How about a little trivia? Where is the best place to work and live? Well, of course, that would be Lee College and Baytown. All too often we take for granted what is right in front of us. For over 85 years this community has been blessed with an outstanding community college. Lee College is engrained in the fabric of this community. It has changed many lives in a positive way, led graduates down successful professional pathways, and brought regional and national recognition to our community.
In turn, Baytown has helped shape Lee College. From the generations of residents who have experienced what it means to attend and graduate from college, to business and industry that has benefitted from a highly trained workforce to mange their operations and run their highly technical facilities and equipment, Baytown has been a partner in Lee College’s success. The financial support that this community provides Lee College ensures that your higher education institution is able to offer the best and cutting-edge certificates and degrees. I have been a resident of this community and president of Lee College now for seven and a half years, and not once during that time has a resident ever said to me that they were unhappy with the College or with the financial support that they give to the College.
When the Board of Regents this fall selects the next president of Lee College, that person will walk into a college and a community that embraces both higher education opportunities for all, is friendly, supportive and generous. As I have said many times, one of the fondest memories that Darlene, Mercedes and I will carry with us wherever the future takes us is how we were welcomed, made to feel like family, and though not born and raised in Baytown, treated as if we had been. How amazing is that. It is a symbiotic relationship that has benefited both the college and the community.
I am excited for the future of Lee College and Baytown. Not only is the relationship solid, but both are growing and there are many new and exciting opportunities ahead. Over my career, I have interacted with many other college presidents. I can assure you that what we have here in Baytown is not typical, it is special. In my time at Lee College, I have had the pleasure of working with Mayor Capetillo, Mayor DonCarlos, Baytown City Council members, Baytown City Manager Rick Davis, Goose Creek School District Trustees and Superintendent Randal O’Brien, Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital staff, including CEO David Bernard, and a host of business leaders and residents. I cannot wait for Lee College’s new president to experience what I have experienced. Working with ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips and Covestro has been both a pleasure as well as exciting. I always felt the support of these petrochemical giants, and their support of Lee College.
I could go on and on. However, as I complete my final seven months at Lee College, I look back and can honestly say what a great decision I made in accepting the opportunity offered to me by the Board of Regents to lead this outstanding institution. The nine-member Board, composed of Mark Hall, Chairman, Gilbert Santana, Vice Chairman, Weston Cotten, Secretary, Gina Guillory, Assistant Secretary, and members Pete Alfaro, Daryl Fontenot, Mark Himsel, Judy Jirrels and Susan Moore-Fontenot, have been supportive and focused on the best interests of Lee College and this community. I cannot think of a better place to work and live. The memories will last a lifetime.
Dr. Dennis Brown is president of Lee College.