SHSU Fall Commencement Speakers Announced
Nov. 15, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd
Fall 2023 Commencement ceremonies at Sam Houston State University will take place on December 8-9 in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville, Texas and feature two accomplished speakers. Bearkat alumni Chris deMilliano and Mia Gradney will speak to the graduating students who have applied for degrees to be awarded.
On Dec. 8, award-winning content creator, anchor and journalist Mia Gradney will speak to students from the College of Business Administration, the College of Education, the College of Arts and Media and the College of Health Sciences.
Since graduating in 1998, Gradney has worked her way to a news anchor and journalist position for KHOU 11 News in Houston, where she produces and contributes to award-winning content. Her coverage ranges from historic weather events, Hollywood premieres, elections and major sporting events such as the NFL Superbowl, MLB World Series and All-Star Game and NBA games.
Her coverage of these topics and events has given her the chance to conduct high-profile interviews with stars such as Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Emily Blunt, baseball hall-of-famer Derek Jeter, NASA pioneer Poppy Northcutt, Life Magazine photographer Bob Gomel and more industry leaders.
Gradney has received multiple Emmy awards, a Gracie award, a National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award and helped lead multiple Edward R. Murrow Award-winning breaking newscasts. She was also named an SHSU Outstanding Young Alumni in 2016.
On Dec. 9, deMilliano will address students from the College of Criminal Justice, the College of Science and Engineering Technology and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
deMilliano earned his Master of Business Administration in 2002 and has worked in the sawmill and production industry for 29 years. He currently serves as the vice president of Steely Lumber Company in Huntsville, where he oversees more than 120 employees and all executive decision making for the company.
Outside of Steely Lumber, deMilliano works with Landscapers Pride Soil and Mulch, Foliage Creek Wholesale Nursery, manages 18,000 acres of land holdings and rental properties under the Voyager Group Ltd partnership, owns In Pace Builders, a residential and commercial construction company, and pursues other opportunities that come his way.
As a leader of the sawmill industry, deMilliano has been affiliated with the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association for over 20 years and has served on the board multiples times, including a stint as board president. The SLMA represents independent manufacturers throughout the southeast, representing 17 states.
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