Lauren Anderson to deliver commencement address

04.11.2018 | By Amanda Fenwick

PASADENA, Texas – Lauren Anderson, the first African-American principal dancer with the Houston Ballet and current outreach associate in the Houston Ballet’s Academy, will deliver the commencement address at the San Jacinto College Spring 2018 commencement ceremony.

The San Jacinto College 2018 Spring commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at 7 p.m., at NRG Stadium.

Anderson, a native Houstonian, danced with the Houston Ballet from 1983 to 2006, performing leading roles in all the great classical ballets, appearing across the world to critical acclaim, and in the process, becoming one of Houston Ballet’s most beloved stars. In January 2007, Anderson assumed her new role of outreach associate in Houston Ballet’s education department where she teaches ballet classes at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, conducts master classes at area schools, and lectures to students on dance and her historic career as one of America’s most distinguished African-American ballerinas. She trained exclusively at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy from the age of 7.

“We are thrilled to have Lauren as our keynote speaker for our Spring commencement ceremony,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. “She is an accomplished leader in the Houston community with a passion for the arts and education who cares deeply about our community’s youth and their future. I look forward to hearing her address to our graduates.”

In 1990 Anderson became the first African-American to be promoted to principal dancer at Houston Ballet, and one of the few African-American ballerinas at the head of a major ballet company anywhere in the world. In addition, Anderson received the Special Jury Award at the 1990 International Ballet Competition as well as the International Critics Award in Chile. Her repertoire included works by George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Bruce, James Kudelka and Trey McIntyre.

Anderson created the title role in Ben Stevenson’s “Cleopatra,” and her performance as Cleopatra received accolades from international critics. 

Anderson’s ballerina shoes from the 2006 “Nutcracker,” which would be her last performance in the historic Wortham Theater, now live in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. 

Anderson is the proud mom to Lawrence Bell Fitzgerald Turner.

More information about the San Jacinto College commencement ceremony can be found at


About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each year benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.