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Abbott, Townsend To Give Commencement Addresses

April 13, 2010
SHSU Media Contacts: Tara Lestarjette

Cherie Townsend, executive commissioner of the Texas Youth Commission, will speak on Friday's ceremony.

Executive commissioner of the Texas Youth Commission Cherie Townsend and Attorney General Greg Abbott will address approximately 1,495 undergraduate and 313 graduates students as they receive their degrees at Sam Houston State University’s spring commencement ceremonies on May 14-15.

Townsend is set to speak to the Colleges of Criminal Justice and Arts and Sciences on May 14 at 6 p.m.

Abbott will address graduates of the Colleges of Business Administration and Humanities and Social Sciences on May 15 at 10 a.m. and the College of Education and the second half of the College of Business Administration at 2 p.m.

All three ceremonies will be held in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

With more than 30 years of experience as a juvenile justice practitioner, Townsend has served as the director of Juvenile Justice Services of Clark County, Nevada, and director of Juvenile Court Services with the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Townsend as executive director in 2008 of the Texas Youth Commission, which became effective Sep. 1, 2009.

Greg Abbott
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will addess the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday graduates.

She is also an active member of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, American Probation and Parole Association, American Corrections Association and the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Board in Texas, and director of the Victim/Witness Assistance Division for Travis County in the district attorney’s office in Austin.

A native Texan, Abbott has served as justice on the Texas Supreme Court and a state district judge in Harris County before he was reelected as the 50th attorney general of Texas on Nov. 7, 2006.

A graduate of the University of Texas, Abbott went on to receive a degree in law from Vanderbilt University. His career began in Houston, where he became a state trial judge in the 129th District Court for three years.

Abbott was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 1995, during which time he and established a cyber crimes unit to arrest convicted sex offenders violating their parole and a medicaid fraud control unit to crack down on elder abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars.

For his service, Abbott has won numerous awards including “Jurist of the Year” from the Texas Review of Law & Politics, “Trial Judge of the Year” from the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, and “Appellate Judge of the Year” from the Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Abbott has also served the Central Texas chapter of Goodwill Industries, the Governor’s Committee to Promote Adoption, Justice for All, Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Foundation, and he was the honorary state chairman of Big Brothers Big Sister of Texas in 2004.



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