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Speakers set for Winter Commencement

Winter Commencement ceremonies will be held December 15-16 at Lamar University as some 1,470 students are expected to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in commencement programs held in the Montagne Center by each of the university’s five colleges.

Graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences will receive their diplomas at a 7 p.m. ceremony on December 15 in the Montagne Center. The next day, Saturday, December 16, graduates of the College of Engineering will follow suit at 8:30 a.m., those in the College of Business at 11 a.m., the College of Fine Arts and Communication at 2 p.m., and the College of Education and Human Development at 5 p.m.  

An informal reception for graduates and their guests will be held in the concourse area of the Montagne Center following each commencement.

Complete guest information on commencement activities at Lamar University can be found online at

College of Arts and Sciences

Those attending the Arts and Science’s commencement program will hear from Lamar University alumna Angela Blanchard, president and CEO of BakerRipley in Houston, the most ethnically diverse and fastest-growing city in the U.S. Blanchard is a globally recognized expert practitioner in community development, disaster recovery and effective long-term integration for immigrants and refugees. She will join the Swearer Center at Brown University as a Taubman Fellow and Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Brown University in Providence, R.I. for the spring 2018 semester.

Blanchard, who grew up in Beaumont and graduated Lamar University in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in accounting, is known for her breakthrough strategies that have successfully revitalized neighborhoods by leveraging Houston’s diversity, while providing a powerful model for cities across the globe facing the complex challenges of community transformation.

Blanchard was March 2017 keynote speaker at LU’s Women and Philanthropy Luncheon and shared her experiences in other public lectures on campus that day.

As president and CEO, Blanchard has provided the leadership for this internationally recognized organization since 1995. Ranking in the Top 1 percent of charitable groups nationwide, BakerRipley is the largest community development organization in Texas. It serves more than half a million people in nearly 50 counties and operates with an annual budget of more than $250 million.

College of Engineering

Those attending the College of Engineering commencement program will hear from Lance Boudreaux of Houston, who is vice president, Global EPC Strategic Accounts, as well as, Fluor and CB&I Marquee Accounts. Boudreaux has more than 31 years experience in the automation and control industry, in the areas of sales, strategic planning, management and business development.

Prior to his current role, Boudreaux has held numerous positions within Emerson, including vice president, North America, Daniel Measurement & Control, V.P. Fluor Strategic Account, Area Growth Director – Gulf, Strategic Planning, Global Key Account Director – Dow Chemical, regional sales manager, sales representative for Rosemount, Inc. and Micro Motion, Inc., inside sales representative, Rosemount and Rosemount Analytical, Inc.

He is a 1985 Industrial Technology graduate from Lamar University, earned a Masters of Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix in 2003, and completed the Rice University Advanced Management Program in 2006.

He serves on boards with the Houston Hospice Foundation and Engineers & Constructors Conference, and on advisory boards for Construction Industry Institute, and LU Industrial Technology.

College of Business

Those attending the College of Business commencement program will hear from Todd Hoffman, who graduated from Lamar University in 1988 with his Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting.

While at LU, Hoffman was involved in a number of campus organizations and honor societies. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and a Kemble Award Finalist, which is conferred annually to a senior who brought honor to himself and to Lamar University through his efforts to improve the quality of campus life, as well as through his scholastic endeavors. He is a Principal who leads Pricewaterhouse Coopers State and Local Government Advisory Practice in Texas.

Hoffman has more than 29 years of experience helping companies and governments develop innovative strategies to achieve improvements in performance. He has worked with health care, retail, government and energy companies. In the government sector he serves clients as they seek to enhance service to citizens, reduce costs, increase efficiency and implement process improvements. He has significant experience in designing and delivering organizational effectiveness, and talent management solutions, including organizational design and leadership development.

Hoffman sits on a number of Advisory Councils for the State of Texas, is a Trustee for the Houston Opera, and on the Lamar University Advisory Board for the College of Business.

College of Fine Arts and Communication

Those attending the commencement exercises for the College of Fine Arts and Communication will hear from W. Frank Newton, president and CEO of the Beaumont Foundation of America.

Before accepting the position of president of the Beaumont Foundation, he served as dean and professor of law at Texas Tech University School of Law from 1985 until 2002. Prior to that he served as a professor of law at the Baylor Law School from 1972 to 1985. In addition to his services as an attorney and legal educator, Dean Newton helped devise the Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Account Program, which has raised more than $100 million for legal aid programs since 1984.

He was named by Texas Lawyer Magazine as one of the 102 most influential Texas lawyers of the century, and the State Bar of Texas annually presents an award in his name to lawyers who provide outstanding pro bono services. He has also served as president of the State Bar of Texas and is an elected member of the American Bar Foundation and the American Law Institute.

College of Education and Human Development

Those attending the commencement exercises for the College of Education and Human Development will hear from William Holmes who has served the last 10 years as associate dean and professor in the college. After teaching as an adjunct professor since the late 1970s, he joined the faculty as an associate professor in the counseling program in 1990.

Before his tenure at Lamar University, he worked in the community mental health field, and served as an educational, business and family consultant. His holds a Bachelor of Arts from Oklahoma Baptist University, a Master of Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Master of Science and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi.

While at LU, Holmes served students, faculty and the university in various capacities, including several years as a member of the faculty senate, chair of the faculty issues committee, vice president of the senate for two years and president for two years. He has also served as interim chair of the Department of Teacher Education, interim chair of the Department of Counseling and Special Populations, interim chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, interim chair of the Department of Health and Kinesiology, and one year as the interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

Holmes has announced his retirement from Lamar University. He and his wife, Ann, plan to move to Arlington, TX to be closer to family, especially their grandchildren.