News Archive

Vernon and Johnnie Durden Scholarship established

Vernon and Johnnie Durden, both Lamar alumni, have established a new scholarship through the Lamar University Foundation.  The Vernon and Johnnie Durden Scholarship will benefit undergraduate students in the Educator Preparation Program, part of the College of Education and Human Development.

“This scholarship facilitates the growth and vitality of our program because we are able to accept more students who would otherwise be unable to apply,” said Betty Duncan, chair of the Department of Professional Pedagogy.

The Durdens are lifelong Beaumont residents who have been recognized for their contributions to the community and support of public education in Beaumont. Vernon Durden graduated from Hebert High School, now Ozen High School. He enjoyed a 34-year career with ExxonMobil before retiring in 2003. During his career, he sought higher education, earning a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Lamar in 2004. Durden has served on the Lamar Alumni Advisory Board since 2009 and will serve as the Board president beginning September 1.  He was named a Distinguished Lamar Alumnus in 2011.  In addition to his contributions to Lamar, Durden is active in the community.  He is the president of the Beaumont chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc, an international mentoring organization, and serves as a board member for the United Way of Beaumont and the Southeast Texas Food Bank and as area chair for the Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Johnnie Durden graduated from Charlton-Pollard High School, now Central Medical Magnet High School. She was an auditor for E. I. DuPont for 27 years, retiring in 2000. She also continued her education while working, earning her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Lamar in 2000 shortly before retiring. She is a member of the Links, Inc., the Top Ladies of Distinction, The Art Museum of Southeast Texas and Communities In Schools. Durden is also a graduate of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Beaumont program. Although retired from DuPont, she is a substitute teacher for the Beaumont Independent School District.

The College of Education and Human Development has been accredited by the Council for Exceptional Children, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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