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History of Friends

The Friends of Fine Arts and Communication group has grown and changed over the past 30 years. In 1979, then Dean of the School of Creative Arts, Dr. Ralph Harrel and San Marcos resident Maude Ogle worked together to establish a local group of fine arts patrons who were committed in supporting the university's performing arts programs. Dr. Harrel served as the Dean from 1971 – 1985 and was instrumental in pursuing the vision of the original idea. Maude and her husband Bob Ogle, a retired faculty member from the University of Chicago, had recently moved to San Marcos from the Chicago area where she worked as a piano teacher. Maude loved the arts and worked hand in hand with Dean Harrel in establishing the link with then SWT and local community. The original group was at first called the "Dean's List," they each agreed to pay a basic fee of $15.00 to go towards an endowment placed in the Dean's discretionary fund. This fund was to be used for scholarships within the School of Fine Arts, for the benefit of worthy students. In 1980 the group officially became known as the "Friends" organization. This charter included 102 founding members. Their goal was to promote the arts both locally and at the university, and to build an endowment fund for university students. In 1985, Dr. T. Richard Cheatham was appointed as the Dean of the School of Fine Arts & Communication. The group "Friends" again took a new name, becoming the "SWT Friends of Fine Arts" and by 1987 Dean Cheatham established the first board of directors and by-laws. In 1989, "Communication" was added to the Friends title. In 1993, Dean Cheatham and the Friends group organized elections establishing the first state of independently elected officers. Bob Sappington was elected the first president of the newly reconstituted Friends group. Since then, both Bob Sappington and Dr. Peter Coulson have each served two terms as president. When the university officially changed its name to Texas State University, the "Friends" group officially dropped SWT from its name and became known simply as the Friends of Fine Arts & Communication. Today the Friends group has grown to well over 450 members with an endowment valued at over $75,000.00 and continues to provide scholarships for our students and faculty within the College of Fine Arts & Communication.


Friends of Fine Arts and Communication wish to thank the following founders:

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