Keller honored as Distinguished Alumnus at Wayland Baptist University

Release Date: February 23, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – Col. Michael Keller was honored for leadership in both career and military service by his alma mater by receiving the Distinguished Leadership Alumni Award on Friday at Wayland Baptist University’s homecoming chapel.

A 1987 graduate with a Master of Business Administration in healthcare administration, Keller has served in leadership roles in military, civilian and voluntary military posts since graduation.

A native of San Diego, Calif., and graduate of Orange Park High School in Orange Park, Fla., and West Texas A&M University with degrees in nursing and biology, Keller currently serves as the Battalion Commander of the 413th Civil Affairs Battalion in Lubbock. Under his command, more than 100 service members have been successfully trained and deployed in support of missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date, every member of the 413th has successfully returned from their mission overseas. Due to these and other achievements, Michael was selected for promotion to colonel recently.

Awarded the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation and Army Commendation medals while serving and leading troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Michael has demonstrated a keen ability to successfully lead teams in combat environments. These operations included tactical, civil and medical operations during an 18-month tour in Iraq. During this time he served as a subject matter expert to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

Keller’s job as Program Director and Assistant Professor with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has him leading and teaching an undergraduate program in health care administration, one that has grown in enrollment by more than 40 percent in the past four years. Due to these and other academic leadership accomplishments, he was inducted into the Lubbock Chapter of the Alpha Eta Honor Society in 2007.

In recognition of his contribution to the field of nursing home administration, Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed Keller for a five-year term to the Advisory Committee that oversees licensed nursing home administrators in Texas. Other civic and        professional leadership roles in which Keller has been involved include the Texas Hospital Association Governing Board, Plainview Symphony Board, American College of Healthcare Executives, Lions Club and church leadership posts.

He and his wife, Dr. Candace Keller, professor of art at WBU and curator of the Abraham Family Art Gallery, have one daughter, Meredith, a senior at West Texas A&M University. They are members of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Plainview.