Blinn College welcomed five community leaders – including three former students – to its Hall of Honor Saturday with an induction ceremony at the Janis Sneed Banquet Room on the College’s historic Brenham campus.
State Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst was recognized as person of the year, and Janis Sneed, Charles W. Schwartz, Terry Tottenham and Nathan Winkelmann were also inducted, bringing the total number of recipients to 56 since the Hall was founded in 2003. The Hall of Honor recognizes the college’s most distinguished alumni, business leaders or those who have made a significant impact in their communities or professions.
Kolkhorst is a member of the Texas House of Representatives, serving House District 13, spans more than 5,000 square miles of rural Texas from the Brazos Valley to the Coastal Plains. As Chair of the House Committee on Public Health, she oversees the state's health care system and sets priorities for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She is also a member of the House Committee on County Affairs, where she helps solve challenges facing the state's 254 counties.
Kolkhorst spent six years on the House Appropriations Committee, managing and directing funds for public schools, community colleges, universities and medical schools. As an advocate for education issues, she has been honored by both the Texas Retired Teacher Association as well as the College of Education at Sam Houston State University for her longtime support of teacher and classroom issues.
“I have a great desire in my heart to see Blinn grow to an even greater extent,” she said at Saturday's induction ceremony.
Sneed served as an advisor for the Blinn College chapter of the national honor fraternity Phi Theta Kappa, helping the chapter become a national ranking for 20 consecutive years. In 1986, Sneed was named Most Distinguished Advisor at the Phi Theta Kappa national convention.
With the building of the new student center, she resigned her position as teacher and PTK adviser and became director of Student Activities. In 1994, the student center banquet room was named in her honor and an endowed scholarship was created by alumni and friends in recognition of her service to Blinn College. She also received a proclamation commending her outstanding service in education from Gov. Bob Bullock.
Schwartz, a member of the Blinn College Class of 1973 and the son of former Blinn College president and fellow Hall of Honor member Walter C. Schwartz, is a member of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, a former chairman of the State Bar of Texas and a practice director/managing partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Associates.
Earlier this year, Schwartz was appointed to the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System by Gov. Rick Perry, where he serves as chair of the Committee on Finance and as a member of the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs and the Policy Review Committee.
He also serves as special liaison to A&M System Research. Schwartz served as chairman of the board of the State Bar of Texas from 2002 to 2003.
A 1964 Blinn College graduate, Tottenham served as Texas State Bar president from 2010-11. Tottenham was raised in Brenham and spent two years at Blinn before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his degree in pharmacy and met his wife, Sue.
He went on to graduate from the University of Texas School of Law, then served for years in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of captain.
Tottenham is now counsel to Norton Rose Fulbright (Fulbright & Jaworski) in Austin. He is certified in personal injury and civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and was the recipient of its first Pro Bono Award. As state bar president, he created the successful pro bono initiative “Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans” to assist low-income veterans and their families in obtaining access to legal advice and services. This popular program has been replicated in 14 states and is under consideration in many others.
A 1975 Blinn College graduate, Winkelmann earned All-America honors for the Buccaneer football team before foregoing many scholarship offers to continue his playing career.
In 1981, Winkelmann purchased the property on the corner of Highway 290 and F.M. 389 in Brenham and built Buccaneer Food Store. In 1994, Big Daddy’s BBQ was born and operated within Buccaneer Food Store until it outgrew the small operating area, spurring a major renovation that was completed in 2010.
Winkelmann currently serves as a board member for the Blinn Foundation and the Texas Food and Fuel Association, the state’s largest association that serves convenience store operators and petroleum marketers.
The Ex-Students Association also recognized Gus Mutscher and Glen Vierus for their role in strengthening Blinn’s bond with its alumni and the community.
Photo: From left to right, Terry Tottenham, State Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst, Janis Sneed and Nathan Winkelmann. Not pictured, Charles W. Schwartz.