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June 18, 2013

Kruse family continues commitment to higher education with gift to Blinn College

Funds designated for the design and construction of a new campus recreation center

The Kruse family continues its commitment to higher education with a significant gift to the Blinn Foundation designated for the design and construction of the Kruse Center, a new recreation, activities and athletic center on the Blinn College – Brenham campus. The donation furthers a long-established family tradition of giving throughout the region.

Siblings Mildred Kruse Bridges, Evelyn Ann Kruse, Ed. Kruse and his wife Evelyn, and Howard Kruse and his wife Verlin established the gift in memory of their parents, E.F. and Bertha Kruse. E.F. was a 1916 graduate of Blinn College, and their children and grandchildren have attended Blinn.

“The Kruse children have long recognized the educational opportunity Blinn College provides for students furthering their higher education,” said the family in a written statement. “Students can receive a high-quality college education at affordable costs. The new center will enhance the students’ broad college experience on campus.”

Architectural renderingThe new center, which could open as early as Fall 2015, will benefit the student experience on the College’s historic campus and promote both enrollment and retention. Blinn – Brenham houses 1,166 on-campus students, more than any other community college in the state, and the need for this center has been consistently cited as the campus’s primary need in student polling.

“This center will provide Blinn College a tremendous advantage in student recruitment and retention,” said Blinn College District President Harold Nolte. “Our College prides itself on attracting motivated, high-energy students from across our service area, so this center is a perfect fit for our campus community.”

While the project is in the conceptual planning phase, College officials anticipate placing the new center at the corner of Old Mill Creek Road and Blinn Boulevard, across the street from the baseball field (map). The College will begin a fundraising campaign shortly for the approximately 40,000 square-foot, $10 million facility.

About the Kruse Family
The Kruse family is involved in many civic endeavors in Brenham and throughout the state, and has been particularly supportive of Blinn College and Texas A&M University. In 2011, the Kruses were major contributors to the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex, home to Blinn’s nationally-renowned Agricultural Sciences Division. The family contributed to the state-of-the-art A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center that opened in 2010 and has donated to the College’s Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center, which hosts fine arts performances throughout the year. The Kruses have established endowed scholarships to help high-achieving students reach their career goals through a Blinn College education.

E.F. and Bertha Kruse
E.F. Kruse and Bertha Quebe married and were blessed with five children. Bertha was the homemaker and supported E.F. and the children in all their accomplishments. When the Brenham Creamery Company hired E.F. Kruse in 1919, it faced financial difficulties, and the 23-year-old Blinn graduate refused to accept his $60 per month salary for his first six months to avoid placing the company in the red. Under his leadership, the creamery expanded its ice cream production and was named Blue Bell Creameries after the native Texas wildflower.

The Kruse Children

  • Bertha Kruse Spitzer – she and her husband Garrett Spitzer were the parents of four children – deceased – graduate of Blinn in 1940 – Washington County school teacher.
  • Mildred Kruse Bridges – she and her husband Charles Bridges are the parents of three children – graduate of Blinn in 1942 – volunteer associate of Veterinary Department of Texas A&M.
  • Ed. F. Kruse – he and his wife Evelyn Tiaden are the parents of four children – graduate of Texas A&M and past president and current chairman of the board at Blue Bell Creameries.
  • Howard W. Kruse – he and his wife Verlin Kautz are the parents of four children – graduate of Texas A&M and past president of Blue Bell Creameries.
  • Evelyn Ann Kruse – graduate of Blinn in 1955 and graduate of Sam Houston State Teachers’ College – school teacher in the Houston and San Antonio school districts.

PHOTO – The Kruse family announced a significant gift to the Blinn Foundation designated for the design and construction of the Kruse Center, a new recreation, activities and athletic center on the Blinn College – Brenham campus during the Blinn Board of Trustees’ regular meeting Tuesday night. From left: Blinn College District President Harold Nolte, Blinn Board Vice President Atwood Kenjura, Howard Kruse, Verlin Kruse, Evelyn Kruse, Ed. Kruse, Mildred Kruse Bridges, Evelyn Ann Kruse, Blinn Board President Douglas Borchardt, Blinn Foundation Chair Teddy Boehm and Blinn Foundation Executive Director Joe Al Picone.