Votteler defends first doctoral dissertation at SWT

Date of release: 02/25/00

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — A Southwest Texas State University geography student has successfully defended the first doctoral dissertation in the school’s history.

Todd H. Votteler defended his dissertation, Water from a Stone: The Limits of the Sustainable Development of the Edwards Aquifer, Feb. 23 at SWT. Lawrence Estaville, SWT Geography Department chair, announced Feb. 25 that the defense was successful.

Because of the successful defense of his dissertation, Votteler becomes the university’s first Ph.D. degree candidate. The degree will be awarded during commencement ceremonies for the SWT Graduate College at 7 p.m. Friday, May 12, in Strahan Coliseum.

Votteler is the special master for the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, in the Sierra Club vs. San Antonio Endangered Species Act litigation.

A graduate of Highland Park High School in Dallas, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and a master of science from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

SWT began coursework leading to doctoral degrees in geography during the 1996 fall semester. Votteler entered the program in 1997. The university offers two doctorates in geography in the fields of environmental geography and geographic education.

The SWT Geography Department has been ranked in independent studies three times as the top undergraduate program of its kind in the nation. The department also offers a master’s degree program in applied geography, and that program is considered a national model.