The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Lamar State College-Port Arthur is nearly unrecognizable from the class of 40 that attended in October 1909, the year the school opened.
“Times have changed at the college through the decades,” LSC-PA President Sam Monroe said at lunch on Tuesday.
Today, the college enrolls approximately 3,000 students. Those students come from all over the Golden Triangle and Southwest Louisiana, and take classes via on campus, online, high school dual enrollment at Nederland and Memorial High Schools and even the federal state prison system. LSC-PA enrolls approximately 500 students a year in the prisons.
The incarcerated students take classes like automotive technology, heating ventilation and air conditioning, Monroe said, and all of them can enter a program that allows the credits to transfer to a four-year university upon release.
“These persons are one of these days going to be out of prison, and looking for a meaningful way to make a living,” Monroe said. “It’s a pretty emotional experience to go into the prison graduation. These people are finishing something positive in their lives, and many of them for the very first time."
LSC-PA has 50 on-campus programs and is introducing several new programs this fall, Monroe said, including graphic design, music audio/visual production and accounting. Criminal justice, teaching, business and academic studies will now be available online, as well as a nursing program that elevates a student from LVN to RN status so that they can then take a state license exam.
“It’s unique in the state of Texas,” Monroe said. “Our online nursing program attracts hundreds of students, with some 80 counties represented.”
Monroe also touched on House Bill 2473, which would provide authority for the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation to spend city funds on student housing. The bill, carried by Rep. Joe Deshotel and Sen. Tommy Williams, was recently signed by Gov. Rick Perry.
“We’re talking about a project that could result in a dormitory on campus,” Monroe said. “We look forward to the effort to try to make that deal with the city and the EDC a reality.”