Lone Star College Board of Trustees grant Emerita title to distinguished professors

By: Royelyn Bastian
| Published 05/20/2024

Lone Star College Board of Trustees bestowed Professor Emerita status to retired faculty members Joan McAninch Samuelson, Ph.D., LSC-Kingwood English professor and Annie Benifield, Ph.D., LSC-Tomball political science professor.

HOUSTON, TX -- The Lone Star College Board of Trustees awarded the title of Professor Emerita to Annie Benifield, Ph.D., LSC-Tomball and Joan McAninch Samuelson, Ph.D., LSC-Kingwood during the May board meeting.

“Lone Star College is proud of the selfless dedication of Dr. Benifield and Dr. Samuelson,” said Mario K. Castillo, J.D., LSC chancellor. “Their work has transformed the lives of students and colleagues and the title of Emerita is an expression of the college’s gratitude for their outstanding service.”

Upon the chancellor’s recommendation, the Board may confer the “Emerita” title upon retiring faculty, administrators or staff to recognize significant contributions to the college through long and distinguished service in administration, teaching, support, or other service.

Benifield began teaching political science at LSC-Tomball in 1998 and remained until she retired in 2021. During her tenure, she received the LSC-Tomball Advance Equity Award, a faculty excellence service award and was named teacher of the month by the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce. Benifield aimed to facilitate students’ learning about democracy and the political process with the hopes of transforming them into civically-engaged citizens.

“I chose to work in education because I wanted to have a meaningful impact in society, similar to my past educators who had an indelible impact on my growth and development,” said Benifield. “After serving as a faculty member for 23 years, I am deeply humbled and honored by such an extraordinary tribute from Lone Star College. Emerita status lets me remain engaged in academia.”

Benifield helped to organize Constitution Day at the college, served as the Texas Community College Teachers Association president, chaired the Social Sciences Department and served as the League of Women Voters of Houston president in 2022. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Alabama A&M University, a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University and a Ph.D. from The University of New Orleans.

Samuelson was one of the founding faculty members of LSC-Kingwood in 1984 and retired this May after 40 years of service. As a dedicated English professor, she has won numerous innovation and faculty fellow awards, helped launch LSC Honors College, and was a pioneer in Online Learning, having taught online courses before LSC had a dedicated LMS. Additionally, she worked as a website designer for LSC-Kingwood before the system-wide site.

“Over the past 40 years as an educator, I hope I listened to my students because it was always the students themselves I watched and learned from. They were sharp, funny and gently demanded that teachers do their best every day,” said Samuelson. “To receive Emerita status from the institution (Lone Star College) that so long ago took a chance on me, who was only out of graduate school for a few years and a new high school teacher, is a lovely gift and humbling. I have had a distinguished career because the colleagues who hired and worked with me gave me a chance, inspired me and supported my every step.”

Samuelson received two faculty excellence service awards at LSC-Kingwood, was the faculty senate president (1992-1994) and twice served as department chair. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Emerita privileges at Lone Star College include:

  • The presentation of an appropriate commemorative.
  • Listing in the college’s annual catalog for the honoree's life.
  • Invitation to the annual May commencement ceremonies with special seating privileges.
  • Introduction and recognition during the commencement program.
  • Invitations to other college activities and special events.

Enrollment is now open for the summer and fall semesters. Visit for more information on how LSC can help you start or continue your educational journey.

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