Prairie View A&M University President George C. Wright gives Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins a gift. (Colby Walker)

PVAMU alumnus and Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins returned to “the Hill” to offer his words of encouragement to the fall class of 2011.

As the district attorney for Dallas County, Watkins became the first African-American elected to the office on January 1, 2007. He was re-elected for a second term in November 2010. He went on to help create the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), which oversees post-conviction reviews of DNA and non-DNA innocence claims in conjunction with various innocence organizations. It also investigates and prosecutes old cases where evidence identifies different or additional perpetrators.

Watkins used his own story as an example for students. A 1990 graduate, he said his current office is a testament to the premise that they too can become successful by making the most of their skills and opportunity.

Nearly 600 students received degrees during the fall commencement. The occasion also marked the end of Dr. Marion Henry’s tenure as commencement Marshall. Henry has served as in the role for 35 years and is responsible for leading the commencement exercises. He will now serve as Marshall Emeritus.

Click here for more on PVAMU’s Fall 2011 Commencement.