


Administrative Changes

This year brought many changes to the administration of the University. Dr. Michael L. McFrazier, previously dean of the Northwest Houston Center and vice provost, was named vice president of administration. College of Business Dean Munir Quddus assumed the role of the dean of the Northwest Houston Center in addition to his role as dean of the College. Additionally, Dr. Terence Hicks joined the University after assuming the role of the dean of the Whitlowe R. Green College of Education.

After a nationwide search, President Wright announced Ashley Robinson as the athletic director for the University’s sports program after former PVAMU Athletic Director Fred Washington announced he would be stepping down to focus on his role as the vice president of Auxiliary Services.

Additionally, Dr. E. Joahanne Thomas-Smith will return to the classroom after 18 years in the role of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. She will teach and continue to oversee accreditation efforts as the Institutional Accreditation Officer. The move is effective August 31, 2014.

Stephens Makes History as the First Female Police Chief

Zena Stephens, a 24-year law enforcement veteran, started as the University’s top cop this summer and has made her presence has been known with a more visible and active police force. She’s experienced her first homecoming and her first commencement ceremony and is looking forward to making officers more visible and creating key relationships with district attorney and other law enforcement agencies.

Gala Honors Arts and SciencesCJW_0306

The Marvin D. and June Samuel Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences served as the focus of this year’s Scholarship Gala. With a theme of “Celebrating our Traditions in the Arts and Sciences,” the fundraising event honored the University’s largest and most curriculum-diverse academic unit. Individuals and companies were honored for their dedication the College and University. To close the evening, the famed Charles Gilpin players entertained the attendees with a spirited performance of “Jelly’s Last Jam.”

Students Travel to the Presidential Inauguration

In January, 236 students traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. The delegation was the largest the University has sent to the event. While in the nation’s capital, students were able to tour historic sites and met with Texas Senator John Cornyn. The trip was not the first time PVAMU has had a presence at a presidential inauguration. In 2001, the Marching Storm band participated in the inauguration parade for President George W. Bush. Also, in 2009, PVAMU sent a smaller delegation of students to Obama’s first inauguration.

SGA’s Big Year

This year was a major one for the Student Government Association. First, then-SGA president Harrison Blair led students in the protest of a proposed landfill in Waller County. Nearly 1,000 students joined with members of the Hempstead community to rally against the proposed Pintail landfill prior to a public hearing held by the Waller County Commissioners. The commission took comments from the public, including President George C. Wright, regarding the amendment of an ordinance that would ease zoning restrictions on the proposed landfill site.

Next, newly-elected SGA president Priscilla Barbour, the first female president in 14 years, wrote a letter to county and state officials requesting a polling place be designated on the campus. According to Barbour, the lack of a voting precinct on the campus violated the federal Voting Rights Act. Prior to the decision, the nearest polling place was more than a mile away from campus housing. In September, the Waller County Commissioners Court voted to allow the Willie A. Tempton, Sr. Memorial Student Center to serve as the official polling location in Precinct 3 for all elections. Early voting will still be held at the Coleman-Kemp-Smith Community Center on FM 1098 where voting was held previously.


Wait, that’s not it! We said 2013 was a big year, so here are three bonus events that rounded out a banner year for PVAMU:

John B. Coleman Library Celebrates 25 Years

Members of the PVAMU community joined together to celebrate the library’s 25th anniversary. The occasion was marked by reflections of the importance of the facility and the role is has played in the lives of thousands of PVAMU students.

The ceremony also honored the work of the library’s namesake, Dr. John B. Coleman. He was the first African American appointed to Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in appreciation for his long service to the board and support of higher education at traditionally black universities in Texas.

Microgravity FloatersPVAMU Microgravity Research Team Meets Ups and Downs of NASA Flights

A team of five Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) engineering students took their research to new heights aboard the NASA’s microgravity research aircraft at Ellington Air Force Base. The PVAMU Center for Radiation Engineering and Science for Space Exploration (CRESSE) has been conducting space radiation research for more than 5 years and recently flew a talented team of student researchers aboard the space agency’s high-altitude flying laboratory known as the “Weightless Wonder.”

A roller coaster-like flight over the Gulf of Mexico in the flying laboratory produces periods of simulated zero gravity, 1/6-G lunar gravity and 1/3-G Martian gravity. The flight provides a unique opportunity for student researchers and their mentors to take critical measurements useful not only to earth-bound aircraft, but to future earth orbit and deep space flights as well.

PVAMU: Where Champions are Made

It’s no secret that PVAMU is home to champions. The University’s student-athletes are known for their stellar performances off and on the field. This year brought Southwestern Athletic Conference championship titles back home to the Hill.

The Panther men’s indoor track team, men’s tennis team, women’s bowling and women’s basketball team all took top honors in the SWAC, capturing 2012-2013 championship titles. With performances like these, it’s easy to see that PVAMU is where champions are made.