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William Penn University Announces Keynote Speakers for Fall Convocation


William Penn University staff, faculty and students will ring in the new school year during the annual Fall Convocation on Thursday, September 7, at 11:15 a.m. in the George Daily Auditorium. The keynote speakers this fall are General Tommy Franks and Joe Crookham, President and Principal Owner of Musco Lighting.

About Gen. Tommy Franks

Tommy Franks was born in Wynnewood, Oklahoma and grew up in Midland, Texas.  He graduated from high school in Midland in 1963 and attended the University of Texas in Austin for two years.  In 1965, he enlisted in the United States Army.  He earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1967, as a Distinguished Graduate of the Artillery Officer Candidate School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

In Vietnam, General Franks earned six awards for Valor and three Purple Hearts. That assignment was the start of a long and distinguished career that would take him from one world hot spot to another – from West Germany at the height of the Cold War to the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, to the deserts of Arabia. In June 2000, he was promoted to 4 Star General and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command.  As Commander of CentCom, he was responsible for the United States military in 25 countries in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.  Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, General Franks led American and Coalition troops in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  In 2003, he led Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove then–dictator Saddam Hussein.

The General’s awards include five Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, four Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts in addition to numerous foreign awards.  In May of 2004, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by order of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  President George W. Bush awarded him our Nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in December of 2004.

General Franks joined the WPU Board of Trustees in September of 2010 and continues to serve the University in a leadership capacity.

About Joe Crookham

President and principal owner of Musco Lighting, Joe Crookham is a long-time advocate of safe, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible lighting. Musco is headquartered in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Currently the company has team members based in 15 countries around the world and sells lighting for projects in 40–50 countries each year. Musco’s primary business is sports lighting with the majority of the volume being recreational and high school projects. However, large sports facilities such as Yankee Stadium, Wimbledon Tennis, Daytona Speedway, and Yas Circuit Formula-1 track in Abu Dhabi also highlight the Musco’s resume.

Since 1996, Crookham has served on the William Penn University Board of Trustees. He is a past Board Chairman and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board. Crookham has also played a vital role in establishing William Penn University’s Digital Communication program.

Crookham is active in the local community, and over the years, has worked to build a sustainable community. He has been instrumental in many community development projects, especially those that help create educational and recreational opportunities for area residents. He has also been active in the economic development arena, supporting infrastructure development, downtown redevelopment and historic renovation. He established Mahaska Communication Group to meet the communication needs of the Musco team and the surrounding community.

Joe’s other volunteer efforts have include serving as a trustee on the National Parks Foundation and the International Little League Baseball Foundation Board.


For more information, contact:

Hailey Brown
Communications/Event Coordinator
William Penn University
(641) 673-1078 |

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