Lamar University is a comprehensive public university, based in Beaumont, Texas. The university had its origin in 1923, when South Park Junior College began its operation on the third floor of the newly opened South Park High School (now South Park Middle School). It became the first college in the state to receive approval from the Texas State Department of Education during its first year. In 1925, it gained accreditation from the Texas Association of Colleges. Seven years later, the college name was changed to Lamar College, to honor the second president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar. By 1942, it completely separated from the South Park School system and moved to its present location. With an aim to foster a four-year institution, the college was changed to Lamar State College of Technology, in 1951. Later, in 1969, a branch campus was opened in Orange, and in 1971, the college name officially became Lamar University. In the meantime, the university merged with Port Arthur College in Port Arthur to form its new campus. With these campuses, the university evolved into the Lamar University System. In 1995, it was incorporated into the Texas State University System, with its branch campuses as separate entities within the system. Lamar University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award its associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education and Human Development, College of Engineering, and College of Fine Arts and Communication, are the major academic units. In addition, the university has its College of Graduate Studies, Continuing and Distance Education, Center for General Studies, Honors Program, Lamar Language Institute, and Texas Academy of Leadership. The university campus, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, near U.S. Highway 69, is an ideal setting for education and recreation. The Mary and John Gray Library, an eight-story facility, serves as a valuable resource with a comprehensive collection of more than 1,000,000 volumes. The 10,000-seat Montagne Center arena is a valuable asset on campus, and on-campus housing options are provided.