Southeast Arkansas College’s 2017 Spring Commencement will be held at the Pine Bluff Convention Center arena at 7 p.m. Friday, May 12.

Maria Markham, Ph.D, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, will give the commencement address.

Markham began her service to the higher education department in August 2016.

“Markham’s primary responsibility is oversight of staff whose jobs are to carry out the policy directives of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB) and to develop funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities,” according to a news release.

“The agency is also responsible for distributing approximately $150 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school,” the release said.

Markham is also a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and serves on other state boards and task forces. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing and a Master of Business Administration degree from Henderson State University. She later received her doctorate in business with a specialization in organizational leadership from North Central University.