LSCC History

The Birmingham ASC Building and Bessemer A-Building


A Celebrated History

Lawson State Community College is a public, historically black community college located in Birmingham and Bessemer, Alabama. It is composed of two main divisions, academic and career technical.

Birmingham Campus History
The career technical division began as the Wenonah State Technical Institute on August 24, 1949, in Birmingham, Alabama. The school opened with eleven instructors, seventy-five students enrolled in ten courses, and one related subject. The first president of the school was Dr. Theodore Alfred Lawson. The initial funding received by the career technical division was $75,000.

The academic division, originally named Wenonah State Junior College, opened in 1965. In 1967, the junior college held its first commencement exercise with thirty-three graduates. In 1968, the junior college received its accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1969, the junior college's name was changed to Lawson State Junior College and had an enrollment of three hundred students.

On October 1, 1973, Wenonah State Technical Institute and Lawson State Junior College merged into one institution and became known as T.A. Lawson State Community College, which is the current location of the college's Birmingham Campus.

Despite its long-standing, and at first separate, history, there have been a short list of presidents for T.A. Lawson State Community College.

Bessemer Campus History
In 1963, the City of Bessemer purchased thirty-four acres for the new State Vocational-Technical School (later changed to John R. Pelham Technical Trade School and then Bessemer State Trade School.) The school accepted its first students on April 4, 1966, with six programs of study, forty-seven daytime students, and thirty nighttime students. On August 16, 1966, by legislative act, the school's name was changed to Bessemer State Technical Institute. When the institute achieved college status in 1973, it became known as Bessemer State Technical College. Five presidents served this institution.


  • Otto B. Smith, 1964 - 1967
  • S. C. Porch, 1967 - 1971
  • Euel Snider, 1971 - 1972
  • Charles L. Payne, 1972 - 1984
  • Mike Bailey, 1984 - 2004

On July 1, 2005, Bessemer State Technical College merged with T.A. Lawson State Community College.  

Two Campuses, One College
Since its merger, Lawson State has seen its most celebrated years. 

  • In 2011, Lawson State made history in the state of Alabama by being featured as a Top 50 Community College in the nation. 
  • Also in 2011, the college was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change.
  • In 2013, the college moved from #33 to #5 on the Top 50 Community Colleges in the nation list.
  • In 2015, Lawson State was selected to host a visit by President Barack Obama. 
  • In 2017, 2018, and 2019, Lawson State’s nursing programs were ranked #1 and #2 in the state of Alabama.
  • In 2019, Lawson State opened its newest and largest building, the Academic Success Center. The ASC houses the college's cafeteria, bookstore, and student services offices.
  • Also in 2019, Lawson State achieved reaffirmation accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 
  • In 2022, 2023, and 2024, Lawson State underwent many renovation projects on both campuses, all of which were designed to enhance its students’ learning environment.