Blinn Alumni and Friends Association celebrates four distinguished leaders at Hall of Honor luncheon
Jeane Block Spencer, Randy French, Dr. Charles Heller, and Diane Pieper each are inducted into the 2019 Hall of Honor class
September 20, 2019
The Blinn College Alumni and Friends Association celebrated four of Blinn’s most distinguished alumni and community leaders Friday, Sept. 20, at its annual Hall of Honor luncheon.
Alumna Jeane Block Spencer, business leader and alumnus Randy French, former Blinn College professor and trustee Dr. Charles Heller, and community leader and Blinn alumna Diane Pieper were inducted into the Hall of Honor in recognition of their significant impacts on their community.
Spencer graduated first in her class at Pickard High School and became the first African American to be accepted into Blinn’s academic program, where she earned her associate degree in arts. She matriculated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Her first job was as a fifth-grade teacher in the Aldine School District in Houston. During her tenure there, her education continued, both in the workplace and at the University of Houston. She married Dennis A. Spencer, Sr., and relocated to New Mexico, where she was a mother to Dennis and William.
In 1979, she was widowed at age 33 with two small boys ages 6 and three months. Shepherding both boys to manhood became her sole assignment, and both now hold engineering degrees – Dennis from Southern Methodist University and William from New Mexico State University.
Spencer retired from Las Cruces Public Schools after 18 years, including 12 as a special education teacher. She has been a member of Bethel Second Baptist Church for 47 years and serves as Sunday School teacher, deaconess, and Christian Education vice chair. She also participates in missions and sings in the choir. In denominational activities, she serves as the leader of the Mt. Olive Baptist State Women of New Mexico. She has been a contributing writer for The Mission, the national study guide for the women of National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., for more than 20 years.
French founded Stylecraft Builders in 1986, expanding the company from a small custom home builder to a large production home builder that currently builds more than 750 homes throughout Central Texas each year. In 2019, Stylecraft was ranked the 65th-largest builder in the nation by Builder Magazine and was named one of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas by Texas Monthly.
French has established his legacy through passion, economic growth, and a charitable nature. He has served on the boards of Hubble Realty in Des Moines, Iowa; the Salvation Army; Scotty’s House; the Brazos Valley Research Partnership; the Bryan-College Station Homebuilder Association; the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, the Brazos Valley Community Foundation; The Med Hospital; and the Bryan Business Council.
French also has served as Capital Campaign Chair for the Boys & Girls Club of the Brazos Valley, actively supported the Twin City Mission and Crestview capital campaigns, and volunteered for prison ministry. He is a member/broker for the Texas and Bryan-College Station Board of Realtors and was named the 2013 Philanthropic Member of the Year for the Texas Association of Builders. He previously was named to the Bryan ISD Hall of Honor.
Heller came to Blinn College as a chemistry instructor in 1972 and later was named head of the Natural Sciences Department. He served on the Blinn Board of Trustees from 1984-92 before returning to the classroom as a chemistry professor. He retired from Blinn in 2014.
He always had an appreciation of nature, and in 1983, he established Brenham Trees. He enjoyed working in his yard, gardening, and astronomy, and gave presentations to the Rotary Club, Lions Club, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regarding tree care and maintenance. He was an avid reader and would wake up early in the mornings to work on his chemistry theory project.
A character who was always full of stories, he always was driven to do his best, whether selling tickets for fundraisers with the Brenham Evening Lions Club, where he served as president, or helping with projects at Christ Lutheran Church, where he was an active member and former Church Council President. He also was a member of the Washington County Landscape Committee, The Washington County Recycling Committee, the American Chemical Society, and the International Society of Arboriculture.
Pieper is one of five generations of family to attend Blinn College, and in 1967 she graduated from Blinn with a business degree. She is a life member of the Blinn College Alumni and Friends Association and in 2016 was instrumental in establishing endowed scholarships from the Moeller Foundation to benefit both academic and workforce education students.
Her local community involvement began with youth programs where she served as a Girl Scout leader, Little League officer and Cub Booster Club officer. She was also a member of the first Chamber Leadership class in 1990, a past Chamber Blue Blazer and Brenham Fire Department Auxiliary past president. Salem Lutheran Church has and continues to be an important part of her life as she served as congregation president in the past and will again fill that position in 2021. The Moeller scholarships for graduating senior church members was set up under her guidance.
Diane and her husband, Lloyd, are the current owners of Moeller Electric Co., a local family formed business established over sixty-five years ago. She is also the president and co-owner of Countryside Lighting Co., a residential lighting showroom and design company. The company is affiliated with the American Lighting Association and has contributed products for several Blinn projects. Both businesses continue to support charitable events and fundraisers because of Diane and Lloyd’s strong belief in the importance of supporting local businesses and community organizations.
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