|Lamar University, Beaumont|
Sometimes many of us get so focused on things we consider wrong that we lose sight of those things which are right. A case in point is the way many of us spend time criticizing our government--including federal, state and local. But if asked, we would still allow as how this is the best place in the world to live and raise a family.
The greatest thing about America and Southeast Texas is that both can and do inspire hope and expectations. It has been proven that the key to success in education is to raise the level of hope and expectation of those engaged in our educational system. A great example of this was the case of the multimillionaire who, when addressing the entire 6th grade class in his old elementary school in New York, guaranteed that he would provide a college education for all students in that class who completed their studies in good fashion and graduated from high school. This inspiration was enough that almost 95%--48 out of 51--of the class not only graduated but saved the millionaire a great deal of money because the majority of the class earned college scholarships.
Institutions which inspire hope and expectation in Southeast Texas must be Lamar University and Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont, Lamar State Colleges in Port Arthur and Orange. Lamar
I was reminded of this recently when I had the opportunity to address some of the faculty and students on the campus. It had been a while since I had visited the core of Lamar’s campus, having visited only specific functions in designated places. As I meandered around the campus for the first time in two or three years, I became aware of the ideal setting of the Lamar campus. It could easily serve as a picture definition of what a college campus is or should look like. The buildings and grounds are well kept. The trees throughout the campus have matured creating a shady atmosphere for visitors, faculty and students. The whole of it creates an ambiance of a pleasant center of learning and opportunity. Not only was I impressed by the physical surroundings as I visited the campus, but I was especially impressed by the students.
First of all I was invited to address a group to commemorate 9/11 and the heroes who emerged out of that tragedy. I was impressed by the fact one of the campus fraternities took the time and trouble to put together such a program. The program was well planned, fairly well attended and included various patriotic themes in the center of the campus under the shadow of the Mirabeau B. Lamar statute. As a very talented young lady delivered a wonderful rendition of our national anthem, I was impressed to note that students busy coming and going from their classes throughout the area paused in recognition of our nation’s anthem.
We are truly blessed to have an institution of higher learning with its counterparts in the form of the Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College of Port Arthur and Lamar State College of Orange. As I pointed out in my address, wonderful institutions such as Lamar are a lot like wives not adequately appreciated. We should be mindful of all the Lamar institutions and their value to our area. We should give them our support and urge our elected officials to do the same.