Approximately 2,100 students are scheduled to receive degrees during commencement ceremonies at Sam Houston State University on May 10-11.
SHSU alumna Carolyn Faulk (BBA ’70), who is the president and CEO of A&C Plastics, Inc., in Houston, will deliver the commencement address on Friday to the degree candidates in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, at 2 p.m., and those in the College of Education, at 7 p.m.
Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems, Inc., a multinational corporation that manufactures the world-renowned brands BioSilk and CHI in Houston, will be the featured speaker for the ceremonies for the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and the College of Sciences on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and the Colleges of Business Administration and Criminal Justice at 2:30 p.m.
All ceremonies will be held in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
Faulk established A&C Plastics more than 30 years ago and has actively led the company to become one of the nation’s largest distributors of plastic sheet material.
After graduating from college, she began teaching at Jesse H. Jones High School while “moonlighting” as a bookkeeper for several plastics companies in Houston.
In 1973, as she continued to teach, Faulk started A&C Plastics with no credit, no inventory and only $5,000. With her “never quit” attitude and the knowledge she gained as a teenager from watching her father operate his own fabricating business out of their back yard, she slowing began growing the business.
The service-oriented company, with 45 employees, is now the largest single plastics distributor in the United States, with annual sales exceeding $21 million.
Faulk has received many awards for her accomplishments in the business world, as well as for her numerous philanthropic contributions. Among her honors are the “Women Who Mean Business” recognition by the Houston Business Journal; “100 Most Powerful Women in Texas” from Forbes magazine; “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young; and Houston’s “Top 10 Leaders.”
She is a lifetime vice president of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and actively participates in the organization’s fundraising efforts. She also actively supports a number of charitable organizations. In 2008, she established the Faulk Foundation to help families dealing with a major illness.
Faulk has remained connected to her alma mater through the years, serving as a member of the SHSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, the SHSU Athletics Advisory Committee, and the Sam Houston State University President’s Circle.
Shami came to America in 1965 with $71 in his pocket to pursue a degree in education. He began working part time as a hairdresser during college and discovered his true calling when he became a salon owner.
Being an entrepreneur and small business owner gave Shami an opportunity to create better, more efficient tools to perfect his craft. In 1986, he invented the first ammonia-free hair care system. From that moment, Shami’s mission became creating a company that was environmentally responsible, promoting education and adhering to the highest ethical standards.
He has donated to numerous charities and organizations worldwide and personally assisted with disaster relief after such tragedies as 9/11 and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. With his business partner, Shami founded a diabetes research center at the City of Hope medical facility in California and a school to educate Palestinian women in science and technology, both named in memory of Shami’s father.
In December 2007, Shami made one of the riskiest decisions of his career when he decided to shift his manufacturing to Texas to support job creation. One of his three Texas ranches supplies organic olive leaf extract for the CHI Organics product line.
Shami has received numerous industry awards, in addition to the “American Patriot Award” from the National Defense University, “Businessman of the Year” by Apollo Alliance in recognition of bringing jobs to America, “Arab American Businessman of the Year” and the 2003 “Ameristar Award.” Shami serves on the board of the National Defense University Foundation and the Greater Houston Partnership.