Home Lifestyle Baltimore Ravens; Austin,Texas; and Lavaca Street Bar and Grill
Baltimore Ravens; Austin,Texas; and Lavaca Street Bar and Grill

Baltimore Ravens; Austin,Texas; and Lavaca Street Bar and Grill

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As I consider the implications of retiring from a university that I have served for over 17 years, I have explored various locales that could serve as a future base of operations. One such city is Austin, Texas. While Austin may be the capital of Texas, many Texans that I’ve met state that Austin does not mirror many other locales in Texas. In some ways, it’s like a big college town with the University of Texas flagship campus located in the city. Additionally, many tech companies have located, relocated, or are in the process of relocating there. Dell is headquartered in Austin; Google has a substantial number of employees based there; Apple is building a new location in Austin; and there are many others.

In downtown Austin and surrounding neighborhoods, the vibrant activity is very noticeable. From college students and tourists riding electric scooters and bikes to runners and bikers, outdoor activities are in vogue. The eateries are also eclectic, many owned by entrepreneurs versus national chains. It’s not unusual to see lines of people waiting to order food at food trucks that have established a regular location on heavily trafficked streets like South Lamar, South Congress, 1st, or 6th.

I happened to be in Austin one recent weekend and wanted to watch my Baltimore Ravens play the Cincinnati Bengals. I used my Ravens Fans app and found out the location where the Austin-based Ravens Flock gets together for viewing Ravens games. Ravens fan clubs are referred to as flocks and like other NFL teams, there are bars and restaurants where fans can meet to watch a game. In fact, there are fans in Louisville embracing the Ravens thanks to former Louisville star Lamar Jackson’s breakout year as a Ravens’ starter. According to the Ravens’ fan site, the Lavaca Street Bar & Grill on South Lamar is the watering place for the local flock. Sure enough, on November 10, the bar was packed with many fans wearing the black and purple or white, purple, and black Ravens jerseys.

In addition to seeing my fans, I quickly observed that all four sides and a couple of columns throughout the space were adorned with 16-20 flat screen TVs, most of which were showing the Ravens game. The bar was busy and the waitstaff was busy serving beer, other alcoholic beverages, water, and other non-alcoholic beverages. The waitstaff did not serve food. Instead — and this appears to be one of those eclectic Austin restaurant things — if you wanted to order food, you had to walk over to a window in the back, place your order, pay for your order, and receive a number that you placed on your table. When the food was ready, someone from the kitchen brought it to your table. While the menu was not fancy and most of the food was bar food items like wings, gumbo, po-boys, fried shrimp, fish of all types, steaks, chops, burgers, etc., the quality of the dishes we ordered was excellent and filling.

Oh, and as befits the expression “Smalltimore” that people who live in Baltimore use to describe the coincidence that you meet someone from Baltimore who is related, went to the same school, or knows someone that you know, I met several people who had relocated to Austin and knew people that I knew. One way you know you’re meeting an “authentic” Baltimorean is to ask them where they went to school. The answer is always your public high school or private school, not your college. The Ravens won that day, 49-13, and are home for the playoffs so even though it’s likely that I’ll be in Austin in the near future, I’m electing to watch the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium throughout the playoffs and hopefully at the Super Bowl in Miami. Go Ravens!

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In July 2016, he retired as APUS president and continued as CEO of APEI. In September 2017, he was reappointed APUS president after the resignation of Dr. Karan Powell. In September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his planned retirement in June 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. During his tenure, APUS grew to over 100,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 90,000 alumni. In addition to his service as a board member of APUS and APEI, Dr. Boston is a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, a board member of the Presidents’ Forum, and a board member of Hondros College of Nursing and Fidelis, Inc. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. Dr. Boston lives in Owings Mills, MD with his wife Sharon and their two daughters.

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