Alumnus to deliver commencement keynote

04.18.2017 | By Amanda Fenwick

PASADENA, Texas – Dr. Lonnie Howard, President at Lamar Institute of Technology, will offer the keynote address at the San Jacinto College commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

The 2017 Spring commencement ceremony will bring together San Jacinto College graduates from each of its four campuses for one combined ceremony. The ceremony will take place at NRG Stadium.

“Dr. Howard has a remarkable story that many students can relate to,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “He is passionate about community colleges and higher education, and is an amazing success story. As a first-generation college graduate and a San Jacinto College alumnus, I am excited for him to return to where his journey began to share his story with our graduates. I look forward to hearing him speak.”

Following high school, Howard joined the U.S. Army where he served with distinction. He received an honorable discharge, but did not have any employment skills. His first job was as a janitor in an industrial shop. Despite facing many hardships, Howard never forgot his mother’s optimistic saying, “It doesn’t matter where you start. The important thing is where you finish.”

Howard graduated with his first associate degree at the age of 36. Twelve years later he had a total of five college degrees – an associate of applied science in welding, an associate of general studies, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Texas. He has also completed postdoctoral training in strategic business management at Harvard University and emerging leadership at Penn State University.

“Being a former developmental student, then graduating from San Jacinto College with an associate degree in welding, moving on to become a college president, and now invited back to be the commencement speaker, this demonstrates the best of the American Dream,” said Howard. “My hope for the 2017 May graduating class is that some of them will also come back and tell success stories of their own American Dream.”

Prior to being named President at Lamar Institute of Technology in April of 2016, Howard spent three years as President and CEO at Clover Park Technical College, the largest technical college in Washington state. He previously served as executive director of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Houston System and has held teaching and research positions at several institutions.

Get additional information about the San Jacinto College commencement ceremony.


About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.