LU News Archive

Reaud, Huntsman gifts create new building, honor college

Breaking groundLamar University and Texas State University System officials broke ground today on a new administration building. The project that officials are calling “transformational” is made possible by gifts that also allow the university to upgrade its long-standing honors program into an honors college.

Wayne ReaudThe gift from Wayne Reaud and an additional gift from Jon Huntsman Sr. are “a real game-changers for Lamar University,” said LU President Ken Evans. “This is the very definition of a transformational gift.”

Joining in breaking ground were Reaud, Evans, Huntsman, Jon Reaud, TSUS Regent David Montagne and LU President Emeritus James Simmons.

The Wayne A. Reaud Building will become a part of a new entrance to the campus on the corner of Jim Gilligan Way and Rolfe Christopher Drive, Evans said.

Wayne A. Reaud Building“Lamar really gave me an opportunity that a poor kid like me would not have had. Without it being here, I may not have gone to college,” said Reaud, who received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Lamar in 1971. “I am very thankful and appreciative of Lamar.”

“For many, many years we were the largest employer in Southeast Texas in the chemical business and virtually all of our supervisors and senior management had done work at Lamar,” said Jon Huntsman Sr. during a visit to campus earlier.  “It really has been a tremendous university for helping to train people going into the energy-related fields. When our board saw what we were doing, it was logical that we would participate in something like this in honor of Wayne but also of Lamar and our great association through the years. It’s a great honor for our company and our family.”

“If you took a poll of our board of directors and our family there isn’t a man that we admire more,” Huntsman said of Reaud. “He’s part of the family and also one the great legal minds in America.  We’ve won two of the three largest out-of-court settlements in America thanks to Wayne Reaud.”

As one of the most successful trial lawyers in the U.S., Reaud is renowned for his litigation work in asbestos and tobacco cases and for his representation of major national corporations. Reaud’s visionary approach to bridging the “digital divide” led to the landmark settlement in the Shaw v. Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. case through which $400 million was directed to the Beaumont Foundation of America.

He is a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, fellow of the International Society of Barristers, past president of the Southeast Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Jefferson County Bar Association and of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.


The Wayne A. Reaud Building

Jon Huntsman Sr.

The new three-story building will be a state-of-the-art facility for university administration offices as well as Information Technology, Human Resources and other administrative functions. The ground floor of the building will be home for the university’s growing honors college that celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

The building will become the cornerstone of the redefined formal campus entrance, a new gateway to the Lamar University campus.  The presence of many essential and central campus activities in the Reaud Building will create a sense of arrival onto the campus and will serve as the catalyst to connect the campus with the community, Evans said.

The project will encompass approximately 45,000 square feet. Page Southerland Page is architect for the project and Spaw Glass will serve as construction manager.

The new building will be on the site of the former Brooks-Shivers dormitory that was demolished earlier this year.  The university had previously named its dining facility the Brooks-Shivers Dining Hall to retain the names of former U.S. Congressman Jack Brooks and former Texas Governor Allan Shivers on the campus.


Reaud Honors College

Establishing the Reaud Honors College at Lamar University will provide a clear indication to high ability students of our commitment to provide them with the highest quality education, well suited to their needs, capabilities and aspirations, said Steve Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“I believe that the honors college is going to be a wonderful addition to Lamar,” Reaud said.

Ken EvansThe creation of the Reaud Honors College follows with the program’s 50th anniversary, last year. Founded in 1963 with just a handful of students, the program has grown to be one of the most vibrant and attractive programs on campus with enrollment of around 300 students, said Doblin.

With this gift, Lamar’s will become the ninth honors college in Texas, joining those at Baylor University, Texas State University, Texas Tech, the University of Houston, Prairie View A&M, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“The additional development of Lamar Honors education through the Reaud Honors College will further help students succeed in their pursuit of continuing education to become highly successful graduates and leaders in the community,” Doblin said.  In a typical year, more than half of Lamar’s Honors graduates continue their education in graduate or professional school, he said.

Reaud’s philanthropy has benefited hundreds of organizations across the nation. His commitment to education is reflected in the many scholarship programs he has established in higher education throughout Texas, including many at Lamar University, said Juan Zabala, Lamar University’s vice president for university advancement.

The recent gift is a continuation of Reaud’s strong support for Lamar University that includes the Gena and Albert E. Reaud Scholarship valued at $1.6 million, the Reaud Scholars Program and the $1.6 million Southeast Texas Legends Endowed Scholarships honoring Major T. Bell, Jack Brooks, Don Burgess, Dr. Joe Dickerson, Everett Lord, Gilbert I. “Buddy” Low, George McLaughlin, Hubert Oxford III, Carl Parker Jr., James M. Simmons, Ward Stephenson, Joe H. Tonahill, John G. Tucker, Walter Umphrey and Bob Wortham.