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Simpson honored with Rogers Community Service Award

simpsonTeresa Simpson, interim director for the Department of Student Development and Leadership at Lamar University is the recipient of the 2013 Julie & Ben Rogers Community Service Award. She was honored Oct. 10, in the University Reception Center of the Mary and John Gray Library.

A native of Anahuac, Simpson grew up to understand the true meaning of service. Her family has always been service-oriented, and giving back to the community is something that became second nature.

Simpson said that being selected for the award took her breath away.

“Service is something very meaningful to me,” she said. “When I heard that I was nominated, I was overwhelmed. But to think that I have won, that was even better. I am hugely honored and proud to be acknowledged by the Rogers family.”

Simpson saw how powerful giving back is through her dad’s activities and involvement.

“Service is not really something I was taught to do,” she said. “I just grew up doing it, and I like to think that I am taking this to a Beaumont level.”

Simpson is the advisor for the Lamar University Rotaract Club, an organization that brings together young professional Rotarians (18-30 years of age) to organize service initiatives and develop leadership and professional skills. Starting as a soccer camp, it has grown to a leadership and team-building camp. In 2004, the LU Rotaract Club started an international service project called “Camp Believe” to help motivate and inspire students to continue their education and provide scholarships.

“This international project is probably the one I am the most proud of,” said Simpson. “We went to a tiny little village in Chunox, Belize, where they still have dirt floors and draw water from the well. It was very third world. It took a lot of courage, but I am very proud of that initiative. We were able to accomplish a small piece in the global awareness of service.”

LU Rotaract has been recognized as “Service Organization of the Year” eight years in a row, from 2005 to 2012, by Lamar University.

In addition, Simpson is a board member for the Rotary Club of Beaumont; the Chair for the Rotary International District 5910; an active member of the City of Beaumont’s Community Advancement Committee and has been a part of the new initiative, Young Professionals Organization, through the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce by launching Cardinal Connect in fall 2010.  She is the coordinator for the Greek Council and Order of Omega and serves as advisor for the Student Government Association at Lamar.

“The Rogers’ family paths and mine do cross quite often,” she said. “I have a love and passion for service, but since I get to work in higher education, it makes it even more powerful and meaningful. I helped to establish a civic engagement center within our division to make sure that students are developing, as best as they can, service initiatives.”

Simpson wants to thank those who nominated her for the award even though she thinks they’d like to stay anonymous.

“They see in me what I hope people see in me and that is someone who really cares,” she said. “I would also like to acknowledge my immediate family for allowing me to carry out that passion that I have. And say a special thanks to my father who really made me understand that it is our civic responsibility to give back.”

Simpson received her bachelor’s degree as a double major in history and literature before completing a secondary education teacher’s certification from the University of Houston in Clear Lake. She obtained her masters in educational leadership at Lamar University and is currently a Lamar doctoral student in educational leadership with a concentration in higher education administration.

The Rogers family established the Julie and Ben Rogers Community Service Award in 1979 to encourage Lamar faculty and staff members to volunteer their services and talents to benefit the community.

Other 2013 recipients are Rusty Koenig of Lamar Institute of Technology, Mary J. McCoy of Lamar State College-Orange, and Andrea Rodriguez of Lamar State College-Port Arthur.