Saturday, November 19, 2016

From Horseshoe Bay to Old Red

On Sunday, November 13, I drove to Marble Falls in the Hill Country and to the nearby Horseshoe Bay Resort. From November 13 through November 16, Horseshoe Bay hosted the annual conference of TACRAO, the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. TACRAO boasts a statewide membership of 1,300 men and women from the higher education institutions of Texas. Almost 700 members attended the 2016 Annual Conference because the organization was formed in 1916, and the Horseshoe Bay meeting was a celebration of TACRAO’s centennial. There were delightful social activities interspersed throughout scores of professional meetings and presentations.

With TACRAO President, Darla Inglish of Midwestern State University,
at Horseshoe Bay Resort

Horseshoe Bay Resort, site of the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers 2016 Annual Conference
I was honored by an invitation to provide an appropriate program, “A History of Education in Texas,” with focus upon colleges and universities. I previously had participated in TACRAO Annual Conferences in Dallas (2012) and El Paso (2013), but it was a special privilege to present historical background at TACRAO’s Centennial.

I was introduced by my daughter, Dr. Berri O’Neal, a Past President of the organization and a popular presenter. Indeed, Berri provided three presentations at Horseshoe Bay. I slipped into the back of a packed presentation room to watch her lively PowerPoint program on “EmPOWERing Women TOgetHER.” More than 80 ladies (and a few men as well) took notes and photos and phone recordings as I proudly watched her command an audience of upwardly mobile career women.
With daughter, Berri O'Neal, who is a TACRAO Past President

For my introduction, Berri placed a PowerPoint slide onscreen with my family gathered in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol with Gov. Rick Perry, who had just sworn me in as State Historian in 2012. The audience broke into applause as they recognized Governor Perry and Berri and me, and the roomful of educators thereafter were highly responsive to my remarks. When I began talking about the origin of sports in Texas I used old leather football helmets and other athletic artifacts. Several audience members afterward wanted photos while they wore the helmets or held up old jerseys and antique hip pads.

With Melissa Gallien of Lamar University, a fellow Texas history buff
and former VP of TACRAO 
My TACRAO program was late on Monday morning, and I soon departed Horseshoe Bay for a 210-mile drive to Dallas. I stayed at a downtown hotel in Big D, because I was scheduled to arrive at Old Red Museum at eight o’clock the next morning. The Texas State Historical Association, Old Red Museum and the Region 10 Education Service Center combined to sponsor one of the Exploring Texas Workshops which are periodically opened to Texas History teachers at locations around the state.  I have provided keynote or luncheon programs at these TSHA workshops throughout my four years as State Historian. We held a workshop at Old Red a couple of years ago, and the former Dallas County Courthouse is a superb location for a history conference. The magnificent Victorian structure, built of red sandstone in 1892, now serves as a county history museum and conference site (and picturesque wedding location).

Old Red Museum, site of the TSHA Conference

Charles Nugent, Adult Program Manager for the TSHA, arranges site locations and speakers. This conference, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, November 14-15, covered the period 1836 to 1900. Charles lined up more than 30 speakers, including Dr. Stephen Hardin, Dr. Carolina Castillo Crimm, and award-winning author Dr. Andrew Torget. I was asked to provide a program on Sam Houston from 8:30 – 10:00 on Tuesday morning. I was delighted to have enough time to discuss the iconic Houston in detail to a roomful of Texas history teachers. Afterward, it was gratifying when several teachers came to me with their notes and asked for specific information they had missed. Two great audiences in two days at two excellent conferences – a truly rewarding assignment for a State Historian.
With Charles Nugent, Adult Program Manager for TSHA
With Dr. Andrew Torget