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Lamar University announces 2024 Distinguished Alumni award recipients

by April Thompson

Lamar University is announcing the 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. Established in 1970 by the Lamar University Alumni Association, the award recognizes alumni who have excelled in their careers or life services, enhancing the university's reputation. It also acknowledges those who have made significant contributions to their community, state, and nation through civic activities and professional and public service.

“Lamar University has many extraordinary alumni, and the Distinguished Alumni Awards give the university the perfect opportunity to recognize their achievements, service to the university, and how they are making a difference in their professions, communities, and around the world,” Director of Alumni Affairs Shannon Figueroa said.

This year, four alumni –– Edwin E. Vallery, Charles E. Breithaupt, Stephen C. Head and Carmen (Angelle) Jordan –– will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award Lamar University bestows upon its graduates. The recipients will be recognized at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner on Friday, Apr. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the University Event Center in the Mary and John Gray Library.

“The 2024 honorees were chosen from a pool of talented, successful, and loyal alumni. They are united by their exceptional passion, dedication, and drive to make the world a better place,” Figueroa said.

Edwin E. Vallery (’79)

Edwin Vallery, a Lamar University graduate in Finance, had a successful career at Shell Oil before retiring in 2019. He is an active member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, and currently serves as an accountant at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church. Edwin's philanthropy began in 2019 when he established tuition assistance scholarships at Lamar University's College of Business. Over time, he expanded his support to include book scholarships, and extended it to three campus organizations.

Nine students currently benefit from the Edwin E. Vallery Scholarships, and Edwin goes beyond financial aid by fostering strong relationships with the recipients. He regularly meets, mentors, and conducts workshops, emphasizing the importance of giving back to the community. Edwin is a member of Lamar University's Legacy Society, President’s Circle, and Black Alumni Network.

Charles E. Breithaupt (’75) (’79)

Charles E. Breithaupt, current executive director of the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) and associate vice president at the University of Texas at Austin, leads the largest interscholastic academic, athletic, and music competition governing body in the United States. A Lamar University alumnus, he earned a B.S. in 1975, an M.S. in 1979, and a doctorate in education in 1996 from the University of Texas at Austin. With 48 years in public education, Breithaupt initiated significant changes as executive director, including a six-conference alignment, centralized football championships, and diverse new activities.

Stephen C. Head (’73) (’75)

Stephen C. Head, former chancellor of Lone Star College (LSC) from 2014-2023, retired after 39 years of service. Under his leadership, LSC became a prominent community college enrolling over 85,000 students, employing 6,000 individuals, and boasting a $500 million annual budget. A Lamar University alumnus, Head earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in history, later completing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University. He attributes his success to Lamar University, emphasizing the value of reading, writing, and critical thinking. In his tenure, Head prioritized student access, academic quality, and workforce programs aligned with community needs. Recognized for his contributions, he was named Chancellor Emeritus upon retirement. Head continues to be active in supporting community college missions and resides in The Woodlands, Texas, with his wife, Linda, who works at LSC.

Carmen (Angelle) Jordan (’90)

Carmen (Angelle) Jordan, a Lamar University BBA in Finance graduate, is Origin Bank's regional president for greater Houston. Joining in 2018 as Executive Vice President, she elevated the Houston market, quadrupling loans and doubling deposits while enhancing credit performance. Specializing in merger and acquisition finance and energy service lending, she chairs Origin's corporate loan committee.

Previously, as Houston Market President at IBERIABANK, Jordan led loan growth from $400 million to $1.4 billion amid challenging energy downturns. As Chief Lending Officer at Encore Bancshares (2009-2012), she achieved substantial growth and improved credit quality, resulting in a 300% stock price appreciation in three years. Jordan has received many accolades, including American Banker Magazine's Top 50 Women in Banking twice, and various diversity awards. In April 2024, she'll be inducted into the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame.

Dedicated to Lamar University, Jordan has chaired its College of Business Advisory Board and contributes to the Lamar University Foundation. Actively involved in Nativity Academy and numerous nonprofits, she resides in Sugar Land, Texas, enjoying sports, boating, and travel with her boyfriend and two daughters.


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