November 2009                                                                  A Monthly Newsletter for Faculty, Staff and Friends of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Tours Mechanical Engineering Facilities
Assistant Professor Magesh Thiyagarajan gave Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and University President Flavius KillebrewAssistant Professor
Magesh Thiyagarajan gave Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and University President Flavius Killebrew an overview of the Plasma Research Lab on Oct. 20 during a tour of the new mechanical engineering program facilities. Dr. Dugan Um, an assistant professor in the College of Science and Technology, gave Dewhurst a tour of the technology lab. During the 81st Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature approved $4 million for the program focusing on issues related to the Gulf of Mexico.

KEDT Challenge Pits University Faculty against Students in Academic Grudge Match
KEDT Challenge logoUniversity faculty will compete against Presidential Scholars on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. when the KEDT Challenge program comes to the Performing Arts Center. The PAC stage will have the scoreboard and buzzers as seen on the televised game show. Challenge host Eric Boyd will grill the teams with academic questions pulled from the regular game show. Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend, and refreshments will follow the competition to celebrate the winners and “not-so-winners.”
STEM Conference Students Learn about Opportunities at Island University
STEM ConferenceMore than 100 students participating in the Community College STEM Conference became acquainted with services and opportunities at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi during a Box Lunch Information Fair Oct. 23 in the University Center, Legacy Hall. Throughout the day, students attended meetings on careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Decade of Dedication Celebration Marks University Center's 10th Birthday
President Flavius Killebrew and Kathy Killebrew joined the campus community in celebrating the 10th birthday of the University Center University President Flavius Killebrew and Kathy Killebrew joined the campus community Oct. 14. in the Decade of Dedication Celebration for the University Center's 10th birthday. Helping the Killebrews cut the birthday cake were Lisa Perez, director of the University Center and Student Activities, Dr. Eliot Chenaux, vice president for Student Affairs, and Samantha Hernandez, president of the Student Government Association.

Authors Receive Scientific Writing Award from Native Plant Society of Texas
Dr. Roy LehmanThe Native Plant Society of Texas has presented Dr. Roy Lehman, professor of biology and director of the Laguna Madre Field Research Station, and co-authors Ruth O’Brien and Tammy White with the Donovan Stewart Correll Memorial Award for scientific writing in the field of native flora in Texas for their book “Plants of the Coastal Bend.” O'Brien is curator of the university's herbarium and White is an instructor, laboratory coordinator, and seasoned botanical field collector.

Research and Scholary Activity

NOAA research vessel “Manta”University scientists and graduate students spent several days aboard the NOAA research vessel “Manta” in October exploring the South Texas “Snapper” Banks off Port Aransas. Although the banks are habituated by red snapper, groupers, tuna and pelagic sharks that support many commercially and recreationally important fisheries, little is known of their ecology. The project is funded by the Texas Research Development Fund, NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program, and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.

Awards, Honors and Grants

Dr. John “Wes” TunnellDr. John “Wes” Tunnell, associate director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, is the recipient of the 2009 Higher Education Award for Environmental Stewardship from the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation. Tunnel was recognized for his dedication and effectiveness in educating the public about the natural resources of the Coastal Bend. As associate director of the HRI, Tunnell works to support and advance the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico through a tri-national approach with Mexico and Cuba.


The University’s Title V Trio Program, under the direction of Victor Davila, has been awarded $939,537 by the U.S. Department of Education for the College Cost Reduction and Access Grant Program.


Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Chair Dr. Paul Montagna has received a $240,000 grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Nueces Delta Ecological Modeling for the Nueces River and Tributaries.


Dr. Gary Jefferess, director of the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science, has received four grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Jeffress was awarded two grants totaling $431,845 for environmental field service, $293,633 for the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) and $118,245 for the Texas National Water Level Observation Network.


Director of Workforce Development Carole Peterson has received a $150,000 grant from the Texas Education Agency to develop and conduct professional development for career and technical education teachers and administrators.


Dean of Community Outreach James Needham has received $193,140 from the City of Corpus Christi for the Small Business Development Program. The award will provide another year of funding for the Small Business Internship program.


Golden Key International Honour Society logoTexas A&M University-Corpus Christi has been recognized by the Golden Key International Honour Society, the world’s premier collegiate honor society, with nearly two million members and more than 375 chapters around the world. At its 2009 International Conference in Orlando, Fla., Golden Key announced that the Island University has achieved a bronze chapter standing for the 2008-2009 academic year, which signifies that the Golden Key Chapter is on its way to achieving the highest reporting standard in the Society.

Around the Island

“Veterans Support Banner”Show your support for our military veterans and those serving on active duty throughout the world by adding your signature to the “Veterans Support Banner” that will be available for signing on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 5-6, and Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 10-11, in the Bell Library. Following the Veterans Day Observance, the United Student Veterans Organization (USVO) will send the banner to a military unit serving in Iraq. For more information call 361.825.2336; or contact Keith Davis at 830.481.3064.


The United Students Veterans Organization (USVO) invites the campus community to a Veterans Day observance honoring the men and women who have served our country on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m. on the east lawn between the University Center and the Dugan Wellness Center. For more information call 361.825.2336; or contact Keith Davis at 830.481.3064.


Islanders logoThe Islander women’s basketball team opens the season against Air Force in the first round of the Islander Tip-Off Tournament at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, at the American Bank Center. Then return Saturday to see the Islanders go up against either Alabama or Tennessee Tech. The Islander men tip off the season in Lubbock on Friday, Nov. 13, playing Oregon State in the first round of the Duel in the Desert Tournament, then make their home debut on Thursday, Nov. 19, when they host UT-Pan American at 7 p.m. in the American Bank Center. To view the 2009-2010 men’s and women’s basketball schedules, go to


Islander Sports Weekly, your radio show for the latest information on Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi athletics, broadcasts weekly on Mondays, from noon-1 p.m. on ESPN 1230 KSIX. Listen to the show live via the Internet at and Or join the audience at one of our rotating broadcast locations which include Beamers, Jason’s Deli, Water Street Seafood Company and Bubba’s Ice House.  For more information, contact Aaron Ames, athletic media relations director, at 361.825.3410.

Faculty, staff and student discount tickets for this year’s Furgason Bravo! Series are on sale at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) box office. This year’s series features Islander tradition Michael Martin Murphey’s “Cowboy Christmas Concert” Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Discounts are only available in person at the box office. You must show a valid SandDollar$ ID to receive the discount. Only four discount tickets per ID. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 361.825.2787; e-mail; or, go to

Students at Islander Invasion
More than 500 fans turned out to show their support for Islander basketball during the Islander Invasion on Oct. 17 in the Dugan Wellness Center. Islander Basketball group ticket rates are now available for all Islander men's and women's regular season basketball games throughout the season. 
Full Story

Islander Revue student group performing
Student groups and organizations competed for more than $2,000 in cash prizes during the annual “Islander Revue” sponsored by the Student Foundation and held in October as part of Parents Weekend at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Contestants were judged on musical ability, choreography and entertainment value. Full Story

Jailhouse lockup for Employee Charitable Campaign
Despite proclaiming their innocence, guilty-looking University employees spent time behind bars on Oct. 28 for a good cause during the State Employee Charitable Campaign Pizza Rama. For a $5 donation, contributors could have their favorite professor or staff member locked behind bars. The guilty parties could post a $5 bail after serving 15 minutes.

Smokey Bear celebrated his 65th year
Smokey Bear
celebrated his 65th year as the official mascot of the U.S. Forest Service on Oct. 15 with a visit to the Early Childhood Development Center where he spoke to around 150 students about fire prevention and the difference between good fires and bad fires.

Paint the Island Pink Expo
The Women’s Center for Education and Service held a Paint the Island Pink Expo on Oct. 8. In addition, as part of the month-long breast cancer awareness observance, the Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority sponsored the annual "Think Pink" photo to create a wave of pink that confirms the University's support in the fight against breast cancer. See Photo.

Diwali “Festival of Lights”
The Diwali “Festival of Lights” was celebrated Oct. 27 in the University Center, Lone Star Ballroom. The Indian celebration, presented by the Islander Cultural Alliance and the India Students Association, symbolizes that age-old culture of India which teaches to vanquish ignorance and to drive away the darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge.

Events Calendar

Faculty Senate

Staff Council

Center for Faculty Excellence

Human Resources

Job Opportunities

Islander Athletics

Past Issues

Produced by the Office of Marketing & Communications