Career hits 40-year milestone at San Jacinto College

May 3, 2024Neesha Hosein
Mary Lindsay
Mary Lindsay

Not many professors can say they were the first to graduate with a degree from the very program they now oversee — one San Jac professor has that privilege.

A 1983 hurricane marked the start of Mary Lindsay’s remarkable career at San Jacinto College.

“It’s kind of a joke that I flew in with Hurricane Alicia,” Lindsay said. “I came to work at the Central Campus after the hurricane hit, and the campus had quite a bit of damage. We went to work with our building still leaking that first semester I ever taught in 1983.”

Although her San Jac career has just crossed four decades, her origin story with the College goes back even further.

“I’m a first-generation college completer for my family,” Lindsay said. “I received my associate of applied science degree in cosmetology in 1976, so that’s 48 years ago.”

Lindsay was the first student at San Jac to receive an AAS in cosmetology in its inaugural year at the Central Campus.

She moved to Brenham and owned a salon for many years until a dire need for cosmetology professors at her alma mater became her calling.

Today, Lindsay is the department chair for consumer and business technology, overseeing cosmetology, massage, and industrial trades, including biomedical clinical technician, HVAC, real estate, and engineering design graphics at the South Campus. Her specialty is cosmetology, but she relishes the chance to engage with and learn all the areas with which she works.

Childhood inspiration lasted lifetime

An early inspiration for Lindsay was a family friend who styled her moms’ hair at her in-home salon. Teenaged Lindsay helped by looking after the neighbor’s kids, all the while watching her interact with clients.

“She was an inspiration, and I always knew that I’d want to do something hands-on like she did,” Lindsay said. “She started letting me work a little bit. When you finally get the taste that you’ve accomplished something, it makes you feel good about yourself.”

Lindsay credits her high school teachers as another source of inspiration. She received her cosmetology license through LaPorte High School in 1974 and attended Kilgore Junior College in 1975 for her instructors license.

I was in the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America way back then, now Skills USA,” Lindsay said. “I was around a lot of innovative cosmetology instructors, which was very inspirational as far as wanting to become one myself. I always had the passion to become a teacher.

It’s all come full circle

Her proudest moment was earning her bachelor’s degree in 1991 from the University of Houston.

With forty years in the business, Lindsay doesn’t think a lot has changed in the field of cosmetology. It’s still a hands-on field and has remained in demand because people always want to feel beautiful.

“We do have much more educational technology on presentation methods today, which allows us to make a well-rounded presentation for all types of learners.”

Her favorite thing about the job has always been to see her students succeed, many of whom now work alongside her. To Lindsay, “it’s a rewarding feeling” that proves she’s come full circle.

“Some of my instructor students work with me now; we’ve known each other so long, they’re like family,” she said. “They do such a great job, and I’m so inspired by what they’ve accomplished and how they’ve grown within the San Jacinto College system.”

To learn more about the cosmetology program at San Jac, visit:

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