LU News Archive

Patsy and Michael Yennie Scholarship established

The Lamar University Foundation has announced the establishment of a new endowed scholarship. The Patsy and Michael Yennie Scholarship will provide funding for all full-time accounting majors. The scholarship was originally established by Michele and Mitchell Smith in honor of Patsy and Michael Yennie, Michele’s parents.

Michele Smith was born in 1965 in Beaumont. She graduated from Lamar University with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting in 1988. She received her law degree from Baylor University School of Law. While attending Baylor, she was a member of the Order of the Barristers.

She is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Since joining Mehaffy Weber in 1993, Michele has more than 14 years of diverse jury trial experience representing clients in general civil litigation.

Recognized as a former Texas Monthly “Rising Star,” Michele was Jefferson County Young Lawyer of the year in 2002 and was awarded the Athena Award by the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce in 2008 to recognize outstanding business and professional women.

Her dedication to the Beaumont community includes serving on the Alumni Boards of Lamar University and Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School, the Boards of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Beaumont Civil Ballet, and the Jefferson County Bar Association. She is a past president of the Junior League of Beaumont and involved with the Jefferson County Pro Bono Program.

J. Mitchell Smith was born in 1965 in Abilene. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988 from the University of Texas. He received his Juris Doctorate from Baylor University School of Law in 1991. Mitchell began his career with Lynch, Chappell and Alsup, P.C. in Midland. He moved to Beaumont in 1994 to join Germer Gertz, L.L.P. and became a partner in 2002.

Mitchell is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Jefferson County Bar Association, Texas Association of Defense Counsel, International Association of Defense Counsel, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel and the Bar Association of the Fifth Circuit. He is also a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the chairman of its local nominating committee.

Mitchell practices commercial litigation, railroad litigation and handles numerous civil appeals in the state appellate courts and on the federal level. He was named a “Texas Rising Star” in 2004 and a “Texas Super Lawyer” in 2005 and 2009.

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