Dade Phelan, State Representative for Texas House District 21, gave the commencement address at the Lamar State College – Orange 2015 Summer Commencement on Aug. 14 at the Lutcher Theater in Orange.

Born in Beaumont, Phelan is a 1994 graduate of Kelly High School and received his bachelor’s degree in Government and Business from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998. Mr. Phelan is a former legislative staff member to State Representative Mark Stiles, U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey and State Senator Tommy Williams.

Since 2006, Phelan has been a commercial real estate developer. His 4th generation firm owns and operates over 2.5 million square feet of retail, industrial and office property in Texas and Arkansas.

Mr. Phelan is two time Governor appointee to and former president of the Lower Neches Valley Authority.  He recently served as a board member to Southeast Texas CASA, Golden Triangle Coastal Conservation Association, The Jefferson Theater Society, Saint Anne Catholic Church and as board secretary of Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas. 

In his first session representing House District 21, Phelan was named to the powerful Appropriations Committee as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and the Elections Committee. Capitol Inside Magazine recently honored him as one of the 84th Session’s Freshman Superlatives. 

His wife, Kim, is a solo practitioner attorney and together they have four boys, Ford, Mack, Hank and Luke. 

Three graduates of Lamar State College-Orange graduated with the designation of summa cum laude, with “highest honors.”  Summa cum laude designation includes those students with grade point averages of 3.8 to 4.0.  The local students with this designation were Nicole Marie Hope-Smith, Vidor and Leslie Paul Areceneaux, Orange.

Magna cum laude, or “high honors” designation, is awarded to graduates who earn GPAs of 3.65 to 3.79. Local students receiving this recognition were Kathryn Elizabeth Petry, Jacob Andrew McShan and Ryan Allen Burns, all of Orange; Telisa Anne McAbee, Bridge City and Dana Marie Copeland, Vidor.

Two students graduated cum laude, or with “honors” designation, with GPAs of 3.50 to 3.64. Amy Alyssa Lyons, of Orange, was the local student to receive this honor. 

Please join us in congratulating all of our graduates on their academic accomplishments. Graduates are listed below according to hometown and degree earned:

Associate of Arts Degree:

Bridge City: Shayla Leigh Stankus, teaching 1

Orange: Victoria Elizabeth Romano Aaron and Shelbi Nichole Wiggins Smith, teaching 1 and Tonie Pauline Picard, teaching 2.

Associate of Science Degree:

Orange: Heather Marie Lloyd, business; Phillip Aaron Pollock, criminal justice; Constance Renee’ Forward, liberal arts; John Bernard Blanda, James Q. Ingram and Ashley Faye Turner, natural science.

Associate of Applied Science Degree:

Orange: Leslie Paul Arceneaux, Timothy Wade Burch, Ryan Allen Burns, Hunter C. Duhon, William Kyle Ellis and Jacob Andrew McShan, process operating technology.

Certificate of Completion:

Bridge City: Richard Paul Nelson, safety, health & environment; Courtney Rae Jones, Telisa Anne McAbee, Kelsey Denee Roy,and Cristina Maribel Sanchez, vocational nursing.

Mauriceville: Whitnee Mechelle Collins, dental assisting.

Orange: Phillip Aaron Pollock, criminal justice corrections; Davia Lee Asevedo, Larecia Janae Brown, Sirena Ann Jack, Amie Alyssa Lyons, Melissa Michelle Monson, Kathryn Elizabeth Petry, and Shelbey Wiggins, dental assisting;  Leslie Paul Arceneaux, Timothy Wade Burch, Ryan Allen Burns, William Kyle Ellis, and  Jacob Andrew McShan, process technology; Candice Marie Dixon Anderson, Abygail Elaine Avery, Justin Wayne Bradley, Ashley Latrice Brown, Lauren Argo Campbell, Lacy Joy Carver, Joseph Lee Chwaliszewski, Steve-Ann Moore Daigle, La’Tisha ReNee’ Dandridge, Tommie Lyn James Daniel, Ashley Morgan Davis, Nancy Delafuente, Samuel David Early, Constance Renee’ Forward, Lindsey Brooke Thompson Garrett, Destiny Marie Garza, Caitlin Elise Gideon, Sylenna Yvonne Langston, Shuntreal Dazhanique Roberts, Tisha K. Stephens and Connie Renee Hughes Wooley, vocational nursing.

Starks, LA: Jessica Anne Berry, vocational nursing.

Vidor: Leah Wade Copeland and Cryslynn Michelle Young, dental assisting; Olivia Raye Bobbitt, Andrea R. Cruz, Chelsea Alexandra Powell, Aimee Elizabeth Carmona Simmons, April Lynn Smith, Nicole Marie Baker Smith, Ginger Ann Swearingen, and Randi Nicole Tinkle, vocational nursing.

Vinton, LA: Macee Elizabeth Ann Simon Smith, dental assisting.

Institutional Awards:

Orange: Angel Nicole Cross, Michael Gene Manshack, Jr. and Cory Allen Rogers, emergency medical tech-basic.