David and Shari Finfrock
Maps of all kinds have intrigued NBC 5 Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock since he was a child. That lifelong passion, paired with wife Shari’s interest in genealogy, led the couple to an ongoing support of the UTA Division of Special Collections.
“Special Collections is just a storehouse of genealogy and maps,” David said. “Old maps hold a special fascination for me.”
Finfrock’s relationship with UTA began more than a decade ago when he audited a course on the history of cartography taught by Professor Dennis Reinhartz. He later developed a friendship with Professor Richard Francaviglia, director of the UTA Center for Greater Southwestern Studies and the History of Cartography. Soon, Finfrock was serving on the center’s board of directors and was a founding member of the Texas Map Society.
Last year he came across an 1846 map of Texas. It was almost 6 feet wide, much too large to display in his home, but he thought, “I know who could use it.” He bought the map and donated it to UTA.
“I got a good deal and a good tax deduction, and UTA got a great map for their collection,” he said. “Plus it’s a chance to help preserve Texas history.”
This rich heritage excites Shari Finfrock, who graduated from UTA in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in history. “As a student, I spent a lot of time in Special Collections writing papers for my degree. I kind of lived there for three semesters.”
She’s most interested in Texas history and particularly local history. For her, Texas history and genealogy go hand in hand because her ancestors, the Millicans, were among the “old 300” who settled Texas with Stephen F. Austin.
“There’s still a little town near College Station named after them,” she said.
Her support for UTA grew from that love of history and genealogy. “UTA has a wonderful, fascinating collection,” she said, “and where else could some of these things go? This deserves our support.”
The Finfrocks donated another map in January. “I’ve always had a great love of maps,” David said. “This is right up my alley.”