Angelina College Hosts Ribbon Cutting for Network Administration Program: New Course to Offer Degrees and Certifications in High-Demand Field


With visiting dignitaries present, including members of the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, Angelina College on Thursday held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch its new Network Administration Program scheduled to start with the upcoming new semester.

“This ceremony is a way to support our Chamber investors and the new ideas they’re bringing into our community,” Amanda Crocker, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Chamber, said. “We’re celebrating the opportunities those ideas are creating throughout East Texas.”

The new program came to fruition as part of AC’s recent Title V grant from the Department of Education. AC president Dr. Michael Simon lauded “community relationships” for helping the college and community collaborate to ensure incoming students are gaining the knowledge and training necessary for current workforce needs.

“We’ve said forever, our mission is to help people in our service area reach their full potential,” Simon said. “What our Board of Trustees added was ‘people and communities’ because we really live that here at AC. I’m so glad to see this program come to life through the input of employers, and I’m grateful for the support of faculty and staff around the college.”

Mary Larsen, who designed the entire curriculum and will serve as the Network Administration Program’s instructor and developer, said the program will offer various avenues for students to pursue, including a two-year Associate of Applied Sciences degree and certifications Larsen said “are recognized worldwide.”

“We’ll teach cybersecurity, cloud-based servers, and programming for servers,” Larsen said. “Now that a lot of our server equipment is being used everywhere. Everything we do now is server-based, and it increases our students’ chances of getting a good job and entering the field.

“It also gives students who choose to continue furthering their knowledge in a particular area, such as security, the background to do that as well.”

Larsen said even students with rudimentary knowledge of computers can succeed in the course.

“Of course, students will need to know how to navigate a computer – how to log in, how to use some of the applications – while having some familiarity with the internet. Mostly, a student just needs a strong desire to work in the network server community.”

The introductory portion of the course begins on Monday, August 28. Larsen said for now, there are two entry-level courses set in an eight-week hybrid (part face-to-face, part online classes) format. Later, Larsen said, there’ll be labs enabling students to work in a “virtual environment.”

All of which may lead to a very rewarding career, according to Larsen.

“We’re seeing employees with this type of training earn starting salaries of nearly $70,000 per year,” Larsen said. “These types of skills we’ll be teaching are definitely in demand in today’s high-tech world.”

For further information, contact Krista Brown at

Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

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