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Students benefit from new Mary Jo Lampson Broussard Ford Scholarship in Art

Mary Jo Lampson

Students pursuing majors in Lamar University’s Department of Art in the College of Fine Arts and Communication will benefit from the newly established Mary Jo Lampson Broussard Ford Scholarship in Art. The scholarship was created through the generosity of Joseph Broussard IV and Katherine Broussard.

Mary Jo was born in Beaumont in 1934, the third of six children, to Julius and Nancy Lampson. At age 14 in 1948, she contracted polio and was a patient at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston for two years. The disease let her totally paralyzed from the neck down. Unable to breathe, she survived in an iron lung for almost a year.

With the enduring support of friends and family, she refused to let the disease overcome her and slowly gained strength. She re-learned how to use her hands and gained partial use of her arms.

She returned to Beaumont in 1950, unable to walk but determined to finish high school. With the support of her teachers at South Park High School, she kept up with her schoolwork at home and graduated on time with her class in 1951. She went on to attend Lamar State College of Technology, in the days before the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because the buildings were not accessible to wheelchairs, her classmates generously brought her to school, pushed her wheelchair, and carried her up and down the stairs and sometimes even across campus. In 1952, she was voted Homecoming Queen as a freshman. She graduated with degrees in social science and commercial art in 1955. 

She continued her education at the University of Houston where she received a Master of Education degree in speech and hearing pathology in 1956. She eventually worked for South Park Independent School District as a speech therapist. While working, she continued her interest in art, occasionally working as a commercial artist and children’s art teacher.

She went on to become a well-known artist in Southeast Texas. Over the years, she created hundreds of oil and watercolor paintings. She also sold lithographic prints and cards of her in-demand landscape scenes and still life paintings through her art business, MJB Artwork.

In 1961, she married Joe Broussard III, and they had four children. After his death following a long illness, she married Robert Ford. She passed away in 2017.

Throughout her life, she was involved in civic activities and the Beaumont community. In 2000, she was honored as one of Lamar University’s Distinguished Alumni.