LU News Archive

LU taps three with Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Rogers Evans Ortega CrenshawLamar University conferred 1355 degrees during fall commencement exercises December 13.  During the ceremony, Lamar president Kenneth Evans awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Regina Rogers, Hermann Ortega and Will Crenshaw. 

Regina Rogers touches lives across Southeast Texas as she carries on the community-enriching tradition of her parents, the late Julie and Ben Rogers. Nowhere is her impact – and that of her family – more profound than at Lamar University, where she served as a member of the Investing In The Future Campaign Cabinet. The Rogers family contributions to Lamar are significant, including the Ben J. Rogers Chair in Entrepreneurship, which family members established in the College of Business in 2008.  She continues to perpetuate programs implemented by her parents and siblings, including the Julie and Ben Rogers Community Service Award and the Ben J. Rogers Outstanding Business Student Award.

Rogers was the first female regent appointed to the former Lamar University System, stepping down from that position to accept an appointment to the Texas College and University System Coordinating Board. She earned her bachelor of arts in psychology from Newcomb College at Tulane University and doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center.   Her motto is “helping the least, the last, the lost and the lonely.”  

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Hermann Ortega came to Lamar University to pursue his degree in chemical engineering. He received his bachelor’s in 1967 and an M.B.A. in 1972. Ortega has more than 40 years of experience in engineering, operations and manufacturing. He worked for Air Products and Chemicals for 25 years where he was Vice President for Global Operations- Americas. Later, he worked at Honeywell International where he held the position of Vice President Integrated Supply Chain of the Specialty Materials Division.  He had global responsibility for 42 plants and managed an annual budget of more than $3 billion.

“Hermann is a role model for students who desire to progress professionally to the highest ranks of a company,” Jack Hopper, dean emeritus of the College of Engineering, said. “He is an individual who took a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and literally progressed from an entry level position to the position of vice president of global operations.”

He serves on the advisory board of the College of Engineering at Lamar and has established an endowed scholarship for engineering majors. The Hermann H. Ortega Scholarship in Engineering provides funding for full-time students seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree in chemical engineering at Lamar University.

Will Crenshaw entered Lamar University in 1962, and in 1963 purchased, from his father and his business partner, a small manufacturing company and plant near Lamar's campus.  He met his future wife, Joy, in government class and they married in 1969 after she graduated from Lamar with a bachelor’s degree in English/History. Crenshaw has maintained a focused commitment to his family and his business for five decades. The business has grown from a single location and industry with modest annual sales to locations all over the U.S. and in several locations worldwide with a diverse array of companies, goods and services.

His life is a testimony to the unlimited possibilities of unwavering hard work, perseverance, optimism and courage. His creativity, ingenuity and personal character are what has given him the ability to succeed in the wake of numerous challenges of economic and industrial fluctuations. His long term vision and faithful commitment extends to his lifelong membership at First United Methodist Church and his role in bringing Young Life to Southeast Texas and helping it continue by his active role on the Young Life Committee for more than 30 years. Crenshaw and his wife, Joy, have always appreciated opportunities to support Lamar University and are grateful for the deep impact the university has made, not only in the community, but in their personal lives.