The inspiration for the 172nd anniversary meeting came from the Society’s 1948 program, “The Creative Arts in Texas,” which was organized by the Society’s first woman president, Miss Ima Hogg. Revisiting this topic, current president Michael L. Gillette put together “Creative Texas 2.0” to survey the state’s most significant and creative advances across a broader range of endeavors: education, the arts, writing, and science. The meeting was held in Austin, Texas at the new AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center and Hotel on the University of Texas campus. A total of 334 members, spouses, and guests were in attendance.
The meeting began on Friday December 4, 2009 with optional morning and afternoon tours. The mourning tour visited the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, the Petawatt Laboratory, and the Visualization Laboratory located on the University of Texas campus. The afternoon tour showcased the Texas State Capitol and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. The evening ended with a reception and dinner at the AT&T Conference Center. William C. Powers, Jr., President of the University of Texas at Austin, delivered the welcoming remarks.
President Gillette announced the eight new members and presented them with their certificates of membership. The new members were: Sharon Wilson Allison, Waco; Fernando A. Guerra, San Antonio; Herb Kelleher, Dallas; Nancy Cain Marcus, Dallas; W. Frank Newton, Beaumont; Gretchen Ritter, Austin; Chase G. Untermeyer, Houston; and Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Montgomery. Although there were seven openings, the Bylaws stipulate that vacancies are automatically filled in order of number of votes received by the candidates. In the case of a tie, the number of active members shall temporarily increase until natural attrition occurs, per the Bylaws. Because two candidates tied for the seventh place, there were eight new members this year.
The 2009 Award of Merit for the Best Book on Texas was given to Pekka Hämäläinen, for The Comanche Empire, Yale University Press, 2008. This award is given annually for the best book published on Texas, fiction or non-fiction.
A lively roundtable discussion took place on Saturday afternoon and was followed by a reception and dinner at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. After guests toured the museum galleries, they returned to the AT&T Conference Center for a special performance by Anne Akiko Meyers, a celebrated concert violinist. She was accompanied by Anne Epperson on the piano.
The annual business meeting was held on Sunday morning. The names of Society members who had died during the previous year were read: William Wayne Justice, Elmer Stephen Kelton, Lowell H. Lebermann, Jr., John Dean Moseley, and Dorman Hayward Winfrey. Secretary Ann Hamilton announced Society membership stood at 201 active members, 62 associate members, and 78 emeritus members for a total of 341 members. Officers elected for the year 2010 are as follows: J. Mark McLaughlin, president; Frances B. Vick, first vice-president; Jon H. Fleming, second vice-president; Harris L. Kempner Jr., treasurer; and Ann T. Hamilton, secretary. President Gillette adjourned the meeting until December 3–5, 2010, in San Angelo.