Feb. 1, 2017 —Xavier Culver Lemond '73, the first African-American graduate of the University of Houston to serve on the UH System Board of Regents — and the first UH law school alumnus to serve in that capacity —has died at the age of 75 on Jan. 20.
Lemond was also the first black law student inducted into the school's honor society, the Order of the Barons.
His brother, James, was the first African-American graduate of the University of Houston law school in 1970.
He was appointed to the UH Board of Regents in 1984 by Gov. Mark White, serving until 1991 as chairman of the Art Acquisition Committee, the Building Committee, and as vice-chairman of the board. He also was instrumental in preserving the law school's evening program, having attended night classes during part of his time at the school.
Born in Leonville, La, he grew up in Highlands and Barrett Station, Texas. He briefly studied for the priesthood, pursued a mechanical engineering degree at Prairie View A&M University, and joined the U.S. Army where in 1962 his unit was deployed by President Kennedy to ensure the enrollment of James Meredith as the first black student at the University of Mississippi. Honorably discharged from the 82nd Airborne Division as a 1st lieutenant in 1963, he joined the Army Reserves, where he gained the rank of captain. He earned a psychology degree from UH in 1966, taught at Booker T. Washington High School in Houston, and worked for State Farm Insurance Co. before enrolling in law school.
J.D. in hand, Lemond went to work for Conoco, Inc. as an oil and gas attorney, serving in many capacities until his retirement 20 years later. He was a founding member of The Network Group (TNG), which established a networking system for African-Americans at Conoco. He also created a program that provided diversity training classes to upper management.
After retiring from Conoco in 1994, he had a private practice until 2001 when he was first appointed as an assistant county attorney in the Harris County Attorney's Office and then named director of Community Development and Community Affairs by Harris County Commissioners Court.
He served as a mentor to many people, especially to the youth in Barrett Station through a highly-successful student scholars program funded in part by the University of Houston.
Lemond is survived by his wife of 54 years, Diane, and 10 brothers and sisters.