After Harvey, Lee College Foundation opts to reschedule annual gala for November

BAYTOWN, TX — As residents in the local community continue to recover after Hurricane Harvey, the Lee College Foundation has decided to postpone its 32nd annual gala until November.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 21 at Sylvan Beach Pavilion, the Lee College Foundation Gala is now set for Friday, Nov. 10, at the same location. Foundation board members decided to delay the event — which raises money for scholarships and other forms of student support — out of respect for those affected by Harvey and working to rebuild after the storm.

“There are some who were virtually unaffected by Harvey, but there are many that were devastated,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “In respect for those who are suffering, we felt that a postponement was in order. We care very much about those with losses, but still know that our mission is to assist students in their pursuit of higher education.”

The foundation will be sending letters about the rescheduled gala to all those who have already received invitations, with additional correspondence to follow. For more information about the Lee College Foundation Gala or donating to the foundation, contact Warford at 281.425.6361 or pwarford@lee.edu.

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.

College to unveil new campus STEM hub, welcome special guests

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and national Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) next week with the grand opening of a new campus hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and special guest appearances from artist and author Marlon “Marley” Lizama and entrepreneur and recording artist Stefani Vara.

Marlon Lizama
Marlon Lizama

The kickoff for the HSI Week festivities will be the unveiling of the newly renovated STEM Hub at 11:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 18, in Moler Hall. Funded by a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the original STEM center opened in 2013 to provide students with a dedicated space on campus to use the Internet and printing, receive free tutoring and meet with study groups. The new hub is also funded through the federal HSI STEM grant, which is designed to increase awareness, enrollment and completion of STEM degrees among Hispanic students and other underserved populations.

Lizama — a poet, writer, author and dancer who focuses on the cultural aspect of writing and the arts — will be the special guest speaker at 9:30 and 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center. He is currently the program director of Iconoclast Artist, a creative writing program that focuses on underserved schools and juvenile detention centers. He has published two student anthologies of poetry through Iconoclast and is also the author of “Cue the Writer: Cheers to the Notion of Love, Hate, God and Revolution,” a collection of short stories and poetry from a young immigrant’s perspective. The recipient of the 2015 John P. McGovern Award for his work in the community with the arts, Lizama has traveled to more than 40 countries to advance his mission of using the arts as a tool to connect with others and change lives and perspectives.

Stefani Vara
Stefani Vara

Vara will be the special guest for two “Follow My Feet” sessions at 9 and 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 20, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center. An entrepreneur, professional foot model and recording artist who was raised by fierce Latina women in humble surroundings in Baytown, she has learned that her voice is her strongest asset and life is about diving headfirst into the unknown to blaze your own trail. Now committed to using her varied life experiences to give back to her community, Vara shares her personal journey in her “Follow My Feet” campaign to encourage others to realize their dreams are achievable and nothing is beyond their reach.

HSI Week at Lee College will also include a bash and informational table at the Student Center and gazebo; games of loteria, or Mexican bingo; an open mic session; and the “What’s Your Label” panel discussion hosted by the MAS Raza Collective student organization. All events and activities are free and open to the public. For a full schedule, visit www.lee.edu. For more information, contact Victoria Marron at 281.425.6501 or vmarron@lee.edu, or Daisy Aramburo at 832.556.4026 or daramburo@lee.edu.

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.

Lee offers late-start fall classes, raises funds to aid Harvey victims

College also creates new payment plan to help students better afford tuition this semester

BAYTOWN, TX — After opening its doors as a shelter for local residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Lee College is continuing its efforts to support students and employees through recovery by offering late start registration and flexible payment plans, and raising money for those in need.

Late start classes

It’s not too late for students who were unable to make the Sept. 5 start date for the fall 2017 semester to enroll in classes at Lee College this term.

The college is offering a late start 13-week session that will begin Monday, Sept. 18, and an 8-week session that will begin Monday, Oct. 23. Registration for both sessions is now open and additional classes are available. For more information, contact the Student Success & Advising Center at 281.425.6384 or counselor@lee.edu.

Flexible payment plans

The college has introduced a new payment plan after Hurricane Harvey to help make the cost of tuition and fees more affordable this fall.

Students can make a 25 percent down payment and pay off the remaining balance with three additional payments in October, November and December. Students can also make a 50 percent down payment and pay off the remaining balance over two additional payments in October and November. Students can enroll in their chosen payment plan online through Friday, Sept. 22. For more information, contact the Business Office at 281.425.6324 or visit www.lee.edu/businessoffice.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

Just after the storm hit the area, Lee College launched the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to benefit students, faculty and staff facing unforeseen hardships. Many of those in need of help have lost textbooks and other belongings due to flooding, or need assistance with the costs of transportation, food and other items. To donate to the fund, visit www.lee.edu/harveydonations or contact Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development, at 281.425.6361 or pwarford@lee.edu.

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.

Senior adults to receive free entry & food Sept. 12 at volleyball game

Special invitation extended to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, helping with recovery

Senior Adult Night at Lee College Volleyball
Volunteers with the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program have collected and washed loads of clothes, donated money, provided meals and offered a helping hand to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The program invites all senior adults in the community to enjoy a night away from the rigors of the recovery process Tuesday, Sept. 12, with free entry and food at the Lady Rebel Volleyball home game against San Jacinto College. From left: John James, Carolyn James, Karen Knight, and Carolyn Buntin.

BAYTOWN, TX — The Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program invites senior adults — particularly those impacted by Hurricane Harvey or hard at work helping their affected neighbors – to enjoy a night away from the rigors of the recovery process next week when Lee College Volleyball takes on conference rival San Jacinto College.

The Lady Rebels will hit the court at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the Sports Arena on campus. Seniors will get free entry to the game and free pizza, popcorn and drinks with a photo ID.

“The senior adult program each year offers this fun night in partnership with Lee College Athletics,” said Lynne Foley, program manager. “This year we would like to invite as special guests all senior adults impacted by the storm, and also the great senior adults volunteering in our community to join us.”

The program will also be collecting canned goods to support the Lee College Food Bank, which helps students in need — and the Lady Rebels have designated the game “First Responders Appreciation Night” in recognition of the first responders across the community who helped to rescue and assist those in need during the storm.

For more information about Senior Adult Night at the Lee College Volleyball game against San Jacinto College, contact the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 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.

Lee students selected for scholarships to pursue careers in chemical industry

Lee College students selected to receive scholarships this year.
Lee College students selected to receive scholarships this year from the Community College Petrochemical Initiative attended a recognition luncheon Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, at the ExxonMobil office in Baytown. Pictured (l-r): Woody Paul, Manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant; Dr. Christina Ponce, Lee College Executive Vice President; students Crisol Napoles, Edmeade Prentice and Christopher Patterson; Dr. Angela Oriano, Lee College Vice President of Workforce & Corporate Partnerships; and Dr. Dennis Brown, Lee College President.

BAYTOWN, TX — After leaving school 10 years ago to focus on his family, Christopher Patterson willingly accepted a pay cut to be able to return to Lee College and finish what he started: pursuit of an associate degree.

Now majoring in process technology, Patterson is one of three Lee College students who will receive scholarships this year from the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI). Crisol Napoles and Edmeade Prentice were also selected and joined other scholarship recipients Aug. 3 at the ExxonMobil office in Baytown for a recognition luncheon. In total, CCPI awarded $45,000 in scholarships to 38 students from all nine community colleges along the Texas Gulf Coast that can be used for tuition, fees, books or other training program expenses.

Funded through a grant from ExxonMobil, CCPI is a collaboration of the Texas Gulf Coast community colleges to recruit and train the next generation of petrochemical and construction trades workers for the Houston-Galveston region. Since its launch five years ago, ExxonMobil has contributed more than $2 million to CCPI to support training in petrochemical fields like computer-aided drafting and design, electrical technology, instrumentation, machine technology, millwrighting, pipefitting, process technology and welding. Lee College is the lead institution in the initiative.

“I have an analytical mind and as I dive into process technology, I always want to know more,” said Patterson, who will graduate from Lee College in a year. “The CCPI scholarship means so much to me. I had to make several sacrifices in order to come back to school and even though it may be hard work, I know it will pay off for me and my family in the long run.”

Potential salaries average nearly $100,000 a year for skilled workers in the growing chemical manufacturing industry, and companies are projected to need more than 50,000 new workers in the Gulf Coast area over the next 10 years. In a keynote address to the scholarship recipients, Mike Zamora, director of Americas Regional Manufacturing for ExxonMobil Chemical, praised the work of the CCPI and noted the wealth of opportunities awaiting students as they prepare to embark on petrochemical careers.

“The Community College Petrochemical Initiative partnership is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when employers and educators work together,” Zamora said. “Encouraging and developing a well-educated and skilled workforce is vital to the industry’s success in meeting a growing global demand for chemical products and continuing economic growth and prosperity in Gulf communities.”

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.

Huntsville Center featured on Houston Public Media’s ‘Houston Matters’

Award-winning public affairs show highlighted center’s 51-year history in prison education

Grandon Warren, Krista Gehring, and Donna Zuniga
Lee College Huntsville Center Dean Donna Zuniga (right) and Transition Specialist Brandon Warren (left) appeared July 27, 2017, on Houston Public Media’s “Houston Matters” radio show to discuss the effort to provide Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates the opportunity to earn college credits while still behind bars. Krista Gehring (center), a criminal justice faculty member at the University of Houston – Downtown, was also part of the panel. The Huntsville Center is one of the oldest and largest correctional education programs in the country and graduated nearly 200 students in June, the most in its 51-year history.

BAYTOWN, TX — The Lee College Huntsville Center, one of the oldest and largest correctional education programs in the country, was recently featured on “Houston Matters,” an award-winning public affairs radio show that airs weekdays on Houston Public Media and explores people, places, issues and ideas unique to the city and region.

Huntsville Center Dean Donna Zuniga and Transition Specialist Brandon Warren joined “Houston Matters” host Craig Cohen on July 27 to discuss prison education and the effort to provide offenders incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) the opportunity to earn college credit while still behind bars. The Huntsville Center offers associate degree and certificate programs in academic and technical fields to a growing enrollment of more than 1,200 students across six TDCJ units.

In June, the Huntsville Center celebrated the graduation of nearly 200 students – the largest class in the program’s 51-year history. Recidivism data show that offenders who receive education while in prison are significantly less likely to return upon release; in fact, more than 90 percent of Lee College graduates never return to prison after re-integrating into society.

To listen to Zuniga and Warren’s full interview on “Houston Matters,” visit www.houstonpublicmedia.org.

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.

Campus concealed weapon policy set to go into effect Aug. 1

New campus carry rules apply to all students, faculty, staff and visitors; full details online

BAYTOWN, TX — In accordance with the state law allowing individuals with a concealed handgun license to carry a handgun on the campuses of all Texas public colleges and universities, Lee College will implement its new Campus Concealed Weapon Policy on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

The full text of the Lee College Campus Concealed Weapon Policy is now available online at www.lee.edu/campus-carry, along with responses to frequently asked questions. The new campus carry rules will apply to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors across the college district, including the main campus and the McNair Center in Baytown.

There are several key points about the policy to remember:

The open carry of handguns on the Lee College campus is still prohibited. Under concealed carry, no person should notice that someone is carrying a gun. The outline of a gun should not be visible through their clothing or bag.

  • Only persons who have a license to carry a concealed weapon can bring a handgun on campus. Any certified peace officer may also carry a gun on campus.
  • License to Carry holders must carry their hand guns on or about their person, or secure their handgun in a locked motor vehicle at all times while on campus. Lee College does not provide storage for handguns.
  • Only handguns are permitted under the Campus Carry Policy, not rifles or other long guns.
  • There are areas on campus defined by state law or designated by the president as exclusionary zones, where the concealed carry of handguns will be prohibited. These areas will be clearly marked with signage notifying License to Carry holders that entry with a concealed handgun is prohibited.

After Gov. Greg Abbott signed Texas Senate Bill 11 into law in summer 2015, Lee College convened a task force of administrators, faculty, staff and students to draft the initial campus carry policy. The task force also conducted town hall meetings and focus groups to solicit insights and feedback from stakeholders both on and off campus. The Lee College Board of Regents approved the final policy in June.

“At Lee College, safety is a priority for our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Steve Evans, vice president of Finance and Administration. “Lee College leadership has been working closely with stakeholders to develop policy and procedures for this new law, as well as to determine how the law will be implemented.”

For additional information about the Lee College Campus Concealed Weapon Policy, visit www.lee.edu/campus-carry.

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.

Lee students experience ancient, modern China for Study Abroad 2017

Lee College Study Abroad 2017 in China: Group photo
Lee College students and faculty explored historical and cultural sites in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai this summer on the Study Abroad trip to China. The Study Abroad program provides students the opportunity to travel to another country while also earning credit for their Lee College degrees. From left: Instructor Sunny Jiang Schultz, Abigail Vernier, Cameron Lieck, Lucas McCrary, Saige Willingham, Emily Blumentritt, Shianne Willingham, Camila Acuna, instructor Chris Whitaker, Kayla Medina, Justin Mathews, and Jazmine Rodriguez.

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College Study Abroad students spent nine days in China this summer exploring the ancient and modern sides of the world’s most populous country at historic and cultural sites in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai — and all while earning valuable academic credits in the process.

“I could make it through all my degrees and never leave Texas, but I wouldn’t be very cultured,” said Justin Mathews, one of six Study Abroad students who received a scholarship to help fund the trip and shared lessons learned with the campus community in mid-June after the group’s return to Baytown.

While discussing American and Chinese attitudes toward each other over 250 years of shared interaction, Mathews noted that many of the Chinese people he encountered there — particularly children and youth — were eager to approach the students for photos and conversation.

“I couldn’t communicate very well, but I still built bonds,” he said. “Our generation has been raised in an era of globalization with technology and social media; we’ve opened up. People are breaking down walls through acts of friendship and kindness.”

Study Abroad provides students the opportunity to explore another country while also earning credit for their Lee College degrees. The program was revived at the college in summer 2015 with a trip to Great Britain, Ireland and Wales. Since then, Study Abroad students have also traveled to Belize, China and Costa Rica; Germany is the next destination slated for summer 2018.

Before traveling abroad, students enrolled in specially designed English, humanities and history courses taught by instructors Sunny Jiang Schultz and Chris Whitaker, who also accompanied them to China. The courses helped prepare the students for all they would see and experience on the trip, which included visits to the Forbidden City; Tienanmen Square; the Great Wall of China; the Shaanxi Provincial Museum; and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Students also visited a local school in Beijing, took in Tang Dynasty and acrobatics shows, participated in a tea ceremony and dined on Peking Duck and other Chinese cuisine.

When they got back to campus, students delivered presentations on a variety of topics to illustrate how much they learned — from traditional Chinese medicine and common food choices, to Chinese treatment of natives and minorities, Chinese voyages of exploration and the differences between ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy.

“The trip was really great, but the people I went with were amazing,” Schultz said. “I saw Lee College students’ strength as they pursued their dreams, took initiative, persevered, had fun and enjoyed. It was a very rewarding experience.”

For more information about Study Abroad at Lee College, contact Nader Naderi, chairman of International Education, at nnaderi@lee.edu.

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.

Lee College Foundation prepares to award fall 2017 scholarships, host annual gala

Foundation relies on individual & corporate donors to support hundreds of worthy students  

Lee College Foundation scholarship recipient Thomas Sweeney
Lee College Foundation scholarship recipient Thomas Sweeney speaks at the annual Foundation Scholarship Breakfast in April about the scholarship awards that enabled him to pursue higher education and enjoy an enriching and rewarding campus experience. All students at Lee College are eligible for foundation scholarships, which are funded through the generosity of private and corporate donors throughout the community.

BAYTOWN, TX — The fall 2017 semester begins next month and the Lee College Foundation is preparing to award scholarships to hundreds of deserving students both new to campus and returning to continue their journey to a degree or certificate.

Many scholarship recipients would be unable to afford tuition, textbooks and other essentials without the generosity of private and corporate donors throughout the community who give to the foundation. Nearly two dozen of the new scholarships to be awarded for 2017 were sponsored by individuals – families, alumni, former employees and friends of the college among them – who believe in the importance of higher education and want to support students in reaching their dreams.

“Individuals and businesses in this community have made life-altering changes for so many of our students by providing them with financial support,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “Many students just don’t have the means to pay for college, or they work and go to school simultaneously. For their community college, these advocates for education have enabled students who have the ability and the desire to achieve a degree and create a better life for themselves and for their families. I am so grateful to each of them for their continued support.”

All Lee College students are eligible to receive scholarships, regardless of their program of study or enrollment status. The Foundation Board of Directors awarded more than $470,000 in the 2016-17 academic year to full-time and part-time students, high school students earning college credit in dual-enrollment classes, offenders in the Lee College Huntsville Center correctional education program, and students taking non-credit classes through the Center for Workforce and Community Development. In addition, the foundation maintains a Student Success Fund to help students facing extraordinary circumstances pay for college-related expenses.

Though a straight-A student throughout his career at Dayton High School, Thomas Sweeney arrived at the crossroads between high school and college unsure of which way to go. He knew he could succeed academically, but difficult family circumstances meant he was limited financially. Lee College was his choice for its affordability compared to other options, and he was ultimately awarded the foundation’s Rockwell Fund and Sam Bramlett Memorial scholarships.

“I was raised in a household where I didn’t really have a whole lot of opportunities,” said Sweeney, who shared his story in April at the annual Foundation Scholarship Breakfast, just one semester away from graduation. “My dad worked a job that he didn’t particularly care for and he wasn’t in the best of health, but he persevered because he saw the value of education. That’s why he pushed my sister and I really hard in school to be successful.”

After taking several Lee College Honors Program courses and becoming involved in student organizations on campus, Sweeney was selected to present original research at two academic conferences and said he gained a greater appreciation for thinking critically about the world around him. His “enriching and self-fulfilling experience” in college would likely have been unattainable without foundation support.

“I can honestly say these generous scholarships took quite the weight off my shoulders,” Sweeney said. “It was a very rewarding experience to have my hard work receive recognition so I could continue my educational career with the peace of mind of having my financial needs taken care of. The foundation donors and board have my sincerest and deepest appreciation and respect for their generosity in allowing students like myself, and many other diverse students, the ability to achieve our goals and ambitions.”

Planning is now underway for the 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala, which benefits student scholarships and other forms of support. For more information about the gala or giving to the foundation, contact Warford at 281.425.6361 or pwarford@lee.edu.

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.

Research by Lee alum leads to historical marker at Double Bayou Dance Hall

American Studies thesis sets foundation for state recognition of hall known for Texas blues

Photo of the historical marker. Caleb Moore and John Britt stand on either side.
Lee College alumnus Caleb Moore (left) joins retired instructor John Britt at the Double Bayou Dance Hall on Saturday, June 24, 2017, to celebrate the dedication of the official Texas State Historical Marker recognizing the hall’s significance to surrounding communities. Moore completed a thesis for Britt’s American Studies course that focused on the dance hall and led to the marker being erected at the site in Chambers County.

ANAHUAC, TX — Before he began researching the Double Bayou Dance Hall in Chambers County to complete his thesis for the American Studies course offered through the Lee College Honors Program, alumnus Caleb Moore had never heard of the little one-room gathering spot on the “Chitlin’ Circuit” where blues legends like T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner stopped to perform on their way to Houston.

Now, many of the facts that Moore uncovered for his research paper grace a Texas Historical Marker recognizing the dance hall’s significance to the predominately African-American community of Double Bayou and those who flocked to it for generations, eager to end a hard day’s work by dancing to the rich sounds of Texas blues filling the rafters and spilling into the surrounding woods.

Established in the late 1920s and constructed of wood, hog wire, and cedar logs under a tin roof, the original dance hall structure was destroyed by a storm in 1941 and rebuilt nearby just after World War II. For Moore, an honored guest at the historical marker dedication ceremony hosted in late June by the Chambers County Historical Commission, it felt good knowing he played a role in ensuring the story of the Double Bayou Dance Hall will endure even if the building itself does not.

“If people don’t write the history down, it disappears,” said Moore, who graduated from Lee College in May 2013. “Now the dance hall has something that will stay, something that’s set in stone. People can look at the marker to remember and learn about their heritage.”

The American Studies class combines American literature and history, using an interdisciplinary approach to help students examine American culture and gain an understanding of how literature reflects historical events. Retired instructor John Britt started the course and was team-teaching with faculty member Kathleen Sydnor when Moore settled on the Double Bayou Dance Hall as the focus of his final capstone project, which requires students to complete a research paper about an event of literary or historical significance.

“Lee College is one of only a few community colleges in the country with an American Studies program,” said Britt, a past executive committee member of the Chambers County Historical Commission and an award-winning author and historian. “I suggested the topic and (Moore) ran with it. He dove right into the research.”

At the dedication ceremony, descendants of the dance hall’s owners and members of the community listened to live music and reminisced on good times over old photos, mementos and plates of barbecue. Moore was surprised to see his own aunt in one of the shots in the photo archive, reminding him of the lesson he learned while working on the thesis that ultimately brought the historical marker to Double Bayou.

“You can think something doesn’t have anything to do with you, but everything in this world has a connection to you,” he said. “You just have to take the time to learn history, talk to people and explore the world around you.”

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.