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Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples to Speak at UT Tyler

May 4, 2007

Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples will deliver the commencement address for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at The University of Texas at Tyler, President Rodney H. Mabry announced.

Six hundred ninety-four degree candidates will be recognized in the UT Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center during ceremonies scheduled May 11 and 12.
Commissioner Staples will speak at 3 p.m. Friday, May 11.
An Anderson County native, Staples’ legislative service has focused on the protection of private property rights, natural resources and agricultural initiatives. He serves on the Senate Natural Resources Committee where he has a direct impact on agriculture and natural resources policy affecting Texans statewide.
Other commencement speakers and the ceremonies during which they will speak include:

  • Dr. Thomas Fernandez, UT Tyler professor of business, College of Business and Technology.

    Fernandez was a member of the UT Tyler faculty for more than 20 years until his retirement in 2006. He served as the university’s vice president for academic affairs from 1984 to 1991, after which he returned to teaching. Having earned his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, his honors and awards include honorary doctorate from Marietta College in Ohio, visiting distinguished professor at Monmouth College in Illinois and UT Tyler Pirtle Distinguished Professor.
  • Dr. Audra N. Morse, Texas Tech University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colleges of Education and Psychology and Engineering and Computer Science.

    Morse is an assistant professor of engineering at TTU, where she earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering. The predominant focus of Morse’s research is water reuse in space, where water supplies do not exist, but has direct application to terrestrial systems. She has been involved in six NASA grants, totaling more than $2.7 million, which evaluated NASA's Advanced Life Support Integrated Water Recovery System for Non-Optimal Conditions and Terrestrial Applications.
  • Lael Morgan, partner at Epicenter Press, College of Arts and Sciences.

    Morgan has reported for the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and Alaska Magazine. She has authored more than a dozen books, including Good Time Girls of the Alaska Yukon Gold Rush for which she earned the 1998 Historian of the Year award from the Alaska Historical Society. Morgan also is a visiting professor at UT Arlington.
    The commencement schedule is:
  • College of Nursing and Health Sciences – 3 p.m. May 11;
  • College of Business and Technology – 10 a.m. May 12;
  • Colleges of Education and Psychology and Engineering and Computer Science – 1 p.m. May 12; and
  • College of Arts and Sciences – 4 p.m. May 12.

President Mabry will give remarks and certify the degree candidates at each ceremony.

Presentation of degree candidates will be made by the deans of each of the university’s colleges: Dr. Alisa White, Arts and Sciences; Dr. Jim Tarter, Business and Technology; Dr. William Geiger, Education and Psychology; Dr. James Nelson, Engineering and Computer Science; and Dr. Linda K. Klotz, Nursing and Health Sciences.

Alumni association presentations will be given by Rick Chaffin, McKinney assistant city manager; and Felecity Reedy, The Genecov Group president.

2007 UT Tyler Commencement Lists:


Beverley Golden
The University of Texas at Tyler
Office of News and Information
Admin 372 3900 University Blvd.
Tyler, Tx 75799

Ph: 903.566.7000
Fx: 903.566.7061

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