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Ellison family gifts $30,000 to support Blinn’s Kruse Center, Hodde Center and Star of the Republic Museum

Jim and Ellen Ellison

April 1, 2016

Jim and Ellen Ellison of Brenham recently gifted $30,000 to support Blinn College’s Kruse Recreation Center, A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center and the Star of the Republic Museum.

“This generous gift is just one more example of the Ellisons’ commitment to education, Blinn College and this community,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn College district president/CEO.

A member of Blinn’s 2015 Hall of Honor class, Jim Ellison is an international leader in the floriculture industry, serves on the Chancellor’s Century Council at Texas A&M University and has served as president of the Brenham Rotary Club and director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

Jim and Ellen established the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, which advances the health and vitality of the floriculture industry on a national and international scope. Jim Ellison also serves on the Ag Development Council, the Chancellor’s Century Council and is a trustee for the Research Foundation at Texas A&M.

In recognition of his service, Ellison was named Washington County Man of the Year in 2013, has been named a trustee of the American Academy of Floriculture, is a Dewey Compton Memorial Scholarship recipient and earned the Texas Agricultural Extension Service Award for significant contribution to the horticulture industry. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for Texas A&M Horticulture and was a charter member of Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture Development.

The Kruse Recreation Center recently began construction and will be operational by Fall 2017. A 36,000-square-foot student recreation and activities facility, the Kruse Center will include space for general fitness, dance and yoga, kinesiology classes, student organization meetings, weightlifting and fitness space and multi-purpose rooms for community events and meetings. In addition, the Center will feature a gymnasium to host Buccaneer volleyball and basketball games as well as high school playoff games and will host summer camps to increase campus activity in the summer months. The facility will be open to the public.

The 12,000-square foot A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center was built in 2009 to provide local training for a quality, viable workforce in Washington and the surrounding communities. As part of Blinn’s Division of Workforce Education, its staff works in cooperation with local businesses to provide a well-trained workforce that strengthens the local economy.

Star of the Republic Museum was created by the Texas Legislature and is administered by Blinn College as a cultural and educational institution. Its purpose is to collect and preserve the material culture of the Texas Republic from 1836-1846 and to interpret the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans.

The museum is located at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site at 23400 Park Road 12, Washington, Texas, off Highway 105. From Highway 105, follow either FM 912 or FM 1155 to Park Road 12. Daily museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 936-878-2461, ext. 237.

The Blinn Foundation supports programs and activities that enhance the quality of education for Blinn College students and expand the educational opportunities for the entire community. While raising funds is an important function, the Foundation also seeks to heighten community awareness of the mission and accomplishments of the College and to promote excellence in education.

Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has raised funds to purchase classroom equipment and supplies, and help launch major construction projects across Blinn’s campuses, including the A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center, the J. Hal and Allyne Machat Music Facility, the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex and the Bert and Mae Dean Wheeler Residence Hall.

For more information on the Foundation and its mission, call 979-830-4107 or visit:

PHOTO: Jim and Ellen Ellison recently gifted $30,000 to the Blinn College Foundation in support of the Kruse Recreation Center, the A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center and the Star of the Republic Museum. From left: Gus Mutscher, Blinn College Foundation development coordinator and special assistant; Jim Ellison; Ellen Ellison; and Ron Alfred, Blinn College Foundation board chairman.