A member of The Texas State University System, Lamar University provides educational opportunities that prepare graduates to meet the needs of a constantly evolving, technology-driven economy.
Founded in 1923 as a junior college, Lamar University today is a comprehensive four-year institution, with enrollment of more than 14,000 students, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Lamar, a four-year state-supported institution, became a member of The Texas State University System in 1995. Defining characteristics of Lamar are small class sizes, distinguished faculty and research opportunities.
The Lamar University campus is located in Beaumont, Texas. With a population of more than 115,000, Beaumont is a diversified city, home not only to the university but also to businesses and industries stemming from a strong petrochemical and agricultural base. World-renowned companies are located in Beaumont to take advantage of the area’s resources and its educated workforce.
A host of cultural attractions offer a variety of leisure options from museums and symphony presentations to shopping districts and many spring and fall festivals. A civic center, convention center, entertainment complex and coliseum draw professional entertainers and a wide variety of business, social and professional groups to the city. Beaumont is convenient to lake, river and ocean recreation, located only a few miles from the balmy Gulf Coast and little more than an hour from the Big Thicket National Preserve, large lakes and piney woods.
The university offers courses of study leading to more than 60 undergraduate degrees, 47 master's degrees and doctoral degrees in engineering, chemical engineering, educational leadership, deaf studies / deaf education and audiology.
Lamar University originated on March 8, 1923, when the South Park School District in Beaumont authorized its superintendent to proceed with plans to open “a Junior College of the first class.” On Sept. 17, 1923, South Park Junior College opened with 125 students and a faculty of 14. Located on the third floor of the South Park High School building, the college shared the library and athletic facilities with the high school. In 1932, separate facilities were provided and the name of the institution was changed to Lamar College, to honor Mirabeau B. Lamar, second president of the Republic of Texas and the “Father of Education” in Texas.
On June 8, 1942, as a result of a public campaign, a new campus was purchased and classes were held for the first time on the present-day campus in Beaumont. After World War II, the College grew to 1,079, and the Honorable Jack Brooks introduced a bill in the Texas House of Representatives to make Lamar a state-supported senior college. The Legislature approved House Bill-52 June 4, 1949, creating Lamar State College of Technology effective September 1, 1951. Lamar was the first junior college in Texas to become a four-year, state-supported college. Lamar continued to grow, building strong programs in engineering, sciences, business, education and the arts. In 1962, a graduate school was established offering master’s degrees in several fields.
In 1969, an extension center was opened in Orange. The Doctor of Engineering degree was established in 1971. In the same year, House Bill 590 became law, changing the institution’s status from college to university. Lamar State College of Technology, with an enrollment of 10,874, officially became Lamar University on August 23, 1971. In 1975, the long-standing, private two-year Port Arthur College became Lamar University at Port Arthur. The Lamar University System, of which Lamar University-Beaumont was the flagship, was established in the 68th Session of the Texas Legislature with the passage of SB 620, which took effect in August 1983.
In 1990, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recommended that all two-year programs at Lamar University be combined into the Lamar University Institute of Technology. Programs in the former College of Technical Arts, along with Allied Health, Office Technology and Restaurant/Institutional Food Management moved to the new Institute. The Doctor of Education in Deaf Studies/Deaf Education was established at Lamar University in 1993, the Doctor of Audiology in 2003, the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in 2004, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering in 2005.
Lamar’s commitment to quality higher education has been steady and progressive, anticipating the evolving needs of its students. To facilitate this commitment, the Texas Legislature approved House Bill 2313 to merge the Lamar University System with The Texas State University System (TSUS) effective September 1, 1995. On June 19, 1999, the Texas Legislature approved House Bill 1297 to rename Lamar University at Port Arthur, Lamar University at Orange and the Lamar University Institute of Technology. Today, these separate TSUS institutions are known as Lamar State College at Port Arthur, Lamar State College at Orange, and the Lamar Institute of Technology.
As a comprehensive university granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, Lamar University continues to enhance its instructional, service, and research missions. Lamar’s growth has produced an economic impact that exceeds $238 million annually, but even more influential is the impact of Lamar University graduates, who are more than 71,000 strong.
Led by President Dr. James Simmons since 1998, the 270-acre campus houses six academic colleges. These are Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Fine Arts and Communication, and Graduate Studies. Within each college are academic departments and programs. Each college is headed by a dean, and each department is headed by a department chair. Each college contributes to the growth and development of the region, not only through its direct educational mission, but also through programs that provide special benefits to Southeast Texans.
A board of nine regents, appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate for terms of six years, governs The Texas State University System. The Board of Regents delegates the direction of university affairs to the presidents, campus administrative officers and faculty.
Lamar University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the Associate, Baccalaureate, Master’s and Doctoral levels. In addition, Lamar is approved by the Texas Education Agency.
Several departments and programs are accredited by professional agencies. In the College of Engineering, the programs in Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Computer Science is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The undergraduate and graduate programs of the College of Business are accredited by AACSB-International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Lamar's teacher education programs are are approved by the Texas Education Agency, the State Board of Educator Certification and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Other accreditations include Nursing by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission; Department of Music by the National Association of Schools of Music; Dietetics program by the American Dietetic Association; the program in Social Work by the Council on Social Work Education and programs in Speech-Language Pathology by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and in Deaf Education by the Council for Education of the Deaf. The University also is a member of many academic councils, societies and associations.
The College of Engineering administers seven research centers under the Texas Center for Technology Incubation, drawing more than $50 million for research since 1988. The College of Business' undergraduate and graduate programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction earned by less than 16 percent of business schools worldwide. The Texas Board of Nurse Examiners has cited Lamar's BSN program with commendations three years in a row for outstanding student achievement. Now, the nursing program also offers a master's degree.
State-of-the-art residential living is the standard at Lamar with the construction of Cardinal Village. Cardinal Village is home to 2,500 students, who enjoy access to a pool, a weight room, laundry rooms and stylish study areas. Most students living in Cardinal Village are from beyond the local area, bringing more dollars into the Southeast Texas economy.
In Spring 2006, Lamar opened a $6.2 million dining hall. The top-notch facility offers a variety of cuisines as it draws architectural inspiration from a visual palette of textures, patterns and furnishings and dining options for students expanded three fold. Its innovative design offers exhibition cooking, which allows students to see what is being prepared. It also presents fresher, hotter food, with ovens and grills built only feet away from serving areas.
Students approved the renovation of McDonald Gym to create a new recreational center, currently under construction. The $18 million Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Center features courts for all types of athletic and recreational sports, a climbing wall, an indoor track, table tennis, pool tables, game rooms and other facilities.
With annual operating budget of more than $103.8 million and a work force of almost 2,000 people, full and part time, Lamar is a vital force for growth in Southeast Texas. The school has an economic impact of more than $238 million on the region.
More than 70 percent of Lamar's full-time faculty have doctoral degrees, allowing students to learn first hand from accomplished professors. Lamar also maintains a low student-faculty ratio, meaning classes are smaller and teachers know their students by name. Smaller classes pay off for students, who receive more individual attention and hands-on learning opportunities.
Lamar University offers academic, athletic and cultural activities for Southeast Texas residents. The Montagne Center and other LU venues draw more than a quarter of a million visitors during the year. Lamar University is a member of the Southland Conference, participating in men and women's basketball, golf, track & field, cross-country, tennis, women's soccer and volleyball, and baseball. Lamar is in the process of bringing back its football team, having hired Head Coach Ray Woodard in Summer 2008 and beginning renovation of Cardinal Stadium, now named Provost Umphrey Stadium. The Cardinals will begin playing again in Fall 2010 and be eligible to compete for the conference title again in 2011.
Learn more by calling (409) 880-8888 or visit BeACardinal.com.