“It’s all to help students better themselves and get better jobs and help our area grow with those good jobs.”

That is the goal of the Lamar State College-Orange Foundation, a group comprised of 13 members, who spend each academic year raising funds for potential LSC-O students. Board member Carlton “Corky” Harmon says the Foundation and its members have raised more than 500,000 dollars since the implementation of the scholarship fund 20 years ago. During the 2009-2010 school year alone, they awarded students with 65,000 dollars worth of scholarships.

“We think scholarships are very important,” said Harmon. “It gives opportunity to people who couldn’t normally afford to go to college. This way, they can learn something and hopefully come back to the area and get a good job. It also helps to keep them in Orange and helps the college grow.”

The students who received the awards were selected by the LSC-O Scholarship Committee, working in consultation with area guidance counselors. The committee looks for recipients who are interested in bettering themselves and who want to fully take advantage of all that LSC-O has to offer them. In the past several years, the Foundation has hosted a black tie “gala” night at the campus Student Center, which acted as the main scholarship fundraiser for the year.

This year, the Foundation received additional support for the scholarship fund from local business, Temple Inland. The company donated 3,724 dollars to the Foundation as part of their “Observations for Others” campaign, a safety behavior observation program that turned their safety observations into charitable giving. Employees donated one dollar after each behavior-based safety observation and then donated the collected money to various charities, including presenting the Foundation with a check in May.

“It was great. I wish more people and more businesses could do the same thing,” said Harmon. “The money will go straight into our scholarship fund and will help students with their finances now and then on throughout their lifetime.”

Aside from raising scholarship money, the LSC-O Foundation has another main goal in mind: acquiring land and buildings for the college. Since its inception more than 30 years ago, the Foundation has acquired more than 40 pieces of property, all for expansion of the LSC-O campus and for future development. Some of the pieces of property were acquired by the Board of Directors and some were donated over the years.

“The Foundation still holds some of that property to sell for scholarships or to acquire other properties in the future,” said Harmon. “All of it is for raising money to buy scholarships or to expand the campus.”

Just recently, they acquired the old Orange Leader Building at 200 West Front Street, as well as another residential lot next to it. Both are within walking distance of the campus.

The building was constructed in 1964 by James B. Quigley and his family for $200,000.

Harmon said that the Foundation really believes that a city with a college or a university will and should continue to grow.

“We know that expansion has to happen,” he said. “It can’t die out.”