Since 1937 Lamar Community College has been a go-to school for students in the southeastern counties of Prowers, Baca, Kioa and Cheyenne. With small class sizes, athletic programs and open campus, the school provides all the amenities of a college experience without the overbearing cost.
“We’re so dialed in to the economic development and vitality of this region,” said Lamar Community College President Linda Lujan in a promotional video. “We’ve got the full collegiate experience everything from the dorms to athletics and school clubs.”
Indeed, over 80 years after opening its doors, LCC remains a large contributor to the local Lamar community and beyond.
“What really struck me was how impassioned people were when they talked to me in describing all the ways LCC has helped the community through the boom and bust cycles of the last 80 years and talking about what would happen if we weren’t here,” Lujan said.
As with many of Colorado’s rural towns where mining and agriculture have often been economic driving forces, Lamar has not been without its booms and busts, but LCC has remained a pilar in its contributions to the community, as highlighted by a recent economic impact study from research firm Emsi.
The study focused on the economic impact of LCC and other schools in the Colorado community college system and found that the impact of Lamar Community College exceeds that of most community colleges in the state.
For example LCC and its students (including alumni) have added $41.1 million to the college’s service area economy - an annual total that is equivalent to 1,063 jobs. The study also showed that for every dollar enrolled students invested in their education at LCC, the rate of return was an additional $6.50 in future earnings - leading to an annual return rate of 18.5 percent.
As a point of comparison the average 10-year return rate on the U.S. stock market is 7.2 percent.
“Since 1937 we’ve turned out thousands of grads who are still contributing to the economic vitality of our communities,” Lujan said. “We convene the community for conversation, debates and cultural activity. We serve on economic development boards, hospital boards, school boards…we’re just plugged in.”
Being that plugged in has also helped Lamar with its ultimate goal of getting students on the path to success they are looking for.
“We’ve got a lot of guaranteed transfer programs so students know when they come here and want to move on, we can help them do that,” Lujan said. “Many other students come here looking for career and technical education, so part of our job is to help them make the best choice for their goals.”
Aside from multiple programs ranging from Agriculture to Veterinary Science, LCC also has multiple degrees and certifications that students who are eager to get into the work force without falling into the trap of student loan debt, can obtain. Agriculture, Animal Science, Business, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Economics, Equine Business Management and Welding are just some of the degrees the college offers.
Looking ahead, Lujan added that for Lamar Community College to maintain its success and even push past it over the next eight decades, will require further community involvement and commitment.
“For LCC to move forward we need to stay connected to that community,” she said. “We need to continue to be involved in our advisory committees and boards. That input is critical. We need to contribute to new ideas to really keep the vitality and vibrancy of this area going.”
For more information on Lamar Community College including enrollment dates, programs and tuition fees visit www.lamarcc.edu.