SHSU Announces Commencement Speakers

By: SHSU Press Release
By: SHSU Press Release

HUNTSVILLE, TX Two Sam Houston State University alumni who have earned distinction in their respective fields of journalism and business management will address more than 1,500 degree candidates during the university’s three commencement ceremonies on Dec. 13-14.

Former 48 Hours producer Jenna Jackson will speak to Friday’s graduates from the Colleges of Education, Health Sciences, and Fine Arts and Mass Communication at 7 p.m.

Preston Johnson Jr., an administrator with Blue Cross Blue Shield, will speak during Saturday’s two ceremonies, at 9:30 a.m. for the Colleges of Business Administration and Sciences and at 2:30 p.m. for the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences and Criminal Justice.

All three ceremonies will be held in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The candidates include 1,245 bachelor degree applicants, 249 master’s degree applicants, and 15 doctoral degree applicants.

Founder and president of P+R Productions Company based in Houston, Jackson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from SHSU in 1997 with a double major in journalism and political science.

While attending Sam Houston State, she worked as a criminal justice reporter covering prisons, executions and inmate interviews for The Huntsville Item.

Following her graduation, she worked briefly as a newspaper reporter in Texas before heading to New York City, where she was employed by CBS News.

She soon was named a producer for CBS’s hit program 48 Hours. During her 14 years with CBS, she received several prestigious media awards, including an Emmy in 2012 for “Grave Injustice,” about Anthony Graves. Graves was sentenced to death in 1992 for a crime he did not commit and was exonerated and released from prison in 2010.

She also co-authored the non-fiction book Perfectly Executed with correspondent Peter Van Sant, about two Canadian citizens who were accused of murdering the family of one of the individuals in the United States in 1994.

Jackson returned to Texas and in 2011 founded P+R Productions, a company that specializes in producing documentaries, films and commercials.

She has served the Houston community in a variety of endeavors, including work with Candlelighters-Childhood Cancer Family Alliance; Texas Center for the Missing; Child Advocates, Inc.; St. Francis Episcopal Church; K9s4COPS; and Houston Boys and Girls Harbor.

In October she was named the “Outstanding Young Alumna” of Sam Houston State University for 2013.

Johnson, president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Houston, and Southeast Texas Region, has more than 30 years of leadership experience in finance, business, employee development and human resource management.

He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from Sam Houston State University in 1977 and his MBA from the University of Houston in 1983.

Working in six different positions for the Dow Chemical Company from 1977 until 2000, Johnson was a key principal in the global transformation of the company to increase productivity by providing business alignment, eliminating hierarchy leadership and creating a sustainable competitive advantage for Dow globally.

In 2000, Johnson joined CenterPoint Energy, Inc., as the senior vice president of human resources and shared services. He has also served as senior vice president and chief human resources officer at McDermott International, Inc., and vice president of human resources for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

Most recently, he was an independent business consultant for Delta Airlines. In his role with Delta, he served as the interim vice president of people and organization for Monroe Energy, LLC, which is a 100 percent wholly owned subsidiary of Delta.

He serves on the SHSU President’s Advisory Circle, the College of Business Administration’s Advisory Board, and the Texas Business and Education Coalition Board of Directors.

He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of SHSU in 2003, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Houston, Clear Lake, and is a member of the SHSU College of Business Administration Hall of Honor.

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