Future is bright Orange: Lamar celebrates 50 years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 26, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


From Tilley Tech with 362 students to Lamar State College-Orange with over 2,600 students, the college celebrates 50 years of serving the community.

A yearlong celebration kicked off with a special reception held at the Dr. J. Michael and Bridgett Shahan Event Center on Wednesday.

Interim-Dean of Student Services Patty Collins started off the program with a brief history of the school and its humble beginnings in 1969.

“After two failed bond attempts, Orange County Chamber of Commerce approached Lamar State College of Technology about creating an extension center in Orange,” Collins said. “In 1969 it opened with 362 students.”

In December 2018, two Commencement Ceremonies were held to accommodate the number of graduating students.

A fire destroyed the original building, but through determination, final exams were still held.

“Students had to take finals at the National Guard Armory,” Collins said.

Later the same year, a community-wide, student-led fundraising netted over $250,000 for the school to purchase the Sabine Supply Company.

First President at LSCO, Dr. Joe Ben Welch, recently retired President Dr. J. Michael Shahan and current President Dr. Thomas A. Johnson were present as Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. and Orange County Judge Dean Crooks read proclamations declaring Jan. 23, 2019 as Lamar State College-Orange Day.

Regional Director of Community Relations for U.S. Rep. Brian Babin Lanie Brown also presented a Special Congressional Recognition for the school.

Congressman Babin, on Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019, spoke on the Congress floor, recognizing the 50th Anniversary of Lamar State College-Orange.

“It is now part of the Congressional records and a part of the United States history,” Brown said.

Local high schools also participated in the celebrations.

Vidor High School First Priority Club presented the Invocation.

Little Cypress Mauriceville High School Student Council lead the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge.

Bridge City High School Choir sang the National Anthem.

Orangefield High School Sophisticats performed a routine in celebration.

President Dr. Thomas A. Johnson, in closing remarks as everyone, lifted a glass of sparkling juice,” To provide hope and opportunity for another 50 years.”