MSU Texas May 2022 commencement

MSU Texas alumna Dawn Ferrell to deliver commencement address

A Midwestern State University alumna recently inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame will speak to the approximately 731 candidates for graduation at the university’s commencement ceremony. Major General Dawn Ferrell will deliver the commencement address during the 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday, May 7, at Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Ferrell’s family moved to Wichita Falls in 1973 when her dad was assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base. She graduated from Hirschi High School in 1983 and enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard, where she would spend her military career. She continued her higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1988 and a master’s in counseling in 1996, both from MSU Texas. She earned a doctorate in technology, training, and development from the University of North Texas in Denton in 2002.

During her almost 38-year career with the Texas Air National Guard, Ferrell received numerous awards and decorations. From 2015-2020, as Deputy Adjutant General for Air in Austin, Texas, she led the guard in missions such as the global war on terrorism, Texas border security, and recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey. Harvey’s relief efforts took the largest single deployment of Texas Guard forces since World War I.

Before working full time with the Texas Air National Guard, Ferrell was the Director of Institutional Research and Planning and the accreditation liaison at Vernon College, where she was responsible for the college’s quality, planning, and assessment processes, ensuring compliance with the standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and overseeing all aspects of administrative research for the college. Ferrell also served as an adjunct instructor, teaching political science courses.

In 2015, Ferrell became the first woman in the Texas Air National Guard to become a one-star general. Along with Wichitan Charlye O. Farris, Ferrell was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in November 2021 for her extraordinary contributions to Texas, both in military service and higher education.

Ferrell has retired from military service and now volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, representing and advocating for children who are in the care of the protective system in Texas.