del Carmen Honors Dean Lyons with the Gift of Future Scholarships


Distinguished Professor Emeritus Rolando del Carmen donated $20,000 to the College for future scholarships in honor of Dean Phillip Lyons.

Rolando del Carmen, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and long-time benefactor of the College of Criminal Justice, will enhance future scholarships for students at the College through a $20,000 charitable gift annuity in honor of Dean Phillip Lyons.

“I had a hand in attracting him to the university,” said del Carmen. “Little did I know that that one day he would be my boss.” Del Carmen added that coming to Sam Houston State University has made all the difference in the world to him. “I would not do anything differently. To work with this faculty and students has been a privilege and for that I am deeply grateful,” he said.

Del Carmen said he supports what Lyons is doing with the College in reemphasizing the four mandates that are the pillars of institution: To educate undergraduates and graduate students in criminal justice; to conduct research in the criminal justice field; to train professionals in the latest tools and practice; and to provide technical assistance to agencies. Just as criminology at the College of Criminal Justice has achieved top ranking in the country, he would like to see the education of future criminal justice professionals elevated to the same superior level. “The need for better training is still there,” he said. “The quest for justice is never-ending.”

“I have no doubt that the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University would not have attained the prominence it has in the field without the tireless and substantial efforts of Dr. del Carmen,” said Phillip Lyons, Dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Director of the Criminal Justice Center. “He has played an instrumental role in building this college academically, financially, and culturally. Simply put, we would not be who we are today without him. I am tremendously honored that he has offered this donation in my honor.”

Del Carmen, a beloved member of the Sam Houston State University faculty, has generously supported the College throughout his tenure and donated nearly $300,000 for scholarships. He currently has two scholarships in his name. In 2003, he created the Rolando, Josefa and Jocelyn del Carmen Criminal Justice Endowment Scholarship, which provides a $1,000 scholarship to a Ph.D. student annually. In 2005, family and friends launched the Rolando del Carmen Criminal Justice Endowed Scholarship. It, too, provides a $1,000 scholarship annually for a graduate student at the College of Criminal Justice.

In addition to these perpetual scholarship funds, del Carmen has provided intermittent scholarships for students in need. He recently contributed a $1,000 scholarship for a student coming from Singapore, a member of the SHSU award-winning bowling team. “To me, it is an investment in the person and in the future of the College of Criminal Justice,” del Carmen said.

Lyons first met del Carmen in 1986 when he was a detective in the juvenile division at the Alvin Police Department. Lyons credits del Carmen with changing the way he looks at the law.

“Before, I had seen the law as a blunt instrument, something that you used to hit someone upside the head with when they had done wrong,” said Lyons. “But after taking a class in family law from Dr. del Carmen, I began to see the law in a different way. It expresses our aspirations and calls to ‘the better angels of our nature’ to quote Abraham Lincoln.”

Almost a decade later, del Carmen and Larry Hoover were members of the committee that hired Lyons at the College of Criminal Justice, beginning an academic career that led to his position as Dean. As a fellow faculty member, Lyons recalls the camaraderie that del Carmen built with his colleagues, taking them out to lunch every time they had a new article published in an academic journal. He has done the same with graduate students who do research with him. As Dean, Lyons became aware of del Carmen substantial financial support of the College through his scholarships and “Secret Santa” fund.

“In three different roles, I have come to appreciate all his contributions,” said Dr. Lyons.

Del Carmen’s generosity is not limited to Sam Houston State University, where he has taught since 1974. He also supports his alma mater, Silliman University in The Philippines, with student scholarships, faculty fellowships and grants to broaden and sustain quality education. He is currently funding an Honors Dormitory at the University, providing free housing for 28 top students in need, and working to develop programming to help expand their views of life. The only thing he asks in return is that these graduates give back to the University once they succeed in life.

Among his other contributions at Silliman are the Dr. Jovito R. Salonga Center for Law and Development, the Angelo Kind Center for Research and Environmental Management, the College of Business Administration, the Senior High School Programs, and scholarships for high performing students.

Del Carmen, who retired in 2011 but continues to teach on a part-time basis, is one of the leading experts in criminal law in the country and is revered by students, alumni, and fellow faculty members. His expertise is recognized worldwide, and he has written prominent books and articles in the field, which have been translated into other languages and distributed across the globe. He served as a mentor to many graduate students, helping them publish academic articles and advance legal scholarship in the field of criminal justice.

Del Carmen also earned accolades in the field, and was one of three scholars to be recognized with the three top awards from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the national organization of criminal justice professors, including the Founder’s Award (2005), the Bruce Smith Sr. Award (1997) and the Academy Fellow Award (1990). In addition to being designated a Distinguished Professor at Sam Houston State University in 1995 and a Regent Professor by the Texas State University System in 2007, del Carmen was also named a Piper Professor in 1998, which recognized the state’s top college and university faculty.

Despite his achievements, del Carmen remains focused.

“I’m really just giving back the blessings I have received throughout all these years at Sam Houston,” said del Carmen. “Like many others, I want to leave this place an even better place for generations of students to come.”

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