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Texas Education Commissioner To Give Commencement Address

July 26, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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Michael L. Williams
Michael L. Williams

Texas Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams will deliver the commencement address to more than 1,000 Sam Houston State University degree candidates during graduation ceremonies on Aug. 3.

Williams will speak to students in the Colleges of Business Administration, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Sciences at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and to students in the Colleges of Criminal Justice, Education, and Fine Arts and Mass Communication at 2:30 that afternoon. Both ceremonies will take place in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

The list of degree candidates includes approximately 675 undergraduates and 350 graduate students.

Williams was appointed state education commissioner by Gov. Rick Perry in 2012. As commissioner, he heads the Texas Education Agency, which oversees pre-kindergarten through high school education for approximately 5 million students enrolled in both traditional public schools and charter schools. The agency also oversees basic adult education throughout the state.

Engaged in public service throughout his life, Williams earned his bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees from the University of Southern California before returning to his hometown of Midland, where he served as an assistant district attorney. He later became a federal prosecutor.

President George Herbert Walker Bush appointed Williams as the deputy assistant secretary for law enforcement at the U. S. Department of the Treasury for which he had policy oversight responsibility for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; the U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Customs Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

In 1990, Williams was named the assistant secretary of education for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education. In that job, he acted as the principal adviser to President Bush and Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander on civil rights matters.

In 1998, then-Gov. George W. Bush appointed Williams to an unexpired term on the Railroad Commission of Texas. Texans subsequently elected Williams to this position in 2000, 2002 and 2008.

In his current role as commissioner of education, Williams serves as the governor’s appointee to the Southern Regional Education Board, the OneStar National Service Commission, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, and the Education Commission of the States.

He is a past honorary state chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Texas. He has chaired the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and served on the board of directors of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

He previously served as an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University in the School of Public Affairs, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, and the Texas Wesleyan School of Law. He currently serves as chairman of the UT-Permian Basin Business Advisory Council.

The son of public school teachers who earned degrees in math and the husband of a mechanical engineer, Williams is the creator and co-sponsor of “Winnovators,” a summer camp for sixth through 12th graders to help inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. Williams also narrates short stories for children of all ages, including the visually impaired and those with special needs.

His wife, Donna, is the chairman of the Texas State University Board of Regents, the governing body for Sam Houston State University.



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