Ceremony to honor SHSU’s connection to the past
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 11:10
After a rigorous makeover, the oldest building at Sam Houston State University will be reintroduced to the campus in a rededication ceremony on Saturday.
The Office of the President and the Alumni Relations has collaborated office to recognize Austin Hall.
"It’s [the university’s] way of opening Austin Hall back up on campus for the public," Maggie Collum, Director of University Events, said.
With the rededication, Collum said she hopes to reintroduce the building’s presence on campus after an extensive renovation project in January. According to Collum, the $2 million project was needed to repair years of deterioration and interior problems to preserve the 160-year-old structure.
The rededication will feature words from several academic and city officials including President Dana Gibson, Mayor of Huntsville Mac Woodward and Brian McCall, Ph.D., chancellor of the Texas State University System. Also scheduled to speak is Light Cummins, Ph.D., professor of history at Austin College in Sherman, TX.
Cummins previously served as the State Historian of Texas as well as editor of "Austin College"; a book that chronicled a pictorial history of the original Austin College campus in Huntsville, where SHSU now stands.
The ceremony will conclude with a performance from the SHSU Marching Band and an Alumni Reception.
"We’re trying to encourage alumni to attend so there’s a good crowd there," Charlie Vienne, Director of Alumni Relations, said. "Typically we have an alumni coffee, but with the rededication, we’re collaborating with the president’s office to have one major event."
Collum noted the rededication will also recognize the importance of the building to campus culture and its connection to SHSU’s history.
"[Austin Hall] is our extension of the past, and connects us between then and now," Collum said. "It’s the oldest, continuously used higher education building west of the Mississippi River. [The rededication] is a celebration of SHSU history and who we are today."
Built in 1851, Austin Hall opened for classes at Austin College in 1852. It has lived through the Civil War, Reconstruction, several hurricanes and even a devastating fire in 1982 that destroyed Old Main. Today it is used for campus special events and receptions.
The event will begin at 3:30 with a pianist inside the building and food for guests. Remarks from speakers will begin at 4 p.m. The rededication is free and is open to anyone to attend