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Senate Higher Education Committee Chair pays special visit to Blinn College

September 26, 2016

Senator Seliger visits the Blinn College Bryan Collegiate program.
Senator Seliger Bryan Collegiate:  Sen. Kel Seliger, Chairman of the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee, speaks to students at Bryan Collegiate High School on Monday. Bryan Collegiate is a unique partnership between Blinn College and Bryan ISD that sets high school students on the fast-track to a college degree. Graduates leave Bryan Collegiate not only with their high school diploma, but with 40-60 college credit hours they can transfer to a four-year degree.
 
Senator Seliger visits the Blinn College HSC
Senator Seliger Anna Hemmi:  First-year Blinn College physical therapist assistant student Anna Hemmi demonstrates the Anatomage table that Blinn College health science students use to conduct virtual dissections for Senator Kel Seliger, Chairman of the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee, during the senator’s visit to Blinn College on Monday.

Sen. Kel Seliger (R-District 31), Chairman of the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee, got a first-hand look at Blinn College’s partnerships with The Texas A&M University System on its RELLIS Campus and Bryan ISD’s early college high school, as well as educational programs ranging from healthcare career training to agricultural sciences during a tour of the College’s Brenham and Bryan campuses on Monday.

“It is a great honor and opportunity for Blinn to share the College's impressive achievements and future plans with the Senate Higher Education Chair. He is a good friend, which is why I'm so pleased that he's taken time to visit Blinn in Bryan and Brenham and to start a conversation with Blinn's administration about the future of higher education and community colleges,” said Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst (R-District 18).

“The partnership between Blinn and Texas A&M is a national model and I look forward to working with Senator Seliger in the upcoming legislative session to build on Blinn's successful record.”

As part of his visit, Seliger attended the groundbreaking for the $73 million Center for Infrastructure Renewal at the RELLIS Campus. The new campus will establish a new educational community combining a major university system and a community college at a single physical location, and will allow Blinn students to transfer seamlessly to leading universities throughout The Texas A&M System in the years to come.

Blinn will begin construction on its own new facility at RELLIS this Spring. The College plans to be ready to accommodate as many as 2,500 students at RELLIS by Fall 2018.

The site will create opportunities for Blinn to expand its career and technical training programs and partner with other organizations and institutions located on the RELLIS Campus, including high-end, innovative, private research and development companies, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).

Seliger met faculty and students at Blinn’s Health Science Center (HSC) in Bryan, which serves as the home of Blinn’s Division of Health Sciences. The HSC includes Blinn’s Simulation and Clinical Labs area, a 26,000-square-foot training facility that allows associate degree nursing, vocational nursing, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, fire science, and emergency medical services students to simulate myriad scenarios in a variety of hospital and outpatient settings.

Blinn provides training programs for six professions identified by Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley as high-skill, high-growth targeted occupations: registered nurses, pharmacy technicians, dental hygienists, surgical technologists, vocational nurses, and physical therapist assistants.

In addition to visiting Blinn’s Bryan Campus, Seliger toured Bryan Collegiate High School, a unique partnership between Blinn College and Bryan ISD that sets high school students on the fast-track to a college degree. Graduates leave Bryan Collegiate not only with their high school diploma, but with 40-60 college credit hours they can transfer to a four-year degree. The school estimates that between tuition and books, students who complete the program receive an estimated $15,000 in college savings at no charge. Approximately 70 percent of Bryan Collegiate students are first-generation college students, and the school has been ranked among the top 5 percent of high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Seliger’s Brenham Campus tour included a visit to the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex, where he learned about Blinn’s nationally-recognized Agricultural Sciences Program, which offers courses serving approximately 1,100 students – making it roughly four times the size of any other two-year agricultural program in the state. Blinn offers agricultural science classes on all its campuses, with the Rankin Complex serving as the program’s hub.

Built in 2011, Blinn’s 20,200-square-foot agricultural complex houses classrooms, laboratories, offices, an agricultural mechanics shop, a livestock show arena, and a fully-automated greenhouse.

In addition to his role as Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Seliger is a member of the Senate Education Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development, Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, and the Select Committee on Government Facilities.

Seliger has been named a Fighter for Free Enterprise by the Texas Association of Business four times for his steadfast support of policies that encourage and promote a healthy business climate in Texas. Seliger has received the Texas Municipal League 2015 Legislator of the Year Award, Texas Conservative Coalition's Conservative Champion Award, Texas Association of Counties Friend of County Government Award, Texas Wildlife Association's Conservation Hero Award, the Conservative Roundtable of Texas' 2015 Effective Conservative Lawmaker, and was named to the Texas Parent Teacher Association Legislative Honor Roll for his work during the 84th Legislative Session.

“It was an honor for Blinn’s students and faculty to meet Senator Seliger, and to demonstrate all the exciting projects and initiatives taking place inside our classrooms,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn College District President/CEO. “On behalf of everyone at Blinn, I would like to thank Senator Seliger for his time, and we look forward to welcoming him back. Believe it or not, his visit only touched the surface of everything Blinn College has to offer.”