Lamar State College Orange lived up to its vision of being a place of hope and opportunity today when the college signed a student transfer agreement with Texas Southern University.

The transfer agreement was only part of the celebration, though, as Texas Southern University President, Dr. Austin Lane, offered full scholarships to a group of LSCO’s Early College High School students from West Orange-Stark High School.

Tears and cheers filled the Shahan Events Center as Dr. Lane announced the scholarships from the stage during the signing ceremony in front of LSCO faculty, staff, and students, as well as representatives from TSU and West Orange Cove Consolidated Independent school district.

“This partnership with TSU allows us to achieve both our vision and our mission,” LSCO President Dr. Johnson said of college’s vision of being Where Hope Meets Opportunity and mission of Transforming Lives. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about our students and knocking down hurdles so you can achieve your goals. We prepare our students so they finish with us and go to TSU as confident, well-rounded individuals.”

Dr. Lane called Dr. Johnson “one of the most passionate presidents you’re ever going to find” and praised the effort of the 14 Early College High School students who were the first cohort of the program that began in 2017.

Now in their third year of taking classes at LSCO, they will finish their associate degrees and make the seamless transition to TSU as college juniors.

Dr. Lane said the student transfer partnership is a direct pipeline that will keep connecting local high schools to LSCO to TSU. Much like a college football coach visits high schools to recruit and offer scholarships to athletes, Dr. Lane said he was at LSCO today as a coach.

“I’m here today as a coach because I’m coming with some offers for all of you and what I mean by that is we’re going to give you a full ride,” he said to the students. “You’ve already done the work, right? You’ve only got two years left and the least we can do is take care of that, right? If you work that hard, we ought to have some skin in the game to help you get to the finish line – to help your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and all those folks. We’re going to take care of all of it for you.”

Dr. Johnson said you never forget those who extend a hand to help you and Texas Southern University played a major role in his own education. As a young police officer in Houston, Dr. Johnson was married and had two young children when he decided to further his education. In a time when most doctoral programs required students to take classes on campus during the day, TSU had an evening program that allowed Dr. Johnson to continue working and supporting his family at the same time he earned his doctorate.

The transfer agreement was only part of the celebration, though, as Texas Southern University President, Dr. Austin Lane, offered full scholarships to a group of LSCO’s Early College High School students from West Orange-Stark High School. the least we can do is take care of that, right? If you work that hard, we ought to have some skin in the game to help you get to the finish line – to help your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and all those folks. We’re going to take care of all of it for you.”

Later, as the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Tyler Junior College, he worked with Dr. Austin Lane and today the two were able to see how their own lives crossing enabled them to change students’ lives.

“These are the things we’re doing – we’re changing people’s lives,” Dr. Johnson said. “I can’t think of a better partner than my friend, Dr. Lane.”

After the signing ceremony, Dr. Lane and his executive team met each of the Early College High School students who thanked them for their scholarships. They then toured the LSCO campus.

LSCO has signed student transfer agreements with Stephen F. Austin State University, Lamar University, and McNeese State University.