The Society of Forensic Science leaders get their pictures taken after the Leadership Luncheon.
The event, held on April 26, began with the Criminal Justice Leadership Luncheon, which recognized student organizations, Outstanding Alumnus Gary Johnson, and Retired Police Chief Michael Jez of League City and Police Chief Mike Merkel of Alvin as Defensor Pacem Medal recipients.
The luncheon was followed by the Sundial Ceremony, a solemn service to commemorate the criminal justice alumni and other law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Yellow roses are placed at the Sundial in honor of fallen law enforcement officers.“Let’s not forget about our soldiers and police officers and their tireless efforts to make the world a safer place,” said Dr. Vincent Webb, Dean of the College of Criminal Justice.
Finally, the College of Criminal Justice presented 56 scholarships and 143 awards to undergraduate and graduate students at the Honors Convocation. The program featured keynote speaker Nancy Kratzer (BS ’79), who recently retired as Deputy Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Dallas.
The auditorium was packed with family and friend for Honor Convocation.
“These are some of our very best students,” said Dr. Webb. “They are a very diverse group of individuals, from different backgrounds, with different experiences, and with various aspirations. Many of them are preparing for careers in public service. Some will risk their lives for others and jeopardize their safety to protect the safety of others.
“Others will continue their education after graduation to go onto distinguished careers as teachers researchers, attorneys or judges. All these students, their families and friends can be justly proud of their academic success. We are pleased to recognize our pride in them this evening.”
Among the student leaders recognized at the Leadership Luncheon were officers from Alpha Phi Sigma, Lambda Alpha Epsilon, The National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, the Society of Forensic Science, Phi Alpha Delta and the Crime Victims Service Alliance.
Gary JohnsonGary Johnson (BS ’83), former Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice from 2001-2004, received the Outstanding Alumnus Award, the most prestigious honor given by the faculty of the College. Johnson, who began his career as a correctional officer, is credited with implementing leadership training, overseeing the final chapter of federal court supervision, embracing American Corrections Association standards through accreditation, developing and implementing changes to offender classification, establishing the rehabilitation division, and increasing the use of volunteers and community correction and treatment programs.
“As a SHSU graduate, Gary has represented this college and this university exceptionally well and served the citizens of this state extremely well,” said Doug Dretke, Executive Director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas. “As you look at the ever evolving corrections system, his legacy moved and changed it to a more progressive, a more effective and a more professional agency.”
Michael Jez (l) and Mike Merkel were given the Defensor Pacem Medal.Chiefs Merkel and Jez were presented the Defensor Pacem Award for their outstanding contributions to the criminal justice center in promoting its mission. For three years, the Alvin and League City Police Departments have hosted a community policing internship opportunity for 16 Chinese police cadets from Zhejiang Police College. The Alvin Police Department also has opened its doors SHSU graduate students for research opportunities.
Nancy KratzerKratzer, who was chosen for the first federal internship offered by the College of Criminal Justice, returned to SHSU to encourage the next generation of criminal justice professionals. She began her career as a federal agent with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare Investigations and was only the second women in the country to be hired by the agency. She later transferred to U.S. Customs Service, which was merged into the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11. Her agency is responsible for protecting the U.S. and promoting public safety.
“Now go out there with confidence, and find what you love,” Kratzer told the students. “Be true to yourself. Live with integrity and embrace change. Then you will live your dream and make your families even prouder. I am proud to be an alumnus of this great University and am honored to be asked to speak to you today.”