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Senator, Businessman To Address Record Number Of Graduates

April 24, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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When Sam Houston State University alumnus and retired State Sen. Ken Armbrister last spoke at an SHSU commencement ceremony, the university had “almost a thousand” degree candidates.

Eleven years later, Armbrister and another SHSU alumnus, who has gone on to find corporate success, will address more than double that number in four ceremonies split between May 11-12.

Sen. Ken Armbrister
Armbrister (above) and Williams (below)
Terry Williams

Terry Williams, regional vice president for operations for H-E-B’s Houston UrbanEast grocery stores, and Armbrister will share words of advice with the approximate 1,958 degree candidates on Friday’s and Saturday’s commencement, respectively.

Moving to four spring commencement ceremonies this year, Friday’s exercises will held at 2:30 p.m. for the College of Sciences and the College of Business Administration general business and finance and economics and international business majors and at 7:30 p.m. for graduates from the College of Criminal Justice and College of Business Administration accounting and management and marketing majors.

Saturday exercise will include a 9:30 a.m. ceremony for the College of Education and at 2:30 p.m. for the Colleges of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and Humanities and Social Sciences.

All four ceremonies will be in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

Armbrister served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and more than 20 years in the Texas Senate before retiring from office after 38 years of public service.

His service to Texas did not end upon leaving the Texas Legislature; in 2007 Armbrister accepted the position of legislative director with Gov. Rick Perry’s office.

During his tenure in the legislature, he was named one of the “Top 10 Best Legislators” and was honored by education, medical, criminal justice and water groups, among others, for his service to Texas.

Armbrister served on and was chairman of every major committee in the senate, was elected president pro tempore of the senate and served as acting governor.

Before his legislative career began, the 1971 SHSU and FBI National Academy graduate was a captain with the Victoria Police Department and director of the Victoria Regional Police Training Academy. He has also served as vice president of the Victoria Independent School District.

Armbrister is an Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni award recipient and was presented the College of Criminal Justice’s highest award, the Defensor Pacem, or Defender of Peace Award, in 2002 for his achievements in law enforcement and his legislative record on crime issues.

Armbrister has been married to his college sweetheart, Susie, for nearly 40 years, and the couple has two children, Erin and Shane, and two grandchildren.

With more than 30 years of grocery experience, Williams is regarded as an expert in his field, as well as a respected and influential leader and mentor.

The 1983 SHSU graduate and native Houstonian is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and vice president of the SHSU Alumni Association board of directors. He has also participated in executive studies at Cornell University and the University of Houston.

Williams also strives to make a difference in his communities as an active member of the boards of numerous charitable organizations both in Houston and Huntsville.

He has been recognized with the Houston Diversity Leadership Award, Manager of the Year award, the David Ashworth Humanity Award and has been cited among the Who’s Who of African American business leaders.

He and wife Joycelyn have four children.



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