The Lamar University Staff Advisory Council has honored President James "Jimmy" Simmons with the “Distinguished President Award,” citing his inspiration and dedication during one of the brightest periods in Lamar’s history.
Diann Brodnax, president of the Staff Advisory Council, surprised Simmons with a special tribute and the presentation of a plaque at the conclusion of Lamar’s annual staff awards ceremony Tuesday, April 16.
“We appreciate your dedication to Lamar and to the people who make Lamar the successful university that it is,” Brodnax said. “You have been a constant inspiration to us all, gently moving us in your friendly, personable way toward success, both in our working life and in our personal lives as well.
“You have been our rock in difficult times, and your strength has supported us when we felt we might fall. Your thoughtful, caring ways made us feel loved and needed . . . You are a true believer in Lamar University; an administrator with a strong sense of what is right and what is best, and you have guided us through one of the brightest periods in Lamar’s long history.”
As Simmons moves toward retirement and forward to the next phase of his life and career, Brodnax said, the LU staff wanted to share thoughts and feelings that his “work, life, love, talent and compassion have engendered on an entire generation of Lamar faculty and staff.”
After stepping down from the presidency on July 1, 2013, Simmons will return to the faculty of the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music, continuing a 44-year Lamar career that has included 14 years as president.
The staff awards program Tuesday was Simmons’ last as president. He delivered the welcoming address, presented Distinguished Staff Awards and recognized 16 retirees. The plaque he received bore the inscription: “Lamar University Distinguished LU President Award . . . Thank you for your dedication and support of LU staff.”
“You have built, changed and added,” Brodnax said. “You have inspired, and motivated and disciplined. You have been steadfast in your beliefs and your dedication to all of us. You will leave Lamar a stronger, more resilient and more vibrant university than you found it, and we are all indebted to you for doing so.”
Brodnax concluded: “Dr. Simmons, you are Lamar University, and, in more ways than we can count, both literally and figuratively, you have truly been music to our ears and hearts.”