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WatkinsDallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins addressed students, faculty, staff and guests at HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry Feb. 20 as the featured speaker of the annual Black History Month series sponsored by the Student National Dental Association and the college’s Office of Community Outreach Services.

Watkins presented “A legacy of progress and change” at 11:45 a.m. in room 605. The U.S. Army provided lunch for the first 100 people in attendance.

A native of Dallas, Watkins is the first African-American elected to the position of criminal district attorney in Texas. His “Smart on Crime” initiatives engage innovative strategies throughout the prosecutorial process and seek to address the root causes of why offenders commit crime.  Watkins’ commitment to conviction integrity has led to his partnership with the Innocence Project of Texas to aid in the exoneration of the wrongfully convicted.

Watkins is the recipient of the 2007 NAACP Texas Hero Award and The Dallas Urban League Torch Award. He was listed as one of Eclipse magazine’s Super Lawyers in 2007 and was named by Ebony magazine on the Ebony Power 150 as one of the next generation of African-American leaders. He has been featured in a number of publications including Texas Monthly and Jet.

Watkins holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Prairie View A&M University and a law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. He is a member of Friendship-West Baptist Church, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and Prairie View A&M University Alumni Association and is affiliated with several professional and civic organizations.