December 2009                                                                  A Monthly Newsletter for Faculty, Staff and Friends of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
colored holiday lights

Santa and Friends'Islander Lights' Illuminates Campus for Holidays
The University will celebrate its annual “Islander Lights” festival on Friday, Dec. 4, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center plaza. The annual evening of music, games and activities complete with a visit from Santa Claus is free and open to the public. Santa Claus will arrive on campus at 6 p.m. Children may bring a new unwrapped toy and have their photos taken with Santa Claus. Guests may also brighten a child’s holiday by donating a new unwrapped toy for the Wishes and Dreams Toy Drive from 5:30-7 p.m. at the University Services Center plaza. The Islander Lights Fun Run and Walk (3-mile run and 1.5-mile walk) around the University will start at 5 p.m. Registration is from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Hammerhead parking lot. Entry fee is one toy per participant.

O'Briens Recognized for Generosity and Years of Service to the University
President Killebrew presents plaque to Ruth O'BrienUniversity President Flavius Killebrew
presented Joseph and Ruth O’Brien with a plaque marking their induction into the Endowed Scholarship Council at the Blue Wave level during an open house Nov. 18 for the University Herbarium. The O’Briens have served on the President’s Council for 18 years and have generously donated their time and money to the herbarium which contains more than 1,500 types of plants common to the Coastal Bend. Ruth serves as the herbarium’s curator and, in 2008, the couple established the Joseph A. and Ruth S. O’Brien Endowed Herbarium Internship.
‘Those Who Have Answered the Call’ Honored at Veterans Day Ceremony
A Marine Corps Color Guard from Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi (NAS-CC) presented the Colors when the University campus honored those who have served in the U.S. armed forces during a Veterans Day Observance Nov. 11. Keynote speaker at the ceremony sponsored by the United Student Veterans Organization (USVO) was Marine Corps Captain Stacey Doyle, a veteran of two tours in Iraq, currently stationed at NAS-CC.

Dr. Kelly Quintanilla Named Dean of College of Liberal Arts
Dr. Kelly Quintanilla has been named dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. While her appointment is subject to approval by The Texas A&M System Board of Regents, she will assume her duties on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Quintanilla, a professor of communication in the Department of Communication and Theatre, was named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts in January 2009. She joined the University faculty in 1994 and, since 2000, has served as either a department chair or a program coordinator.

Environmental Panel on Wind Farms Attracts Crowds of More than 100
Environmental Panel on Wind FarmsMore than 100 people attended and Environmental Panel on Wind Farms at the Harte Research Institute on Nov. 9 at which a panel of recognized experts discussed the implication and impact of wind farms on the South Texas region. The panel was a first in a series of environmental panels planned by scientists from the University’s College of Science and Technology and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies that are designed to provide Coastal Bend citizens with the best available information around which environmental issues revolve.

University Faculty Team Edges Students in Kickoff for KEDT Challenge
“The Ancients”
faculty team came on strong at the end to narrowly defeat “The Neophytes” Presidential Scholars team during the kick-off for the fifth season of the KEDT Challenge held Nov. 4 in the Performing Arts Center. The faculty team included David Billeaux, Don Luna, Kelly Quintanilla and M.K. Balasubramanya. The team of Presidential Scholars included Josh Cottle, Edy Valdes, Lindsey Hertel and Cameron Marr.

Awards, Honors and Grants

The Department of Graduate Studies and Research, under the direction of Dr. Laura Rosales, has received $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education, for the Continuing the Title V Pipeline in Graduate Studies Program.


Dr. Philip Rhoades, professor of Criminal Justice, has received $100,511.52 from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the Safe Communities Public Education Campaign.


Dr. Frank Lucido, director of the University’s Improving Second Language Achievement ISLA project, has received $160,000 from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the Regional College Special Advisor “Closing the Gaps” Program to promote a culture of career and college readiness in the Coastal Bend.

Dr. Awni Zebda, a professor in the Department of Accounting and Business Law, has received the Texas Society of CPAs’ (TSCPA) Outstanding Accounting Educator Award for 2009. Zebda was honored at an October ceremony in Austin during the TSCPA Accounting Education Conference. The award recognizes educators who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and have distinguished themselves through active service to the accounting profession.
Around the Island
Islander Athletics' Web site is taking on a new look on Tuesday, Dec. 8. There will be more news and information available at your fingertips. "Get your clicks" at

The Department of Art and University Galleries will hold its “100 @ $100” annual fundraiser from December 4-12 at the Islander Art Gallery, 4024 Weber Road in the Hamlin Shopping Center. The fundraiser will feature works by students and local artists selling for $100 or less. The artwork will include drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculpture and wearable art such as jewelry and handbags. Proceeds will benefit the Department of Art and the artists. Gallery hours will be extended during the exhibit from Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 361.825.2386.


The University will hold its fall 2009 Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 1:30 p.m. at the American Bank Center arena. Commencement speaker will be Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan Garcia. For more information, contact Norma Cantu at 361.825.2722.


The fifth annual “Heart Gallery of South Texas” will remain on display through Thursday, Dec. 31, at the Antonio E. Garcia Arts & Education Center, 2021 Agnes St. The “Heart Gallery” highlights children who are considered more challenging to place because of their age or because they are part of a sibling group that wants to stay together. After viewing framed 12” by 16” photos and reading a short biography of each child, prospective families can learn more by contacting Foster Adoptive Recruiter Doug Williams at 361.878.3560.


Spring 2010 S.A.I.L. registration will continue until Tuesday, Jan. 12. Students can also register in the Student Services Center until Friday, Jan. 22. The spring schedule is available for viewing on S.A.I.L. For more information, log onto S.A.I.L; or call the Registrar’s office at 361.825.7024.


Brighten your holiday tree with the first in a series of official collectible Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi holiday ornaments. The custom-designed, silver finish keepsakes are $15 each with proceeds going toward the establishment of the President’s Ambassadors Endowed Scholarships. These collectible ornaments make great gifts for friends, family and alumni. Full Story

Michael Martin Murphey’s ‘Cowboy Christmas’
Singing cowboy poet” Michael Martin Murphey will ring in the fifth season of the Furgason Bravo! Series at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi when he brings his highly-acclaimed “Cowboy Christmas” concert back to the Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Full Story

Culture Fest 2009
The University celebrated customs and traditions from throughout the world Nov. 14 during Culture Fest 2009 in the University Center. The theme for the festival presented by the Islander Cultural Alliance and affiliate organizations was “Where the Cultures Meet.” Full Story

Ft. Hood memorial observance
Student government representatives placed 13 yellow roses in a vase in remembrance of the 13 victims killed at Fort Hood during a memorial observance held Nov. 12 in the Hector P. Garcia Plaza. The memorial observance was sponsored by the office of Student Affairs, Veterans Affairs, the Student Government Association, and the ROTC Islander Battalion.

“Colors of the World” exhibit
Artwork from Hispanic and Asian cultures was on display in the University Center, Legacy Room Nov. 16-20 during the “Colors of the World” exhibit celebrating International Education Week. Events sponsored by the Office of International Education were held throughout the week as part of the event which is held in more than 100 countries.

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