LU News Archive

Lamar University Foundation adds trustees

The Lamar University Foundation has added five new trustees to its board.

Joining the foundation are Sandra Clark, Colby Crenshaw, Dr. Mike Kessler, Bart Simmons and J. Mark Smith.

Clark, a 1976 Lamar University graduate with a master’s in English, holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston and is a trial lawyer with Mehaffy Webber. She serves on the College of Fine Arts and Communication Advisory Board.

Crenshaw holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Lamar, 1999. He is general manager of Crenshaw Enterprises, an equipment and services company serving the oil and gas industry.

Kessler is chief of pathology at Memorial Herman Baptist Hospital in Orange and a member of the Friends of the Arts board.

Simmons holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, 1978, and M.B.A., 1979, from Lamar. He was Lamar’s Student Government Association president in 1978 and was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of the university in 2008. He is president and owner of Tristar Companies in the petroleum and related industries and serves on the College of Business Board of Advisors.

Smith holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in marketing from Lamar, 1979, and is president of J. Mark Smith & Associates, a company specializing in oil and gas investments and real estate.

The foundation serves the university by generating significant funding from private sources and managing its assets to provide funding to supplement state appropriations.

The foundation manages endowments with a total market value of about $40 million, the majority of which is in income-producing investments managed by the Oklahoma Investment Group, Oklahoma City, Okla. The earned income from the investments provide support for academic chairs, academic departments, projects and other special programs, and more than 300 endowments for annual scholarship awards.

The foundation provides for student financial assistance and faculty support that enables Lamar University to attract the most talented students and compete favorably with comparable universities.

Otho Plummer, H.C. Galloway, Charles Turco and John Gray established the foundation in 1972 to fund raise, manage, and administer private gifts in support of Lamar University Programs.  The following year, the foundation was designated a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is governed by an all-volunteer board of trustees.

The board of trustees is composed of alumni and friends of the university nominated by current trustees and appointed by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees. Serving as ex-officio, non-voting members of the board are the university president, vice president for advancement, director of alumni affairs, executive director of the foundation, the chancellor of The Texas State University System, and the chair of the board of regents of the system.

For more information, call the Lamar University Foundation at (409) 880-2117 or email