LU celebrates Veterans Day with luncheon, featuring two alumni

In honor of Veterans Day, Lamar University’s Office of Global Diversity and Inclusive Excellence will host a luncheon celebration, Wed. Nov. 11 at 11:30 a.m. in the LIT Multi-Purpose Center, themed “Vision: Veterans in Focus.” The event will feature two speakers - Senator Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell and LU alumnus Nick Carter, a non-executive board member at Trecora Resources.

“We are pleased to honor our veterans and show appreciation for their service and sacrifice,” said Wilma Jackson, director of Global Diversity and Inclusive Excellence.

Lt. Col. Birdwell, a native Texan, decorated military veteran and lifelong conservative Republican representing
Brian Birdwell
Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell
Texas Senate District 22, will address luncheon attendees virtually. Birdwell graduated from LU, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he earned a Master of Public Administration degree. As the Distinguished Military Graduate of the LU Army ROTC program in 1984, Birdwell was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and served a 20-year career. In 1990, he deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Exceptional Meritorious Achievement. In 1998, he deployed to Central America as the Joint Operations Officer for Joint Task Force Aguila to execute humanitarian relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. In 2001, Birdwell was serving on the Department of the Army staff at the Pentagon as the military aide to the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.

On Sep. 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed just yards away from his second floor Pentagon office, Birdwell was critically wounded and severely burned. Of the burns that covered more than 60 percent of his body, nearly half were third degree in severity. Today, following 39 operations, months of hospitalization and numerous skin grafts, Birdwell has made a miraculous recovery. Despite physical limitations, he testifies not only to his physical healing, but the ultimate miracle of grace through Christ. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received that day. Upon retirement in July 2004, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Birdwell serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Workforce Commission. He also serves as a member of the Senate Committees on Finance and State Affairs. Since 2013, Birdwell has served as Chairman of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's 22-member U.S. Service Academy Nominations Board. He served as a Lamar University Commencement Speaker in December 2011.

Birdwell has been married for 30 years and resides in Granbury. He and his wife have one son and two grandchildren.

Lamar University graduate, class of 1975, Nicholas “Nick” Carter, will attend and speak in person. Carter,
Nick Carter
Nick Carter
originally from Sweeny, Texas, was enlisted in the U.S. Navy from 1968-1972 and finished active duty as an E-5 Aviation Electronics Technician. Following graduation with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, Nick worked as a staff accountant at Wathen, DeShong and Company in Beaumont until 1977. That year he became a Certified Public Accountant and accepted a position as controller at South Hampton Refining Company. He was promoted to treasurer in 1981 and later president. In 1987, Arabian American Development Company bought South Hampton. Carter continued to serve the company in leadership positions becoming first executive vice president and later president/CEO. Carter retired in June of 2015 and remains on the board of directors of ARSD, which is now named Trecora Resources.

For years, Carter has been a dedicated member of the College of Business Board of Advisors and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Lamar University Foundation, Inc. In 2012, he established the Nick Carter Innovation Fund with a gift from Carter matched by his employer. The fund provides study abroad scholarship opportunities to students majoring or minoring in any program in the Lamar University College of Business. Carter is also a member of the President’s Circle.

Carter and his wife, Judy, who graduated from LU in 1979, live in Lumberton and have two daughters and two sons-in-law, all LU graduates.

All LU students, staff and faculty are invited to attend this Veterans Day celebration and luncheon.  Due to COVID-19 regulations, there is limited seating. Seats will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reserve your seat by emailing Bert Wagner at