For the first time in recent history, Sam Houston State University will hold two commencement ceremonies for spring graduates.

The decision to split the commemorative event was made to accommodate increasingly large crowds of well-wishers that, in previous ceremonies, have overflowed the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The dual commencements mark the first time graduation ceremonies have been observed separately since 1975 when, prior to the opening of the coliseum, multiple ceremonies were held in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom.

The upcoming graduation events will be staged at the coliseum on May 17. Graduates from the colleges of education and applied science and criminal justice will receive their degrees during ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. Students graduating from the colleges of business and arts and sciences will walk during the 2 p.m. commencement.

This spring, according to SHSU records, approximately 968 students-113 graduate and 855 undergraduate-have applied for degrees.

Addressing SHSU's Class of '97, at both ceremonies, will be Don W. Brown, deputy commissioner for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The THECB is the highest authority in the state in matters of public higher education. It is charged with assessing Texas colleges and universities and establishing policies governing the use of the state's higher education resources.

Brown has served on the THECB since 1983. Before being appointed deputy commissioner in 1988, he served as program director in the board's universities division, as assistant to the commissioner, and as assistant commissioner for special programs.

As deputy commissioner, Brown is responsible for the coordination of several THECB divisions as they relate to academic and technical programs, higher education finance, planning, student access and financial aid, and research grant programs. He is also in charge of THECB's campus planning office, which handles construction requests, and for the governmental relations and public information office.

Before joining the THECB, Brown served for 12 years on the political science faculty at the University of California, Riverside. In addition to teaching, he conducted research on the judicial system and public policy.

A product, himself, of Texas higher education, Brown earned his bachelors degree in government from the University of Texas in 1965. Following a two-year stint in the Navy, he went on to earn masters and doctorate degrees in political science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

In addition to Brown's commencement address and the conferring of degrees by SHSU President Bobby K. Marks, several faculty members will be recognized during the springtime rite.

Among those honored will be three professors earning SHSU's annual faculty excellence awards:

Retiring faculty members who will be recognized during the commencement festivities include:

Special music performed by the Sam Houston Brass Ensemble will add to the splendor of this spring's academic rituals. Trumpet selections will herald and conclude the ceremonies which feature such traditional tunes as "The Star-Spangled Banner," "Alma Mater," and "Auld Lang Syne."

The faculty has requested that students and audience members refrain from celebrating with noisemakers during the event.


Media Contact: Phillip Rollfing

April 30, 1997