Austin College community prepares for commencement activities May 14-15
By Austin College
May 13, 2011
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SHERMAN, TEXASThe countdown is in the single digits for members of the Austin College Class of 2011, and anticipation continues to build as May 15, graduation day, nears. That morning, college president Dr. Marjorie Hass will present diplomas to nearly 300 graduates, including 17 Master of Arts in Teaching students. The commencement exercises will be held Sunday, May 15, at 8:30 a.m. on the Clyde L. Hall Graduation Court on the campus 

Business leader and philanthropist Drayton McLane, Jr., chairman of the McLane Group and CEO of the Houston Astros Baseball Club, will present the Austin College Commencement address. Having made it his goal to base his endeavors on moral ethics and Christian values, he has received many awards and honors for his professional accomplishments as well as his service to a variety of community and educational organizations  

Baccalaureate services will be held Saturday, May 14, at 7 p.m. in Sid Richardson Center of Mason Complex, with the sermon presented by the Reverend Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from June 2008 to July 2010.  

Earlier Saturday, members of the senior class and their parents are guests of President Hass at a reception. 

During the Commencement exercises, McLane and Reyes-Chow will receive honorary doctoral degrees, along with Ernesto Nieto and Gloria de León, founders of the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), which provides Latino young people with opportunities to envision themselves as future community leaders. NHI has a long association with Austin College, holding the NHI Texas Great Debate on its campus each summer.  

The Commencement ceremony also will include an address by graduating senior Lewis Musoke of Nairobi, Kenya, son of Shem and Helen Musoke. A member of the Posey Leadership Institute, Lewis this year served as president of the Student International Organization and a member of AC Cares. He also is a performer with the Austin College A Cappella Choir and the Quartette. Lewis, who completed a major in biology and a minor in French, has received the International Peace Scholarship from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada of the West Indies and will begin his medical degree in the fall. 

During the ceremony, President Hass will recognize the College’s 2011 Homer P. Rainey Award winner, announced last month at the Honors Convocation. Recipients are John Williams, College chaplain, and Karen Nelson, vice president for institutional research and professor of psychology. Larry Robinson, professor of physics, also will be recognized upon his retirement after 40 years of service to the College. 

The weekend also will include the Golden Anniversary reunion for members of the Class of 1961 and all previously recognized classes of  Golden ’Roos. Reunion activities begin Friday, May 13, and conclude with Commencement celebrations. The Class of 1961 participates in the Baccalaureate service and special seating is provided for all Golden ’Roos at Commencement.   


Drayton McLane, Jr.

After earning his business degree at Baylor University in 1958 and a master’s degree in business at Michigan State University in 1959, Drayton McLane, Jr., returned to work at his family-owned company, A few years later he moved into management as vice president of purchasing. He served 14 years as general manager of operations, before becoming president and CEO of McLane Company in 1978 and chairman in 1992.  

Following the McLane Company’s merger with Wal-Mart, Inc., in 1990, he became vice chairman of Wal-Mart while maintaining his positions at the McLane Company. After playing key roles in each of these companies, he resigned to devote more time to the McLane Group, a parent company consisting of family-owned companies operating throughout the world, and to the Houston Astros, which he purchased in 1993.  

McLane, Jr., long has devoted much time to his community. He serves as chair of the board of trustees of Scott & White Memorial Hospital, vice president of the Boy Scouts of America National Board, a member of the National Board of Governors for Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, a board director of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, a board director of the Greater Houston Partnership, a member of the Executive Committee of Major League Baseball, a board director of United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, and a member of the board of visitors for the University Cancer Foundation of M.D. Anderson.  

McLane has been honored extensively for his professional accomplishments, service to his community, and generosity in support of education and other causes.  

McLane and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Temple, Texas, where they are active members of First Baptist Church of Temple. He and his wife have two adult sons and four grandchildren. 

Bruce Reyes-Chow

The Reverend Bruce Reyes-Chow served as the moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from June 2008 to July 2010. An ordained minister since 1995, Reyes-Chow is the founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, a young and growing congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in San Francisco, California.  

He is a frequent blogger for his own site and others, such as the online blog for the San Francisco Chronicle, and formerly co-hosted a weekly religion podcast called “God Complex Radio.” 

The minister also is an instructor on “Social Media and Ministry” at McCormick Theological Seminary and serves on the boards of Public Religion Research Institute and California Faith for Equality.  

The grandson of Chinese and Filipino immigrants to California, Reyes-Chow was raised in Sacramento and Stockton and has lived in San Francisco since 1989. He graduated from San Francisco State with a major in sociology, philosophy, and Asian American studies in 1991 and received his graduate degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1995. Ordained that year, he also has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a preacher, worship leader, and keynoter. 

He and his wife, Robin Pugh, have three daughters. 


The husband-and-wife team of Gloria De León and Ernesto Nieto, founders of the National Hispanic Institute, will receive individual honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. 

Gloria de León  

Gloria de León is co-founder and executive vice president of the National Hispanic Institute. She has nearly 30 years of experience in organizational development and non-profit management, with primary expertise in program design for academically successful youth. She also consults with colleges on Latino student recruitment and retention, with a special emphasis on the needs of the Latino population. 

A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Gloria is a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Texas- Pan American, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, with honors. In 1976, she began work in Texas government before joining with her husband to establish NHI, focused on increasing numbers of Latino students in higher education. 

Gloria has received many honors for her professional work and service, including consulting with non-profit and leadership organizations nationwide. She received the Human Relations Award from the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, was named Woman of Distinction by the Lone Star Council of the Girls Scout, and holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Wesleyan University. Her contributions have been featured in numerous exhibits and oral history projects including “Outstanding Women of Mexican Descent” at Southwestern University and “Tejano Voices – Oral History of Texas Latino Leaders” at University of Texas at Arlington.  

Ernesto Nieto

Ernesto Nieto, president and co-founder of the National Hispanic Institute, has devoted more than 30 years of his life to developing youth leadership initiatives that have influenced thousands of Latino young people.

He worked in Houston, Dallas, and Austin, as a special education teacher, community organizer, and policy maker before establishing the NHI.

A Houston native, Mr. Nieto is a Distinguished Alumnus of Southwestern University and a member of that institution’s board of trustees. He has received many honors for his work, including recognition from the National Association of Colleges Admissions Counselors, an honorary doctorate from Texas Wesleyan University, and the Eagle Leadership Award from the El Paso City Council.

He is the author of Third Reality: Crafting a 21st Century Latino Agenda (2001) and Third Reality Revealed: Vision, Persistence, and Inventing a New Latino Identity (2010).

Ernesto and Gloria live in Kyle, Texas, and have four children and eight grandchildren. 

Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.