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Advisory Council

Texas State's University Libraries and The Wittliff are fortunate to have an Advisory Council comprising dedicated enthusiasts of the humanities, education, and lifelong learning. Members of the council serve as our chief ambassadors to the world, championing the mission of the University Libraries and The Wittliff Collections and promoting our priority projects among diverse audiences.
 
The Advisory Council helps raise awareness via their personal and professional networks as well as through social media platforms. Council members also serve as influencers for fundraising projects – reaching out to potential supporters, opening doors, providing leads, and voicing support for key funding initiatives.
 
Council members serve a two-year term. The group meets once in the fall and once in the spring.

Sam Pfiester

Sam Pfiester, Chair

Location: Georgetown
 
Sam Pfiester was born and raised in Fort Stockton, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Plan II. In 1968 he joined the U.S. Navy, serving two tours in the Vietnam War. During the second tour he was senior advisor to a river patrol group operating in the Ca Mau Peninsula along the Cambodian border, and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service. He was hired as a petroleum land man for independent oil operator Clayton W. Williams, Jr. in 1971. He worked for Williams for 10 years, eventually becoming exploration manager. Since 1982 he has operated his own exploration company, Pfiester Oil and Gas. Sam is the author of three books: The Perfect War, about his experiences in Vietnam; The Golden Lane: Faja de Oro; and Solomon’s Temple: Musjid-i-Suleiman & the Quest for Oil in the Middle East. He and his wife, Rebecca, have three children and seven grandchildren.
Mary Lockwood Crouch

Susan Crews Bailey

Location: Austin
 
A fifth-generation Texan, Susan Crews Bailey was born in Ennis, Texas, and has lived in Austin since 1978. Susan’s early careers included editing cancer research, researching and writing about Texas history, and teaching undergraduate literature and writing as a full-time lecturer in the English Department at Texas Tech University where she received her degrees in English. Susan previously served on the board of The Texas Book Festival and as chair of the Author Selection Committee. She also served in years past on the Wittliff Collections Advisory Board. Her love of art, literature, photography, and music shaped her life and resulted in her patronage of each. Known as always having her camera at the ready, Susan enjoys capturing the moment in Austin life and history and on her many travels around the world. Susan has two grown daughters and two grandchildren.
Edwin Cabaniss

Edwin Cabaniss

Location: Dallas
 
Edwin Cabaniss is a 1991 graduate of Texas State University, where he played baseball for the Bobcats. He later attended the University of North Texas where he received his MBA, followed by a successful, twenty-year career with various Wall Street firms before “retiring."
 
Edwin is the founder and president of Kessler Presents which produced over 500 concerts and events across Texas in 2019. By presenting curated artists to respectful audiences in unique environments for the past decade, Kessler Presents established itself as one of the most respected independent promoters in the country. The company has been named the Chamber of Commerce’s “Business of the Year” multiple times and received the Obelisk Award from the Business Council for the Arts.
 
Edwin serves as co-founder and chairperson of the Music Venue Alliance-Texas, founding board member of the Southern Gateway Public Green, and past board member of the Dallas Assembly. Edwin was a founding member of Go Oak Cliff and received both the Father of the Year Award from the T Boone Pickens YMCA as well as The President’s Volunteer Service Award.
 
Edwin, along with his wife, Lisa, and their teenage twin daughters, Gabrielle and Rachelle, enjoy adventure-travel and spending time at their family farm.
Mary Lockwood Crouch

Mary Lockwood Crouch

Location: Austin
 
Mary Lockwood Crouch is a native Texan from Port Arthur. She has been a classroom teacher and a meeting planner for a trade association. Her love of The Wittliff stems from her degree in art history and her own experimentation with and love of photography. Mary actively supports Mobile Loaves and Fishes and Communities in Schools. Traveling at home and abroad is among her favorite pastimes. She has three children and three grandchildren.
Photo of J. Philip Ferguson

J. Philip Ferguson

Location: Houston
 
J. Philip “Phil” Ferguson spent his early years in Fort Worth, graduated from TCU with a degree in Business, and followed that up with a JD from the University of Texas School of Law. Phil served roughly 50 years in the asset management business including leadership positions at Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and AIM Capital Management, where he led a team of 90 investment professionals managing in excess of $100 billion. Following his retirement as Chief Investment Officer at AIM (now Invesco) in 2007, he has continued his involvement in the industry through participation on the board of directors of a Fortune 500 company (ABM Industries), as well as Salient Partners in Houston. Phil and his wife Kathy O’Neil live in Houston but spend as much time as they can at their ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where they champion land conservation efforts. They have a blended family of five grown children and are blessed with 10 grandchildren. A fond memory for Phil is of serving on the initial organizing committee for the Lonesome Dove Reunion, culminating in that extraordinary event coming to his hometown of Fort Worth. To paraphrase Gus, “By God, Woodrow, it was one helluva party.”
Craig Hester

Rhonda Norris Hall

Location: Austin
 
Rhonda Hall is a native Texan from Kingsville. She is a proud Bobcat with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Sociology and a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, both from Texas State. Rhonda serves as the Vice President of Human Resources & Organizational Development for University Federal Credit Union, a non-profit financial institution that has served members in Central Texas since 1936. She’s spent the last 16 years of her career working in the non-profit space aligning strategy with community need. She serves on the Board of Directors for Jeremiah’s Program focused on raising two generations out of poverty simultaneously. While Rhonda has travelled most of her career, she has always returned home to her beloved Texas. Rhonda lives in central Austin with her husband Michael, two middle school aged children, two dogs, and two Nigerian Dwarf Goats – bringing a bit of the country into the city.
Craig Hester

Craig Hester

Location: Austin
 
Craig Hester, CFA, CIC, is a principal of Luther King Capital Management (LKCM). He joined the firm in 2012 and serves as a portfolio manager. Prior to joining LKCM, Craig was chairman, chief executive officer, chief investment officer, director, and portfolio manager of Hester Capital Management in Austin. He served as director of regional asset management for InterFirst Investment Management, chief investment officer of the Texas Municipal Retirement System, assistant vice president and trust officer for Republic National Bank Dallas, and senior analyst for the Teachers Retirement System of Texas. He is currently chairman of the board of Employees Retirement System of Texas. Craig graduated with a bachelor of business administration and a master of business administration in finance from The University of Texas at Austin. Craig and his wife, Felicia, live in Austin and enjoy spending time at their ranch. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Richard C. Jones

Richard C. Jones

Location: Austin
 
Richard C. Jones works mostly in Austin as an actor, film producer, and director. Of those three jobs, the one he enjoys most is acting. He acted in the film Pit Stop that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He also recently acted in the Westworld Interactive project at SXSW. It was part of a creative effort by HBO which was nominated for an Emmy. Richard helped produce the feature film, The Vessel, starring Martin Sheen. He was born in Jourdanton, Texas. He is also a proud Bobcat having graduated from Texas State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He and his wife, Meagan, have two awesome children.
Susan Longley

Susan Longley

Location: Austin
 
Susan Longley is president and owner of The Longley Group. As a fundraiser, volunteer, and political activist in Texas politics, Susan has been a tireless worker for democratic causes and campaigns. She is on the advisory board for the Bob Bullock Archives Endowment at Baylor University and Texans for Stem Cell Research; is immediate past president of the Texas Democracy Foundation, which publishes the Texas Observer; and she served on the National Founding Board for Atticus Circle. For several years Susan co-chaired the MOLLY National Journalism Prize, now one of the preeminent honors available to the nation’s finest journalists. Susan previously served as president of Zachary Scott Theatre Center where she is currently an emeritus member, and the Texas Book Festival Board. Susan is known for her knowledge of the legislative process and skillful political instincts. She was chief fundraiser for Bob Bullock and directed his legislative agenda when he was both Comptroller and Lieutenant Governor. She was the legislative liaison for Bob Bullock both at both offices. Susan served as statewide co-chair for Democrat Tom Schieffer’s 2009 campaign run for governor of Texas; finance co-chair for the Ann Richards/Bob Bullock Inaugural Committee, finance chair for Tony Sanchez’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, and campaign manager for Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s first campaign to the Texas Senate. She has also worked for former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes and former gubernatorial candidate Sissy Farenthold.
Barbara Morgan

Barbara Morgan

Location: Austin
 
Barbara Morgan co-founded the Austin Film Festival in 1993 and has served as the sole executive director since 1999. Barbara developed and produced the film Natural Selection and co-produced the feature documentary Antone’s: Home of the Blues. Both films were released internationally. Most recently, she produced the documentary feature, Portrait of Wally, and the narrative feature, Spring Eddy. She developed and produces the TV and radio series “Austin Film Festival’s On Story,” currently airing on PBS stations across the country as well as on Public Radio International. Barbara co-edited the book series On Story: Screenwriters and Their Craft, published by UT Press. She has one daughter.
Brad Nations

Brad Nations

Location: San Antonio
 
Brad Nations is the Vice President of Employer Solutions for Consumer Medical, and has spent much of his career helping to build several mission-driven startup companies in the healthcare space. Brad is also a very proud Texas State alum, having graduated with a Speech Communications degree in 1996. During his time in San Marcos, Brad was active on campus serving in a variety of roles including Student Government president and KTSW morning show host. Brad’s true passion lies in the arts, with a heavy focus on Texas music and independent film. In addition to his regular attendance at many of Texas’ most iconic music venues, Brad is also a guitar player himself having recorded an EP with his band “When You Were Bigger” in 2017. Brad’s love and support of independent film culminated in 2016 when he worked for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, supporting festival operations and donor relations. In addition to the arts, Brad has a strong passion for cycling and is a top fundraiser for the Ride MS-150. Brad is married to Patty Nations, also a Bobcat. Together, they have raised two incredible children.
photo of Joe Nick Patoski

Joe Nick Patoski

Location: Wimberly
 
Joe Nick Patoski writes about Texas and Texans. A former staff writer for Texas Monthly and former reporter at the Austin American-Statesman, he has authored and co-authored biographies of Willie Nelson, Selena, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Dallas Cowboys, and collaborated with photographer Laurence Parent on books about the Texas mountains, the Texas Coast, and Big Bend National Park. Joe Nick’s latest book is From Austin to ATX: The Hippies, Pickers, Slackers, and Geeks Who Transformed the Capital of Texas. Joe Nick hosts the Texas Music Hour of Power on Marfa Public Radio. He lives near Wimberley, where he swims and paddles in the Blanco River.
Becky Duval Reese

Becky Duval Reese

Location: San Marcos
 
Becky Duval Reese as director of the El Paso Museum of Art (1991-2005) oversaw the completion of a new 104,000 square foot building located in downtown El Paso. During her tenure the museum’s collections grew by more than 1,000 objects. Her achievements resulted in a museum nationally recognized both for the strength of its collections and for its new building. Her museum career began at New Mexico State University where she was founding director/curator of the University Art Gallery. From 1976 to the spring of 1991 she was educational curator, assistant director, and interim director of the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery (now the Blanton Museum of Art) at The University of Texas at Austin. She has organized, curated and juried over 30 exhibitions and published numerous articles, essays, and exhibition catalogs dealing with the history of Texas art.
photo of Liz Rogers

Liz Rogers

Location: Alpine
 
Liz Rogers grew up on a sheep and goat ranch in Uvalde County. She moved to El Paso after graduating from Texas A&M and South Texas College of Law. She spent most of her professional life with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in El Paso and Alpine. She relocated to the Big Bend region in 2001, and upon retirement, she circumnavigated the globe by train and container ship. She opened her own criminal defense practice in January 2015. Liz served on the board of the Texas Nature Conservancy and is a long-time board member of Marfa Public Radio. She was inducted into the Philosophical Society of Texas in 2008.
John Spong

John Spong

Location: Austin

John Spong, a staff writer for Texas Monthly since 2002, was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2010 for his story celebrating Texas dance halls, “Step Right Up,” and has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters’ O. Henry Award for Magazine Journalism – in 2007 for “The Good Book and the Bad Book,” and in 2010 for “Holding Garmsir.” He is the author of A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove (UT Press), and his magazine stories have been collected in Best Food Writing 2012 (Da Capo Press), The Best American Sports Writing 2009 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Literary Austin (TCU Press), and Rio Grande (UT Press). He holds a bachelor of arts and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from The University of Texas at Austin. John and his wife, Julie Blakeslee, have two sons, Willie Mo and Leon.

photo of Carmen Tafolla

Carmen Tafolla

Location: San Antonio

Dr. Carmen Tafolla is a poet, storyteller, performance artist, motivational speaker, and university professor – loved throughout the world for her moving performances and poetry readings. The author of more than 30 books, her work appears internationally in high school and university textbooks, newspapers, journals and magazines, and elementary school readers. Carmen was named Poet Laureate of Texas in 2015, and she is the immediate past president of the Texas Institute of Letters. Carmen also served from 2012-2014 as the first Poet Laureate of San Antonio and presented at more than 300 schools, universities, professional conferences, and community arts centers in her two-year tenure. She has received numerous awards, including the Americas Award, five International Latino Book Awards, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, three ALA Notable Books, a Charlotte Zolotow Award, the Art of Peace Award, and Top Ten Books for Babies. She has been recognized by the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies for work which “gives voice to the peoples and cultures of this land.”

photo of James Taylor

James S. Taylor

Location: Austin

James S. Taylor has an enduring love of and appreciation for Mexico—the result of his upbringing in that country. Born in the Texas panhandle and raised in Tamaulipas, James’ bi-cultural background and bi-national experience have infused his career, personal interests, and community endeavors.

An underlying purpose of James’ multi-faceted career has been to deepen connections and knowledge between the U.S. and Mexico in business, the arts, and politics. He graduated from Texas State University with a degree in international studies and began pursuit of opportunities that help bridge a better understanding of the two neighboring countries.

James is a co-founder of Vianovo, an international strategic advisory consultancy, and of Grupo Compadres, a company that produces and markets SUSTO Mezcal, a new brand of Mexico’s oldest agave spirit.

James is a member of the advisory board of the Texas Book Festival and serves as honorary consul of Spain in Austin, Texas. James and his wife Ingrid have two children, Benjamin and Gabriela.

Photo of Reid Wittliff

Reid Wittliff

Location: Austin

Reid Wittliff, a partner in the Austin-based law firm, Wittliff Cutter PLLC, is a technology lawyer with a deep understanding of the fast-developing law governing online activity, privacy, and data security. He has represented both fortune 100 companies and small start-ups in technology and intellectual property disputes. As a certified mediator, he also frequently negotiates and drafts software licenses and other technology contracts. Reid’s prior experience includes serving as the founding Division Chief of the Texas Attorney General Office’s Computer Crime Division and as a federal prosecutor responsible for leading computer crime investigations and prosecutions in the Dallas, Texas area. In 2008, Reid founded R3 Digital Forensics, LLC as an independent company to provide digital forensics and e-Discovery services to clients throughout the nation. He holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law.

Sally Wittliff

Sally Wittliff

Location: Austin

Sally Wittliff is an Austin attorney with a general practice. Born in New York City, she spent most of her childhood in Washington, D.C. Sally moved to San Antonio during her high school years, and has been in Texas ever since. She is a member of Inns of Court and a fellow of the Texas State Bar and Austin Bar Foundations. She is a former secondary mathematics teacher, chair of the City of Austin Urban Transportation Commission, president of We Care Austin, and board member of many civic organizations, including KLRU Public Television, Safe Place, and the Contemporary Austin. Cofounder with her husband, Bill, of Austin’s Encino Press and The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, Sally is also the business manager of Pangaea, Inc., an Austin film production company, and of Wittliff Properties. Sally and Bill have two grown children and four grandchildren. 

Susan Wittliff

Susan Wittliff

Location: Austin

Susan Wittliff is Chief Operating Officer of Price Wealth Management, an independent investment advisory firm based in Austin. She is also involved with Texas State University through her service on the university’s Development Foundation Board, having served as chair of the Investment Committee and through her current role as the vice chair of the Development Foundation Board. Prior to her work in financial services, Susan served as a corporate securities attorney and advisor for multiple public and private companies. Susan received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law. Susan is actively engaged in her community, having served in various leadership roles for Communities in Schools – Central Texas, the Heritage Society of Austin, the Nature Conservancy – Texas, the Seton Fund, and Elizabeth Ann Seton Board, as well as for her children’s schools. When given the chance, she loves to escape to the mountains, read a great book, and work at improving her tennis game. Susan is married to Reid Wittliff, and they live in Austin with their two children.

Cathy Supple

IN MEMORIUM: Cathy Supple

Location: San Marcos

Cathy Supple earned her bachelor of arts degree in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in English education at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, New York. She taught high school English in Willsboro, New York, and was a feature writer and photographer for the North Country Catholic newspaper. In her avocation as a singer and guitarist with her late husband, Jerry, Cathy organized Plattsburgh music festivals and country dances. She served on numerous San Marcos community boards until 2002, and she long served on The Wittliff Collection's Advisory Council. She passed away on March 25, 2022.