CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with West Texas A&M University announced Monday that four individuals have been named the recipients of the university’s 2022 distinguished alumni awards.

According to a news release from the university, Col. Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, along with Wellington residents Val and Pat White and Amarillo resident Betty Solis was selected by the WT Alumni Association to be honored this year. The ceremony will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 29 in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center on the university’s Canyon campus as part of the university’s Homecoming Week festivities.

“These recipients each are phenomenal representatives of WT’s values in action,” Ronnie Hall, the executive director of the WT Alumni Association, said in the release. “WT strives to create a commitment to being self-reliant, courageous, resourceful and part of something larger than one’s self, and each of these recipients fully embodies those ideals.” 

According to the release, McCraw, who earned degrees at WT in both 1979 and in 1981, has served as the director of the Texas DPS since 2009. Throughout his career, he has worked as a law enforcement officer in the Amarillo area and with the FBI. McCraw also served as the Texas Homeland Security director before being appointed as the Texas DPS director by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Val White met her future husband Pat White on the West Texas A&M campus in the late 1970s. According to the release, they graduated in 1981 and 1982, respectively, and moved to Pat White’s hometown of Wellington. Through their work with the Zephyr Foundation, they have helped revitalize the town of Wellington.

Solis, a 1959 graduate of West Texas A&M, was the first bilingual teacher in the Amarillo Independent School District. According to the release, Solis began as a first-grade teacher at Dwight Morrow Elementary School, working her way up to principal of Glenwood Elementary School. While Solis retired in 2001, she has volunteered with organizations like the Eveline Rivers Christmas Project, the Maverick Boys & Girls Club along with Family Support Services.

According to the release, the university’s alumni association has given 119 alumni the Distinguished Alumni Award since 1970. Tickets for the September event are $75 and reservations are due Sept. 15. To purchase, individuals are asked to visit the university’s website or call the alumni association at 806-651-2317.