With fanfare at its five colleges five years ago this month, Lone Star College System (LSCS) became the new name for the North Harris Montgomery Community College District, which also had its beginning 40 years ago, in 1973.
The college, founded as North Harris County College, opened its doors for classes in the fall of 1973 with 613 students. The classes were initially held at Aldine High School until a permanent facility could be built.
Fast forward 40 years and LSCS has grown to six colleges, multiple centers and two University Centers, with 78,000 credit students and a total of more than 90,000 students.
LSCS is now the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation.
"Lone Star College System owes much gratitude to those in our community who realized the need for top-quality higher education in north Harris and Montgomery counties and worked to make it a reality," said Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor. "Over the years, LSCS has helped thousands of young people achieve their goals for an education and entry into the skilled workforce."
The name change for the college system came after months of deliberation and a polling process that included input from more than 5,000 participants from the community. The board of trustees voted unanimously to change the name to Lone Star College System, which was the overwhelmingly favorite choice among those who participated.
In a recently-conducted market research study, community awareness of Lone Star College System was extremely high, with nearly 80 percent of residents in the Houston region having top of mind awareness of LSCS. The study also revealed that almost all the residents polled – 96 percent – said that they felt LSCS was valuable to their community. More than 75 percent of those polled agreed that without community colleges like LSCS, first responders like EMTs and firefighters would be in short supply and would not have the opportunity to receive the education needed for their current jobs.
Other results from the research study indicate that three of four residents polled agreed that funding higher education was a good investment, particularly for the LSCS community. The data reveals that for every dollar invested in LSCS, taxpayers saw a cumulative added value of $2.30. The investment is strengthened through sound fiscal management by LSCS, one of the few colleges in the country that is able to maintain an AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor's. The college system also adds $1.1 billion to the regional economy each year through increased earnings for students and improved workforce productivity for area employers.
"By 2018, it's estimated that 63 percent of all jobs will require post-secondary education," said Carpenter. "Lone Star College System has open doors for those wanting to better themselves through education, whether it's an associate degree, classes for transferring to a four-year university or obtaining workforce credentials.
"Today, just as we were 40 years ago, Lone Star College System remains committed to student success and credential completion, our number one mission," Carpenter added.
LSCS consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.