SPC to honor 2021 Pacesetter Award winners during gala on Feb. 26


LEVELLAND – When philanthropists Larry and Mary Montgomery of Carrollton, Ga., decided to invest in South Plains College, a connection was formed because of the common bond shared on both sides of the partnership.

The Montgomery Family Foundation’s platform mirrors their leadership as they look for opportunities in education to help people. After successful meetings with the college’s leadership, the Montgomerys decided to work with South Plains College.

“When my father started the Montgomery Family Foundation about 30 years ago, and over time, Mary and I moved into the leadership or management,” Montgomery said. “One thought that occurred to us is we should take advantage of an opportunity to invest back in West Texas and particularly its young people.” 

According to Mary Montgomery, building a connection usually takes two to three years to achieve. This was not the case with SPC. She said, “It was because the college had and articulated a clear vision of the needs and plans for future.”

The Foundation’s first gift to the college involved supporting the remodel of the Wilburn and Helen Wheeler Science Center, a bricks and mortar project that Montgomery said will give the building a new lease on life for years to come.

“There will be an untold number of young people who will pass through it and be impacted by it,” he said.

The Montgomerys have established the Lawrence J. Montgomery, Jr., Scholarship Endowment. The scholarship will assist a SPC freshman student from Garza, Lynn or Hockley County.

The history of the Montgomery family dates back to the late 1800 when the late C.W. Post purchased land in West Texas. The founders of South Plains College acquired land from the Post-Montgomery estate for the first five original buildings on the campus. They later met with the heirs and obtained 177 acres to complete the college.

Although his family tree has roots in Levelland, Larry Montgomery did not grow up in Texas. He is a native of Atlanta, Ga. He received his degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech University and his master’s degree in business from Emory University. He went to work for Kimberly Clark Corp., where he moved through the ranks including positions in the United States and internationally in engineering research and development. He ended his career working in major capital management.

Mrs. Montgomery graduated from the University of Wisconsin. She said when she received a job offer from Kimberly Clark, she was asked to pick three places she would like to work. A job in Wisconsin would not be available for nine months, therefore, she accepted the job in LaGrange, Ga. She worked for Kimberly Clark for 10 years before moving on to UPS and E-Logistics. She then spent five years working at her church until her husband’s retirement. The family relocated back to Georgia, and she began working for Georgia Tech in the Stewardship area. Presently, she is the assistant director in gift planning at Georgia Tech.

Montgomery said SPC is very familiar to them, and he considers it as a connection to their family.

“Clearly, they have a vibrant picture of where they want the college to go, the services it  provides and its mission in West Texas. That was very compelling and so that’s what caused us to come forward and say ‘let’s connect with South Plains College,’” he said.

For potential donors who are considering investing in SPC, Montgomery encourages them to come to campus and talk to the students. They are the reason that the college has been so successful.

The Montgomerys will be honored as the 2021 Pacesetter Award recipients during the 23rd Annual Scholarship Gala at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 (Friday). The event will be live streamed, and it will include many of the traditions synonymous with the gala. To access the event, please go to www.southplainscollege.edu/gala. The gala also can be viewed over the air at Fox News Now 34.2. 

For more information about the Scholarship Gala or other ways to support South Plains College and SPC students, please contact Mrs. Gerstenberger at (806) 716-2020 or by email at jgerstenberger@southplainscollege.edu.