Blinn College District names academic facility at RELLIS in honor of Walter Schwartz
Former Blinn president/chancellor, civic leader Walter Schwartz recognized for legacy of educational excellence and valuable service to the College
March 21, 2018
The Blinn College District Board of Trustees voted to name the College’s academic facility at The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus in honor of former president/chancellor and civic leader Walter Schwartz during its regular board meeting Tuesday.
Affectionately known as “Onion” by those close to him, the late Schwartz served as Blinn’s 11th president from 1984 until he was named the College District’s first chancellor in 1994. During his nearly 50-year tenure with the College, he helped to oversee Blinn’s growth from approximately 300 to more than 12,000 students.
Scheduled for completion in Fall 2018, the Walter C. Schwartz Building will allow students to learn cutting-edge, high-demand skills in an environment that encourages collaboration between public institutions and private companies. Blinn’s innovative partnership with The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus will serve as a national model for higher education collaboration.
“The Blinn College District Board of Trustees expresses its sincere appreciation for Mr. Schwartz’s valuable service to the College and his community,” Board Chairman Charles Moser said. “There is no better tribute to his character and service than this building that will bear his name.”
Schwartz was a graduate of Brenham High School, Blinn College, the University of Texas, and the University of Houston. The former educator held a variety of positions during his 46-year career at Blinn, beginning as a night school teacher for returning veterans in 1948, and including service as the Dean of Students from 1959-1984.
Schwartz also held numerous public offices, including two terms as the District 21 Representative in the Texas Legislature, member of the Brenham City Council from 1962-1979 and 1982-1984, and Mayor of the City of Brenham from 1994-2003. An active civic leader, Schwartz volunteered with the Washington County Little League, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, United Way, March of Dimes, Brenham Maifest Association, Bohne Memorial Hospital, Trinity Medical Center, Washington-on-the-Brazos Park Association, and was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Brenham.
“I applaud the board’s decision to honor Mr. Schwartz’s long history of service to Blinn College, leading it through an era of unparalleled academic growth and excellence,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “He played a significant role in transforming the College into an elite institution and preparing us to advance our mission for years to come.”
Schwartz’s children, Charles Schwartz, Kay Schwartz, and Ann Fuelberg, accepted the honor on his behalf during Tuesday’s meeting.
The board also commemorated Blinn’s upcoming anniversary with the passage of a resolution honoring all who have supported the College during its 135 years of student success.
Founded as Mission Institute by the Southern German Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Blinn opened its doors in Brenham on March 28, 1883, to train ministers for the mission conference. The name of the institution later was changed to Blinn College in 1889 in honor of a significant gift from Reverend Christian Blinn, and was organized as a two-year junior college in 1927.
Blinn has since opened additional campuses in Bryan, Schulenburg, and Sealy, and will introduce a one-of-a-kind educational community this fall with the opening of the Walter C. Schwartz Building at The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus. The College District currently makes a $354.3 million annual economic impact upon its service area, including $239.5 million in added income by former students employed in the regional workforce.
The March 20 resolution honors all who have supported Blinn during its extensive history of educational excellence, including the community leaders, trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni whose efforts have helped to make Blinn the premier two-year college in the state of Texas.
“For more than 100 years, Blinn College has laid the educational foundation for thousands of students pursuing advanced degrees and launching successful careers,” Hensley said. “Today and every day, we celebrate all who support Blinn’s mission to provide excellent educational opportunities for students, and make a positive impact on the community.”
In other business, the board approved the naming of Blinn’s new student housing facility, located at the corner of Saeger Street and Old Mill Creek Road on the Brenham Campus, as Mill Creek Hall. Scheduled for completion in time for the Fall 2018 semester, the facility will house 464 students.
Trustees also approved a slight increase to the College’s tuition and fees during the 2018-19 academic year. Additionally, the board authorized the administration to implement men’s and women’s soccer programs and to award and execute a $597,000 contract with Advantage USAA to replace the roof of the W.L. Moody, Jr. Library on the Brenham Campus.
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About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,581 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence.