The 1st Faculty and Student Body of Sam Houston Normal Institute (later named Sam Houston State University) stand in front of the Austin Hall Building, 1879.
Happy 140th year of providing an education to students, Sam Houston State University! It was on this date, October 10, 1879, that 110 students arrived by train, horse and buggy, or walking, to climb the hill to attend the first State funded public school for teachers in Texas.
The Sam Houston Normal Institute was brought into being by a bill in the Texas Legislature in 1879. This bill read as follows: “An Act to Establish a State Normal School to be Known as the Sam Houston Institute at Huntsville, Texas.” The Act was signed by Governor Oran Roberts on April 21, 1879 and the doors to the new Sam Houston Normal Institute were opened 6 months later.
To learn or see more of 140 years of Sam Houston State history come visit the SHSU University Archives in the Newton Gresham Library, Room 400. We are open Monday-Friday, 8-5.
The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved at the February 19 & 20, 2015, board meeting the naming of the Health Services and Counseling Center after the late William R. Powell. The new building will be named the William R. Powell Student Health Services and Counseling Center.
William Powell was the first African-American Administrator of Sam Houston State when he was hired in 1972. Dean Powell was instrumental in the development of the Student Judicial System and the original University Counseling Center. He also helped start the Theta Mu Chapter on the SHSU campus.
He retired from Sam Houston State in 1987. After his retirement from SHSU he went back to work at Jarvis Christian College as Vice President of Student Affairs until he retired yet again in 1993. William Powell died on March 12, 2013 and is buried in Brooke Cemetery, Walker County, Texas.
The Huntsville Item article above is from June of 1993 and it about Williams R. Powell and his wife, Doris, and how important education was to not only him but his entire family.
To learn more about William R. Powell come visit the SHSU University Archives.
The Huntsville Item article is courtesy of The Huntsville Item.
A picture of the first faculty and student body (1879-1880) at the Sam Houston Normal Institute which would eventually become Sam Houston State University.
Here is a copy of the Catalogue of the Sam Houston Normal Institute, 1879-1880. This document list the students by year and gender and provides some useful information about the people in the picture above. Enjoy!