Trinity University Press

Terra Firma: Trinity University Press blog

Spurs Nation, the Book

by Char Miller on

Spurs Nation is a much-needed balm, especially now that I live 1,327.3 miles west of the ATT Center, a straight shot on Interstate-10. The fanzine-like book’s soothing words span the distance between my home in Southern California and my former life in south-central Texas, fusing the past with the present.

But the heavily illustrated book also helps bring the present into sharper focus. So I thought the other morning while I was working my way through the sports section of the Los Angeles Times. On Pearl Harbor Day, the Clippers went up against the Golden State Warriors and were destroyed. That didn’t bother me, as I’m not a fan of either team (but I love that their coaches are former Spurs).

What bothered me was this rankling line in columnist Bill Plashcke’s withering, postgame analysis of the Clippers’ collapse: “Everything was in place Wednesday night for a celebrated meeting between the two best teams in the Western Conference and a potential preview for a spring showdown.” Read that again—“the two best teams in the Western Conference.”

The claim is nonsense on so many levels. On this particular Day of Infamy, the Clippers were, in fact, the third best team in the Western Conference, running two and a half games behind the Spurs. Put that stat in the larger context of the two franchises’ histories and Plaschke’s comment is even harder to fathom. In the long run, the Clippers have nothing on the Silver and Black’s record of success in regular or postseason play; the Clips have yet to win one championship, let alone five.

So, yes, I take solace in Spurs Nation and its colorful depiction—in prose and images—of the Spurs’ extraordinary run to date, from the 1987 lottery pick of David Robinson to the loss in the 2016 Western Conference semifinals to the Oklahoma Thunder; from the grainy photo of the smiling Robinson holding up his jersey (5-0! 5-0!) following the Spurs’ selection of him to the now iconic shot of Tim Duncan, his back to the camera, his right hand raised in farewell as he walks off the court for the last time.

In between these snapshots are a wealth of memories.

  • 1994: David Robinson drops 71 points on the hapless Clips on April 24 to snatch the league scoring title from Shaquille O’Neal.
  • 1996: Gregg Popovich’s surprise firing of Coach Bob Hill on December 10. Twenty years later, the controversial move seems so right, as does Pop’s commentary when asked if he would coach the following season: “Next year? I’m not even thinking about next year. It doesn’t interest me. I’m just thinking day-to-day on how to get this team where it needs to be.” Mission accomplished.
  • 1999: Ring One. “The old ABA franchise that couldn’t finally did.”
  • 2003: Conference finals. Malik Rose captured the Game Six crushing of the Lakers, the Spurs’ nemesis: “Once we started to materialize in the third quarter, we started to smell blood, and see blood. So we went for it.” Ring Two followed.
  • 2004: Okay, let’s agree not to talk about what happened when the Silver and Black lost to the Purple and Gold. I remember hiding out in the local H-E-B.
  • 2005: I spent a lot of time in that same grocery store pretending to shop while casting furtive glances at a flickering screen broadcasting Game Five. That’s where I witnessed Robert Horry drain the 3-pointer that kept the Spurs alive. Game Seven brought Ring Three.
  • 2007: Another series, another ring. Michael Finley said: “A lot of people wrote us, as they usually do. But we stayed resilient, believed in the system, and believed in one another.”
  • 2013: “An epic collapse.” A painful read.
  • 2014: Cinco = joy.

The Spurs have had an extraordinary two-decade run. Moments golden and dark—and you need one to frame the other, so that the whole can emerge in its memorable fullness—are nicely juxtaposed in text designed to resemble the layout of the sports section. The words, with all the authority of a Tim Duncan putback, jump off the page right into our lives. 

A Confluence of Civilizations

by Catherine Nixon Cooke on

Imagine 25,000 square feet of colored stones telling a story about people of diverse cultures and civilizations “meeting in the middle” to create a harmonious world. 

I am in love with the vibrant hues—and this message! It’s as relevant today as it was fifty years ago, when Mexican artist Juan O’Gorman created his Confluence of Civilizations mural for San Antonio. 

With a strict Irish father, a devoutly religious Mexican mother, and a grandmother who taught him to look for beauty in his own backyard, O’Gorman grew up in Guanajuato during the Mexican Revolution, and his life involved a fair amount of personal revolution as well. As a young architect, he designed Mexico’s first modern buildings. He was also recognized for his paintings and murals, which today are world renowned. 

Writing the biography of this complex and talented man was both a challenge and an opportunity to learn more about art, Mexican history, and the human spirit. I took several trips to Mexico to research the story; sipped tequila at the beautiful San Ángel Inn, where O’Gorman often entertained his international clients; and met architects, artists, and personal friends who shared insights and stories that helped me bring him to life. I even visited the house and studio that O’Gorman designed for his close friends Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and I sat on the austere twin bed where Rivera slept when he was mad at Frida. 

Now that Juan O'Gorman: A Confluence of Civilizations is published, I like to stop by O’Gorman’s famous mural in downtown San Antonio from time to time. It was the cornerstone of the city’s World’s Fair in 1968, and it will be a focal point for the new Hemisfair Park going forward, still telling its great story of diversity and harmony. It’s worth a visit!  

Jump into the University Press Week community!

by Eleanor Gilbert on

In 1978 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation to recognize the importance of university publishing in the United States and around the world. The first official university press was established at John Hopkins University in 1878, and today, nearly 140 years later, we still celebrate university presses’ excellence and academic tradition.

Thanks to the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), established in 1937, more than 140 member university presses can fulfill their commitments to scholarship in a variety of disciplines. Forty-one states and twelve countries house at least one member press.

The AAUP uses the #ReadUP hashtag “to highlight on social media the best of what” university presses “are publishing all year long.” The theme for year’s celebration, November 14–19, is community, focusing on the impact of local authors, local booksellers, and local publishers.

Supporting each other every step of the way, the AAUP, university presses, and independent bookstores participate in book festivals and local celebrations to promote literacy and continued education. In addition, the AAUP’s partnership with the American Booksellers Association Indies First program promotes small bookstores and the university presses that help stock them.


Fun Facts about Trinity

  • Trinity University’s Elizabeth Coates Library has one the of country’s most extensive collections among liberal arts colleges.
  • Since its reopening in 2002, Trinity University Press has won multiple awards and accolades, as well as published almost 100 books since the launch.
  • Trinity University Press is a member of the Green Press Initiative, a nonprofit program dedicated to supporting publishers in their efforts to reduce their impacts on endangered forests, climate change, and forest-dependent communities.

Meet the Intern: Eleanor Gilbert

by Eleanor Gilbert on

 I’m Eleanor, the new marketing intern at TU Press.

I’ve always got a story on my mind and a new book I plan to read—when I’m not flooded with course work.

When I was younger, books and stories were a way for my mom and grandmother to teach me about the world and their experiences in it. Later the library became my favorite after-school hideout, where I would check out excessive numbers of books to find new worlds to explore. Sometimes teachers didn’t believe I was reading all the books I was carrying around!

Despite other people’s doubts, I kept reading, delving deeper into social issues and developing a penchant for writing. Working in publishing allows me to observe a book’s progress as if I am watching the growth of a very quiet child. It’s no one person’s baby because it takes more than one person to make it happen. Lucky for me, I am a part—however small—of that process.

Outside of the press, I immerse myself in working for the Trinity Review, watching Netflix, hanging out with fellow Swashbucklers, volunteering with my brothers in Alpha Phi Omega, and trying to learn something new. I like the informational overload, and I’m typically looking for more—until I pass out for the day, that is.

I know the work at the press is going to be hard, but it’s also fun. That’s why I’m excited to be a part of the team!

Meet the Intern: Claire Alford

by Claire Alford on

I’m Claire Alford, and I’m the new assistant to the director intern at TU Press!

My parents instilled in me from an early age the idea that books are cool, fun, and important, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I’ve grown older, reading has turned into more of a school-focused chore (the woes of a twenty-one-year-old).I am a junior communication major at Trinity with a love for film, television, music, and books (basically any type of media). I’m in limbo about what I want to do in the future, but one thing I know is that I want to be surrounded by creativity—and that’s exactly what I get here at the press.

At the press, I get to work on beautiful books, both inside and out. This has inspired me to begin reading as a pastime again—that is, for something besides school. If nothing else, I’ll become a more informed human being, and what could be wrong with that?

Aside from reading, I enjoy being a student at Trinity (especially now that I’ve finished my last midterm exam) and exploring everything San Antonio has to offer. I’m thrilled to be working at the press and am excited to learn the ins and outs of this wonderful business, from equally wonderful people.