Three different initiatives, two sparked by ASU President Brian J. May and one by the Student Government Association, have combined to magnify ASU’s campus identity through new signage and put school pride in motion with the availability of official ASU license plates.
It all began during the summer of 2014 when May hatched a plan to rename Varsity Drive on the ASU campus as Phil George Drive in honor of the university’s legendary former coach and athletic director. The task of getting San Angelo City Council approval for the idea fell to Joe Muñoz, senior executive assistant to the president and general counsel. It included securing a preliminary recommendation from the city’s Planning Commission and then several hearings before the full council.
“The City Council was very gracious,” Muñoz said. “It was actually a very easy process, but it was time consuming. It took several months to get everything approved.”
While Muñoz was working on that project, the SGA floated the idea during a roundtable meeting with administrators of changing the colors of all campus street signs from the traditional green and white to “ASU blue” and white.
“It occurred to me that Phil George Drive could get that started as the first street sign with ASU colors,” Muñoz said. “Since it was SGA’s idea, I suggested that they take a proposal before the City Council. I thought it would also be a good experience for them to see how city government works.”
The SGA agreed, and then-president Jared Goecker and member Meghan Rogers were chosen to talk to the City Council.
“They put together a great presentation,” Muñoz said. “We all went together to the City Council meeting and they told the council what we wanted to do. The council gave its approval, but it was even better than that. They actually got applause from the City Council and the audience for making the suggestions and such a good presentation.”
The first of 42 new street signs to go up was Phil George Drive, following a dedication ceremony on Dec. 6 in the Junell Center/Stephens Arena to honor George during the Rams basketball game against UT-Permian Basin.
“Varsity Drive ran right through the heart of our on-campus athletic facilities,” President May said, “so I think it is entirely fitting that it has been renamed Phil George Drive in recognition of Phil’s tremendous influence on all of our athletic programs. For nearly 40 years, Phil was a driving force behind ASU athletics, and it is with great pleasure that we honor his numerous contributions and his enduring legacy.”
The remaining signs were installed by city crews during Spring Break in March 2015, including corner street signs and the larger signs on traffic signals at the various cross streets.
“The students were away for Spring Break when the rest of the signs went up,” Muñoz said. “When they got back, I think the students were pleasantly surprised to see them. So doing it that way turned out to be a great idea.”
“I really give credit to the SGA for suggesting the blue and white signs,” he added. “Without that, we would’ve had Phil George Drive, but the sign would’ve been the regular green and white. SGA deserves all the credit for suggesting the new colors and for giving such a great presentation to the City Council.”
Goecker is also pleased with how the SGA’s original idea has come to fruition.
“I’m ecstatic about how the signs turned out,” Goecker said. “It’s fantastic to see the signs around campus. It really shows more school pride. But Mr. Muñoz is being too modest because he helped us so much. The project wouldn’t have been possible without him.”
Meanwhile, May’s second initiative to make ASU license plates available to Texas motorists was also moving ahead through the Office of Communications and Marketing. The process of getting a design approved and the plates ready through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles was also predictably lengthy, but in March they were finally made available to the public. Even better, a portion of each plate purchase gets donated back to ASU.
“The last time I went to renew my vehicle registration,” May said, “I noticed that license plates were available with logos from many Texas universities, as well as universities from other states. Now the ASU community, alumni and supporters can show that their school spirit is just as strong, while also helping the university raise money for various programs.”