SHSU Alumni Association  
Join the Alumni Association
Official SHSU Ring
Home About Us Join Now Alumni Services Alumni Awards

2001 Service Award Recipients

Larry Don Graves

Larry Don GravesBearkat fans, especially those who attend SHSU basketball games, will recognize Graves as one of the athletic program's most avid supporters.

Graves, the director of operations and area manager for Huntsville Funeral Home, Inc., and his family came to Huntsville in 1983. He soon developed an interest in Sam Houston State University and began to volunteer his time to the university in various ways.

In addition to being an active Bearkat Partner, over the past 15 years he has shared his professional expertise with Sam Houston students enrolled in the Psychology Department's "Death and Dying" course. He has also lectured to students in kinesiology classes and health classes at the university.

Graves received the bachelor of science and education degree from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia, Ark. He studied additionally at Texas Tech University and Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science.

In addition to being a leader in his profession, he is a leader in the community. He serves as a director for the Chamber of Commerce, a board member for the Texas Funeral Directors Association and chairman of the Huntsville Variance Board. He is a past president of the Huntsville Lions Club, has served as a vice president of the Walker County Fair Association, and was a president of the Southeast Texas Funeral Directors Association. In 1998 Graves was awarded the Commendation for Excellence Award by the Professional Funeral Associates.

He and his wife, Milly, have two children.


Derelys Hungarland

Derelys HungarlandFrom student to Collegiate Corner to Bearkat Partner, Mrs. Hungarland has loyally served Sam Houston State University in many capacities for 60 years.

Mrs. Hungarland completed her education in Huntsville public schools and graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1942 with a bachelor of science degree in health. During World War II, she married Madie Wood and they had three children---Janis, Jack, and Jimmy---all of whom attended Sam Houston.

Mrs. Hungarland has been a great friend and supporter of Bearkat Athletics. She and her late husband, Frank Hungarland, spent endless hours at SHSU events supporting golf, football, basketball, baseball, and other athletic programs. Mrs. Hungarland spent approximately 15 years as the second major fundraiser for Bearkat Partners. The SHSU Department of Athletics estimates that she averaged raising over $30,000 per year in funds to benefit student-athletes. She was the force behind the $50,000 golf scholarship in Frank's name and continues to support the athletic program financially and with her attendance at games and events.

She has also assisted in obtaining additional endowments by her contact with alumni and local donors. She has been and continues to serve as a consultant to the SHSU Director of Athletics by being a liaison with the athletic department and community. According to those in the athletic program, Mrs. Hungarland is the type of Bearkat who is the definition of "service" to the university and the area.

Mrs. Hungarland has also been active in the Huntsville community. She has been a member of the Order of the Eastern Star for over 50 years, and she is a Life Member of Huntsville PTA and the Huntsville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary for which served as director of volunteers for two years.


James Renfro

James RenfroRenfro is the patriarch of a Sam Houston State University family. Not only did he receive the master of science degree in chemistry at SHSU, members of his whole clan are Sam Houston graduates including his wife, Jolene; their three children, Rebecca, Jimmy and John; and their son- and daughter-in-law as well.

Renfro was employed with Dow Chemical Company in Freeport for almost 30 years. He has also been with Sea Lion Technology and he served as director of the SHSU/TRIES Environmental Technology Development and Commercialization Center.

He helped establish the Dow Employees James C. Stallings Scholarship Fund, the Dow Employees Ray E. Humphrey Scholarship Fund, and the Brazoria County Chapter of the SHSU Alumni Association. He served on the SHSU Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1996 to 1999.

He has been recognized for his service to his hometown area and was selected as "Unsung Hero" for Volunteerism by the Brazosport Facts newspaper. He has provided community service as the president of the Lake Jackson Lions Club, member of the Lake Jackson Parks Board, City Council and Zoning Board, and he currently serves on the Lake Jackson Planning Commission.

Even with a busy schedule of volunteering for Sam Houston and his home community, Renfro has found time to serve as a high school and junior college football official for almost 30 years. His appreciation for nature is reflected in his membership with the Brazosport Birders and Naturalists for which he has served as president. He has also served as a volunteer naturalist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


Tracy Williams

Tracy WilliamsWilliams graduated from SHSU in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree in education. He remains a loyal supporter of the university and has donated his time in a number of areas by serving as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Kat Pack, the College of Business Administration Advisory Board, and adviser to Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

He began his career with Matrix Insurance Services in Houston. After receiving his insurance license and becoming an independent agent, he opened R. T. Williams Insurance Agency. He merged with fellow SHSU graduate Norman Henley in 1986 to form Henley, Williams & Associates. In 1991 they sold their agency and became a part of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a New York Stock Exchange company dealing in insurance brokerage and risk management. Williams is currently area president of one of the company's two Houston offices.

Because of his pride and commitment to Sam Houston, he has worked to make SHSU students aware of career opportunities in insurance and has tried to find ways for students to become more involved in the field.

Williams is called a "silent contributor" by his friends because he frequently works behind the scenes to help the university. Each year he hosts a Texas Barbecue in his home for the Bearkat football team and coaches. He also comes to Huntsville and works at the Alumni Association's Tailgate Parties prior to home football games. He has been a prominent supporter of the annual SHSU Lettermen Association Golf Tournament which provides funds for tutorial and strength programs for all Bearkat athletes.

He is active in his local community where his office works closely with Northwest Assistance Ministries, one of the largest charitable organizations in Houston. He and his wife, Leesa, have two daughters, Kristin and Allison.


James Wood

James WoodWood has a long time interest in students who are academically capable, but financially challenged.

He developed a respect for education at an early age and credits his parents for giving him the appreciation of knowledge. As a tribute to both their parents for instilling in them the value of education, Wood and his wife Ellie have established and continue to support the Wood-Mathews Endowment Fund at Sam Houston State University, which provides substantial scholarships for university students. Wood's mother, Mae Oxsheer Wood, graduated from Sam Houston Normal Institute in 1914. She returned and received a bachelor of arts degree from Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1932.

Wood, a native of Houston, graduated from Georgia Tech with honors and received the bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He is a Registered Professional Engineer (Texas), Oil and Natural Gas. He worked in the exploration and production of crude oil in the United States and Canada, and served as former President George Bush's chief engineer at Zapata Petroleum Corporation in Midland.

He moved to Huntsville in 1963 and became actively involved in his community, most prominently through his involvement with the public school system. He left the private sector and taught at Huntsville High School for 16 years. He continued to support education after retiring from teaching, by serving as a member of the Huntsville ISD Board of Trustees. In keeping with the family tradition, he transferred his concern for the education of young people to his three daughters, all of whom chose careers in education.

Wood is now a rancher and works actively to raise money for the Shrine Children's Hospital. He is a member of Scottish Bodies, Suez Shrine Temple, and the Huntsville Sam Houston Shrine Club. He has also been a member of the Masonic Lodge of Texas for 50 years.



The Office of Alumni Relations
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2022
(936) 294-1841

Contact Us