Criminal Justice To Honor Leaders, Scholars

The Sam Houston State University College of Criminal Justice will recognize service and leadership and will honor those who have fallen in the line of duty at three events on April 24.

Student leaders and the recipients of the 2008 Outstanding Alumnus Award and the Defensor Pacem Medal will be honored during the college’s annual Leadership Luncheon in the Flag Room of the

Criminal Justice Center at 11:30 a.m.

Marilyn Gambrell

The Outstanding Alumnus Award will be presented to Marilyn Gambrell who received the Bachelor of Science degree in criminology and corrections in 1980.  Since leaving SHSU she has worked as a parole officer and director of two correctional facilities and is the founder and CEO of No More Victims, Inc.

A Lifetime Original Movie, Fighting the Odds – The Marilyn Gambrell Story, aired in August 2005.  The movie tells the story of how Gambrell quit her job to start working with students at M. B. Smiley High School in Houston whose poor academic performance was a result of having a parent or parents incarcerated.

Over 700 children have been enrolled in the No More Victims “healing the CHILD within” program since its founding in January 2000.  The organization offers community, school and corrections-based programming and has an almost 100 percent graduation rate with many of the students going on to college, vocational school, the military and employment.

Gambrell has been featured in U. S. News and World Report, People magazine and Prism magazine.  She was also the subject of a CNN News Night special feature story.  The broadcast earned an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Special Feature News Story.

Vicki Spriggs, the recipient of the Defensor Pacem Medal, is the executive director of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, a state agency that provides funds, training and technical assistance for the 168 juvenile probation departments of Texas.  For many years, the SHSU Criminal Justice Center has enjoyed a collaborative partnership with the Commission in providing certification training to juvenile probation officers.  Spriggs is a nationally recognized juvenile justice expert and is known at the Criminal Justice Center as someone who “serves the State of Texas with a vision and a true passion focused on kids.”

The Defensor Pacem Medal is presented each year to an individual or organization that has provided invaluable assistance to the criminal justice field.

Along with the student leaders from the various organizations who will be recognized for their work over the past academic year, the College of Criminal Justice will recognize doctoral graduate Georgen Guerrero.   Guerrero received two awards from the American Criminal Justice Society while he was a student completing his Ph.D. at SHSU.  He was awarded the ACJS Affirmative Action Mini Grant Award for his paper “Prison Time or Easy Time: The Ramifications of Ethical Violations in Prison” and the William L. Simon/Anderson Publishing Student Paper Award for “The Prison Environment: A Quantitative Analysis of Inmates’ Perceptions.”

Following the Leadership Luncheon, the traditional Sundial Ceremony will take place at the 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.

More than 80 scholarships will be presented to the most academically-gifted criminal justice students, and 148 honor students will be recognized at the Honors Convocation at 7 o’clock that evening in the Killinger Auditorium of the Criminal Justice Center.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents Vice Chair and SHSU graduate Trisha Pollard will be the guest speaker at the event.  Pollard received her BBA from Sam Houston State and her JD from South Texas College of Law in Houston.

The public is invited to attend. 

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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May
April 22, 2008
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