Parade and car show precede big game at Provost Umphrey Stadium

Parade marshal Dr Richard Price speaks with students at Gladys City

Perfect weather is predicted for Lamar University’s “We Are LU” Homecoming on Saturday, Nov. 4, with a day full of activities beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. when the Cardinal football team hosts Central Arkansas at Provost Umphrey Stadium.

“We are especially excited about Lamar University Homecoming this year as we see it as day of free family fun for our community that is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey,” said Homecoming Committee Chairman Courtney Horton.

Cardinal View Academic Open House will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Those can meet with representatives from five academic colleges plus interact with current LU students, tour Cardinal Village residence halls and much more.

“We have exciting events for all ages including our new Big Red’s Ride Classic & Antique Car Show,” added Horton.

The antique car show was put together because LU parade attendees were so interested in the wonderful old cars from the Golden Triangle Model A Club that rode in the parade last year.

“We decided that a car show would provide the opportunity for a closer look at these and other amazing cars owned by car collectors in our area,” said Horton. “Members of the Spindletop Street Rods and ACES Classic Car Club have also committed to participate in the show, which is from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Spindletop Gladys City.

The Homecoming Parade is the centerpiece of the day and begins at 2 p.m. with six area high school bands joining the Lamar University band “The Showcase of Southeast Texas,” LU Spirit Teams, Lamar mascots Big Red & Lu, student and community floats and entries, and area dignitaries.

The parade begins at the corner of Jimmy Simmons Boulevard and East Lavaca Street and travels east on East Lavaca, south on the MLK feeder road, and ends near the Plummer Building.

The grand marshal of this year’s parade is Dr. Richard Price, a Beaumont native who is now retired and spent many years as an associate professor of mathematics at Lamar University.

Now in his mid-80s, Price was “wowed” when he first heard the news he would be the grand marshal at this year’s Homecoming Parade.

“I’ve heard of grand marshals before, but I never entertained the idea that I would be the subject of one of them,” said Price. “I’m very honored and hope that I’m deserving of the classification.”

Price has always valued education. His father was a high school principal as well as a church pastor, so he and his 11 siblings appreciated everything their father taught them.

After graduating from Hebert High School in 1949, he couldn’t attend Lamar due to segregation. “My father sent all of us away from Texas to go to school,” said Price. He went on to complete his doctoral degree at Ohio State University and had many offers from colleges to teach, one in particular from Lloyd Cherry, dean of Lamar’s College of Engineering.

“I said ‘Wow, an opportunity to go back home and be able to do some things I wanted to do, from an educational point of view,” said Price. “Lloyd was well receptive to this idea that if I came to Lamar, he would give me every opportunity to do them. Lamar University gave me a platform for the things I knew I wanted to do.”

After one year at Lamar, Price took a leave of absence to study religion at the Yale Divinity School, earning a master’s degree in religion — it was one of his goals to do that by 40 years of age.

Price then returned to Lamar and spent 30 years teaching. He also taught at Prairie View A&M, Ohio Northern University and Michigan State, among others.

He advised the campus chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and had a prominent role in the national organization. Price served as director of minority recruiting and retention for the College of Engineering at Lamar.

He retired from the University in August 2006, but retirement didn’t last long.

He began helping Ozen High School students prepare for the mathematics portion of an academic decathlon. Price was then asked by Ozen’s Principal James Broussard to consider teaching a few classes, and that he did. He taught four: two Advanced Placement calculus classes and two Advanced Placement pre-calculus. Price went on to coach Southeast Texas students for math and science competitions and was co-chair of the Golden Triangle-Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering.

Former students have high praise for their former teacher. From “icon” status to “wonderful asset,” but many remember his interaction and his tough policy on tardiness.

“I always enjoyed the interaction with my students in the classroom,” said Price. “I always requested 8 a.m. classes. I like to get started early. I was always in class on time and I expected the same from my students. They knew at 8 a.m. that I was ready to start. For the most part, yes, they respected that throughout my career.”

Lamar will always be special to Price, and he looks forward to returning back to campus this weekend.

“I am very pleased with the progress the university has made, not only in construction, but in creating platforms where students have the opportunity to be challenged in the classroom and reach their goals and objectives that Lamar University can provide for them so they can be ready to go on to the next phase of their life,” added Price.

After the parade, Cardinal Fan Fest will be held at Plummer Lawn from 3-5:30 p.m. There will be music, food, and Cardinal spirit. Get your face painted at the Alumni Spirit Station, try a craft beer or a tasty treat from the food trucks, and enjoy a rocking live music show from local bands. Admission is free and open to the public.

Headlining Fan Fest will be popular Nashville recording artist Paul Childers, who blends pop, R&B, and soul.

Don’t forget to check out the Art Extravaganza at the Dishman Art Museum from 3-4:30 p.m. featuring free gallery tours and family art activities as well as live music.

Then it’s time to head over to Provost Umphrey Stadium where the Lamar band will perform a pre-game show before the Cardinal football game kicks off at 6 p.m.

At half, the Homecoming King and Queen will be revealed.

“It’s a day you won’t want to miss,” said Horton.