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A.J. Leger Memorial Scholarship established

A memorial scholarship has been established honoring A.J. Leger’s service to the community. The A.J. Leger Memorial Scholarship will benefit outstanding students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition, dietetics and hospitality administration.

The scholarship was established by Leger’s many friends and family to honor his service and dedication to helping people in his community. The endowment was completed by a gift from the Sabine Area Restaurant Association in Leger’s memory.

Molly J. Dahm, associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, said A.J. Leger embodied the spirit of the restaurant industry and the community in a way her department hopes to foster in their students.

“This scholarship will allow selected students who demonstrate academic and service commitment to follow in Leger’s footsteps,” she said. “We hope this scholarship will ultimately help a student who might not otherwise have the resources to complete a degree.”

The Lafayette, La. native began his career in the food service industry at an early age when the 12 year-old Leger worked as a busboy at Don’s Seafood and Steakhouse. After graduating high school, Leger spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps before marrying his high school sweetheart, Patricia. Upon returning home from duty, Leger went back to work at Don’s where he became the kitchen manager and began working at other Louisiana Don’s Seafood locations. In 1968, Leger relocated to Beaumont and opened his own Don’s franchise, which grew to one of the longest running and most successful businesses in the Beaumont area. Leger eventually retired from the restaurant industry and spent six years working at Kymoco Signs and Graphics, another family business.

Leger was acknowledged with many honors including his induction into the Texas Restaurant Hall of Honor in 1997. He is known by many for his love of cooking for the community. Leger organized cook-off fundraisers for the YMBL, Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, City of Beaumont, Texas Fire Museum, Boy’s Haven and at the Texas State Capitol. He was an active member and former president of “The Cooks 2 Dozen+,” an organization that raised funds for Boys Haven and other charitable causes.

For more information about establishing an endowed scholarship, contact the Lamar University Foundation at (409) 880-2117.