ABOVE: Dr. Bobby Wilson, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and Research (left), and TSU President Austin A. Lane (right), present Port Arthur businessman Roosevelt Petry Jr. with Doctorate of Humane Letters (PHOTO CREDIT: Earlie Hudnall)
It was a momentous day for Texas Southern University (TSU) President Austin A. Lane’s inaugural commencement ceremony, as he recently presented Port Arthur businessman, Roosevelt Petry Jr., with Texas Southern’s highest honor – the Doctorate of Humane Letters.
Dr. Bobby Wilson, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and Research, joined Dr. Lane during the presentation, to honor Petry for his steadfast support and commitment to TSU students. Petry is an avid supporter of TSU, having established an endowed scholarship in honor of he and his wife – the Roosevelt and Marlene Petry, Jr. Scholarship Fund. In addition to that strong philanthropic endeavor, Petry also donates to the President’s Leadership Scholarship (PLS) program that provides scholarships to students with GPA’s of 3.5 or better.
Petry received his Bachelor’s degree from Lamar University. He founded GP Industrial Contractors, Inc., a company specializing in piping, steel fabrication, warehousing, project management, maintenance, engineering, and field services, which are just a few of the services GP offers. After Hurricane Rita, GP Industrial Contractors was there to help the small gulf coast community of Sabine Pass pick up the pieces by assisting in rebuilding it with the television show Extreme Makeover.
Petry attributes all of his success to God and his wife, and when it comes to giving back to the community, he does not think twice. With a focus on youth education, Petry shares the knowledge that he gained as an instructor at Lamar University, where he taught AutoCAD, Surveying and Drafting. He and his wife recently made a donation to create an endowment scholarship to Lamar State College, for nursing and engineering students in Port Arthur, Texas.
Petry serves the community as Vice President of the Construction Board of Construction and Appeals; Member of the Board of Directors for the South East Texas Economic Development District; Member of Lamar University College of Engineering IEDAC/ITPAC; Chairman on the Board of the United Supreme Council Finance Committee; Member of the Port Arthur Citizen Advisory Committee; Member of the Board of Directors for the Foundation of the Most Excellent Prince Hall Grand Chapter, Holy Royal Arch Masons of Texas and Its Jurisdiction; Member of the Ever Ready Lodge #506; Member of the Shriners Doric Temple # 76; and Member of the Port Arthur Rotary Club. Petry served on the Military Academy Selection Board for our Congressional District; Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Arthur Housing Authority; Chairman of the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation; Member of the National Society of Black Engineers; Board of Directors for Junior Achievement; Board of Directors for the United Way; and Vice President of the Clean Community Commission.
Over the years, Petry’s hard work and community involvement resulted in several honors and awards. He has received the Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Industrial Business of the Year Award (2002); Houston Minority Business Council’s Emerging Ten Award (2004); Make Ready, Inc. 4th Annual Humanitarian Award (2004); Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation’s Business of the Year Award (2006); Score’s Businessman of the Year Award (2007); KSAP 107.1. The Breeze Humanitarian Award (2007); and was featured in the National Society of Black Engineers in 2000. In December 2007, Congressman Ted Poe recognized Petry for his community involvement. In October 2012, he received the President’s Award from Lamar State College-Port Arthur. In December 2012, he received the S.T.E.M. award; the Texas Legislative Black Caucus Community Service Award in February 2013; the Distinguished Alumnus Award of Lamar University in February 2015; and the most prestigious award he has received was from the State of Texas House of Representatives in June 2011.