About

Mission

The office of Community Relations, Economic Development, and Student Access is bringing people, ideas, and resources together to affect positive changes in our community as we reimagine our communities as vibrant, growing, and dynamic communities in which to live, work and play.

Vision

The Office of Community Relations, Economic Development and Student Access builds a more prosperous future between Lamar University and its communities by working together to solve challenges and creating opportunities.

Perspectives on Partnerships

Our Story

logo for Greater South Park Neighborhood Parnternship Committee

In 2015, Norman J. Bellard was appointed to serve the role as Assistant to the President for Community Relations and Athletic Programs Liaison. Since that time the following partnerships have been established and accomplishments have been made to:

REIMAGINE. REBUILD. RECOGNIZE. REVITALIZE.

Concern for the citizens of the South Park community and neighboring areas led to the creation of the South Park Neighborhood partnership in March 2015. Lamar University President Ken Evans appointed a five-member South Park task force that soon brought together a dynamic group from the community including residents, community leaders, clergy, business owners as well as representatives from the Lamar University and Lamar Institute of Technology campuses.

The Greater South Park Neighborhoods Partnership committee, which meets regularly on the Lamar University campus, primarily focuses on community engagement, safety, security and improvements in infrastructure.founding members of Greater Souh Park Partneship committee

The committee agreed that a well-represented and engaged group should establish goals, develop effective plans and engender the support necessary to leverage local and government resources and inspire the help of faith-based and non-profit organizations that want to work on behalf of communities like South Park. Together with the GSPNP, these entities have begun to tap into the pride of the South Park Community and help its residents realize their potential. 

The accumulated effects of the damage brought by Hurricane Rita (2005) and Hurricane Ike (2008) served to accelerate the physical decline of the community. In a driving survey conducted in 2015, a total of 80 structures were identified as unsafe or abandoned and poor conditions of streets and lighting were noted. Since that time, more than 80 percent of the identified structures have been remodeled, refurbished, upgraded or demolished. In addition, many city streets have been resurfaced and additional infrastructure improvements made as the City of Beaumont has invested more than $1.5 million.

A Heart for her Community

Dr. Ken and Nancy Evans

LU's first lady, Nancy Evans, had a heart for her local community.  As a master gardener, her recognition of the need for growth, renewal and rejuvenation was intrinsic.

Upon her retirement from her longtime teaching career, Nancy supported her husband Ken's career in academic administration, most recently in his role as president of Lamar University.

When the couple moved to Beaumont in 2013, they noticed while Lamar University was growing, the adjacent South Park neighborhood - Lamar University's home since its founding-was struggling.  They recognized that inadequate lighting and unsafe areas, coupled with abandoned buildings and streets in need of repair - many the result of damage from hurricanes in 2005 and 2008 needed to be addressed. As the first lady of Lamar University, Nancy was instrumental in developing the South Park Community Garden and transformed buildings and open spaces on campus through her efforts to advance public art. She also established a tutoring program at South Park Middle School and Pietzsch-MacArthur Elementary School to encourage children to prepare for college. These projects reflect both her creativity and commitment to strengthening community connections.

Nancy Evans, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, teacher, friend and California native, passed away on June 22, 2018, in Beaumont, Texas(TX). Her spirit lives on through the projects she spearheaded and people whose lives she touched.