The annual, all-day event begins with the Leadership Luncheon, a celebration to recognize Distinguished Alumni, student organization leaders and outstanding scholars. It is followed by the Sundial ceremony, a reflection on criminal justice professionals lost in the line of duty. Finally, the Honors Convocation is a ceremony to recognize outstanding undergraduate and graduate students and to present scholarships.
“This is a chance for the College of Criminal Justice to recognize its best and brightest students,” said Dr. Vincent Webb, Dean of the College and Director of the Criminal Justice Center at Sam Houston State University. “We have many outstanding students and scholars attending our program.”
The day is capped off with the Honors Convocation, which recognize 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.
Nancy Kratzer, retired Deputy Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in DallasIn addition, 64 students -- many of them 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 keynote speaker for the Honors Convocation will be Dr. Phillip Lyons, Director of the Division of Professional Justice Studies at the College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Lyons spent several years in law enforcement, where he was a detective specializing in crimes involving children, before joining Sam Houston State University in 1995. Dr. Lyons has written or coauthored dozens of scholarly and professional works and serves as the Executive Director for the Center for Policing Innovation. In 2012, Dr. 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.
Dr. Gerard Ramker, Deputy Director of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.At this year’s Leadership Luncheon, Dr. Gerard “Gerry” Ramker (Ph.D. ’83) will be presented the Distinguished Alumni award for his contributions to the field of criminal justice. Dr. 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.
In 2012, Dr. Ramker received the prestigious O.J. Hawkins Award, the only nationally recognized, competitive award in the field of criminal justice information management. Dr. Ramker’s efforts have contributed to the National Criminal History Improvement Program, which provides a national and international electronic database of 76 million “rap sheets.” 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. Finally, Dr. Ramker oversees 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.
The Leadership Luncheon also honors 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. It also recognizes graduate students who have earned top awards in national and international research.
The Honor Guard for the SHSU ROTC will lead the procession at the Sundial Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. outside the main entrance to the Criminal Justice Center. Leaders from the College of Criminal Justice will pay special tribute to law enforcement professionals who have lost their lives in the call of duty. All students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the public, are invited to attend.