Today@Sam Article

Film Producer, Alumnus and Congressman To Address Students In Fall Commencement

Nov. 21, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti


James Lopez, Earl C. “Duke” Austin, Jr. and Congressman Joaquin Castro are the confirmed speakers for Sam Houston State University’s 2017 Fall Commencements taking place on Dec. 8 and 9 in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

On Dec. 8 at 9:30 a.m., Lopez will address graduating students from the College of Education and the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication. At 2:30 p.m., he will address students from the College of Criminal Justice and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

As producer and head of motion pictures at Will Packer Productions, Lopez is responsible for developing and overseeing production on all film projects. Most recently, he served as executive producer on Almost Christmas, the comedy Girls Trip and producer on the upcoming films Breaking In, City of Saints and Thieves. Additional films include Think Like A Man, About Last Night, The Wedding Ringer, The Perfect Guy and When The Bough Breaks. Lopez has been included on Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 List and Imagen Foundation’s Most Powerful & Influential Latinos in Entertainment.

On Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m., Austin will address graduates from the College of Business Administration.

Before serving as chief executive officer for Quanta Services, Austin earned a Bachelor of Business Management with an emphasis in accounting from SHSU. Austin has served as chief operating officer and as president of Quanta’s Electric Power and Natural Gas and Pipeline Divisions before assuming the chief executive officer role. During his time as president of North Houston Pole Line, LP, a Quanta operating unit, he was instrumental in the strategic growth of the Texas-based unit. Austin serves on the board of the Southwest Line Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, the Junior Achievement board of Southeast Texas and the Greater Houston Partnership board.

On Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m., Castro will address graduates from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Science & Engineering Technology.

Castro represents Texas' 20th Congressional District and serves on both the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. First elected to Congress in 2012, Castro was the 2013 co-president for the House freshman Democrats and now serves in House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Castro is also a founding co-chair of the Congressional Pre-K Caucus, the U.S.-Japan Caucus, and the Congressional Caucus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He has been called "a rising star in his party” by The Texas Tribune and one of the top 50 politicos to watch by POLITICO.

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