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.

Risk Management Institute offers free course on ‘Surviving Violent Encounters’

BAYTOWN, TX — With Americans still reeling from tragic shooting incidents in Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas and around the country, the Risk Management Institute at Lee College is offering a free course this month to help community members recognize the signs that lead to a violent encounter and learn what to do to survive.

“Surviving Violent Encounters” will be held from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, in the Phyllis Davis Room at the Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development, located at 909 Decker Drive in Baytown. The class is free to attend and open to the public – particularly employers and employees in the health care, human resources, social services, hotel, retail, education and public safety industries who are at higher risk of being attacked, as well as anyone interested in enhancing their own personal safety. Participants can register online at www.lee.edu/rmi or contact the workforce center for more information at 281.425.6311.

In the “Surviving Violent Encounters” course, students will develop a better understanding of five basic indicators that a violent situation may occur to give them a tactical advantage if necessary. The instructor will use real-life scenario practice drills, team activities, role playing, video vignettes and guided discovery to help students assess their own preparedness and identify and utilize strategies for surviving violent encounters. Students will be able to take the skills they learn and immediately apply them in the workplace, community and home.

Funded through a donation from Texas Mutual Insurance Co., the Risk Management Institute was created to offer free seminars, workshops and training classes on health and safety for employers, employees, seniors and the general public. The institute’s tagline, “You are priceless. Safety knowledge is free,” reflects its goal of providing free safety education for the Baytown area and surrounding 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.

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.

Risk Management Institute hosts free Distracted Driving Course, open to public

BAYTOWN AND LIBERTY, TX — Distracted drivers are responsible for approximately nine deaths and more than 1,000 injuries each day, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. In efforts to educate the community and provide greater insight into the consequences of driving while distracted, the Risk Management Institute at Lee College will provide a free Distracted Driving Course. The National Safety Council Distracted Driving Course, provided by the National Safety Council, will change drivers’ behavior and attitudes about distracted driving. The course intends to decrease the number of vehicle collisions in the community. The course is free to attend and open to the public, including employers, employees, students, adults, and young drivers.

The Risk Management Institute will hold the class at both the Baytown and Liberty locations.

Baytown, Texas:
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017
Time: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Location: Phyllis Davis Room, 909 Decker Drive, Baytown, TX 77520

Liberty, Texas:
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
Time: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Location: Lee College Education Center – South Liberty County, Room 122, 1715 TX-146, Liberty, TX 77575

Seating is limited, and registration is required. To register for the class, call 281.425.6311 or register online at www.lee.edu/rmi/.

This course is informative and engaging, and has an interactive format to educate participants about the science of distracted driving, myths about multitasking, impact of distracted driving, financial and legal ramifications, state and federal laws, and much more. Companies with employees who operate vehicles, as well as parents with driving-aged children, are encouraged to attend.

A certificate of completion is provided after successfully completing the course. This training is not admissible for ticket dismissals.

“Reading or sending one text is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 mph, with your eyes off the road” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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 Adult & Travel Program hosting showcase of tours for next year

Free event will detail 2018 trips to Australia, Portugal, California, and New York

Cape Cod trip group photo
More than 70 travelers stop for a picture during the sold-out Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program trip to Cape Cod and the Islands in August, which include guided tours and visits to Boston, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The program will host a free showcase Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Tucker Hall on campus to highlight new tours planned for 2018, including Australia, Portugal, California and New York.

BAYTOWN, TX — For first-time participants Barbie and Gerry Plocheck, the allure of taking a trip with the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program was simple: all the arrangements for transportation, accommodations and activities would be made for them — they needed only to pack their bags, board a charter bus in Baytown and head off on their August adventure to Cape Cod and the Islands.

Senior adults can learn more about following in the footsteps of the Plochecks and dozens of other happy travelers at the 2018 Travel Showcase set for 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Tucker Hall on the Lee College campus. Program Manager Lynne Foley and representatives from Collette Vacations and Premier World Discovery will detail all the trips planned for next year, including Australia, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands; Portugal, the Estoril Coast, Alentejo and Algarve; the Pacific Northwest and California; and New York City and the Hudson Valley. Refreshments will be served.

“We’ve traveled a lot on our own but we’d never traveled on a completely guided and arranged group trip,” said Barbie Plocheck, who especially enjoyed the walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, spending time on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and having the chance to get acquainted with new friends. She and her husband are already thinking about joining the upcoming trip to Australia, a destination on their bucket list.

“It’s much easier; you don’t have to make any decisions, and there is always someone there to call on if you need something,” she said. “They choose outstanding places, and we saw all the highlights we would have wanted to see had we planned it all on our own. It was perfect.”

Though DeAnne Duvall and her husband, Les, have been retired for 5 years and taken trips together with the Senior Adult & Travel Program, she thought the Cape Cod tour would be a great time to reconnect with her girlfriends. Like her, many of the people she met had previously traveled with Lee College and were eager to do it again.

“Everybody was extremely positive and fun. They want to travel and have someone else do all the legwork,” said Duvall, a former teacher who appreciated how Foley and the tour guides made everyone feel safe, comfortable and welcome. “I loved that all we had to do was get on the bus and go. They made sure we were all taken care of, and there were no worries about booking an airline ticket, finding places to park, making hotel reservations or anything like that. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences.”

For more information about the 2018 Travel Showcase or getting involved with the Lee College Senior Adult and Travel Program, contact Foley at 281.425.6311 or lfoley@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 hosts free open houses for launch of Risk Management Institute

UPDATE (Oct. 13, 2017): The event in Liberty has been cancelled.


BAYTOWN and LIBERTY, TX – The Center for Workforce and Community Development (CWCD) at Lee College will host an open house for the debut of its Risk Management Institute. Thanks to a generous donation by Texas Mutual Insurance Company, the Risk Management Institute was created to offer free seminars, workshops, and safety training classes on health and safety for employers, employees, seniors, and the general public. The Institute’s tagline touts, “You are priceless. Safety knowledge is free,” and reflects the Institute’s goal of providing free safety education for the Baytown area and surrounding communities. Members of the media are welcome and encouraged to attend.

When: 10 a.m.-11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

Where: Phyllis Davis Room, 909 Decker Drive, Baytown, TX, 77520

Details: The open house will celebrate the opening of the Risk Management Institute. Door prizes will be available and refreshments will be served. Immediately following the open house, the CWCD will provide a “Safety First” workshop from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., with instructors from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Seating is limited, and registration is required. To register for the event, call 281.425.6311 or register online at www.lee.edu/rmi.

The CWCD will also host an open house at its South Liberty County location. Immediately following that event, the institute will provide a “Rebuilding – How To and Where to Start” workshop from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., with instructors from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Industry leaders, personnel, students, and the general public affected by Hurricane Harvey are encouraged to attend this free course. Seating is limited, and registration is required. To register for the event, call 281.425.6311 or register online at www.lee.edu/rmi.

Other upcoming free safety courses provided by the Risk Management Institute include:

OSHA Recordkeeping
When: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. , Friday, Nov. 10, 2017
Where: Phyllis Davis Room, 909 Decker Drive, Baytown, TX 77520
Instructor: Cindy Lewis

Surviving Violent Encounters
When: 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017
Where: Phyllis Davis Room, 909 Decker Drive, Baytown, TX 77520
Instructor: Peter Harrell

The Art of Conflict Resolutions
When: 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, 2017
Location: Lee College Education Center – South Liberty County, 1715 TX-146, Liberty, TX 77575
Instructor: Peter Harrell

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.