Foundation Gala raises record $204,458 for student financial assistance

Baytown, TX – The Lee College Foundation’s 34th annual gala raised $204,458, making it the most successful fundraising gala in the organization’s history. The gala was held Sept. 27 at the Sylvan Beach Pavilion in La Porte, Texas, where more than 300 supporters, community members, and industry leaders attended.

Dr. Dennis Brown, Pam Warford, Jennifer Marcontell
From left, Dr. Dennis Brown, Pam Warford, Jennifer Marcontell 

Ignacio Ramirez, Carol Bartz, Joan Linares, Donna Mohlman, David Mohlman, and Virginia Miller
From left, Ignacio Ramirez, Carol Bartz, Joan Linares, Donna Mohlman, David Mohlman, and Virginia Miller

Suzanne Heinrich, Diane Englert, Lauren Williams, Kelly Regian and Judy Wheat
From left, Suzanne Heinrich, Diane Englert, Lauren Williams, Kelly Regian, and Judy Wheat

The money raised during the event will go directly to deserving Lee College students for tuition scholarships, textbooks, equipment and supplies. Some of the money will also go toward the Student Success fund, which helps students with unexpected expenses directly related to enrollment and persistence in class.

“We are proud to say that the Lee College Foundation is healthy and going strong,” said Pam Warford, Executive Director of Foundation & Resource Development at Lee College. “But the need in our community is still great, and we won’t stop striving until that need is met for every student possible.”

“There is still room for anyone who wants to join us in making a difference in our community and changing lives for generations,” Warford said.

Miguel Lopez, Lee College alumnus and past recipient of the Pat Mann Memorial Scholarship, spoke to the crowd about how pivotal the Foundation has been in his life.

“You made my dream of graduating into a reality,” Lopez told donors. “Your impact on my life has inspired me and many other students to be the next generation of donors.”

Some of the top-selling items in the evening’s live auction included a photo and baseball bat signed by Houston Astros first-baseman Yordan Alvarez, which sold for $1,800; a dinner at the home of Junior and Robin Forrest, owners of Ainsworth & Co. and Junior’s Smokehouse in Highlands, which sold for $2,100; and a catered Super Bowl party at the home of Lee College Board Vice Chairman Gilbert Santana, which sold for $2,000.

Last academic year, the Lee College Foundation raised a total of $1.2 million through donations and investment returns. Established in 1968, the Lee College Foundation is committed to making a difference in the lives of students by providing financial assistance wherever it is needed. For more information, contact Pam Warford at 281.425.6361 or visit http://www.lee.edu/foundation/.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Sole Finalist for College President Selected

TO: Lee College Community

FROM: Mark Hall, Board Chair, Board of Regents, Lee College 

DATE: September 24, 2019 

RE: Announcement of the Next President of Lee College

I am pleased to inform you that the Lee College Board of Regents has asked Dr. Lynda Villanueva to assume the position of President of Lee College and is expected to begin duties on February 1, 2020. We hope to welcome her in January for a transitional month with President Dennis Brown who retires January 31, 2020. We look forward to Dr. Villanueva’s leadership as we enter the next chapter of Lee College’s history. 

The Lee College Presidential Search provided the Board of Regents four very qualified and competitive candidates.  Ultimately, the Board chose Dr. Villanueva, in part for her demonstrated leadership with many of the student success programs and initiatives already underway at Lee College and the vision she shared to move Lee College forward in the years to come.  

Lynda Villanueva, Ph.D., is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, TX. She previously served as Dean of Instruction at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, TX. Dr. Villanueva earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of Houston in Houston, TX; and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.

On behalf of the Lee College Board of Regents, I would like to share my appreciation to every member of the Presidential Search Committee for their time, dedication and thoughtful work on behalf of Lee College. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the College community for your participation at the recent presidential forums. As well, I extend my appreciation to my fellow Regents for their time and consideration of all of the applicants.  Everyone’s input was reviewed and greatly valued by the Board. Your collaborative work truly enriched the search process. 

Dr. Lynda Villanueva
Dr. Lynda Villanueva

“I’m honored to be named as the sole finalist for the presidency at Lee College.  I have received such positive responses from faculty, staff, and the community and I see such potential.  I cannot wait to work to realize that potential for our students, our business and industry partners, and everyone who cares about Lee College and this community.” – Dr. Lynda Villanueva

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our ACCT Search Consultants: 

  • Bill Holda, Ed.D., ACCT Search Consultant, wmholda@gmail.com or (903) 987-3332 (mobile)
  • Julie Golder, J.D., Vice President of Search Services, jgolder@acct.org or (202) 384-5816 (mobile) 

‘One College, One Book’ & Creative Contests

One College, One Book

The Lee College community is preparing to read American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures, by America Ferrera.

The book has been chosen as the 2019-2020 Lee College Common Read Experience. It is a collection of short, personal essays by members of marginalized communities written by Ferrera and 31 of her friends. We invite you to check out the book in the library and join the conversation to explore the different identities and common experiences of Americans.

Join the Conversation

Participate in the Campus Discussions

  • 9/17 & 9/18
  • 10/15 & 10/16
  • 11/12 & 11/13

12:30-1:30 p.m. & 5-6 p.m.
Gazebo by Moler Hall
Popcorn and drinks

Enter the Contests

Win one or two $550 textbook scholarships, and get your work published!

For more information:

Samantha Johnson, Lee College Library, sajohnson@lee.edu, 281.425.6380.

Creative Contests — Win a $550 textbook scholarship, and get your work published!

The following contests are open to all currently enrolled Lee College students.

Essay Competition

Prompt: Everyone has experiences in which they feel as though they don’t truly belong. In 1,000 words or less, write an essay that reflects how you navigate experiences of living between cultures.

Submit essays via email to Samantha Johnson at sajohnson@lee.edu by Nov. 20.

Visual Arts

Prompt: Works should address one of the themes of the One College, One Book title, American Like Me, including:

Being part of more than one culture

Navigating how to belong in a culture or social environment when you are different

Criteria: Artwork should be in a 2- or 3-dimensional format, such as:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Textile
  • Collage
  • Assemblage

The bases of any 3D works should  be no larger than 24×36 inches. Any 2D works should be no wider than 20 inches. Any 2D works on paper or other non-rigid material should be mounted on a rigid backing, so they can be displayed on an easel.

Artwork must be submitted to Samantha Johnson in the Lee College Library by Nov. 20.

Samantha Johnson, Lee College Library, sajohnson@lee.edu, 281.425.6380.

Funded by Department of Education Title V Grant P031S160051

2019 Lee College distinguished alumni announced

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College named its 2019 Distinguished Alumni at the annual Lee College Alliance members’ meeting and dinner reception on Aug. 6. This year, the Distinguished Alumni awards were divided into three categories: John Britt ‘57, Distinguished Alumnus; Mary Beth Wendel Woods ‘75, Meritorious Award; and Melanie Stewart ‘08, CRNA, DNP, APRN, Outstanding Young Alumnus.

The Distinguished Alumni award is the most prestigious honor given by the Lee College Alliance. The title is reserved for alumni and friends who have worked to advance the mission of Lee College and excelled in their profession, life’s work or service to the community.

The guest speaker for the evening was author and Lee College alumnus, Glenn Blake, who shared an excerpt from his latest book, The Old and The Lost.

Donna Britt accepted the Distinguished Alumnus award on behalf of her late husband, John Britt, who passed away in 2018. Britt was a well-known and beloved historian and professor at Lee College for over 50 years, and was instrumental in forming many of the college’s educational programs that still thrive today.

“Lee College presented him with an opportunity,” Britt said. “And it was here he wanted to make a difference in this community.”

Mary Beth Wendel Woods, Meritorious Award winner and president of Peach Marketing and Communications in Austin, said Lee College gave her the vision she needed to succeed in her education and career.

“Lee College gave me an incredible foundation,” said Woods. “Students who are here now will see: Lee College will form your future.”

Lee College Alliance plans to recognize future noteworthy alumni and friends by selecting Distinguished Alumni award winners on an annual basis. To nominate an individual for a future award, go to www.lee.edu/alumni/.

The association for former students and friends of Lee College began in 2006 under the name, “Former-Lee,” and was renamed Lee College Alliance in 2013. Since then, the organization has expanded to more than 360 members, and the network of alumni and friends continues to grow. The goal of the Lee College Alliance is to build a spirit of school pride and provide alumni with opportunities for social networking, personal enrichment, community involvement and life-long learning.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

College president semifinalists to be selected in August

‘Still looking for one’

By Matt Hollis, The Baytown Sun
matt.hollis@baytownsun.com

Lee College’s search for a new president is focused, according to regents on the search committee.

Regent Pete Alfaro, who is one of three regents serving on the committee. Regent Susan Moore-Fontenot is the committee’s chair, and Regent Mark Himsel is also on board.

“Everything is going as planned,” Alfaro said. “The bottom line is we are still looking for one, and we had over 50 candidates. But, the schedule has been pretty well consistent, and we are still targeting to get a president by October. That is the game plan.”

The committee was formed after Dr. Dennis Brown, the college’s current president, announced he was retiring in January 2020. Regents called in Dr. William Holda, a consultant with the Association of Community College Trustees, who has provided a detailed procedure of how the committee should approach hiring a new president. Thanks to Holda’s efforts, Moore was able to develop a schedule for regents to follow during the hiring process.

The search committee will now begin weighing individual applications starting next Tuesday through Aug. 2. Then, the search committee will select between seven and 12 semi-finalists on Aug. 6.

“The key thing is the board will deliberate and rank finalists in September,” Alfaro said.

Alfaro said the board will visit between Sept. 25 and 27, and begin salary negotiations afterward. Then, a new president would initially be approved on Sept. 30.

Following the Sept. 30 meeting, Alfaro said a 21-day waiting period would follow. Afterward, the board will finalize the new president’s approval on Oct. 24, which is 21 days plus the extra days included until the next board meeting.

Any candidate would not take office until Dr. Brown leaves in January 2020, Alfaro said.

“We wanted to have that overlap between the new and current president,” Alfaro said. “There is a lot of good stuff and everything we are doing we want that person to know and help them out. It will make for a smooth transition.”

Brown is the ninth president of the college. He previously came from El Paso Community College where he was the vice president of instruction and chief academic officer. Brown served at the El Paso college beginning in 1999.

(Reposted with the permission of The Baytown Sun.)

Lee summer camps keep kids engaged

Registration is now open for the 2019 Kids at College Summer Camp Program offered by the Center for Workforce and Community Development at Lee College. The Program offers children ages 5 to 17 an opportunity to meet new friends, discover new interests, and create memories of a lifetime.

Lee College encourages parents to register their child(ren) for any of the hands-on, educational, creative, or athletic camps offered in both Baytown and Liberty, TX. Camps will run June-August and include creative arts and crafts, cooking, gaming, sports, technology, special interests, and more.

“The 2019 Kids at College Summer Camp Program is a wonderful opportunity to keep children active and engaged,” said Dr. Angela Oriano, Vice President of Workforce & Community Development. “Each camp is an adventure that offers personal growth for our community’s youth. Our campers walk away with new skills, increased confidence, and more independence that stay with them throughout their lives.”

Parents and guardians can view the complete list of course offerings through the 2019 Summer Camp Guide available online at www.lee.edu/kids or in-office at 909 Decker Drive, Baytown. The Guide provides parents with all the information they need to decide on a summer camp including descriptions, camp dates/times, locations, and pricing. Camps vary in dates, start/end times, and prices to allow parents to find a camp that fits their schedule and budget, along with their child’s interest.

New this year to the Baytown location includes Extended Care — a supervised childcare program for students enrolled in a morning and/or afternoon Kids at College Summer Camp. Extended Care is available Mon.-Fri., June 3-Aug.2, for the low cost of $25 per week or $175 for the entire summer (excluding the week of July 1-5, 2019). Parents can take advantage of child drop-off 8-9 a.m., supervised lunch 12-1 p.m. (child provides own lunch), and child pick-up 4-5 p.m.

In addition, the Center for Workforce and Community Development will offer Rebel Date Night June 22 and July 20. Parents may drop off and pick up their children (ages 5+) anytime between 5-10 p.m. for just $26 per child. Students will enjoy a fun evening of movies, games, and crafts while parents enjoy their own fun night out! Registration is required.

For more information or to register your child for a summer camp, visit the Kids at College website at www.lee.edu/kids or call 281.425.6311.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Great Plains Honors Council Recognizes Outstanding Lee College Honors Students

IMPACT Early College High School senior and Lee College Honors Program graduate Maria Gelves has won the prestigious Dennis Boe Award for a paper she wrote for the Lee College honors course, The Human Condition, taught by Jerry Hamby and Dr. Georgeann Ward. A Marxist critique of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Gelves’ paper is titled “Manifesting a ‘Biological Destiny’: Handmaids as ‘Sacred’ Instruments of Production in Gilead’s Industrial Theocracy.”

The Boe Award is determined by the Great Plains Honors Council in a highly competitive, blind judging of outstanding scholarly writing from collegiate honors programs in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

“Students learn so much from revising their work for competition and adapting their ideas for live audiences. Academic conferences and competitions like the Boe Award raise the stakes for student work and help them achieve clarity and a strong sense of purpose with their ideas,” Dr. Ward explained.

Because Gelves completed her Associate Degree in December, she entered the Boe competition for students who had earned 60+ hours of college credit, making her competition quite advanced.

In addition to winning a cash award and a plaque, Gelves will present her paper in a special session at the Great Plains Honors Council Conference at the University of Texas at Tyler in April.

Joining Gelves at the Great Plains Conference, several other Honors Program students will present papers that they wrote for the Human Condition: Marleah Downes, Dinah Lemonier, Amy Waltz-Reasonover, Ryan Lara, Noe Sanchez and Lindsey Sanford. Lara, Sanchez, and Sanford are all, like Gelves, IMPACT ECHS students.

Human Condition instructor Jerry Hamby added, “Maria is one of those students who demonstrate ever more sophisticated levels of intellectual curiosity, pushing themselves with every new assignment. She has a natural talent for writing, but, more importantly, she knows how to work for her success. Earning the Boe Award is the payoff.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.