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Lamar University
News Release
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Donor support of Cardinal Emergency Fund helps LU students
meet post-hurricane challenges

In response to the needs of students affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey throughout Southeast Texas, the university established the Cardinal Emergency Fund to help students with the greatest needs.

 “So many of our students are facing unimaginable losses far beyond the interruption of their academic pursuits,” said Juan Zabala, vice president for university advancement. “The university is responding proactively where we can, but many of their other needs are significant. Lamar University alumni and donors are contributing to the Cardinal Emergency Fund to address these unprecedented needs.”

Proceeds from the Cardinal Emergency Fund are assisting students who need them most as they are distributed by university financial aid officials who collect, review, and respond to requests for aid, with a goal of helping as many students as possible based on their degree of need.

“The students are anxious and eager to get back in the classroom and return to their new normal,” said Katrina Brent, executive director of Scholarships and Financial Aid. “We have been able to assist them with educational expenses and they are very grateful for the support.”

“It has been a very humbling and refreshing experience to speak to these students and give them hope, our financial aid and financial literacy staff are doing a fabulous job meeting with these students and working to adjust their packages and meet each student’s need,” Brent said. “We would like to thank the friends and alumni of Lamar University as well as our university administration for making this possible for our students.”

The office continues to receive Cardinal Emergency Fund applications, and the staff meets with every student to get a sense of their need and how we can assist, Brent said.

Contributions are nearing $100,000 with a number of large gifts, including major gifts from the Southeast Texas Emergency Relief Fund, The Chuck and Becky Mason Charitable Gift Fund, The Jack and Linda Gill Foundation of Texas, The Southland Conference, Diane and Don Shaver, and many other meaningful and important gifts from caring and compassionate friends of Lamar University.

The Southeast Texas Emergency Relief Fund was originally established in 2005 following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and recently reactivated by Beaumont philanthropist Regina Rogers and businessman Joe Penland.

“Many gifts for the Cardinal Emergency Fund are coming from donors in areas that are affected by Hurricane Harvey as well as from places farther away like Florida, which has had its own problems with Hurricane Irma,” said Jeff Spoeri, associate vice president for university advancement. “It is very humbling to see how people are offering this assistance even when their own communities are dealing with storm impacts.”

To contribute to the Cardinal Emergency Fund, visit

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