Lawson State Community College

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Lawson State Community College is a public two-year college located at 3060 Wilson Road Southwest in Southwest Birmingham. It also operates a second campus, the former Bessemer State Technical College, at 1100 9th Avenue Southwest in Bessemer.

Lawson State Community College has a current enrollment of 3,028. In 2013 Lawson State was ranked as the #5 community college in the nation by Washington Monthly. It was also recognized as a "Champion of Change" in 2011 by the Obama administration.

The college, originally open only to African Americans, was founded as the Wenonah Vocational and Trade School on August 24, 1949, under the authority of the Wallace-Patterson Trade School Act of 1947. Seventy-five students enrolled in the first year, taught by eleven instructors led by president Theodore Lawson.

An academic program, called Wenonah State Junior College, was founded in 1965 under the auspices of legislation passed in 1963. It graduated its first class of 33 in 1967 and was fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1968. In 1969 the academic program was renamed Lawson State Junior College in Lawson's honor. It merged with the technical school on October 1, 1973 to form the present institution. The school's technology center was supported in part by a $1 million donation from the Scrushy Family Foundation.

On July 1, 2005 Lawson State merged with Bessemer State Technical College. In May 2012 the college purchased the site of the former Wenonah Elementary School for expansion.

President Obama delivered remarks on the economy during a brief visit to Lawson State on March 26, 2015.


Notable alumni


The Lawson State Cougars compete in baseball, men's and women's basketball, and women's volleyball as members of the Alabama Community College Conference in Division I of the National Junior College Athletic Association.


  • Jones, Pam (January 7, 2005) "Lawson State, Bessemer Tech colleges merge; Six-figure savings are anticipated." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (March 26, 2015) "Obama visit brings noteworthy alumni back to Lawson State." The Birmingham News

External links