Lee College announced as a finalist for three 2017 AACC Awards of Excellence

Lee College has been announced as a national finalist for the 2017 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Awards of Excellence in three separate categories: Advancing Diversity, Faculty Innovation and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership. It is the second consecutive year that Lee College has been named an AACC Award of Excellence triple finalist.

Nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions across the United States are members of the AACC and eligible for the Awards of Excellence each year. The winners for the 2017 awards cycle will be announced in April at the 97th annual AACC convention in New Orleans.

The AACC Advancing Diversity Award recognizes the college that has contributed significantly and over a sustained period of time to advancing diversity in community college leadership, the community and within higher education as a whole. This is the first year that Lee College has been named a finalist in the Advancing Diversity category.

Treva Brown-Askey, chairwoman of the Developmental Education Division, has been nominated to receive the AACC Faculty Innovation Award, which recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated leadership in the development and implementation of a campus program that has had positive impact on the learning experience for students. The outcome of the program must also result in the improvement of student completion numbers within a course or degree field, and nominees for the award are expected to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to student access and success. Brown-Askey was previously named a finalist in the Faculty Innovation category in 2016.

The AACC Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership Award honors local, regional and national collaboration between a college and corporate partner that has achieved demonstrable, multi-year success in advancing the mission of the institution; the economic prosperity of a community, region or the nation; and the learning excellence of students. Lee College was previously named a finalist in the Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category in 2016.

Lee College was chosen as the winner of the 2015 AACC Award of Excellence for Student Success for its work to engage the entire campus and community in creating a college-going culture that ensures a successful student experience from high school through higher education. Lee College was also a national finalist for the AACC Award of Excellence in the Exemplary Board/CEO category in both 2015 and 2016.

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College awards first-ever posthumous degree to process technology student

Spencer Hall was the ideal college student: driven, engaged, hard-working and big-hearted with an intelligence and strong depth of character that shined through his easy-going personality and warm sense of humor.

A process technology major who started Lee College courses while still enrolled at Barbers Hill High School, Hall earned a scholarship and internship through Enterprise Products and had plans to follow his father’s footsteps into a career in the petrochemical industry. Walking across the stage in May to receive his Associate of Applied Science degree was supposed to be the next stop in his journey — but a tragic, fatal accident changed everything.

“It’s always hard when there is a loss like this one,” Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown said this month at a special ceremony where Hall became the first Lee College student ever awarded a posthumous degree. Faculty, administrators and members of the Board of Regents dressed in full academic regalia for the occasion.

“Today is about recognizing and celebrating a young man who was important to his family and the Lee College family,” Brown said. “Going to college is not easy. Working while going to college is not easy. Spencer was that close to getting his degree and so today, we’re going to finish it. This is his graduation. This is his commencement ceremony.”

In the wee hours of a cold Friday morning in early January, Hall and two friends slipped their flat-bottomed boat into the Carancahua Bay between Port Lavaca and Palacios and set out for a day of duck hunting but failed to return to shore as expected. More than a day after the trio headed off on their hunting trip, the U.S. Coast Guard found their bodies in the Matagorda Bay.

The Lee College Board of Regents voted in January to award Hall his posthumous degree.

“From the very first day of class, I noticed Spencer because he sat in the front row and was always on time and ready to go,” speech instructor Mandy Mays told the Hall family at the degree ceremony, noting the way he easily related to his classmates and showed genuine concern for others. “In one semester, your son changed 25 people’s lives.”

Instructor Bryant Dyer praised Hall’s natural talent for and understanding of process technology and the way he was able to make both his instructors and fellow students instantly feel comfortable in his presence. “We will always carry a piece of him with us,” Dyer said.

A charter member of the Eagle Heights Fellowship in Mont Belvieu, Hall was devoted to his faith and enjoyed volunteering his time to work in KidZone, Trek and with homeless ministries and nursing home residents.

“He had a lot of life and he really enjoyed everything he did,” said his mother, Anita Hall, before she and his father accepted the degree on their son’s behalf. In her arms she held a photo of a grinning Spencer dressed in his blue high-school graduation cap and gown.

“His faith was very important to him; even if he didn’t always talk about it, it came through in who he was,” Anita Hall said. “It’s that same faith that allows us to smile, knowing that he is OK and we will be too.”

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Women’s History Month celebration set for Tuesday in McNulty-Haddick

Historical photos of women's rights activists

Lee College will observe National Women’s History Month this Tuesday, March 7, with guest speakers, music, an art exhibit and more that celebrate the extraordinary achievements of American women whose courage and contributions helped build the country.

The Women’s History Month event will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Student Government Lobby inside the McNulty-Haddick Complex on campus.

Now a monthlong celebration recognized across the United States, Women’s History Month began in 1981 when Congress authorized and requested the president proclaim the week of March 7 as “Women’s History Week.” At the urging of advocates and activists and following similar actions in several states, Congress extended the observance to an entire month in 1987. Today and in perpetuity, Women’s History Month commemorates and encourages the study and celebration of the vital role women have played throughout American history.

This year, Women’s History Month carries the theme, “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business” in honor of women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force.

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STEM Day 2017 draws more than 500 local students for hands-on discovery

More than 500 students from seven local independent school districts programmed robots and computers, created polymers, uncovered the secret of music, engineered heartbeats, typed blood and measured vital signs, flew drones, developed their own video games and more at the annual STEM Day on campus.

Supported through the college’s federal Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) STEM grant, STEM Day gives high-schoolers the opportunity to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through hands-on discovery and a variety of interactive demonstrations.

Students chose from more than a dozen different sessions — all taught and led by Lee College faculty, staff and students — on anatomy and physiology; biology; chemistry; computer science; instrumentation and electrical technology; engineering and engineering technology; forensic science; logistics and supply chain technology; network maintenance technology; physics; team building; and welding and welding inspection technology.

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Weekly Wellness from Jason Summers

Blue exercise balls and other training equipment

Tricks to sneak strength training into a busy day
Take everyday activities and make them muscle moments

By UnitedHealthcare Healthy Mind Healthy Body

According to the experts: You can build and maintain your muscle strength with just two strengthening workouts a week.* But even those regular workouts might sometimes get pushed aside when you’re pressed for time — and what then?

Give some of these ideas a try. They might inspire you to find a few fun muscle moments of your own.

Get sneaky for strength

Remember, a little exercise beats doing nothing. The following ideas don’t replace regular workouts — but they can help you fit in strength exercises even during your busiest days:

During work breaks, do lunges. Find an out-of-the-way spot for these, or combine them with a quick walk.

On the phone or at the sink, do heel raises. Strengthen your calves while scrubbing dinner plates or taking a call.

At the stove, do squats. Do a few sets while waiting for water to boil.

At the microwave, do bicep curls. Use soup cans while your leftovers reheat.

In the laundry room, do wall pushups. Fit in a few when you’re waiting for a load of clothes to finish drying.

While watching TV, use resistance bands or a stability ball. Work your arms or abs (core) as you enjoy your favorite show.

The strength advantage

Muscle workouts can give your mood a lift too. Strength training may help boost self-esteem and confidence.

Staying strong makes everyday activities easier — from lifting groceries to tackling household chores. But that’s just the beginning. Among other benefits, a regular strength-training routine may help you:

— Hold off bone loss and frailty as you age
— Prevent falls that can cause broken bones
— Reduce arthritis pain
— Control your weight
—  Sleep better

*Weekly workouts should include all major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level.

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Black History Month celebration ends Tuesday with documentary screening

A smiling white man and black woman stand and talk

Lee College will end its annual celebration of Black history and culture this Tuesday, Feb. 28, with a screening of the documentary “Tomlinson Hill” at Edythe Old Studio. The screening will begin at 2 p.m.

Set in Marlin, “Tomlinson Hill” takes it name from the Texas slave plantation that was once the defining landmark of the region. The story focuses on a pair of descendants — Loreane Tomlinson, who is black, and Chris Tomlinson, who is white — who return to find a crumbling community still divided along class lines and on the verge of either economic revival or ruin.

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Posthumous degree to be awarded to process technology student Thursday

Spencer HallLee College will award this week a posthumous degree to Spencer Hall, a 2016 alumnus of Barbers Hill High School who completed dual-credit process technology classes and would have graduated from the college in May.

A special ceremony for Hall will be held at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 2, in the third-floor lobby of the Advanced Technology Center.

In the wee hours of a cold Friday morning in early January, Hall and two friends slipped their flat-bottomed boat into the Carancahua Bay between Port Lavaca and Palacios and set out for a day of duck hunting — but they never returned to shore as expected.

More than a day after Hall and his companions set out on their hunting trip, the U.S. Coast Guard found their bodies in the Matagorda Bay. All three were dead, and so was Hall’s beloved hunting companion and black labrador retriever Beaux.

The Lee College Board of Regents voted in January to award a posthumous degree to Hall, who worked as an intern at Turner Enterprises and had accepted a job offer at Enterprise Products that was to begin after he earned his Lee College degree.

Known for his passion for duck hunting and fishing, Hall was a charter member of the Eagle Heights Fellowship in Mont Belvieu. He was devoted to his faith and enjoyed volunteering his time to work in KidZone, Trek, and with homeless ministries and nursing home residents. Family and friends say he was loved by all who knew him and will be remembered for his witty and fun personality.

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Lee College hosting “Bowl-A-Thon” Thursday to benefit Empty Bowls Houston

Children and adults examine dozens of pottery bowls on a table

Ceramists looking for a way to put their hands to work for a good cause should mark their calendars for the “Bowl-A-Thon” at Lee College, which will support Empty Bowls Houston in the fight against hunger in the local community.

The Bowl-A-Thon will be held from 6-9 p.m., Thursday, March 2, in the Ceramics Studio inside the McNulty Haddick Building. Participants will create ceramic bowls to be donated to Empty Bowls Houston for their annual lunch fundraiser benefiting the Houston Food Bank. Clay, wheels, firing and glazing will all be provided by the Ceramics Department.

Empty Bowls is an international effort that calls on ceramists, woodturners and artists to collaborate in creating unique, one-of-a-kind bowls. For a minimum $25 donation, diners at the Houston fundraiser will be given a simple meal of soup and bread and have the opportunity to choose a bowl from more than 1,000 pieces. The empty bowls serve as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the local community and throughout the world.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to the Houston Food Bank, which feeds 800,000 people across South Texas each year through a network of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other hunger relief charities.

For more information about the Lee College Bowl-A-Thon, contact Jennifer Herzberg at 281.425.6484 or jherzberg@lee.edu.

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World-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra swinging into the PAC on Sunday

The world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra – known for the legendary dance bandleader who founded the beloved group and dominated the Swing Era of the 1930s and 1940s with a matchless string of hit records – will bring the classic sounds of big-band music to the Lee College Performing Arts Center (PAC) next month.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform on the PAC main stage at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, March 5. Tickets are $20-40 and available for purchase online, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

First launched by Miller in March 1938, the orchestra is now an 18-member ensemble that continues to play many of his original arrangements. The group’s repertoire also includes modern selections arranged and performed in the iconic Miller style and sound, and music from the famed Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band that entertained servicemen in live concerts and radio shows during World War II. Fan favorites like “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” are all part of the regular program, along with lesser-known tunes like “The White Cliffs of Dover,” “Rainbow Rhapsody” and “Everybody Loves My Baby.”

In true big-band fashion, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is on the road longer and more continuously than any other in the world – covering more than 100,000 miles per year and working nearly every night for 48 weeks out of the year. The orchestra performs for more than 500,000 people annually, entertaining crowds throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia and South and Central America. “Moonlight Serenade,” the beautiful theme of the orchestra in the 1940s that was composed by Miller himself, remains their signature tune today.

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‘Treat yourself like royalty:’ Annual male etiquette luncheon celebrates kings

Participants in the fifth annual Strong Etiquette Male Luncheon — including more than a dozen young men from local elementary and high schools — were crowned with gold and encouraged to discover, respect and reflect the king within them at the event sponsored in part by the Black Educational Access & Completion Committee (BEACC).

“Part of success is being prepared,” said Marcus King, an assistant basketball coach and adviser to the Reaching Excellence Against Limitations (R.E.A.L.) student organization. “Today is part of us preparing you for that moment when etiquette matters.”

Seated at tables in the Rundell Hall Conference Center and served a three-course dinner by waitstaff, luncheon guests learned how to properly conduct themselves at a restaurant or fine dining establishment. Instructions included everything from setting the table and using the right silverware, to avoiding sensitive topics of conversation.

Students from Drew Elementary School in Barrett Station and the Peter Hyland Center in Baytown were among the special guests at the event. Lee College has adopted Drew Elementary as a “College Bound School” and provides mentors from the R.E.A.L. organization to its students, among other educational programs and services, as part of its commitment to promote a college-going culture in the community.

After a performance by a local praise dancing group, each man and boy at the luncheon was given a golden crown and urged to remember their inner king.

“You need to treat yourself like royalty,” King said as the luncheon came to a close. “We need all the positivity we can get. You’re setting an example for the future.”

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