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.

‘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

EnergyVenture Camp Invites First-Time Students to Apply for Scholarships

BAYTOWN, TX – The Center for Workforce and Community Development’s Kids at College program at Lee College is excited to invite first-time students to apply for a scholarship to this summer’s EnergyVenture Camp. With the help of industry partner, ExxonMobil, full scholarships are available to qualified students covering all fess associated with camp activities.

EnergyVenture is an intensive 36-hour week-long day Kids at College Summer Camp designed to help students ages 12-14 years old develop their focus on the energy industry and the career opportunities it holds. The program was developed for young students to learn through fun, hands-on STEM experiments and activities in science and computer labs, in hopes to increase awareness of the good paying, high skill jobs available in the industry.

EnergyVenture Camp will run June 4-8, and July 9-13, Mon.-Thurs. from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Fri., 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. To apply for a scholarship, parents or guardians must bring their child’s Texas School ID, School Report Card, or Progress Report to 909 Decker Dr., Baytown, TX, 77520. Students must be 12 years of age on or before the first day of camp.

“EnergyVenture camp is a gem in our community,” said Angela Oriano, Ph.D., Vice President Workforce & Corporate Partnerships. “The camp helps to foster students along a career path to the Gulf Coast’s energy industry.”

For more information about EnergyVenture 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 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Foundation to award $590K in scholarships for 2017-18

Adrian Touchstone speaks at a lectern.
Lee College alumnus Adrian Touchstone shares with guests at the 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala how receiving a scholarship from the foundation helped him complete his associate degree and find greater meaning and purpose in a life once characterized by drug addiction, prison stints and wrongheaded thinking. The foundation announced that proceeds from the gala and generous contributions from donors will allow $590,000 in student scholarships to be awarded for the 2017-18 academic year.
BAYTOWN, TX — As hundreds of friends and supporters bid on auction items, enjoyed dinner and listened to stories of student success at the 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala last weekend, the foundation announced that proceeds from the fundraising event and contributions from donors will allow $590,000 in scholarships to be awarded to students this academic year.

The awards — $440,000 in endowed scholarships and $150,000 in technical scholarships — will be available to all Lee College students: those enrolled in courses full-time or part-time, in dual-credit classes where high-school students can earn college credits, in non-credit classes offered by the Center for Workforce and Community Development, and in the Huntsville Center correctional education program.

“The Foundation Board of Directors is always focused on helping students succeed, persist and complete their goals for their education,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development, as she addressed gala underwriters, sponsors and guests. “Thank you for helping us to meet their needs.”

After a 20-year battle with drug addiction that kept him cycling in and out of prison, Lee College alumnus Adrian Touchstone welcomed faith into his life and made the decision to take ownership of his actions. A scholarship from the Lee College Foundation helped open the door to higher education and the chance to continue his transformation into a stronger, wiser and better man.

Now pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Houston Clear Lake, Touchstone maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA while at Lee College and graduated in May 2017 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in drug and alcohol abuse counseling. He hopes to be an inspiration and source of encouragement for others facing challenges similar to those he has conquered.

“There have been times in my life that I have been hopeless. I had a backwards way of thinking. Love isn’t supposed to hurt, but selfishness and entitlement caused me to a hurt a lot of people who did love me,” said Touchstone, who shared his story at the gala and drew a standing ovation.

“Life began to change when I figured out I was the problem,” he said. “I began a journey to seek meaning, and this has all been made possible by your generosity. Without your commitment, countless individuals would not have the support they need to have one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives.”

Like Touchstone, many Lee College students would be unable to complete their chosen program without financial assistance from the foundation. For Samantha McDonnel, a teacher education major and mother of two who also works full-time in the Office of Financial Aid, an award from the foundation allowed her to cover tuition after spending the money she saved for her education to repair damage her home sustained during Hurricane Harvey.

“I am thankful for the foundation and to all of its donors for giving,” McDonnel said. “When you donate, you’re investing in someone. You’re investing in your community. You are bridging the gap between what could be and what will be.”

Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown echoed that sentiment, telling donors and gala guests that their financial support proved their belief in the college and support of its mission to help students create better and brighter futures through quality higher education.

“We have a great opportunity to help students earn the degree or certificate they need to move forward into their careers with the skills, knowledge and ability to perform in any industry,” Brown said. “It’s not enough to get students into Lee College; we have to get them through Lee College.”

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.

After Harvey postponement, Lee College Foundation ready to host 32nd annual gala

BAYTOWN, TX — After postponing its annual gala in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and making a generous donation to the Lee College Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to help hundreds of students recover from the storm, the Lee College Foundation is finally ready to host its premiere event that raises much-needed funds for scholarships and other forms of student support.

The 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala will be held this Friday, Nov. 10, at Sylvan Beach Pavilion. The gala is highly anticipated each year by Lee College supporters and individual and corporate donors throughout the community, who provide critical financial help to students pursuing a college education while enjoying an evening of dinner and entertainment.

“Many of our students get started on their education but run into financial obstacles that take them off course,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “Donations to the foundation enable them to persist in their classes until they earn their degree or certificate. It’s really about persistence.”

With nearly 400 guests in attendance and $175,000 raised, the 31st annual Foundation Gala held last year was an overwhelming success. Despite the difficulties experienced by those hit hardest by Harvey, the Foundation Board of Directors is hopeful this year’s gala will again be one for the record books.

“Our foundation, from the generous support of our gala, creates opportunities for students who may not otherwise have them,” said Jennifer Marcontell, the newly elected chairwoman of the board.

Under the board’s leadership, the foundation 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.

“We expect some effects from the recent storm setback, but we know that our patrons look forward to this event each year and will continue to support our efforts as they can,” Marcontell said. “We all benefit when our students succeed.”

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.

Foundation looks to gala to help students persist

Postponed after Harvey, Foundation Gala now set for Nov. 10 at Sylvan Beach Pavilion

BAYTOWN, TX — After making its own generous donation this semester to help Lee College students affected by Hurricane Harvey afford the costs of tuition, textbooks, transportation, food and even home repairs, the Lee College Foundation is preparing to host its annual gala in November and raise funds to ensure students can continue their education and finish what they started.

“Helping our students to recover quickly in order that they may focus on their education is in keeping with our board’s mission,” said Jennifer Marcontell, chairwoman of the Foundation Board of Directors. Board members make decisions for and lead the activities of the foundation, including raising outside funds to fulfill student needs and awarding scholarships to thousands of deserving recipients.

“Our first priority is to our students and their education,” Marcontell said. “Education creates opportunities and opens doors. We want this for as many young people as possible in our community.”

To date, 174 students have received financial assistance from the college’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established shortly after the storm reached the local area. Contributions from the foundation and corporate and individual donors have been used to pay Fall 2017 tuition bills, purchase textbooks lost or washed away in floodwaters, buy gas or bus fare, and help fix home damages.

“It’s really about persistence,” said Pam Warford, executive director of Foundation and Resource Development. “Many of our students get started on their education but run into financial obstacles that take them off course. Donations to the foundation enable them to persist in their classes until they earn their degree or certificate.”

Now, the board is hoping for another record crowd at the 32nd annual Foundation Gala set for Friday, Nov. 10, at Sylvan Beach Pavilion. The gala, which was initially postponed out of respect for those who suffered losses in Harvey, is the premiere event to raise money each year for scholarships and other forms of student support.

“Our foundation, from the generous support of our gala, creates opportunities for students who may not otherwise have them,” Marcontell said. “We expect some effects from the recent storm setback, but we know that our patrons look forward to this event each year and will continue to support our efforts as they can. We all benefit when our students succeed.”

As chairwoman of the board, Marcontell’s goal is to provide encouragement and experience for her fellow “incredibly hard-working members.” Additional officers also elected to serve in 2017-18 include Judy Wheat as vice-chairwoman and Gilbert Santana as treasurer.

“I believe in education and I believe in Lee College,” Marcontell said. “I believe that the work we do to support our students in receiving an excellent education will benefit our community for generations to come.”

For more information about the foundation or to purchase tickets for the 32nd annual Lee College Foundation Gala, 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.

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.