VIP Meet and Greet

The meet and greet is scheduled to be held inside Toyota Center from 5:30-7:00pm. You must be invited to this event or accepted to attend.

Sign up for this event HERE! The cutoff date & time for signups for this event is on April 10th, 2013 at 12:00 pm. Requests after this deadline will not be entertained. 

The VIP event is absolutely free for ticket holders and is limited to faculty, staff and friends of SHSU. Once your spot is confirmed you will receive a confirmation email.

Current VIPs

President Dana Gibson 

Dr. Dana L. Gibson became Sam Houston State University’s 13th president on September 1, 2010, following unanimous approval by The Texas State University System. She is the first female president in the university’s history.

Dr. Gibson is a product of the Texas educational system, growing up and attending schools in north Texas.  She also attended Texas universities, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business-accounting and a Master of Business Administration at Texas Woman’s University and a doctorate in business at the University of Texas at Arlington.

A Certified Public Accountant since 1984, Dr. Gibson began her career in private industry.  In 1986 she joined academia when she was employed by Texas Woman’s University as a lecturer in accounting and management information systems. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1989, and later received tenure as an associate professor of accounting and management information systems.

In 1996, Dr. Gibson was named TWU’s special assistant to the vice president for finance and administration.  She was promoted to associate vice president for finance and administration and university controller and was named vice president for academic and information services in 2000.

She left Texas Woman’s University to become vice president for finance and administration of the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver (Colorado).  After serving two years, she was named vice chancellor for administration and finance at the University of Colorado at Denver (and Health Sciences Center) where she oversaw a budget of more than $700 million with funded research of $300 million.

Dr. Gibson returned to Texas as the vice president for business and finance at Southern Methodist University. After her service at SMU, she was selected as president of National University, the second largest not-for-profit university in California. 
In 2009, she joined Sam Houston State University as vice president for finance and operations.  Her responsibilities included the administration of many of the business functions of the university including the controller’s office, budget, auxiliary operations, procurement, property, public safety, parking, human resources, facilities management, construction and planning, information resources, and institutional research and assessment.

Dr. Gibson’s research in accounting information systems has resulted in a number of professional papers, publications and presentations, and she has served as an associate editor and reviewer for several academic accounting journals.
Among her awards are Texas Woman’s University Distinguished Alumna and Southern Methodist University Administrator of the Year.
In addition to her professional work, Dr. Gibson is active in civic and charitable causes.

Don Sanders

Mr. Don Sanders will be honored with the "Industry Impact Award" during this event.

If you are from Texas, especially Houston, you might know the name Don Sanders. 

Don’s humble nature comes from his small town roots - Mexia, Texas.  In high school, he fell in love with photography, capturing life in its most memorable moments.  This love of photography and art helped finance his undergraduate degree from Sam Houston State University and his MBA from the University of Texas in Austin.  His interest in photography and art previewed his later accomplishment of putting together one of the leading private art and photography collections in the country. 

After graduation Don joined EF Hutton & Company as a trainee in 1959 and over 2 decades rose to become an Executive Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors, perhaps the most prestigious investment firm in the nation.  Its famous phrase, “when EF Hutton talks, people listen”, was coined during Don’s leadership of Hutton. 

In 1987, Don left Hutton to form Sanders Morris Mundy.  Now more than 25 years later, the successor to Sanders Morris Mundy is one of the most successful wealth management firms in the United States with 38 offices managing over $18 billion.  Don, together with storied private equity firm Lee Equity Partners and other members of its management, is still a substantial owner of that fast-growing organization. 

Don continues to express himself in other ways.  In 1979, he became part owner of the Houston Astros which whetted his interest in sports and sports franchises.  In 1999 he, along with Nolan and Reid Ryan, founded Ryan Sanders Baseball which today owns the Round Rock Express (the Texas Rangers AAA Farm Club), the Corpus Christi Hooks, (the Houston Astros AA Farm Club), and other various baseball operations.

Although Don is well-known for his financial and sports expertise, he is equally well-respected as an active community leader.  He is the founder of the Houston Police Foundation, was a Director of the Houston Police Pension System as well as serving on the Board of Regents of the University of Houston. He is currently a Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts as well as a Board member of the Houston Texas Bowl and the Nolan Ryan Foundation. 

Don has a long tradition of supporting area schools and has generously given to the KIPP Explore Baseball program as well as donating the Kinkaid School baseball field and facilities which bears his name.  His tremendous love for animals led Don to Friends for Life, a No-Kill animal rescue and adoption shelter where he personally financed a state-of-the-art shelter and facility.  Remembering his roots, Don donated and endowed a world-class baseball facility at his alma mater, Sam Houston State University where he was also inducted into the Hall of Honor.  In addition, he funded a life-sized bronze statue in Cooperstown that commemorates the All-American Girls Baseball League. 

From his business accomplishments to his dedication and love of sports, care of animals, and compassion for others, he continues to embrace life in the fullest.


Coach Fritz

Willie Fritz has directed Sam Houston State to a 31-10 record in his three seasons as Bearkat head football coach. The 31 wins rank as Sam Houston's most victories in a three-year span.
With back-to-back Southland Conference titles and NCAA Division I Football Championships finals appearances in 2011 and 2012, Fritz has reaped both regional and national honors.
The awards include 2012 Liberty Mutual NCAA FCS national "Coach of the Year," American Football Coaches Association "National Coach of the Year" in 2011 and "Regional Coach of the Year" both in 2011 and 2012 and Southland Conference "Coach of the Year" in 2011.
During his tenure as SHSU head coach, 28 Bearkats have earned All-Southland Conference honors a total of 49 times, eight players have been named All-America and Kats have won Southland awards for "Player of the Year", "Offensive Player of the Year", "Defensive Player of the Year" and "Newcomer of the Year."
The team's 14-1 record in 2011 and the 11-4 mark in 2012 represent the two highest single season victory totals in Sam Houston history.
Fritz, who has produced an overall record of 167 victories, 62 losses and one tie as a head coach, became the 14th head football coach at Sam Houston State University on December 18, 2011.
During his 31-year career, Fritz has been part of programs both as a head coach and an assistant that have rolled up an overall record of 251 wins, 88 losses and five ties. The record includes 10 appearances in post-season play (bowl games or playoff appearances) and 11 conference titles.
Fritz came to Huntsville from the University of Central Missouri were he stands as the "winningest" coach in the Mules' 114-year football history.
Fritz rolled up a 97-47 record in 13 seasons as Central Missouri head coach. In 11 of those seasons, Central Missouri posted winning records. He is the only Central Missouri head coach to produce eight consecutive seasons of seven or more wins.
Fritz served as a graduate assistant for Bearkat squads that went 16-6 in 1984-85 and won the 1985 Gulf Star Conference championship.
He was the secondary and special teams coach for the Bearkats in 1991 and 1992, helping lead Sam Houston to a Southland Conference championship and starting a special teams success tradition that lasted more than a decade. The "block party" saw Kat special teams block 80 punts, field goals and extra points in the 14 seasons from 1991 to 2004.
From 1993 to 1996, Fritz was head coach at Blinn College where turned around a program that had gone 5-24-1 in its three previous seasons. In just a short time, he produced a 39-5-1 record and two national junior college championships. For his efforts at Blinn, Fritz has been inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
As head coach at Central Missouri, Fritz led the Mules to their first post-season berth in 32 years when they defeated Minnesota-Duluth in the 2001 Mineral Water Bowl. A year later, Central Missouri earned its first NCAA Division II playoff berth after winning the Mid-America Athletic Association (MIAA) championship. Fritz coached 152 All-MIAA performers including 41 first team selections and 24 All-Americans. Fritz ranks No. 15 among active NCAA Division II head coach in victories.
In his 13 years at UCM, the Mules enjoyed an 84 percent graduation rate with three Academic All-Americans, 14 Academic All-Region and 144 MIAA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll selections.
Fritz was the second member of his family to coach at Central Missouri. His father, the late Harry Fritz, was the Mules' head football coach in 1952 and later become executive director of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). 
Fritz played college football at Pittsburg State University. He was a four-year starter as a defensive back and played on two conference title teams. He was a student assistant coach for the Gorillas in 1982 and was an assistant football coach at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Kansas in 1983 and Willis High School in Texas in 1986 and was defensive coordinator at Coffeyville College in Kansas from 1987 to 1990.
Fritz and his wife Susan have three children, Wesley, Elaine and Brooke.

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