SPC names Mckenzie Lee as winner of the 2023 Thomas Spencer Sr. Award

LEVELLAND – South Plains College student Mckenzie Lee of Levelland has been named the 2023 recipient of the Thomas Spencer Sr. Award for Outstanding Achievement. The award was presented during the 65th Annual Commencement Ceremony on Friday (May 12) in the Texan Dome.

The Thomas Spencer Sr. Award is presented annually to an outstanding student who demonstrates the qualities of leadership and service to the college and community. The late Dr. Thomas Spencer, Sr., played an important role in the formative years of South Plains College as its founding president. In conjunction with the college’s 40th anniversary, the Thomas Spencer Sr. Award was established in 1998.

"I like the small community environment," she said. "Transitioning from high school to here was very similar, and I was fortunate to be able to participate in many things. I was glad to meet all the different students, and I was really honored to be the homecoming queen. I also met amazing professors who are now my great mentors."


Lee is a sophomore engineering major. She credits Dr. Jay Driver, professor of mathematics, as being the most influential person she has met on campus.

"He was my calculus I professor in summer 2021, right after I graduated high school, and he has always been there to mentor me and guide me academically," she said. "He’s been my mentor, and he not only gives me good academic advice, but he’s a good Christian man. He helped me become a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar.”

Lee is an exceptional student who has made the most of her college experience while attending South Plains College. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. She has been recognized on the President’s Honor List in Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Fall 2022 for academic achievement. She was nominated as a homecoming candidate by the Baptist Student Ministry, where she has been a member for two years and was named the 2023 Homecoming Queen. She was honored to be a member of the Lady Texan Basketball team this year and helped them finish second in the regional tournament.

She stated, “I have made wonderful friendships, and it has been an amazing experience to learn about the different countries, languages, and cultures where my teammates are from.”

Lee is the recipient of the SPC Foundation Valedictorian Scholarship, the Ray and Georgia Watson Memorial Scholarship, the Robert Pearce Mathematics Scholarship, the Hockley County 4-H Club Scholarship, the Campus Ambassador Scholarship and the SPC Family Scholarship.

Lee is a graduate of Sundown High School, and she is the daughter of Bruce and Tina Lee of Levelland. After graduating from South Plains College, she plans to transfer to Texas Tech University to pursue an education in mechanical engineering in the fall.