PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas–Thousands converged in the William “Billy” J. Nicks Building May 16, to witness a new class of Prairie View A&M University graduates join the ranks of PVAMU alumni. During two commencement ceremonies, Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered the commencement address, before shaking the hand of each new graduate.
Governor Perry inspired this year’s class of nearly 850 with words encouraging them to advance through education and to yield a profit from their investment of time after pursing their studies. He also challenged graduates to create jobs in Texas and stressed his commitment to education, student financial aid and job creation in the state.
After Perry’s rousing words, President George C. Wright presented Perry with the President’s PVAMU Panther Award. The Panther Award is a highly coveted token of appreciation that is only bestowed to individuals selected by PVAMU’s president. Both U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, have the distinction of receiving a PVAMU Panther for delivering the commencement address at Prairie View A&M University.
Before the sea of fresh graduates, President Wright presented the 2009 recipients of the university’s coveted Humanitarian Award, which is presented each year during the spring commencement to a graduating student and a member of the general community, whose humanitarian acts have greatly benefited others. The 2009 recipients are Lee E. Winslett, Jr. (non-student awardee) and graduating senior Johnie L. Jones, III (student awardee).
A member of the class of 1959, Winslett is a former IBM executive with a distinguished legacy of helping others. His humanitarian efforts have fostered scholarships for PVAMU students, preserved African American history in Virginia, empowered single mothers and families and help improve the financial literacy of U.S. Navy servicemen and women in Okinawa, Japan.
Jones, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics during the afternoon ceremony, was recognized for his unprecedented level of service to PVAMU, its surrounding community and the student body. He plans to attend the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School Of Public Affairs.
This year marks PVAMU’s 128th spring commencement ceremony. Perry, along with the thousands of family members, friends, faculty, staff and students witnessed the university confer 16 doctoral degrees, a milestone in the university’s quest to boast its graduate programs in engineering, education and juvenile justice.
Governor Perry’s commencement address to Prairie View A&M’s spring 2009 graduates can be viewed at the link below:
About Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View A&M University was founded in 1876 and is the second-oldest public institution of higher education in Texas. With an established reputation for producing engineers, business leaders, nurses and educators, PVAMU offers baccalaureate degrees in 42 academic majors, 46 master’s degrees and four doctoral degree programs through eight colleges and schools. The university recently named its College of Engineering for PVAMU alumnus Roy G. Perry and the University’s marching band, The Marching Storm, was featured as the lead band in the 2009 Rose Parade. A member of The Texas A&M University System, the university is dedicated to fulfilling its land-grant mission of achieving excellence in teaching, research and service. During the university’s 132-year history, more than 50,000 academic degrees have been awarded. For more information regarding PVAMU, visit www.pvamu.edu.