Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards 2021
The College of Liberal Arts Honors Three Outstanding Alumni with Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
The Honorable Dr. Christian Bolden
Dr. Christian Bolden earned his Bachelor of Science in Applied Sociology in 2003 and a Master’s in Sociology in 2005 from Texas State University. He received his doctorate from the University of Central Florida in 2010. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Interim Chair in the Criminology and Justice Department at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Bolden recently served as Associate Director of University Honors and Graduate Coordinator. He is an internationally known scholar of criminology with a focus on studies of gangs. He has a forthcoming book about gangs with Rutgers University Press entitled Out of the Red: My Life of Gangs, Prison, and Redemptions. He has received several awards and competitive grants and fellowships for his brave research, much of which involves interviews with gang members. He was invited by the FBI to be a guest speaker at Quantico after they learned about his research.
Dr. Bolden has experienced several difficult tragedies. As a resilient survivor, he made a promise to himself to help vulnerable students and community members. He dedicated himself to teaching all students about having compassion towards the groups that society often ignores, including those who are victims of trafficking and people who are on death row.
His academic career has been shaped by his commitment to social justice. Dr. Bolden’s research, university and community service, and teaching support some of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Dr. Bolden has served as faculty supervisor for Students against Sexual Assault and the African and African American Studies Committee, among others. He has worked on several initiatives with non-profits in the New Orleans area. Currently, he is working with the Modern Slavery Project, which involves studying and supporting homeless youth, particularly those who are vulnerable to trafficking. Dr. Bolden supports and empowers students and members of the local community. He has worked with students to help communities in New Orleans rebuild after hurricanes. He takes his students to Angola, the Louisiana State prison, to observe the brutal conditions of prisoners’ daily lives. His students have also testified in the Louisiana state court about abolishing the state’s death penalty law.
Mr. Myric Polhemus
Myric Polhemus earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1997 from Texas State University. He began his career at H-E-B in 1992, where he has had the opportunity to lead large groups of diverse people in the dynamic and innovative environment of H-E-B. He is currently the Director of Talent, HR Technology and Partner Learning and Development. His primary role encompasses all learning and development activities ranging from bagging skills to executive development, reimaging H-E-B’s talent processes, leveraging technology, and using people analytics for all levels of the business. His work helps H-E-B gain insight into its 114,000-employee workforce while giving each person the development they need to help them reach their fullest potential.
Mr. Polhemus has been recognized with a variety of honors and awards. He has received ten awards for leadership, including the Diversity Advocate Award, the People Development Award, the Excellence in Management Award, and the Bob Brandt Leadership Award.
One of Mr. Polhemus’ passions is speaking on topics such as leadership trends, talent, career growth strategies and organizational leadership. In 2013, he was a speaker for TEDx San Antonio, where he discussed the role of vulnerability.
Mr. Polhemus is a sustaining member of the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board. For over a decade, he has returned to campus to give talks, serve on career panels and participate in numerous events both in the College and the Department of Psychology. He has also mentored dozens of students interested in career growth.
The Honorable Dr. Jeff Wilson
Dr. Jeff Wilson is an award-winning educator and entrepreneur. He earned his Master of Science in Geography in 2002 from Texas State University. In 2006, he received a PhD from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and completed post-doctoral work with Harvard University in 2007.
Dr. Wilson was a professor of Environmental Science Professor and Dean of the University College at Huston-Tillotson University. He earned the title “Professor Dumpster” after living in 33-square-foot modified trash dumpster for one year as part of a minimalist living and housing experiment.
Dr. Wilson founded the start-up company Kasita in 2015. Kasita is an award-winning modular micro-housing company. The company was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and won a SXSW Interactive Innovation Award.
His work on startups, sustainability, minimalism, and social experimentation has been featured in Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, and The Washington Post. His latest endeavor, Jupe, Incorporated aims to solve one of housing’s most foundational problems with the end goal of solving the world’s housing shortage.