BAAS Newsletter

Mary Elizabeth Scott Combs (Beth), of Wichita Falls, Texas has been awarded the May 2013 Midwestern State University President’s    Medal for Excellence for Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences, BAAS Major. She graduated summa cum laude with  4.0 GPA.

Beth is 1995 Honors graduate of Kennedale High School in Kennedale, Texas, where she was voted most likely to succeed. She is also a 2003 graduate of Arlington Career Institute where she completed paralegal studies with a 4.0 GPA.

Additionally, Beth is a veteran of the United States Navy.  She served in the combat systems field as a Fire Controlman when the rating was newly opened to women sailors. In this capacity, she served as a Missile System Supervisor and ORTS technician for the Aegis Missile System aboard USS Hopper (Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer DDG-70) where she was a member of the Commissioning Crew and a Plank Owner. Beth was a participant in joint service operations for the Armed Services Inaugural Committee during the second presidential inauguration of President Bill Clinton; the recipient of meritorious advancement in rank; and the recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.

Professionally Beth has worked full-time as a paralegal for the last 10 years. She is employed at Altman Legal Group in Wichita Falls, and will begin work this fall toward board certification through the State Bar of Texas.  Her long term goal is to pursue a master’s degree in history and to travel.

Beth is married to Marine Corps veteran and two-time MSU graduate, Johnny Combs. In addition to holding full time jobs, Johnny and Beth operate their own residential rental property business in Wichita Falls and stay busy with their 4 children:  Isaac (17), Mason (11), Madelaine (8), and Sophie (3). Beth and her family are members of First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls and are involved in soccer, scouting, and other various activities in the Wichita Falls community.

Beth cites two main goals in finishing her education.  The first goal was to prove that not only could finishing school be accomplished while juggling the complexities of life, but it could be done without compromising high personal standards and expectations. The second goal was to be a living illustration to her children of the power of faith, the importance of hard work, and the value of an education.


H. Richardson of Megargel, Texas has been named the top honors graduate for 2013 in Midwestern State University’s Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program.  Tony graduated as salutatorian from Megargel High School, Megargel, Texas in 1991.

Tony served twenty years of honorable service and retired from the United States Navy (2 July 1991 – 31 July 2011). 

Major awards and decorations include:

Meritorious Service Medal (x1)

Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal (x3)

Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (x5)

Navy Unit Commendation Medal (x1)

Navy Good Conduct Medal (x6)

National Defense Service Medal (x2)

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (x1)

Navy Pistol Marksmanship Medal (x1)

Naval Aircrewman Designation

Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist

Navy Senior Enlisted Aerospace Physiology Technician of the Year - 2004

Tony is an active member of the Archer City First Baptist Church.  He is happily married for nineteen years to Regina Kay Richardson.  They have three wonderful children:  Anna (15), Guy (14), and Emily (11) all active in the Archer City School system.

Tony plans to seek a Master of Christian Ministry (M.C.M.) degree from Wayland Baptist University.

Rachel DeHoyos has been named the top 2012 honors graduate in Midwestern State University’s Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. Rachel DeHoyos worked for the Fort Worth Police Department for 25 years and has a Master Peace Officer certification from TCLEOSE. Ms. DeHoyos is a Sergeant of the Zero Tolerance Unit whose mission is the reduction of Part I crimes. During Super Bowl XLV, she was second in command of the Mobile Field Force (riot control). She has served previously in Patrol, DWI Enforcement, Bike Patrol and the Training Division. She was awarded the Fort Worth Police Department Commendation Bar and was also named Officer of the Year in 1997.

Ms. DeHoyos is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association and the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas. She has previously served as the National Training Coordinator and Treasurer of the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association. Prior to her law enforcement career, she served in the United States Navy Reserves. She enjoys hunting and cycling and devotes a lot of time and energy to participating in breast cancer awareness events in memory of her mom.

Her main goal after getting promoted to Sergeant in September of 2007 was to go back to school to finish her degree. She started at MSU in the spring of 2008 and it has been a long road to reach this milestone. She hopes her achievements allow her to serve as a role model for other Hispanic females within law enforcement.



 Javier Valdez of Fort Worth, Texas has been named the top honors graduate in Midwestern State University’s Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. Javier received his B.A.A.S. degree May 14, 2011. Javier is a father, husband, and a decorated veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department. Javier has been awarded the Fort Worth Police Department’s Life Saving and Police Commendation Awards. Javier was also a Fort Worth Police Officer’s Association board member when the association negotiated their first meet and confer contract with the city of Fort Worth. Throughout the previous two and a half years Javier has managed to balance his career, family, and Police Officer’s Associations duties, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.



Growing up as the youngest of six kids in a tiny West Texas town might not be the average road to university excellence and a life of dedicated public service, but it is the road traveled by Stan Standridge, our 2010 BAAS Graduate of the Year.

After serving in the United States Air Force for four years, Stan joined the Abilene Police Department in 1995, where he has worked his way up through the ranks from Patrolman, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Assistant Chief, and now… Chief of Police.

He is a Master Peace Officer, graduate of the Leadership Command College, and the FBI National Academy. Today we honor the service, perseverance, personal sacrifice, and the academic accomplishments of Chief Stan Standridge because these characteristics have led him to a 4.0 GPA and the position of top 2010 BAAS graduate of Midwestern State University.



Thomas J. Swartz of Cypress, Texas has been named the top honors graduate in Midwestern State University's Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. His major field of study is Criminal Justice. Thomas has been married for 13 years to his wife Karron. They have two children, Paige who is 14 years old and Wilson who is 12 years old.

Before coming to MSU, Thomas earned an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Degree and an Associate of Applied Sciences in Paralegal Studies from Kaplan University. At Kaplan, he was on the President's list every semester and graduated with High Honors for Academic Achievement. Thomas is a member of the National Scholars Honor Society.

Professionally, Thomas has served the citizens of Harris County as a deputy sheriff for over 24 years. As a deputy sheriff, he served in the Detentions Bureau where he supervised the new employee training program. He then moved to the Patrol Bureau where he served 8 years as a Field Training Officer and currently performs a unique form of Neighborhood Oriented Policing. Achievement of his degree earns Thomas a pay raise and extra points in the promotional process. He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Harris County Lodge 39.

Personally, Thomas took over as Den Leader in his son's Webelos Den which was left in limbo after its past leader abruptly left. Facing the prospect of the boys not meeting the requirements to enter Boy Scouts, Thomas rallied the parents to complete the two year program in six months.

Thomas lives by his personal motto: "Integrity is the one asset no one can take from you-you can only take it away from yourself!"



Randi Roanhaus of Henrietta, Texas has been named the top honors graduate in Midwestern State University's Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. She is the daughter of Bert and Jeanine Roanhaus. Randi has attended Midwestern State University for her entire undergraduate career and is involved extensively within the campus and local Wichita Falls community. She has worked as a student assistant in the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences office and as a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant since 2004. She is recognized as a leader and officer in her organizations and an excellent representation of a proud Mustang. She is a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority of The Gamma Tau Chapter holding several officer positions over the past four years, a Member of University Singers Choir, participates in the Annual Perkins Lecture Series, a Member of The MSU Opera Workshop 2005-2006 and was Awarded the Lead Role in "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss 2006-2007, Founder and President of the MSU Choir Organization, Head chairman of the "By the Students For the Children" Charitable Formal that raises money for medical research to be donated to Cook's Children Hospital and Texas Children Hospital, An MSU Student Ambassador, a Member of Alpha Chi US National Honorary Society Alpha Gamma Chapter and was the Musical Performance Overall Scholarship Winner at the Region I Convention this past March 2008, a Member of the Greek National Order of Omega Honor Society, former President and now alumni member of Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, An MSU Mustang Host, Member of MSU Intramurals and NIRSA (National Intramural Recreational Sports Association) Region IV, a MSU Spirit Days Peer Counselor, Named Who's Who Among Students In American Universities and Colleges, has been on the Provost's and Dean's Honor Roles, and was awarded Outstanding MSU Senior Woman of the Year 2007-2008.

Randi also considers the music ministry a major part of her life and is an Active Member of her church, First Baptist Wichita Falls, where she participates in the Adult Worship Choir, Praise Team, was a soloist for the 2007 North Texas Christmas Spectacular (NTCS), director of the 4th-6th grades "Kidz Praise", member of the FBC Young Adult Life Group and their YMCA Volleyball Team. She was also a volunteer for Straight Street Ministries and works with their youth vocal groups.

Randi enjoys speaking on her platform "Having a Heart for the Hearts:" (Stressing upon public Awareness for Congenital Heart Disease), voice and dance lessons, and enjoys volunteering for the Main Sea Coast Mission Society, Alzheimer's Research, Gerontology Research, Inherit the Earth, and Habitat for Humanity.

Randi has often used John Maxwell's famous quote, "The first step to leadership is servant hood."



David C. Mitchell of Corinth, Texas has been named the top honors graduate for 2007 in Midwestern State University's Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. David has been married for 10 years to his wife Corinth. They have two children, Shayla (6) and Matthew (3).

Before coming to MSU he attended Cisco Junior College and North Central Texas College. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, has been on the National Dean's list and has maintained a 4.0 while working 50 hours a week. He has worked for five years as a Federal Law Enforcement officer for the Department of Homeland Security. He has also worked as a Border Patrol Agent and as a correctional officer for Texas Dept of Criminal Justice. David is also a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA). He is a volunteer Youth Soccer Coach and a Martial Arts Instructor.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him." Colossians 3:17 (NIV)X



 Mike Coss of Wichita Falls, Texas has been named the top honors graduate for 2006 in Midwestern State University's Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. Mike Coss has been married for 12 years to his wife Jennifer. They have two children, Cassie who is 8 years old, and Joshua who is 4 years old. Before coming to MSU he attended Vernon College where he graduated with an Associate's Degree in Accounting. At Vernon College he was on the president's or dean's list every semester. He also received an Excellence in Accounting Award and was named to Who's Who Among American Junior Colleges. Mike has attended MSU for four years while working full-time. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has been on the National Dean's List. In May 2006 he will graduate with a BAAS degree with a minor in business. His educational emphasis at MSU has been in Business and Spanish. He has worked for the United States Postal Service since 1998. During this time he has worked as a business mail analyst, distribution clerk, and express mail carrier. He is also a member of the American Postal Worker's Union where he serves as an officer and member of its executive board. For the APWU he has been the editor of a news publication, and he is currently serving as the treasurer. In the future, he would like to utilize the instruction that he has received from MSU to work in some way with the Hispanic community.

Mike has had a saying that has helped him pull through the hard times………..
"It's ok to feel like giving up as long as you never do it."



William A. "Bill" Reed of Fort Worth, Texas has been named the top honors graduate in Midwestern State University's Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. Commander Reed of the Fort Worth Police Department received his degree May 14, 2005 at Midwestern State University's home campus.

He earned honors by earning straight A's in the Distance Education Program while working full-time as Commander of the North Field Operations Division of the Fort Worth Police Department. Since 1982 Commander Reed has also served in the Patrol, Traffic, Criminal Investigations, Training, and Special Operations divisions. He is a 1997 graduate of the Leadership Command College sponsored by the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute. His specialization in the BAAS degree was in criminal justice. Bill has been married for 25 years to his wife Cindy and has two children, Christopher, 20, and Jennifer, 16.



Donald Curry of Spring, Texas has been named the top honors graduate in Midwestern State University's Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program. Mr. Curry, who received his degree on May 15, 2004 at Midwestern's home campus in Wichita Falls, earned honors by compiling a straight A grade record in the distance education program while working full-time as a Houston police officer. Mr. Curry is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. His assignments on the Houston P.D. have included Juvenile Narcotics, Community Services, and North Shepherd Patrol Tactical Response Team. In addition, he has worked in the Internal Affairs Division and as part of the Mounted Patrol Detail. His emphasis in the BAAS degree was in law enforcement.



 Getting back to that college degree you've been putting off has never been easier with Midwestern State University's degree program that allows officers to complete course work via the internet. In addition, as of fall 2004 the Midwestern Bachelor of Applied Arts Sciences is now offering a criminal justice option for law enforcement personnel.

"Personal advising to create the degree program best suited to your career needs is a key to our program," says Dr. David Martin, Director of the BAAS program. "We have a wide range of courses-criminal justice and core courses-offered over the net. We are law enforcement friendly and we understand that officers need the flexibility to complete courses at a distance." Dr. Martin emphasized that each student receives individual personal telephone and email advising attention to complete a degree plan best suited to that individual.

Under the Midwestern State University program, courses are accessed on the internet so that students can take them wherever they are. Dr. Martin says the student never has to come to the Wichita Falls campus at all, unless he or she wants to participate in graduation

"We also accept law enforcement credits and prior college work. And beginning in the fall students can choose a traditional BAAS degree option tailored to the individual's general career goals, or a criminal justice emphasis tailored to careers in law enforcement," he said.

Dr. Martin said officers with Basic Certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education receive 12 college credit hours, and Advanced Certification is worth six hours. College credit is also given for an officer's work experience. The university will also accept up to 90 hours transferred from another institution.

He said financial assistance is also available. Some sources include state and federal loan programs, and some employing departments will also pay a portion of an officer's tuition. Veterans receive G.I. bill benefits, and some Texas veterans may qualify for reimbursement of most expenses under the Hazlewood Act.

Ron DeLord, president of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, said the CLEAT Board of Directors is supporting the program because it caters to the needs of working officers. "Midwestern State University has created a program we believe will be attractive to officers interested in improving themselves with higher education," he said

"Many may find themselves in the middle of their careers with growing families to support. While a degree might help their professional advancement, earning it the traditional way might be impossible," he added. "Being able to complete a degree on the web removes a lot of obstacles for officers."

According to Dr. Martin, "This program is designed for the person on the street because it presents an alternative to the structured curriculum of the traditional criminal justice degree. It is more flexible and assumes that most of the training in criminal justice is education an officer has already achieved."

"Our job is to get someone to a degree because they already have the experience," he said. "An officer needs a degree and the option to choose criminal justice courses and now to choose a formal criminal justice option in the BAAS program makes the degree even more focused on the goals of the law enforcement professional."

Upon successful completion of 124 credit hours, the student will earn a Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Sciences, and if chosen, a notation of criminal justice emphasis. Each degree plan is tailored to meet the needs of individual students.

"We've been doing the degree program for 20 years and internet delivery for about five years," Dr. Martin said. "One has always been able to emphasize criminal justice by taking courses in that area. What's new and exciting now is the option for law enforcement personnel to choose the criminal justice emphasis and have that emphasis as a formal part of their degree

Dr. Martin said there are other schools that offer degree programs that are somewhat similar but he believes that Midwestern's program is the most flexible and gives the most individual attention to student needs.

For more information contact the BAAS program office at 940-397-4400, or e-mail:
Additional information is also available at the program web site:
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