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Payne, Williams To Give Spring Commencement Addresses

April 20, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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Sam Houston State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs David Payne and Texas State University System Regent Donna Williams will be the featured speakers for SHSU commencement exercises on May 13 and 14.

Approximately 1,500 undergraduate and 300 graduate students have applied for degrees to be awarded in four ceremonies in Johnson Coliseum over the two days.

On Friday, Payne will speak at the ceremony for the College of Business Administration at 2:30 p.m. and the College of Education at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Williams will speak at 9:30 a.m. for the College of Criminal Justice and the College of Sciences and 2:30 p.m. for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication.

SHSU Provost David Payne

Payne has been SHSU’s chief academic officer for over 13 years. Earlier this year, he announced that he would be retiring on July 31.

Payne earned his baccalaureate degree from Brigham Young University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

During his time at SHSU the number and quality of academic programs, the academic budget, and the number and quality of students enrolled have increased substantially; one-year retention rates have increased 18 percentage points; and six-year graduation rates have increase 11 percentage points.

He introduced an emphasis on enhanced advising, community college articulation, and a host of other academic innovations and enhancements at SHSU.

Payne previously served as chief academic officer at Emporia State University and dean of social sciences at Southeast Missouri State University. He began his career as a faculty member at the University of Iowa and the University of North Dakota and is a well-published scholar in the areas of organizational behavior and intercultural mass communication.

He and his wife, Grettle, have six children and 10 grandchildren. He is active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and he enjoys gardening.

Williams is a vice president and program manager for Parsons Infrastructure and Technology, Inc., a subsidiary of the Parsons Corporation.

TSUS Regent Donna Williams

A mechanical engineer, Williams has 27 years of program management, business development, project management, and engineering design and construction experience in the government and private sector.

In 2003 and 2007, President George W. Bush nominated and the U. S. Senate confirmed Williams as a director of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In 2008 and 2010, Gov. Rick Perry appointed Williams to the Texas State University System Board of Regents. As a regent, she has chaired the Technology Task Force, and in November 2010 she was elected vice chairman of the board.

Among her awards and honors are U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology’s “One of the 100 Most Important Blacks in Technology;” the National Women of Color in Technology’s “Community Service Award;” and the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of Women’s Transportation’s “Woman of Inspiration” recognition.

Williams is a board member of the Dallas African American Museum and serves on the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health national advisory board of directors. She is a member of the Arlington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and numerous civic and charitable organizations.

Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Prairie View A&M University.

She is married to Michael Williams, a former commissioner with the Texas Railroad Commission, and they live in Arlington.


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