State Rep. Dan Branch, chair of the House Committee on Higher Education, will address new graduates during Stephen F. Austin State University's summer commencement ceremony Saturday, Aug. 14.

Since 2002, Branch has represented District 108, which includes parts of Dallas, Highland Park and University Park. He serves on the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee and is a member of the Legislative Budget Board.

He is best known for passing legislation to reform the top 10 percent college admissions rule, expand digital textbooks to public schools and create the new "Tier One" universities.

Branch was named among Capitol Inside's and Texas Monthly's best legislators of the 2009 session and also was named to The Dallas Morning News Legislative Leader Board. He has received several public service awards, including the Texas Medical Association Medical Student Division's "2007 Legislator of the Year," the United States Humane Society's "Human State Legislator Award" and "Champion of Free Enterprise" awards from the Texas Association of Business.

In addition to his legislative work, Branch also is the chairman of Southern Methodist University's John Tower Center for Political Studies and serves on The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C., the Boy Scouts of America-Circle Ten Council and the Southwestern Medical Foundation in Dallas.

"We are very pleased to welcome Rep. Branch to our campus as our August commencement speaker," said SFA President Dr. Baker Pattillo. "He is very involved in his community and has been recognized as one of the hardest working Texas legislators."

SFA's commencement exercises will begin at 9:30 a.m. at William R. Johnson Coliseum.