Monday, September 11, 2017
Good morning, everyone.
Thank you for joining us today as we celebrate the Blinn College-Schulenburg Campus and 20 years of affordable educational excellence in Schulenburg, Texas.
I would like to begin by introducing the special guests in the audience today who have partnered with Blinn College to make the Schulenburg Campus such a success.
Will the representatives from the City of Schulenburg, including the mayor and city council, please stand and be recognized?
Will the representatives from Fayette County please stand and be recognized?
I also would like to recognize our partners from the Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce and the Schulenburg Economic Development Corporation.
Will you please stand and be recognized?
Will our friends from our partner school districts please stand and be recognized?
Almost exactly 20 years ago, Blinn College officials and members of the Board of Trustees stood in this very location to celebrate the opening of the Blinn College-Schulenburg Campus.
At that time, we knew that Blinn College would benefit the lives of students from across Fayette County.
We knew that providing students an affordable pathway to a four-year degree would make college more accessible and convenient for local families.
We knew that career and technical education programs in fields such as nursing, child development, criminal justice, legal assistant, computers, desktop publishing, food service training, and professional truck driving would put local students on the path to rewarding, high-demand careers.
We also knew that Blinn-Schulenburg could have a tremendous economic impact on the community.
Each year, this campus provides an annual $11.1 million benefit to the region, including $9.2 million in productivity from former students who enter or re-enter the workforce with newly acquired skills.
Even knowing all of this, we could never have predicted the incredible stories that would come from our students’ experiences here at Blinn College.
We could never have predicted that Alyssa Michalke, the first woman to lead Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets as Corps Commander, would take her first college courses as a dual credit student here in Schulenburg.
We could not know that Robin Branecky, one of the first students to enroll at Blinn-Schulenburg, would go on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas State University, or that she would return to Blinn College soon after earning her master’s degree – this time as an instructor.
Since 2011, Robin has served as the principal at Flatonia Secondary School, where she teaches the next generation about the value of a community college education.
We also could not have predicted the impact Blinn-Schulenburg would have on Stuart Mica, a 22-year military veteran who served four tours of duty in Iraq.
In 1989, when he joined the military, Stuart made a promise to his mother that he would earn his college degree.
Thanks to the Blinn College-Schulenburg Campus, Stuart is well on his way to doing exactly that.
Throughout Fayette County and the State of Texas, you will discover similar stories from students who have benefitted from a Blinn College education.
As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Blinn-Schulenburg Campus, what we truly celebrate are those students, their accomplishments, and the impact Blinn College and its incredible faculty and staff have had on their lives.
I, for one, cannot wait to see the remarkable success stories that come from the next 20 years at Blinn-Schulenburg.
At this time, it is my pleasure to introduce Fayette County Judge Ed Janecka (yuh-nech-kuh).
Judge Janecka is the longest-serving judge in Fayette County history, having served the citizens of this community for 27 years.
During his term in office, Judge Janecka has overseen the courthouse restoration project and implemented a county-wide recycling program.
He also has overseen the construction of a new county agricultural building, airport, and animal shelter.
Judge Janecka also has played a key role in bringing the Veterans Administration Clinic to La Grange.
Please join me in welcoming Judge Ed Janecka to the podium.
Thank you, Judge Janecka.
At this time, I am pleased to introduce Dr. Donald Voelter, the 12th president in the history of Blinn College.
Dr. Voelter served as Blinn’s president from 1994 through 2008.
He came to Blinn as a business instructor in 1971, and was named Director of the Occupational Education Division in 1974.
In 1977, he became Blinn’s Business Manager, and in 1983 he was appointed Executive Vice President of Fiscal Affairs, a position he held until he was named president.
A native of Marlin, Dr. Voelter earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degrees from Sam Houston State University, and his Ph.D. in education administration and management from Texas A&M University.
Dr. Voelter served two years in the U.S. Army, including one year in South Korea as a general’s aide.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Voelter to the podium, and thanking him for his service to Blinn College and our nation.
Thank you, Dr. Voelter.
I now would like to introduce Barbara Moore, former Director of the Blinn College-Schulenburg Campus.
A native of the Nacogdoches area, Barbara served as a counselor and part-time psychology instructor at the Blinn College-Brenham Campus for 4 years prior to being named Schulenburg Campus Director in 1996.
She served in that role for 12 years, helping to open the new campus, build community relationships, increase enrollment, and even add a second building to the campus in 2005.
Please join me in welcoming Barbara Moore to the podium.
Thank you, Barbara.
I now would like to introduce City of Schulenburg Administrator and Secretary Tami Blaschke (blah-shkee)-Walker.
Tami has been with the City of Schulenburg since 1991, and was a founding member of the Schulenburg Economic Development Corporation, which seeks opportunities to enhance the growth, prosperity, and well-being of the citizens of Schulenburg.
As a city administrator and member of the Schulenburg EDC leadership team, Tami has been a long-time friend to Blinn College and has worked behind the scenes to help make Blinn-Schulenburg a success.
Please join me in welcoming Tami Blaschke-Walker to the podium.
Thank you, Tami.
At this time, please welcome Becky Garlick, Executive Dean, Blinn College-Schulenburg Campus, and Susan Myers, Executive Director of the Blinn College Foundation, for a special scholarship recognition.
As we close today’s ceremony, I would like to thank the Blinn College personnel, both past and present, who have dedicated so much of their passion and energy to this campus, and more importantly, its students.
Blinn College has thrived in Schulenburg because it offers personal attention to each student, and is committed to helping them reach their goals, whether that be a new career, academic transfer, or simply to enjoy a lifelong love of learning.
I particularly would like to thank Becky Garlick for her guidance and leadership as Executive Dean of the Schulenburg Campus.
Becky, we appreciate all you have done for higher education in Schulenburg, and we thank you for all your efforts in recent weeks to help our students in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Even as they registered students for courses, Becky Garlick and her team here at the Schulenburg Campus providing support for students whose homes were devastated by the storm.
Even without phones or internet for much of last week, Becky and her team did an amazing job.
As we look ahead, many in the surrounding communities will need to rebuild.
For some, that may mean the need for new skills and a new educational pathway.
However we can help, Blinn College is determined to be an educational and economic resource for the people of this community.
We look forward to building upon the success of these first 20 years with many more to come.
At this time, members of the Student Government Association, dressed in gray shirts, will provided guided tours of the campus.
Students, will you please waive so everyone can identify you?
In addition to tours, light refreshments are available in Room 120.
Thank you again for joining us, and this concludes today’s program.
Mary Hensley, Ed.D.
Chancellor of Blinn College
Special Assistant to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees
Assistant to the Chancellor of Blinn College