Weekly News Update: March 26, 2023—April 01, 2023

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By Preethi Mangadu 

News & Culture Director

Welcome to KTSW News’s weekly update! This week we are covering The Hector and Floria López Foundation giving Texas State University an almost $2 million grant, the approval of a new Pet Resource Center and Texas State’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter breaking a record.

Texas State receives $1.79 million grant for first-generation Latino students

The Hector and Floria López Foundation (HGLF)  awarded a $1.79 million grant for full tuition coverage for 15 first-generation, Latino Bobcats last week.

The 15 incoming students that are selected for the López Scholar Program will receive many resources, including tutoring, housing, study abroad programs, paid internships, mentoring and more, on top of support for tuition and fees for the next five years, starting fall 2023. 

A group of students and administration.
Texas State and The Hector and Floria López Foundation announce new funding available for first-generation, Latino students. | Stephanie Schulz

To qualify for the grant, applicants must demonstrate a financial need, be an incoming, first-generation Hispanic student and have lived in or graduated from a high school in El Paso, Austin, San Antonio or communities in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. There is no minimum GPA or SAT/ACT score or application needed. 

Texas State University (TXST) has been recognized for being a top school for Hispanic students and a Hispanic Serving Institution, as 40.5% of the student body identifies as Hispanic/Latino. The university has also been certified for showing how it is intentionally assisting and serving Latino students with the Seal of Excelencia in 2022.  

“Texas State University has implemented strong, specific goals to support its first-generation students, including those who are Latino and have demonstrated financial need,” said Sergio Rodríguez, foundation CEO and nephew of Hector and Gloria López. “We selected this institution because of its outstanding achievements in uplifting students who face potential barriers to opportunity.”

TXST is the third university to receive funding from HGLF this year, with St. Edward’s University and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) being the first two this year. UTSA and the University of Texas at El Paso received the first López Scholar Program grants last year. 

“We are incredibly honored by this generous investment in our students by the Hector and Gloria López Foundation. Student success is at the heart of all we do at Texas State, and this grant reaffirms our commitment to supporting and serving our students as they achieve their academic and career goals,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse in an Inside TXST release. “As a first-generation college graduate myself, I am familiar with the struggles of navigating uncharted territory. It’s critical for students to feel guided and supported throughout their college experience and be prepared to successfully enter the workforce.” 

HGLF has dedicated itself to “providing Latino students with financial and other support resources,” so “they will be successful in overcoming barriers, will achieve post-secondary success and will catalyze economic opportunities that will last a lifetime,” according to their website. 

For more information on the grant and program, visit the Foundation’s website at 

Hays County Commissioners’ Court greenlights Pet Resource Center

A Professional Service Agreement for a new Pet Resource Center was approved last Tuesday by the Hays County Commissioners’ Court. Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) will be the project coordinator for the center. 

Flyer for new Pet resource center
Announcement of the new Pet Resource Center with Austin Pets Alive! | Hays County

APA! will focus on the creation, development, management and operation of the center, along with field services and a veterinary clinic.

Clara Callison, the Director of National Operations at APA!, said the center will include lost and found pet resources, vet care, pet support resources, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic, adoptions, a community cat program and more. 

“It’s extremely important to have because of the fact that this is really groundbreaking,” said  Callison. “The old shelter model is really antiquated and ineffective, and so the fact that this is a more modern, progressive version of animal support that is truly preserving the human-animal bond or the human and pet bond, prioritizing keeping pets together.” 


In San Marcos, there has been overcrowding and overpopulation in the San Marcos Regional Shelter. Callison said that the center would help reconnect animals to their owners and provide resources to prevent surrendering pets. 

“It’s really just a matter of resources put towards two things,” Callison said. “So lost pet reunifications–connecting people with lost pets–oftentimes, animals are sitting in the center, but because of a lack of technology and a lack of support services to connect them, they have just been sitting in the shelters and, sadly, are often euthanized for lack of resources. The other piece of that is a lot of people surrender their pets cause there’s no other services to help them keep their pet.” 

Commissioners Debbie Ingalsbe, Precinct 1 and Lon Shell, Precinct 3, have worked together to get the county to address animal control and shelter overcrowding issues. 

“It’s taken us a while to make this a reality but I believe it will elevate our ability to better serve county residents, help with our pet overpopulation issues and alleviate the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter’s chronic capacity problems,” Shell said, in a press release. “We are all pleased with Austin Pets Alive managing the project and helping us cross the finish line.”

For more information on the services that will be in the new Pet Resource center, view the Hays County Commissioners’ press release here.

Five doctoral students in TXST Phi Kappa Phi break record of competitive awards won

Five doctoral students in the Texas State Phi Kappa Phi chapter have broken a record in the Phi Kappa Phi’s Dissertation Fellowship program. 

Four students won Phi Kappa Phi’s Dissertation Fellowship. One student received a Graduate Research Grant. Texas State’s winners were almost 30% of the 2023 candidates, breaking the record for number of fellowship recipients in a single year. 

Every year Phi Kappa Phi awards 15 Dissertation Fellowships of $10,000 to active society doctoral candidates completing dissertations. They also provide 20 grants annually to members in graduate school. 

“It is exciting to see so many of our Phi Kappa Phi students recognized for their significant research accomplishments,” said Kambra Bolch, president of the Texas State Phi Kappa Phi chapter, in a TXST release. “We are proud to have them represent our chapter and Texas State University so well at the national level.”

While the fellowship can go to all fields of study, the TXST fellows are in applied anthropology and geographic education. The research grant winner also comes from applied anthropology. 

“These five Phi Kappa Phi awards provide external confirmation that Texas State cultivates and nurtures outstanding graduate students engaged in highly intellectual, significant and original research,” said Andrea Golato, dean of The Graduate College, in the same release. “We hope that more students from all fields of study will engage with our extensive external fellowship application support.”

To read more about the recipients’ projects, click here.


Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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