Four individuals who have displayed outstanding commitment not only to Sam Houston State University but to their respective communities as well have been selected as the 2012 SHSU Alumni Association Service Awards.
Yolanda Green, Tommy Metcalf, Frank “Poncho” Roberts and Don Strickland will be honored at a luncheon on April 20, at 11:30 a.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom, for their fulfillment of the university’s motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service.”
Tickets for the event are $25 for Alumni Association members and $30 for non-members. Reservations can be made online at http://alumni.shsu.edu or by contacting the Alumni Relations Office at 936.294.1841.
Yolanda Green is a community pioneer, children’s advocate, public speaker and Emmy-nominated television personality.
She is currently the manager of community investment for Comcast Houston. Green is responsible for all the company’s philanthropic efforts in Houston and the surrounding area.
Early in her career, she spent time as a radio announcer at Great Gospel Radio KYOK-AM.
In 1994, Green joined KIAH-TV Channel 39’s Public Affairs/Programming Department, and in less than two years she rose to the position of community relations director and host of Outlook Houston.
During her tenure as community relations director with KIAH-TV (CW39) Green spearheaded activities of the CW39 Cares for Kids Fund, facilitating the distribution of more than $9 million to local non-profit agencies.
In 2000 she took a step to address the growing need for adoption in Houston and Harris County. Green became the driving force behind a comprehensive broadcast campaign allowing children in foster care to be featured on Channel 39 in public service announcements. The announcements aired 26 times per week, 52 weeks per year and resulted in more than 5,500 children finding adoptive homes.
As host of Outlook Houston for over a decade, Green worked to educate and empower viewers with information on critical issues facing the Houston community. She also hosted Going Green with Yolanda Green. The weekly program highlighted businesses, commercial products, government programs and local initiatives making significant strides in eco-friendliness. The program garnered eight Emmy nominations during its first two years, and Green and her team received numerous honors and awards for their outstanding efforts to bring environmental issues to the attention of Houston and the surrounding communities.
As a public speaker, she shares her personal journey as a teenage mother, lessons in leadership and her vision for a stronger community, one volunteer opportunity at a time. She was a commencement speaker at SHSU’s winter ceremonies in December 2011.
Her work in the community includes current board service with St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities and The Children’s Assessment Center. Green also serves on the Houston Independent School District African American Advisory Committee.
She has also served as board president and chairman of the largest children’s advocacy center in the United States, the Children’s Assessment Center. Her other past board memberships include AIDS Foundation Houston, Crossroads; Community Partnership for Youth; Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas; Julia F. Thompson, Inc.; and the Ms. Wheelchair Texas Foundation. Green is a member of the Mu Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Green received her degree in 1992 in broadcast journalism from Sam Houston State University. She is the mother of an adult daughter, Britney, and currently resides in a suburb of Houston.
Metcalf is a 1971 graduate of SHSU with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in general business.
He is a private investor and currently serves on the board of directors of Spirit Texas Bank, the Montgomery County Child Protective Services board, and the Montgomery County Community Foundation, which has increased its award to local charities from $24,650 in 2007 to more than $107,000 in 2011.
Metcalf was elected mayor of Conroe in 2004, inheriting a $1.5 million deficit. By the end of his term four years later, he had created a $28 million surplus. During the four-year period, taxes were never raised; in fact, they were lowered the last three years of his administration. In February 2008, Conroe was named the best city to live in for its population category by ION Television’s “World’s Greatest.” The city was recognized because of its low tax base, decrease in crime by 25 percent, and a population increase of 30 percent. Conroe was also recognized by the State of Texas as a “Main Street City.”
In 2008, Metcalf was named “Most Valuable Mayor” by the Texas Foster Family Association for his work with the child protective services board. The association also recognized Conroe as the No. 1 city in the state for adoptions per capita.
He is a past president of the Conroe Rotary Club, the Montgomery County United Way, the Conroe High School Ex-Students Association, the Montgomery County Hospital District, and was a founding member and first board chairman of the Montgomery County Crime Stoppers organization.
He was also president of the Embassy Club of the Greater Conroe Area Chamber of Commerce, district chairman for the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and was a founding board member of the Friends of Conroe.
He is a lifetime vice-president of the Montgomery County Fair Association, former board member of the Conroe Chapter of the American Red Cross, Greater Conroe Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Emergency Assistance, and Lake Conroe Rotary Club. He is also a former board member of the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council.
He is also past president of the Texas Funeral Directors Association and represented Texas as the policy board representative with the National Funeral Directors Association.
Metcalf is also a member of the First Baptist Church of Conroe, where he serves on the greeters committee.
He and his wife, Mary Ann, are the parents of three children—Emily, Rachel and Will—their spouses, and six grandchildren.
Frank “Poncho” Roberts
On Dec. 19, 2009, at the age of 77, Poncho Roberts was awarded his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree by Sam Houston State University during commencement ceremonies in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. In honor of his achievement, both the Texas Legislature and the U. S. Congress recognized him.
His professional career began in 1950 when he went to work for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. He worked 36 years before retiring in 1986. Many of those years were spent working at the Johnson Space Center with NASA.
During his career with Southwestern Bell, he was given awards for “professionalism, dedication and outstanding support that greatly enhanced flight safety and mission success in communications” and safety. Upon his retirement, Texas’s Network Services Department of Southwestern Bell established the annual Poncho Roberts Teamwork Award in his honor, which is given to an employee who demonstrates an outstanding spirit of teamwork.
Roberts, whose signature statement is “My Family—Togetherness, One More Time,” has received many other awards for community service since his retirement.
He received the Huntsville Item’s 2002 Citizen of the Year Award for Walker County. State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst and State Sen. Steve Ogden further recognized this award from the floor of the Texas Legislature.
In 2008 he was recognized by the regional chair of The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts for Excellence in Region VI Festival Hosting.
He received Rotary International’s recognition of being named to the Service Above Self “Roll of Fame” during the 2008 district conference.
Roberts was instrumental in the acquisition of a $2.1 million aquatic center for Huntsville in 2007. In appreciation for his willingness to help and his dedication to the City of Huntsville, the mayor and members of the city council proclaimed June 14, 2008, as Frank “Poncho” Roberts Day.
Even though he was a non-traditional student at SHSU, he was active in his major and was recognized on many occasions by the Department of Theatre and Dance. In 2007, he received a certificate for Excellence in Technical Theatre and Best Door Greeter. The following year the department honored him with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre, and the SHSU chapter of Alpha Psi Omega National Theater Honor Society named him an honorary member for his service and generosity.
Roberts and his wife, Sugar, are the parents of two children—Debbie and Frank, Jr.—and they have eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Don L. Strickland
A successful businessman in real estate, banking and funeral service, Don Strickland earned both a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and master’s degree in 1954 from Sam Houston State University before enrolling in graduate studies at the University of Houston.
He began his career as a schoolteacher in 1948 and became a school administrator in 1949. He left teaching to attend to his business interests. Today, he is one of the owners of Strickland Funeral Homes, Memorial Oaks Chapel, and Foehner Funeral Homes.
For more than 60 years, he has been an active Rotarian, serving as club president, a district governor, and director and vice president of Rotary International. His perfect attendance record goes back to 1952, and he has participated in Rotary programs nationally and internationally.
He is a leader in the Methodist Church and is currently an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Bryan. He has served as a church delegate to the general and jurisdictional conferences for many years. He is a past chairman of Methodist Retirement Services and past conference lay leader of the Texas Annual Conference.
Strickland is a former president of the Liberty Independent School District board of trustees, for which he served 20 years. He has also served as president of the Liberty Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Liberty-Neches Council of Boy Scouts of America.
He was a trustee of the Region VI Education Service Center, chairman of the Methodist Children’s Home board of directors, member of the Philander Smith College board of trustees, and member and chairman of the board of trustees at Lakeview Methodist Assembly.
Strickland served as mayor of the City of Somerville and was a member and board chairman of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments, chairman of the board of directors of Gulf Coast Trades Center, chairman of the board of the Brazos Valley Health Partnerships, and a member of the Burleson County Hospital District.
He is a former president of the Blinn College Ex-Students’ Association and was inducted a member of the Hall of Honor for Blinn College.
He and his wife, Jo, live in Somerville.