State Legislature Could Remove Texas Hero's Name From University

By  | 

Sam Houston is considered by many as the father of Texas independence--a true Texas legend. And in his home state his name adorns many things including the university in Huntsville.

However, there is rumbling in the state legislature that Sam Houston State University could be renamed.

Frank Krystyniak is the Director of Public Relations for the university and he points out, that the change could come from the same governing body that honored Sam Houston years ago.

"Sam Houston was established as Sam Houston Normal Institute in 1879 by an act of the Texas legislature," Krystyniak said.

He says when the idea came up last summer opponents of the change were of the same mind.

"We do not think there will be any benefit to that," Krystyniak said.

Opinions among the student body are mixed. Sam Houston State University senior Justin McKee says the name change would not bother him.

"At the end of the day it's not really about the name of the institution, it is about the education you are receiving," McKee said.

Fellow Sam Houston student Garrick Long thinks the very opposite.

"I think it is a horrible idea," Long said. "[There is so much tradition on the Sam Houston campus]. You live to be a Bearkat, when you are on this campus."

And that feeling is shared by the university's alumni association president John McManners.

"It is dishonorable to Sam Houston. I think he would turn over in his grave if he found that this was going on." McManners said.

He says changing the name would erode the university's connection to Texas history.

"Over time it would kill it. It could completely destroy the association we have with the man Sam Houston," McManners said.

But is appears the university has a friend in the legislature.

"Lois Kolkhorst who represents us in the legislature, who is not a Sam Houston graduate, has taken a bill to the legislature on behalf of [the university to keep] the name," Frank Krystyniak said.

The state representative from District 13 has introduced House Bill 1418. If it passes it would stop the university's name from being changed.

In addition, Kolkhorst filed House Bill 1419, that if approved would prohibit removing the name of an established historical figure from the name of an institution. There are many future and past Sam Houston graduates who hope the bills are successful.