Joe Ben Welch Student Center Gets New Name

April 9, 2024

Family of Joe Ben Welch Reveal Name on Building

ORANGE, TX - Lamar State College Orange (LSCO) hosted a dedication ceremony on Thursday, April 4, 2024 for the newly named, Joe Ben Welch Student Center in honor of the first president of Lamar State College Orange who served from 1969 to 1989.

Dr. Joe Ben Welch was a member of the faculty when Lamar University's extension center opened in 1969 and was appointed director of the Orange Center serving as president until his departure in 1989. Dr. Welch guided the college from its infancy to independent status as a separately accredited, degree-granting institution, leaving behind a legacy that continues to this day. 

The college began in the former Tilley Elementary School in the fall of 1969 with 345 students. After Tilley Elementary burned down in 1971, Dr. Welch was instrumental in leading the community to raise funds to rebuild the campus where it is today. "The Student Center is one of those buildings he worked to establish so it is only fitting that it be named in his honor," said Dr. Thomas Johnson, President of LSCO.

Dr. Welch received his bachelor's degree from Louisiana Tech University, master's degree from Lamar University, and doctorate from McNeese State University. After leaving Orange, he served as president of Middle Georgia College from 1989 to 1998. He then became the founding president of River Parishes Community College in 1999.

The student center name was unveiled during Gatorama 2024, LSCO's Spring Day & Open House. Friends and family were in attendance to witness his legacy enshrined.

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