Some people spend most of their lives teaching in college classrooms, but few have spent more hours on the receiving end of the higher education process than Sam Houston State University 1996 Fall Semester commencement speaker David Sibley.

Sibley, Texas state senator from District 22, will speak at the ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, in Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. Some 927 students have filed applications for degrees to be conferred by Dr. Bobby K. Marks, Sam Houston State University president.

Sibley began his college education in 1966 at Baylor University in Waco, with a math major and chemistry minor. He graduated four years later and enrolled in the Baylor College of Dentistry. He graduated from that program, with honors, in 1974.

To that point his educational career was fairly routine for someone preparing for the dental profession-eight years. Then came four years in internship and residency.

Sibley became a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and practiced in Waco for seven years. In 1985, however, a neck injury forced him to give up his dental practice and sent him back to the classroom.

This time it was to the Baylor Law School, which he attended while serving as mayor of Waco, for three more years. In 1989 he completed his law degree and joined the McLennan County District Attorney's Office as a prosecutor.

Counting internship and residency, Sibley has spent 15 of his 49 years as a participant in higher education.

Sibley opened his own law practice after his election to the Texas Senate in 1991, and in 1995 became affiliated with the Waco-based civil law fIrm of Naman, Howell, Smith and Lee.

Since his election to the Texas Senate he has become known as a strong supporter of conservative, pro-business issues. He was named to Texas Monthly's list of Top Ten Lawmakers in 1993 and was honorably mentioned on that list in 1995.

He also won the 1996 Instructional Telecommunications Council Award for the South Central Region for his contributions to the field of distance learning. And in 1993 and 1995 he was named "Texas Medicine's Best Legislator" by the Texas Medical Association and was presented the Presidential Award of Merit by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians.

One of Sibley's most recent connections with higher education was his appointment to Baylor University's Board of Regents in November. Further involvement includes a son and daughter attending college and another son preparing to enter college.

In the Senate, Sibley served as chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee. He successfully sponsored bills that reformed the state's civil justice system, opened the state's local telephone industry to competition and expanded health care access for rural and other medically underserved Texans.

In addition to chairing the Economic Development Committee, Sibley also serves on the Finance, Education, and International Relations, Trade & Technology committees. Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock appointed Sibley chairman of the Interim Committee on Managed Care and Consumer Protections, and in 1994 he was appointed to the Sunset Committee.


Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak

Dec. 13, 1996