Longtime Texas A&M International University partners in redefining higher education for Texas, Radcliffe and Sue Killam, will receive the University's first honorary doctoral degrees in Fall Commencement Exercises scheduled Saturday, Dec. 19 at 9 a.m. in the Kinesiology/Convocation Building.
Dr. Charles Jennett, A&M International president, said the honor is the highest provided by academia and recognizes rare achievement and contributions.
"Radliffe and Sue Killam are visionaries who have generously shared their resources with the people of South Texas to help assure that higher education has a new home here at Texas A&M International University. Through their good works, we believe that the quality of life and living here have been measurably bettered. We believe that there can be no more appropriate recognition for their generosity than according them the highest academic honorary degree possible, the doctoral degree. We know that their example will impact Laredoans and South Texans for generations to come, and we proudly offer this much-deserved recognition," Dr. Jennett said.
Radcliffe Killam will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters while his wife, Sue Spivey Killam, will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts.
Assisting president Jennett in the traditional "hooding" of the honorary doctorate recipients will be The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents member Anne Armstrong and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Institutions and Agencies Dr. Leo Sayavedra.
Radcliffe Killam, originally from Grove, Oklahoma, moved to Laredo as a child, graduating from Laredo High School in 1928. He received a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas-Austin and a law degree from the Harvard Law School in 1935.
He joined the United States Navy in 1942 and was a PT Boat Commander in the Solomon Islands in the Philippines until 1945, retiring as a lieutenant commander.
He has credited his parents and influential teachers with helping him to determine his life's goals and values. Those goals and values have helped him to become one of the leading forces in the oil and gas industry, ranching and real estate development.
His business successes have been mirrored by his considerable civic involvements and affiliations, many of which have had a lasting impact on Laredo and South Texas.
He was active in the formation and organization of United Day School, involved in the development and construction of the Laredo Country Club, the Casa Blanca Dam and Lake Casa Blanca. He helped to organize the Webb County Taxpayer's League, serving as the group's first president.
He was pivotal in the development of the former Laredo State University and the present Texas A&M International University, generously providing the 300 acres that are now home to Texas' newest four-year University.
He and wife Sue Spivey Killam were married in 1942 and are the parents of four children: Susan Terry Killam-Wilber (deceased), Adrian Kathleen Killam, David Winfield Killam and Tracy Leigh Killam DiLeo. They also have four grandchildren.
Sue Spivey Killam, a native of Bonham, Texas, graduated from The University of Texas at Austin where she majored in Spanish.
Like her husband, her life has been hallmarked by service to and commitment to her community and the people of Texas. From service on educational boards to membership in social and civic groups, Mrs. Killam has been a catalyst in lasting changes in Laredo and the greater State of Texas.
She helped start the United Day School and has served on its Board and that of the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been an active member of the Women's City Club and The Society of Martha Washington. She is a current member of the Texas State Committee, National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Board of Trustees of the Mercy Regional Medical Center.
She has been a lifelong supporter of her alma mater, serving on the University of Texas' Centennial Commission and on the University's Development Board. She has served on the Liberal Arts Foundation Advisory Council, which awarded her its Pro Bene Meritis Award. She has also been named the recipient of the Rotary Club's Paul Harris Award.
She is currently a member of the UT Executive Committee of the Chancellor's Council and is a representative-at-large on the Executive Council of the UT Ex-Students' Association.
She has created a Professorship in Economics at UT-Austin and with her husband endowed a research chair at M.D. Anderson Hospital, Houston.
Other noteworthy aspects of Saturday's graduation include that the Fall 1998 class is the largest in the history of the University with 240 graduates and that the University will graduate the first of it's freshmen students who have completed their four-year undergraduate degrees at the University.
For additional information on Saturday's Fall 1998 Commencement Exercises, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 326.2180.
University office hours are from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
University offices will be closed for the holidays Dec. 21-Jan.1, 1999.