This year, three retiring faculty members and two retiring senior staff members will be honored at the event, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the University Ballroom.
Faculty honorees are Sandra Swenson and Dr. Norm Browne, both of the Department of Art, and Diane Sturdivant of the Department of Health and Kinesiology. Staff honorees are T. Edward Mercer, vice president for institutional advancement, and James McKone, sports information director.
Swenson recently retired from UTPA’s Department of Art after having served as an instructor for 31 years. She compiled the slide and video collection that is the basis for all art history and art appreciation classes. She also was instrumental in the addition and development of numerous art history classes at the university and served on a number of committees at the university, college and departmental level.
Browne served the Department of Art and the university for 26 years. He designed and implemented the Department of Art’s Biological Illustration program. He has illustrated a number of books, including two by UT Pan American faculty members, Woody Plants of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and Grasses of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and his paintings of gamefish have appeared in exhibits in many galleries and in several publications.
Sturdivant was a dedicated member of the Department of Health and Kinesiology from September 1964 until her retirement last September. Her professional affiliations include the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the Texas Faculty Association; the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the Texas Association of College Teachers; and the Texas State Teachers Association. She served on several committees during her tenure at the university, and served as assistant women’s basketball coach and coached several bowling teams.
Mercer, who became vice president for institutional advancement in 1982, is the first person to hold the job at the university. He also is the university’s liaison with the UTPA Foundation, the private fund-raising entity that he helped create. He has overseen two capital campaigns at UT Pan American, one that in 1990 raised $9.7 million, twice the amount of the goal, and one that ended in 1994 with the collection of $30 million for the university’s Department of Engineering.
McKone is in his 30th year as UTPA’s sports information director. A McAllen native, he may be best known for authoring the "Bronc Diary" — a daily account that ran during the school year from 1987-98. In his years at UTPA, McKone won three national awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America. He oversaw all 14 of UTPA’s athletic teams, including basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, golf, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field.
Reservations for the banquet are $30 per person. To make a reservation or for more information, call the Development Office at 956/381-2500.