Retired Judge, General To Give Commencement Address


July 28, 2009

SHSU Media Contacts: Jennifer Gauntt


Cecil NeelySam Houston State University Distinguished Alumnus Cecil Neely will address approximately 1,041 degree candidates—almost 250 more than this time last year—during the university’s summer commencement exercises on Aug. 8.

Ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m. for the Colleges of Business Administration and Education and at 2 p.m. for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Criminal Justice, and Humanities and Social Sciences in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

A retired Madison County judge and decorated U.S. Army brigadier general, Neely has served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and served as Nation's Duty Officer for the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense.

During his 29-year military service, Neely was recognized on many occasions for the service he provided that went above and beyond the call of duty, earning the nation's highest peacetime award, the Distinguished Service Medal; the Bronze Star for valor in Vietnam; and was inducted into the Infantry "Hall of Fame" at the United States Army Infantry School in Fort Benning, Ga.

His career in public service began in 1995, when he became the Madison County judge, and during his tenure, worked to improve hospital service; helped reduce property taxes by 43 percent in two years, taking the county from the seventh highest taxed county in the state to approximately the 150th, and was also instrumental in establishing a district attorney's office to help solve legal problems within the county.

The 2007 SHSU Distinguished Alumnus, who has established scholarship endowments for the College of Business Administration, earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska and his Master of Arts degree in history from SHSU.

Neely and his wife, Lynn Hardy Neely, who received her Master of Education degree from Sam Houston, are the parents of three children.


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