The United States’ first college approved to certify vocational educators for public schools, Sam Houston State University, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Department of Agricultural and Industrial Sciences this month. A cocktail reception followed by dinner kicks off the anniversary at 6 p.m., Sept. 25 in the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum, 1964 Bobby K. Marks Drive.

“Sam Houston State University has a legacy of excellence in preparing Texas’ educators,” Stanley Kelley, head of SHSU’s Department of Agricultural and Industrial Sciences, said. “But these sciences have evolved rapidly from when the programs began in 1909 and more than 80 percent of American’s were involved in agriculture. Over the last century, Sam Houston has always been in the forefront of agriculture and industrial technology, preparing educators, as well as leaders in these industries.”

Honored speaker for the dinner is 1960 Sam Houston alumnus Doc Blakely, a National Speakers’ Association acclaimed humorist. His story-telling genius has made him one of the most sought after inspirational speakers in the United States, according to the Association’s Web site. Evening entertainment will feature a “tune-filled tribute to the mother church of country music, The Grand Ole Opry,” according to SHSU’s School of Music director, James Bankhead.

Activities continue at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Gibbs Ranch Education and Research Facility, 113 Fraser Road, and include a cowboy breakfast, tours, and a social – featuring Texas cowboy musicians The Gillette Brothers.

Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples and Texas State Representative Lois Kolkhorst will address celebrants during the lunch, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Ranch.

The department, which consistently has the largest enrollment of U.S. non-land grant universities in agricultural and industrial sciences, recently extended an open invitation to alumni, friends and anyone interested in celebrating a century of preparing vocational teachers in agriculture and industrial sciences.

Tickets are still available for $50. For more information call (936) 294-1215 or visit the department’s Web site at http://www.shsu.edu/~agr_www/ and click on “Centennial Celebration”.