The Beaumont Foundation began Southeast Texas Legends Scholarships at Lamar University in 2007 to honor those who blazed a trail across Southeast Texas by providing endowed scholarships for bright youth who need financial help to achieve their potential. The first Legends Scholarships are named in honor of nine Southeast Texas leaders – Major T. Bell, The Honorable Don Burgess, Everett Lord, Hubert Oxford III, Dr. James M. Simmons, Dr. George McLaughlin, Joe H. Tonahill, John G. Tucker, and The Honorable Bob Wortham.
In 2008, four additional scholarships were named to honor Southeast Texas leaders – Congressman Jack Brooks, Dr. Joe Dickerson, Senator Carl Parker, and Ward Stephenson.
In December 2009 a scholarship was named to honor Southeast Texas Legend, Gilbert I. ‘Buddy’ Low.
Walter Umphrey was added as the 15th Southeast Texas Legend in November 2012.