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HUNTSVILLE, April 19, 2017—Each spring, Sam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice sets aside a day of celebration to honor students, alumni and friends and to memorialize professionals who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Honors Day will take place April 20.
Activities include a Leadership Luncheon, which recognizes a Distinguished Alumna, a Defensor Pacem recipient, student organizations and graduate students; the Sundial Ceremony, which pays tribute to the fallen; and an Honors Convocation, where scholarships are awarded and exceptional students are recognized.
“Honors Day is the most important day of our academic year,” said Phillip Lyons, dean of the College of Criminal Justice and director of the Criminal Justice Center. “Despite that it’s our busiest time, we pause and reflect on those who have given so much of themselves to make our criminal justice system and our communities better.”
This year at the Honors Convocation, 107 students will receive scholarships from the College of Criminal Justice, and 177 students will be recognized for their outstanding achievements for earning a 3.67 grade point average in the fall semester, taking at least 12 credit hours of classes in the spring and fall, and completing at least 24 credit hours of instruction at SHSU.
At the Leadership Luncheon, the college will recognize this year’s Distinguished Alumna, Laura J. Moriarty, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Monmouth University in New Jersey, and Defensor Pacem recipient Leighton Iles, director of Tarrant County Community Supervision and Correction Department. The college will also pay tribute to the college’s 10 student organizations, including Alpha Phi Sigma, Crime Victim Services Alliance, Graduate Student Organization, Kats for CASA, Lambda Alpha Epsilon, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, National Organization of Hispanics in Criminal Justice, Order of the Sword and Shield, Phi Alpha Delta, and the Society of Forensic Science.
Moriarty, a 1988 Ph.D. graduate from the College of Criminal Justice, has a long and esteemed career in the academic field. Since 2014, she has been the chief academic officer at Monmouth University, a private college with more than 6,300 students. Before joining the University, Moriarty worked at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as a tenured professor, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, associate dean of Humanities and Sciences, and finally as vice provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs.
The Defensor Pacem medal, which represents the “defender of peace,” will be presented to Iles, a prominent leader in Texas probation. Iles has served as the lead instructor for the new Probation Chiefs program at the Correctional Management Institute of Texas for nine years. He also was instrumental in the creation of the Criminal Research Information Management and Evaluation System Community Service, a comprehensive records management system for probation and police developed by the Police Research Center at Sam Houston State University.
“Leighton Iles is the driving force behind efforts to ascertain the most effective interventions for use by Texas probation agencies,” said Larry Hoover, director of the Police Research Center. “Successful management of probation agencies requires commitment, energy, innovation, patience, understanding, persistence, resolve, and even empathy. Leighton has all of these attributes and more.”
The Sundial Ceremony, held at the flagpole outside the entrance of the Criminal Justice Center, is a solemn ceremony to remember criminal justice professionals lost in the line of duty. This year, the college will pay special tribute to Steve Young, a professor and co-founder of the Security Studies Department at Sam Houston State University, who died on March 9. All are encouraged to attend as a tribute to these men and women.
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