Starting a new chapter Dr. Johnson presidential installation presents new beginning

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Amy Moore said it best when she said Lamar State College-Orange is writing a new story as Lamar State College-Orange has its first new president in nearly a quarter of a century.

Dr. Thomas Johnson was installed as the new president at the college on Tuesday at the Shahan Events Center.

Chancellor Dr. Brian McCall presented Johnson with the Presidential Chain.

One of the longest standing traditions in higher education is the chain of office bestowed on a new leader during the first-year ceremony, the Presidential Installation. Since before the Renaissance, the head of an educational institution has worn a chain of office at official celebrations to designate their leadership role within the college, according to program handout.

Lamar State College – Orange’s (LSC-O) chain of office is worn by the president and symbolizes the rich and vibrant history of the college. Each institution of higher education has a uniquely crafted pendant.

Chancellor Dr. Brian McCall presented Johnson with the Presidential Chain.


LSC-O chain of office was handcrafted with metal links and a bronze medallion at the base. The names of the current and former presidents of the college are engraved on the backside of the medallion. To help preserve the institution’s history, the chain of office is passed on to the new president upon the conclusion of the predecessor’s tenure in office.

“After 50 years, Tommy’s home,” Johnson said. “Dr. Shahan brought excellence to this school.”

Johnson plans to bring hope and opportunity to LSC-O by putting students first.

“I had to make an acronym,” Johnson said. “Students F.I.R.S.T. by First Class education, Improving Lives, Respect, Service to Community, and continuing a Tradition of Excellence.”

Johnson has earned five college degrees, including two associate degrees, a bachelor of science in Criminology and Corrections and a master of science in Criminal Justice Management from Sam Houston State University, and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Texas Southern University.

Johnson began his tenure at Tyler Junior College in 2006 and has served in a variety of positions, including chair of the Public Safety Technology department and associate dean of the School of Applied Studies, before ascending to his current position in student affairs, after retiring from the Houston Police Department. He served on the force for 20 years.

His academic career also includes teaching and administrative positions at Houston Community College and Sam Houston State University. At SHSU, Johnson managed the U.S. Border Intelligence Network Grant Program and taught undergraduate and graduate criminal justice courses.