The University of Texas at Arlington will award a record number of degrees during Commencement Week 2013, which will feature a free Friday night festival with fireworks and remarks by actor, producer and political activist Kal Penn.The graduation celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday with live music and free food at the Levitt Pavilion, 100 W. Abram St. The public is invited.Penn, 35, is well known for his starring roles in House, 24 and the popular Harold and Kumar franchise. He stopped his acting career midstream to work full time in politics.In 2009, he joined the Obama administration where he focused on increasing financial aid for college students and worked on related initiatives.Also on the program are UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo and Rene Grimes, a graduate student from the College of Education and Health Professions who will speak on behalf of the Class of 2013.A full schedule of the week’s activities is at www.uta.edu/commencement. Commencement ceremonies will be held Saturday and Sunday at College Park Center, 601 Spaniolo Drive.UT Arlington will confer more than 4,500 degrees, a 14 percent increase compared with spring 2012.Police chief honoredThe Washington-based Police Executive Research Forum recognized Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson as the recipient of its 2013 Gary P. Hayes Memorial Award on Friday in Milwaukee.The award honors the memory of the group’s first executive director, who helped lead a major wave of improvements in American policing. It is presented annually to “up-and-coming” law enforcement professionals whose character, record of leadership and commitment to better policing embody the ideals to which Hayes was committed. Former Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowman won the award in 2004.Johnson, who served as interim chief for almost a year after Bowman was named a deputy city manager in April 2012, has been with the Arlington Police Department for 16 years.“Will is a great ‘street cop’ who successfully ascended through the ranks while retaining the respect of the officers,” Bowman said in nominating Johnson for the award. “As he worked his way up through the ranks, he developed strong skills in areas such as homeland security, investigations, SWAT, traffic enforcement and gangs. His superior communication abilities, results orientation and overall leadership have earned him the respect of his officers and peers. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to think conceptually and implement effective problem-solving initiatives.”Bowman provided a list of more than 50 items demonstrating Johnson’s leadership, including the following:• Johnson achieved an 11 percent reduction in crime in 2012, which is especially significant considering that the city ended 2011 with crime at historical lows. He has also increased case clearance rates, reduced gang shootings and increased gang arrests.• He has led department-wide and regional planning for major sports events, including Super Bowl XLV, the 2010 and 2011 World Series and the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.• He created an employee recognition system to promote positive work and improve staff morale.Colonial ticketsArlington’s Tierra Verde, Lake Arlington, Ditto and Meadowbrook golf courses are selling tickets to the upcoming Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial tournament, which runs May 20-26.Prices are $45 for the one-day grounds ticket and $100 for the season grounds badge. Tickets purchased at the Arlington courses include a chance to win a round of golf for three at the famed Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.