Lamar University honors distinguished staff for dedication, outstanding performance

Lamar University honored seven staff members for their outstanding performance, leadership and contributions within the institution at the 2021 Distinguished Staff Awards Luncheon on Monday, Nov. 15. Annually, the awards ceremony, hosted by the LU Staff Council, recognizes full-time staff who have been employed at Lamar University continuously for five years or more for their dedication, superior performance, accomplishments and significant impact on the university.  

“A lot of our staff do things that are behind the scenes,” said Diann Brodnax, Staff Council president. “This awards ceremony is a way for the council to showcase our staff and let them know that we see them going above and beyond.”  

This year's honorees for 2021 Distinguished Staff Awards are:


Shawn Gray
Director of the Student Health Center

Shawn Gray has served Lamar University since 2002. She is dedicated to creating a place for students to be seen in a confidential setting to address their concerns. Gray continually looks for ways to maximize the services of the Student Health Center and delivers health education and wellness programming that is essential to students' well-being and the campus community.


Karen Nichols
LU Foundation Chief Operating Officer

Karen Nichols routinely goes above and beyond in her work for Lamar University by staying abreast of any changes in law or financial procedure and helping university development with stewarding current and prospective donors. Nichols remains active in the Southeast Texas community by attending community events to represent LU, working alumni events and taking time to mentor Lamar University Ambassadors. She also serves as a board member for the United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County. 


Christy Swanson
Digital Communications Coordinator

Christy Swanson has served Lamar University for 13 years working in academic success, academic affairs and currently in web communication. She excels at helping departments achieve goals with web forms,  Marketplace stores and a variety of campus initiatives. Swanson regularly communicates with software engineer in the Office of Marketing Communications and IT Support at software companies to devise solutions for issues that occasionally arise. 

Nominees for 2021 Distinguished Staff Awards included:


Ronald Johnson
Contract & Grant Specialist


Paula Scrougham
Administrative Associate, Sr.


Timothy Smith
Asst. Director of Technical Support


Betty Ludlow
Material Supply Purchaser