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Criminal Justice To Host Awards Day April 28

April 18, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Beth Kuhles

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The traditional Sundial Ceremony will take place at the main entrance to the Criminal Justice Center at 1:30 p.m. on April 28. The ceremony will commemorate criminal justice alumni and other law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The ceremony is open to the public.

The College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University will recognize service, leadership, and superior scholarship among its students, alumni and supporters and will honor those who have fallen in the line of duty at three events on April 28.

This year, the college celebrates the 40th anniversary of its Ph.D. program, with 263 men and women having been awarded doctoral degrees in criminal justice. Doctoral alumni have become leaders in the criminal justice field, both in academics and as criminal justice practitioners.

During the Leadership Luncheon, which will be at 11 a.m. in the Flag Room at the Criminal Justice Center, leaders of various criminal justice student organizations will be recognized for their exceptional accomplishments and achievements during the 2010-2011 academic year. The college also will honor and publicly recognize the recipients of the Defensor Pacem Medal and the 2011 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Each year, the college presents the Defensor Pacem Medal to an individual or organization that has provided invaluable assistance to the criminal justice field. This year’s recipient is SHSU President Emeritus James F. Gaertner.

During Gaertner’s tenure as president, SHSU added 14 new master’s programs and achieved the Carnegie Doctoral Research classification, which placed it in the top seven percent of all higher education institutions in the nation. Gaertner also presided over more than $275 million in construction projects, and the university’s first capital campaign in history was completed, raising more than $61 million over five years.

“The College of Criminal Justice and the CJ Center benefited greatly from Dr. Gaertner's leadership,” said Vincent Webb, dean of the College of Criminal Justice and director of the Criminal Justice Center.

“During his presidency the university prospered not only in financial and capital resources but also in the development of new programs and the strengthening of existing programs. CJ was a direct beneficiary of this prosperity. Dr. Gaertner has always been a strong supporter of our college. He understands the complex mission of our college and its critical role in making SHSU a great name in Texas higher education," Webb said.

Gaertner retired from SHSU in August 2010. He was quoted as saying, “Serving Sam Houston State University, my alma mater, will always stand as my life’s professional legacy.” He has since been appointed interim vice chancellor for academic affairs of the Texas State University System.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” said Gaertner. “When I was president, the college was such a bright spot for me. This is a special honor.”

The recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Alumnus Award is Craig Hemmens, a professor in the department of criminal justice at Boise State University. He previously served as director of the honors college, chair of the department of criminal justice, and director of the paralegal studies program at Boise State University. Later this year, Hemmens will assume the position of founding department head and professor in the department of criminology and criminal justice at Missouri State University.

"Craig was a bright student who has gone on to even bigger and better glory after finishing his Ph.D. here at Sam Houston,” said Rolando del Carmen, Hemmens’ mentor. “He is a copious publisher of articles and books and is one of the most recognizable names among the young scholars in criminal justice. He has also been deeply involved in various organizations and is next year's incoming president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He is certainly deserving of this award."

Hemmens has published 20 books and more than 100 articles on a variety of criminal justice-related topics. His primary research interests are criminal law and procedure and corrections. His publications have appeared in Justice Quarterly, the Journal of Criminal Justice, Crime and Delinquency, the Criminal Law Bulletin, and the Prison Journal.

In addition to teaching and research, Hemmens has served as the editor of the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, and the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice; as a guest editor of the Prison Journal; as a book review editor for the Prison Journal and on several editorial boards. He currently serves as vice president and president-elect of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Hemmens holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law and a doctorate in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University.

“Professionally, Sam Houston has meant everything to me,” Hemmens said. “Getting my Ph.D. opened the doors of academia and allows me to teach and do research in criminal justice. The people I met at Sam Houston helped me get where I am today, including the students I studied along side and the faculty, like Drs. James Marquart and Rolando del Carmen. So many folks have come out of Sam Houston and done great things both as academics and practitioners. I am honored to be chosen.”

Following the Leadership Luncheon, the traditional Sundial Ceremony will take place at the south entrance to the Criminal Justice Center at 1:30 p.m. The ceremony will commemorate criminal justice alumni and other law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The ceremony is open to the public.

In the evening, the College of Criminal Justice will recognize their most academically gifted students at the Honors Convocation at 7 p.m. in the Killinger Auditorium. More than 85 scholarships will be presented, and 123 honor students will be recognized.

Jeff Walker will be the guest speaker at the Honors Convocation. Walker is a professor of criminal justice and criminology and chair of the department of criminal justice at the University of Arkansas. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas and his doctorate in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University.

The public is invited to attend.

 

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