President Simmons tapped Newsmaker of the Decade by Press Club
The Press Club of Southeast Texas honored Lamar University President James Simmons as Newsmaker of the Decade at its 20th Annual Awards Banquet June 3.
Simmons was selected by the club members as Newsmaker of the Decade for his extraordinary leadership at Lamar University during a decade in which there have been major improvements in facilities, academics and research, more than $80 million raised in the university's first-ever comprehensive campaign, expansion in enrollment despite two major hurricanes, and the much-celebrated return of college football to the university. Simmons is the only Newsmaker of the Year to receive the honor twice. He was honored in 1999 and in 2009. Press Club members voted for Newsmaker of the Decade from all Newsmakers of the Year between 2000 – 2009.
At the event local lawyer turned politician Michael Getz was honored as newsmaker of the year. Getz was chosen by a vote of Press Club members from a field of five finalists The other newsmaker finalists were former West Orange-Stark football coach Dan Hooks, Port Arthur Mayor Deloris "Bobbie" Prince, Lamar University women's basketball coach and former athletics director Larry Tidwell, and Lamar University football coach Ray Woodard.
Winners in the annual Excellence in the Media contest sponsored by the Press Club of Southeast Texas were also announced at the banquet. Judges across the country chose winning works from more than 620 entries submitted by news media, public relations, academia, public affairs, corporate communication and public information professionals from the nine-county region.
Proceeds from the contest and banquet support the Press Club Memorial Scholarship for communication students at Lamar University. 2011 Club president Brian Sattler presented the Lamar University Foundation with at $20,000 check toward the endowment at the banquet, bringing the total endowment to more than $100,000 since it was established in 2002 making it the largest endowment supporting students in Lamar’s communication programs.