TSU Hosts Annual Rodeo Luncheon
Texas Southern University officials and members of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) held a Rodeo luncheon in the University Museum Thursday, November 5.
This year, 44 Texas Southern University students from a wide range of academic disciplines
participated in the HLSR initiative. Nearly two dozen HLSR board members visited the
campus via an organized tour led by TSU President John M. Rudley. More than 40 students
were in attendance at the appreciation luncheon and had the
opportunity to thank HLSR representatives for the organization’s support.
“We’re always happy to visit the TSU campus,” said Jack Lyons, Chairman of the HLSR Board. “Hearing the stories about how HLSR continues to help is very rewarding. TSU has been a wonderful partner (and we have offered) 65 grants and over three quarters of a million dollars, but we want to increase our involvement.
Lyons said one way they hope to strengthen the relationship between TSU and the Rodeo is through a HLSR alumni association. “We want all of the recipients to come back and get involved and to give back so that we can continue this tradition of helping to strengthen our communities,” Lyons added. He shared that more than $28 million benefit charities in the greater metropolitan Houston community and that $12.9 million goes toward scholarships for deserving students. He acknowledged the role of 32,000 volunteers in the effort.
Before taking his seat, Lyons recognized TSU Alumnus Warner Irving who is a lifetime member of the rodeo; Dwight Boykin, another TSU alumnus who serves on the rodeo board and asked his remaining team in the audience to stand and be acknowledged.
Joel Cowley, HLSR President and CEO, talked about the positive impact that the rodeo brings to the community. Cowley said that he was pleased to lead TSU’s 2014 Homecoming Parade as its grand marshal and that the HLSR received TSU’s Community Service Award that same year. He invited everyone to this year’s rodeo, promising plenty of superstars and entertainers in the line-up.
TSU’s Board Chair Derrick Mitchell, on hand for the event, gave remarks. He welcomed members of the HLSR to the campus and thanked them for their donations and involvement with our campus and students.
TSU President Dr. Rudley shared some impressive impacts made by HLSR support, including direct assistance to First Generation students, for whom funds were allocated for academic year 2013 – 2014, and Graduation Success scholarships during academic year 2014-2015. Dr. Rudley was happy to report that 48% of our graduating class were African-American males.
He noted that “we do embrace diversity and we have a diverse campus, but we’re just thrilled that we can boast the fact that 48% of our African American male students were positively impacted by these awards from HLSR.”
Dr. Rudley detailed some of the unique degree programs where TSU students are completing studies, including Aviation Science Management, where students have become pilots and managers of airports; Maritime-Transportation and Logistics, where students are securing land and sea concerns through a partnership with the Port of Houston; Pharmacy, where TSU graduates are 28% of practicing pharmacists in the country, and the most recent curriculum additions: two new engineering degrees - Civil and Electrical.
Students in attendance were Dayana Abdullah-Smooth, who is serving as a NASA Intern; Jalyn Kuykendall, an intern with the Professional Golf Association (PGA); and Amber Garci, a civil engineering intern. The students agreed that support from the HLSR came at just the right time and allowed them to focus on their studies rather than worry about paying for college. They are planning to graduate on time and are anxious to start their careers in the global workforce.