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Blinn celebrates partnerships, outlines legislative priorities at College’s first legislative luncheon in recent memory

Attendees include Sen. Charles Schwertner, Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst, and Rep. Leighton Schubert

December 1, 2016

Blinn College hosted more than 70 state legislators, elected officials, and community leaders for the College’s first legislative luncheon in recent memory Tuesday at the Blinn College-Brenham Campus.

Luncheon attendees included District 5 Senator Charles Schwertner, District 18 Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst, and District 13 Representative Leighton Schubert, legislative staff, and elected officials and community leaders from across Blinn’s 13-county service area.

Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn College District President/CEO, spoke about Blinn’s exceptional academic reputation, including the College’s 39.5 percent academic transfer rate, which almost doubles the state average of 22 percent. Hensley highlighted Blinn’s outstanding partnerships with Texas A&M University, including the TEAM and Engineering Academy co-enrollment programs, and emphasized Blinn’s proud history of affordability. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s CollegeForAllTexans.com, Blinn students taking 30 credit hours during the 2016-17 academic year will save $3,835 compared to state residents at the average Texas four-year public university.

Mel Waxler, Blinn College Executive Vice President and General Counsel, outlined Blinn’s legislative priorities and the College’s commitment to Brazos County. Waxler specifically addressed a recent effort to create a new community college taxing district in Brazos County that would place an unnecessary tax upon citizens while establishing a new district that likely would open with a reduced selection of academic programs and services for students.

Billy Hamilton, Executive Vice Chancellor/Chief Financial Officer for The Texas A&M University System, and John Barton, Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the RELLIS Campus for The Texas A&M University System, spoke about the partnership Blinn and The Texas A&M University System share and the bright future ahead at RELLIS. The campus establishes a new educational community combining a major university system and a community college at a single physical location. This co-location will allow Blinn students to transfer seamlessly to leading universities throughout The Texas A&M System in the years to come.

Dr. Steve Johnson, Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), described TACC’s legislative priorities for the 85th Legislative Session. Bryan Campus Fire Science Program graduate JD Ruby, Sealy Campus student Pearce Howren, and Schulenburg Campus student Ruby Orona provided testimonials regarding their experiences at Blinn.

For information regarding Blinn’s legislative priorities and the 85th Texas Legislative Session, please visit www.blinn.edu/gov_public/legislative_matters.html.