BEAUMONT - LU President Dr. Jimmy Simmons welcomed back teachers and staff to the Beaumont campus for the upcoming school year.
Dr. Simmons presided over his final convocation as he prepares to retire at the end of this semester.
BEAUMONT - From LU - Lamar University President James Simmons had three words for faculty and staff attending the annual back-to-school convocation Monday (Aug. 20, 2012): Recruit. Retain. Graduate.
Students were the focus of Simmons' 2012 state-of-the-university message - his 14th semester-opening presentation and his last as Lamar president before his retirement on Jan. 31, 2013. A capacity audience of more than 500 gathered in the University Theatre for the convocation. Classes begin Aug. 27.
Simmons had good news for his audience: Fall enrollment has increased from last year, despite greatly enhanced admission requirements. "We're a little surprised," he said. "We were anticipating a decline because we raised the entrance requirements."
Simmons said he anticipates a challenging legislative session ahead, especially for higher education, when legislators convene in Austin Jan. 8, 2013. But, he said, "Lamar University should be in much better shape than in the past because of the student semester hours we're going to produce this year, which is a 'counting year,' (on which state funding is based) and those we produced this summer. We're anticipating we should enter and exit this legislative session in better shape than we have in the past."
This will depend on three things, he said: "Our ability to recruit students, because, however you look at it, the state bases the formula on numbers; on our ability to retain students; and on our ability to graduate students because graduation rates are going to become ever more important as we look to the future."
To enhance its student outcome-oriented efforts, Simmons said, Lamar has redesigned its recruitment, registration, orientation and student-support services into the Strategic Enrollment.