, Port Arthur, Texas

December 30, 2013

Novelist to headline PA Chamber Jan. 28 banquet

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce will have its 114th Annual Banquet on Jan. 28 with internationally known speaker and novelist Andy Andrews serving as guest speaker.

The annual fundraiser is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Drive in Port Arthur.

Chamber members will also honor one of the city’s own, Sam Monroe, this year’s Arthur E. Stilwell Award recipient during the annual fundraiser.

Carl Parker, the 2012 recipient, will present Monroe with the award at the Chamber banquet.

This award, the second since it was first established a year ago, is given to a person who lives or works in Port Arthur and demonstrates the creative vision proven by Arthur E. Stilwell when he founded the city in 1895.

Monroe, a lover of history and longtime president of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, said he was honored to receive an award named after the founder of Port Arthur.

As last year’s recipient of the award, Parker was named chairman of the committee in charge of selecting a new recipient of the annual award.

“I cannot think of anyone who has done more for the city of Port Arthur than Sam Monroe,” Parker said in an earlier interview. “He is very deserving and I am pleased to have been part of naming him.”

Monroe, 71, announced his retirement from Lamar a month ago, after serving as the college’s president for 39 years.

During his tenure, starting as president in 1974, the college has grown from its original four buildings situated on three acres, to 29 buildings on 50 acres. The campus’ value has grown from $3 million in 1975 to $110 million.

Student enrollment has increased from 151 students in the Spring of 1975 to 3,124 in the Fall of 2013. Faculty and staff has increased to keep pace with the student population, from 12 in the mid-1970s to 250 today.

Most recently, under Monroe’s leadership, the college is planning to build new dormitories to house 80 to 100 students in the city’s downtown — an area that would likely have been abandoned had it not been for Lamar’s presence.

“We are excited as always to have the banquet so we can thank those people who served last year and to honor Dr. Monroe with the Arthur E. Stilwell Award,” Bill McCoy, Chamber president, said. “ We are also really excited to have author and master story teller Andy Andrews to come speak to us. Andrews call himself a talker rather than a speaker, and we think he will draw a big crowd.”

Andrews, 54, is an American author of self-help/advice books and a corporate speaker, known for his 2002 bestselling book The Traveler's Gift. He has written more than 20 books and sold more than 3.5 million copies around the world.

Three of his books, The Noticer, The Traveler’s Gift, and "How Do You Kill 11 Million People?" appeared on The New York Times Best Seller List. Andrews has appeared on The Fox News Channel, Good Morning America, MSNBC, TBN.

During the reception, new chamber directors, including new board chairman Mitch Osborne, will be recognized. Retiring directors and outgoing chairman of the board Conrad Cooper will also be honored for their service.


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