Dr. George Newman
Professor, Public Servant, Rancher
George Newman was born to Hugh and Kittie Newman on March 15, 1941 in Las Cruces, New Mexico and he is a descendant of the pioneer ranching Cowden family. William, George, and John Cowden established the Cowden Brothers Cattle Company in 1885, with its famed J A L brand – an operation that would grow to a herd of 40,000 and sprawl over an area extending from Midland, Texas to near Carlsbad, New Mexico. It was the Cowden brothers who provided funds for Simmons College to build the original Cowden Hall.
George graduated from Las Cruces Union High School where he was a top-ranked state tennis player before going on to begin his collegiate career at New Mexico State University on a tennis scholarship. Following his transfer to Baylor University in 1961, he earned his B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry and M.S. degree in Biology. While at Baylor he met his future wife, Carolyn Ann Calvert. They were married in 1964. George would later enroll in Texas A&M University, earning his Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology in 1975.
Dr. Newman came to Abilene in 1967 and began serving as Professor of Biology at Hardin-Simmons University and as the school’s tennis coach from 1974 to 1979 while also finding time to announce basketball games and rodeos. During his tenure at HSU, Dr. Newman was twice selected as President of the Faculty, chosen as an Outstanding Educator in America and served as president of the Texas Ornithological Society. Dr. Newman has held a particular interest in the birds and wildlife of the Guadalupe Mountains and his research on subjects such as the toxicity of algae, avian parasites and bird habitats earned him entry as a Fellow of the Texas Academy of Science.
Additionally, Dr. Newman holds membership in the Ecological Society of America, the Southwestern Association of Naturalists, American Ornithologists’ Union, Cooper Ornithological Society, and the Texas Academy of Science.
Following a twenty-five year teaching career, George assumed the title of Professor Emeritus of Biology in 1992 and in 2002 was chosen as the Outstanding Former Faculty Member of the Year.
George was selected as a member of the Hardin-Simmons Board of Trustees beginning in 1995 and served as chairman of the Academic Committee. Following a maximum nine-year term on the Board of Trustees, he is slated to be re-elected as an HSU Trustee in 2014. George was elected to the Wylie Independent School District Board in 1985, serving five years as president. Additionally, he served for fourteen years on the Taylor County Expo Center board; two years as president.
In 2003, Dr. Newman was appointed to fill an unexpired term as County Judge for Taylor County and was then elected to that post by the residents of Taylor County in 2004 and again in 2006. In this capacity Judge Newman was twice honored statewide for his county enhancement initiatives by receiving the Best Practices Award bestowed by the Texas Association of Counties. In 2006 he was honored for his implementation of a televised system in facilitating mental health hearings and in 2010 he was honored for his innovative jail diversion program. Judge Newman also served as a founding member of the Abilene/Taylor County Venue Tax Board and was instrumental in securing tax abatement agreements that attracted wind energy farms to Taylor County, as well as to surrounding counties.
In keeping with his family’s ranching heritage, George operated the 18,000 acre Bullhead Ranch from 1975 until 2000, a ranch co-owned by George and his sister Jo Ann Kloppenburg and once owned by their great-grandfather John Cowden.
George and Carolyn Newman have been committed to the success of students as reflected in their personal contributions of time and resources that include supporting the establishment of the Rube and Mary Kate Evans Endowed Scholarship, the Lee and Lou C. Evans Endowed Scholarship and the Lee and Lou C. Evans Western Heritage Endowment. Further, George and Carolyn established the HSU Grassland Initiative Endowment and, most recently, the George and Carolyn Newman Endowed Scholarship.
George and Carolyn have two children, Jason and Laura, and six grandchildren. George faithfully serves as a deacon to the congregants of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene.
As a Christian gentleman, devoted family man and cherished friend of the University, George Newman has consistently aided the cause of HSU. It is a high honor for Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct George A. Newman into the HSU Hall of Leaders.