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The Philosophical Society of Texas

“Texas and Architecture” was the theme of the 171st anniversary meeting of the Philosophical Society. President Boone Powell and the Program Committee compiled an impressive list of speakers to discuss architecture and sustainability, issues that are ever pertinent in the face of energy, global warming, and sustainability challenges. The meeting was held at the Marriott Plaza Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Almost 300 Society members and guests were in attendance.

The University of Texas at San Antonio School of Architecture sponsored the first events of the program with optional morning and afternoon tours on Friday December 5, 2008. Morning participants experienced Historic San Antonio: The Roots of its Architecture with a stop for lunch at Victoria’s Indiscretion (Marriott Plaza Hotel) before continuing on to the afternoon tour of Contemporary San Antonio: The Emerging Metropolis. The evening concluded with a reception at the private residence of Society member Charles Butt followed by a tour of the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Saturday December 6, 2008 began at the Marriott Plaza Hotel with a welcome and introduction by President Boone Powell. Mr. Powell introduced the new members; all except one were present to receive their certificates of membership. The new members are: John Mendelson, Houston, Maconda Brown O'Connor, Houston, Elizabeth Rogers, Alpine, Kenneth Shine, Austin, Lawrence W. Speck, Austin, Lois Farfel Stark, Houston, and Marshall T. Steves, Jr., San Antonio.

After the morning session titled “Architecture and the Environment: Challenge and Change” and a break for lunch, participants returned to the meeting where Lonn Taylor presented two Awards of Merit. The 2007 Award of Merit went to Richard B. McCaslin for At the Heart of Texas, 100 Years of the Texas State Historical Association, 1897-1997. The 2008 Award of Merit went to Stephen Fox for The Country Houses of John F. Staub. The program continued with the afternoon session “Meeting the Challenge.” The finale of the day’s events included a reception at the home of Society member Marshall T. Steves followed by a tour of the McNay Art Museum.

The annual business meeting was held on Sunday morning, December 7, 2008. It was announced by Ron Tyler, Secretary for the Society that the current membership stood at 199 active members, 67 associate members and 74 emeritus members for a total of 330. The names of the recently deceased Society members were read: Anne Armstrong, Charles Bonjean, Michael DeBakey, Ralph Feign, Philip Hoffman, Ruth L. Kempner of Galveston, Roy Mersky, Charles P. Storey, John Wheeler and Joseph Irion Worsham. Officers elected for the year 2009 are as follows: Michael L. Gillette, President, J. Mark McLaughlin, First Vice-President, Ron Tyler, Second Vice-President, Ann Hamilton, Secretary, J. Chrys Dougherty III, Treasurer.

After a summary and discussion of the weekend’s program, President Powell adjourned the meeting until December 4-6, 2009 in Austin.

lonn taylor and stephen fox

Member and Book Award Committee Chair Lonn Taylor presenting the 2008 Award of Merit to Stephen Fox for The Country Houses of John F. Staub, Texas A&M University Press, 2007. Photo by member John Gullett.

lonn taylor and rick mccaslin

Member and Book Award Committee Chair Lonn Taylor presenting the 2007 Award of Merit to Richard B. McCaslin for At the Heart of Texas, 100 Years of the Texas State Historical Association, 1897-1997, Texas State Historical Association Press, 2006. Photo by member John Gullett.