Annually, Lee College holds its Foundation Fund Raising Gala. It is that time, as the Gala will be held on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019 at the Sylvan Beach Pavilion in La Porte. Festivities begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. The Foundation has been in existence for 50 years, while the Gala will be celebrating its 34th anniversary this year. In addition to a marvelous reception and delicious dinner, the Gala includes five exciting live auction items, highlighted by Houston Rockets tickets, as well as many silent auction treasures.
This is a community event. It brings together Baytown and the surrounding communities most generous and student center residents, who not only care about Lee College, but who want to help students succeed. These are people you know. They are paying back what was paid forward to them by someone during their earlier educational and professional careers.
As its main fundraiser, the Lee College Foundation Gala raises money to support students in many different ways. Among those ways are helping pay tuition and fees, pay for textbooks, and assist with emergency funding such as bus passes, gas cards and child care support. It is surprising how some of today’s simplest challenges can turn into major barriers to pursuing a college certificate or degree. College students tend to be the most vulnerable, as they are still learning about who they are and what the future holds for them. They are learning about being independent, how to manage their time and their resources. They are beginning to acquire responsibilities, whether it be as parents, caregivers or providers.
With this week’s Tropical Storm Imelda, which reminded us of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, it does not take much to disrupt lives. These disruptions, for some students, derail their plans to receive a college education. One thing that I can tell you is a certain, once a student pauses their pursuit of a college degree, the risk that they never return increases dramatically. It is incumber on all of us to not let that student “stop” out, as stopping out is all too often the precursor to dropping out.
As I look back over the eight years I have been at Lee College, I realize just how impactful our employees have been, such as Pam Warford, the Executive Director of Resource Development and the Foundation. She and her staff do amazing work every single day to find resources that will help our students be successful. Among those stellar employees are Sagan Greenville, Keri Hurlbut, Clarissa Martinez and Laurie Oehler. As the Vice President overseeing this area, Dr. Angela Oriano provides valuable direction and guidance to this powerful team.
The Lee College Foundation Board is made up of caring and committed community representatives who give of their time to help raise the funds that are needed to support our students. As I list the names of Board members, you will see why the Foundation is so successful: Jennifer Marcontell, Chair, Judy Wheat, Vice Chair, Gary Englert, Treasurer, Weston Cotten, Ryan Dagley, Stephen DonCarlos, Lynne Foley, David Frazier, Roy Fuller, Wayne Hanson, Suanne Heinrich, Bennie Kadjar, Nancy Mann, Carl Pickett, Gilbert Santana, Rusty Senac, Laurie Terry, Connie Tilton, Doug Walker, and our Emeritus members John Adams, Reggie Brewer and Paul Edwards.
As this will be my last Gala prior to my retirement, I am looking forward to seeing many of the wonderful friends I have made during my time as President. I would love to see you at the Gala. You will have an amazing experience. Come on out…I know you will like it.
To obtain information about attending the Gala and donating to the Lee College Foundation, call Sagan Greenville at 281.425.6303. See you there!
Dr. Dennis Brown is President of Lee College.