2011: A year in review

If you believe everything the Mayans said, then 2011 was the last full year in the history of the world, and a memorable one it was.

Events like the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant, Cru Knights, Stunt Night and Homecoming carried on the school’s legacy of rich traditions. But it was also a year of firsts.

In September, the first steps were taken in completing the campus master plan with the groundbreaking of the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts and construction on the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center starting the following month.

In keeping with the progress on the master plan, a famed architecture firm, Populous, was selected for work on the future Crusader football stadium. The company has also designed for Yankee Stadium, Minute Maid Park and numerous other universities.

Along with these developments came the closing of King Street and multiple parking lots in order to accommodate the new structures.

The university also added a new residence facility to keep up with the continual growth of enrollment. Farris Hall became home to more than 160 students in the fall and was dedicated in October.

In the same month, the Student Government Association passed a bill to extend the SUB hours around the clock. This gives students a place to go 24/7 when in need of reliable Wi-Fi access, a place to study, or somewhere just to hang out with friends.

2011 saw the addition of two new master’s programs to serve students who are looking to continue their education. The Master of Science, Family Nurse Practitioner became the third master’s program for the College of Nursing, and the Master of Education in Administration of Intervention Programs became the fifth for the College of Education.

The university also carried on its tradition of excellence in athletics throughout the year. Cru football earned the title of conference champion for the eighth consecutive season. The volleyball team had its most successful season in the program’s history, and men’s basketball advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time.

Though many positives marked the year, it was not without struggles as well. Severe weather and natural disasters brought

chaos and loss to many.

Early February came with freezing temperatures and precipitation that caused rolling blackouts across the state. Because of the wintry weather and confusion due to  the power loss, classes were cancelled or delayed for several days, giving students a chance to enjoy the snow — a scarce commodity in Texas.

On May 22, Joplin, Mo, made headlines across the nation as a massive tornado ripped through the town, claiming lives and structures in its path.

The event hit home for the university, as Professor of business Dr. Larry Woodward and his wife, former UMHB director of marketing and public relations Carol Woodward were enjoying their summer at their home in Joplin when the storm hit. Though they were unharmed, the Woodwards did have family affected.

In an effort to support the Woodwards and others devastated by the disaster, several from the university made their way to the city to aid in relief efforts.

Throughout the month of September, wildfires blazed across Texas, especially affecting Bastrop, Magnolia and surrounding areas. Many students who call the towns home received news that their families had been evacuated, some losing everything.

Again UMHB stepped up. The Student Government Association and the Baptist Student Ministry partnered to collect bottled water and raise money to donate to victims of the fires.

Off campus, the state and world were also experiencing big changes. Led by the Texas Nationalist Movement, many Texans pushed for secession after becoming more and more disappointed with the national government.

This frustration seemed to be a global feeling as the Middle East became the center of attention once again during the Arab Spring. Libya, Egypt and other countries from the region began to use social media to organize riots against the governments that had been holding them under oppression for years.

Here in the U.S., the Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York when protesters camped out to show their discontent with the nation’s economy. The movement quickly gained followers and spread to major cities across the country, coming as close to UMHB as Austin.

In both the good and the bad, the university pushed through 2011, taking advantage of all it had to offer. Though a new year of possibilities awaits, students and faculty are sure to remember all that took place in the one leading up to it as they look forward to all that is to come.


Author: JC Jones

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