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College To Honor Criminal Justice Students, Leaders

April 19, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Beth Kuhles

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students on stage during the College of Criminal Justice Honors Convocation
The College of Criminal Justice annually recognizes its outstanding students during the Honors Convocation, pictured above during last year's ceremony.

The Sam Houston State University College of Criminal Justice will pay tribute to its best students and alumni as well as fallen heroes during its Honors Day celebration on Thursday (April 25).

The annual, all-day event will include the “Leadership Luncheon,” a celebration to recognize distinguished alumni, student organization leaders and outstanding scholars; the Sundial ceremony, a reflection on criminal justice professionals lost in the line of duty; and the Honors Convocation, a ceremony to recognize outstanding undergraduate and graduate students and to present scholarships.

Leaders from the College of Criminal Justice will honor law enforcement professionals who have lost their lives in the call of duty during the Sundial Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. outside the main entrance to the Criminal Justice Center.

The event, open to the public, will include a procession by the SHSU ROTC Honor Guard and remarks by Weimer Police Chief Bill Livingston, a representative of the Law Enforcement Management Institute’s Leadership Command College, as well as Doug Dretke, executive director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, who will discuss the significance of the Sundial.

Earlier in the day, Gerard “Gerry” Ramker (’83 Ph.D.) will be presented the “Distinguished Alumni” award for his contributions to the field of criminal justice during this year’s “Leadership Luncheon.”

The Leadership Luncheon will honor officers for the College of Criminal Justice’s seven student organizations, including Alpha Phi Sigma, Lambda Alpha Epsilon, Phi Alpha Delta, the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, the Society of Forensic Science, the Crime Victim Services Alliance, the Graduate Student Organization and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Graduate students who have earned top awards in national and international research will also be recognized.

Ramker is deputy director at the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics in Washington, D.C., where he oversees three federal grant programs to update criminal history information, provide statistical analysis of criminal justice data, and improve criminal background check records for firearms purchase.

His efforts have contributed to the National Criminal History Improvement Program, which provides a national and international electronic database of 76 million “rap sheets.”

students, staff, and faculty at the Sundial Ceremony
This year's Sundial Ceremony, which pays tribute to those who have lost their lives in the call of duty, will be on April 25, at 1:30 p.m. outside of the Criminal Justice Center. —Submitted photos

He also oversees the State Justice Statistics Program, which provides grants to states to promote statistical analysis which have been used to develop corrections and crime data, to measure the effectiveness of crime prevention programs and to test recidivism reduction efforts; and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Act Record Improvement Program, a database used by state and federal licensed firearms dealers for background checks for weapon purchases.

Ramker has received the prestigious O.J. Hawkins Award, the only nationally recognized, competitive award in the field of criminal justice information management.

The day is capped off with the Honors Convocation, which recognizes the highest standards of academic achievement and celebrates the accomplishments of its very best students.

For the 2012-13 school year, 186 students have attained the honors designation, which requires the completion of no less than 12 hours in the fall semester, enrollment in 12 hours in the spring semester, a 3.5 grade point average overall at SHSU, and a minimum of 24 hours completed at the university.

“This is a chance for the College of Criminal Justice to recognize its best and brightest students,” said Vincent Webb, dean of the College and director of the Criminal Justice Center. “We have many outstanding students and scholars attending our program.”

In addition, 64 students—many of whom are honors recipients—will receive scholarships, including two new awards from Nancy Kratzer, former deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Dallas, and David L. Smith, a former Brazoria County constable and death investigator and emergency management coordinator for Manvel and Pearland.

The Honors Convocation keynote speaker will be Phillip Lyons, director of the Division of Professional Justice Studies at the College of Criminal Justice.

Lyons spent several years in law enforcement, where he was a detective specializing in crimes involving children, before joining the SHSU faculty in 1995.

He has written or coauthored dozens of scholarly and professional works and serves as the executive director for the Center for Policing Innovation.

In 2012, Lyons was named the first recipient of the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award at SHSU, which recognizes excellence in community engagement through teaching, research and service.



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