Official Texas License Plates Now Feature Trinity University

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Susie P. Gonzalez
Jan. 16, 2013

Official Texas License Plates Now Feature Trinity University

Proud mom surprises sophomore with special Christmas gift for his truck

Trinity student Brett Steffen proudly shows off his TU TGR specialty license plate.

SAN ANTONIO - When Sue Steffen, mother of a Trinity University sophomore, received an email last fall about a new Texas license place featuring her son's school, she knew she had found the perfect Christmas gift. 

Not only did the Rockwall, Texas, mom find a present that her son called "great," but she also won a contest sponsored by Trinity's Office of Alumni Relations to generate awareness of the new program run by My Plates, a Texas-based company authorized by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to design, market, and sell new specialty license plates.

Her prize? Reimbursement for the cost of the license plates for Brett Steffen, a Trinity sophomore majoring in psychology with a minor in history who is immersed in a college experience that spans academics, sports, and campus life. Choosing the words for the custom plate didn't take Ms. Steffen very long, she said.

"My first thoughts went to Trinity's 2011-12 football SCAC (Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference) championship season," she said. "Brett was excited to be a part of the football team his freshman year and proud of the team's 10-0 record.  After thinking through a few football and championship themed plate ideas I realized that Trinity has become more than that to Brett.  Being a Trinity Tiger seemed to encompass more of the whole college experience so the final choice was easy - 'Trinity University Tiger' (TU TGR)."

The next challenge was finding a way to maintain the excitement but keep the secret until he opened his gift. Ms. Steffen could not give the actual plates to her son because the old ones must be turned in to claim the specialty plates. She purchased a license plate holder to wrap and prepared a mock version of the gift, with a twist.  She did not include the TU TGR lettering but, rather, printed a picture of a Trinity plate that said, "I (heart) MOM."

"I couldn't wait for his reaction. When he opened the gift he was all smiles. At first he thought the gift was just the plate holder. I told him I actually got him a plate too, and he beamed - 'GREAT!'  I confessed that the real plate did not say 'I (heart) MOM,' and that I wanted to play a little prank," she said. "He said he loved the plate. Now I need a plate that says 'I (heart) My Son'."

About three dozen people competed for the free Trinity University license plates. The winner was chosen by Lisa Baronio, vice president for Alumni Relations and Development; Mary Kay Cooper, senior director of Alumni Relations; and Dave Mansen '76, president of the Trinity University Alumni Association.

Available for the first time, the Trinity specialty plates are DMV certified and made to fit on a wide range of vehicles including automobiles, motorcycles, and boats. The cost begins at $55 for a one-year, background-only design, and personalization starts at $85 for one year.  More details are posted on the website. Ten percent of sales from the specialty plates will return to Trinity.