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Port Commissioner Theldon Branch Visits TSU 



Recently appointed Port Commissioner Theldon Branch, III visited students in the Maritime 424:  Containerization and Modern Cargo Storage class to talk about his life as an entrepreneur and the opportunities for students who pursue careers in the Maritime industry.  Commissioner Branch was appointed to the seat previously held by TSU Alumnus Dr. Kase Lawal.  During his talk, Commissioner Branch talked about growing up across the street in the Cuney Homes Apartments and always being on the TSU campus, either in the library or just running around the campus.      


After the talk with students, the Maritime Student Association hosted a reception in the Commissioner’s honor in the President’s Lounge on the 4th floor of the Sterling Student Center.  In addition to TSU Maritime students and faculty in attendance at the reception, other attendees included TSU President Dr. John Rudley, COST Dean Dr. Lei Yu, Department of Transportation Studies Chair Dr. Yi Qi, TSU Associate VP Communications and Community Affairs Eva Pickens, TSU Executive Director of Development Carolynne Oliver, Port of Houston Authority VP Small Business Gilda Ramirez, and Port of Houston Authority Maritime Program Coordinator Linda Clary.                                                    


Commissioner Branch is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Branch Companies, a privately held, Houston-based holding company that oversees investments in real estate, financial assets, the automotive industry and construction.  He is the managing partner and member of the Executive Committee of Dufry Houston and Branch/McGowen Ventures.  


He served as chairman of the Rebuild Houston Oversight Committee and also worked as an assistant director for the City of Houston Planning and Housing and the Community Development departments.  Commissioner Branch is a graduate of Huston-Tillotson College, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration.  


Established in Fall 2010, the Department of Transportation Studies offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Transportation Management and Security.  The program, a partnership with the Port of Houston Authority, emphasizes three national priorities – logistics/freight, security, and environment in a single curriculum.  Graduates of the program are qualified to:  work in a variety of administrative and managerial positions in the maritime industry and port operations; function effectively in the disciplines of logistics, security and environment; and pursue advanced studies in the field of maritime transportation or its affiliated areas.   Scholarships are available for outstanding students.  For information about the Maritime program and scholarships, contact Ursurla Williams, Maritime Program Coordinator at or visit the website     


By Ursula Williams