First president of LSC-Tomball reflects on past

The opening of Lone Star College–Tomball in 1988 was marked as a moment of pride and aspiration for the Tomball community, as residents who could not afford to travel for college were given a chance to continue their education close to home. For Roy Lazenby, the first president of LSC–Tomball, the combined passion for education and the city itself made the accomplishment even more rewarding.

"This community is very special to me," he said. "I feel honored and privileged to have played a role in bringing an incredible opportunity to so many people."

Lazenby began his career with the Lone Star College System as the first director of student services and registrar in 1973. It was known as North Harris County College at the time, and operated as a night college out of Aldine High School.

"I was hired by W. W. Thorne, the college's founder and first president," he said. "I made the first folder and registered the first student."

North Harris College would open its own campus in 1976. It was not until 1986 that Lazenby was appointed to be president of the up-and-coming Lone Star College–Tomball, then known as Tomball College.

Tomball was actually left out of the initial vote to be a part of the college district, which was organized by Aldine, Spring and Humble ISDs, according to Lazenby. Tomball ISD was determined to not be contiguous with the other three.

However, in 1981 a special bill went through state legislature to allow the people of Tomball to vote on whether they wanted to join the college district. It passed with overwhelming support. The district's board of trustees purchased land in 1985, broke ground in 1986 and LSC–Tomball opened its doors in 1988.

"The citizens of Tomball were eager to be a part of the district," Lazenby said. "We anticipated around 1,200 students to enroll in our first year, and it ended up being around 1,700."

The strong partnership between the Tomball community and its college exists because of the foundation set by Lazenby, according to Theresa McGinley, dean of instruction at Lone Star College–North Harris.

"Dr. Lazenby knew firsthand the importance of the college to the community and vice versa," she said. "The significance of his role in both the city and the Lone Star College System itself could fill a book."

Lazenby's passion for education can still be seen in his work today. He runs LSC–Tomball's Academy for Lifelong Learning, which offers classes to people ages 50 and up in subjects including history, health and travel.

He is just as honored to play a role in providing affordable education to seniors today as he was in building a college for the residents of Tomball to call their own 26 years ago.

"You never stop learning," he said.

Open House

The Academy for Lifelong Learning at LSC–Tomball will host an open house and registration for the fall where potential students can meet teachers and other students.

  • August 25, 10 a.m.–Noon

LSC–Tomball Beckendorf Center, 30555 Hwy. 249, Tomball, 281-357-3676,