Lamar University announced today that the Valero Energy Foundation – the charitable arm of Valero Energy Corp. – has donated $1 million to create scholarships for students in the College of Engineering.  The gift, which will create an endowment for the purpose of awarding the Valero Scholarship in Engineering, is the largest corporate gift specifically for student scholarships ever received at the university.

“Valero has been a faithful supporter across the board of the many initiatives of the college,” said Jack Hopper, dean of the College of Engineering and executive assistant to the president for economic development and industrial relations. “This contribution specifically for student scholarships, both undergraduate and graduate, is a tremendous boost to our recruiting and retaining outstanding students, and we are very grateful to the men and women of Valero for their support of our students.”

Valero’s support of Lamar University dates back to its purchase of the Port Arthur refinery in 2005.  Valero has provided co-op and intern positions for Lamar University students, joined as a leader in organizing and developing the college’s Industrial Partnership, actively served the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce’s committee on advancing new technologies at the university, and serves on the Texas Air Research Advisory Board, which provides support for initiatives to promote the value of the university’s research to the petroleum industry.

“The Valero Energy Foundation proudly supports education and is honored to present this gift to Lamar University to establish the Valero Scholarship in Engineering endowment,” said Greg Gentry, vice president and general manager at the Port Arthur refinery.  “It has always been part of Valero’s culture to make a difference in the communities where our employees live and work. Valero recognizes the remarkable contributions of Lamar University in the field of engineering, and since many Valero engineers are Lamar University alumni, we are pleased to help future engineering students achieve their goals.”

Texas State University System Chancellor Charles Matthews recalled the discovery of oil on Spindletop Hill on Jan. 10, 1901 in remarks to the assembly and noted how it has defined the region as an industry leader in petroleum.  He thanked the Valero leadership for being a good corporate neighbor by making opportunities available for students.

Valero Energy Corporation is a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio with approximately 22,000 employees and 2008 revenues of $119 billion. The company owns and operates 16 refineries throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean with a combined throughput capacity of approximately three million barrels per day, making it the largest refiner in North America. Valero also owns and operates seven ethanol plants in the midwest with a combined capacity of 780 million gallons per year and is one of the nation’s largest retail operators with approximately 5,800 retail and branded wholesale outlets in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean under various brand names including Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Shamrock, Ultramar and Beacon.

The gift from Valero brings the total of contributions received in Lamar University’s Investing in the Future comprehensive campaign to $58 million toward the campaign goal of $100 million, officials said.

The College of Engineering is one of five academic colleges at Lamar University, a comprehensive public university in Beaumont. LU offers more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs with both on-campus and online courses. For information on becoming a student, visit or call (409) 880-8888.