Frank Tyson Engineering Endowed Scholarship established at Blinn College

Namesake rose from poverty to 31-year career with Conoco Oil

Namesake rose from poverty to 31-year career with Conoco Oil

August 20, 2020

Jody Tyson wants recipients of the new Frank Tyson Engineering Endowed Scholarship at Blinn College to know about the scholarship’s namesake and his story of overcoming poverty to attend college.

Mrs. Tyson recently gifted $20,000 to the Blinn College Foundation to establish the scholarship in memory of her husband, who died in 2018. Other family members and friends contributed additional funds.

The scholarship for engineering majors coincides with construction of a new science, technology, engineering, and innovation building now under construction on the Blinn College-Brenham Campus. It is expected to be completed for the Fall 2021 semester.

Mrs. Tyson said she is hopeful that scholarship recipients will be inspired by her late husband’s efforts to earn a college education.

“The family lived in poverty circumstances which became dire circumstances during Mr. Tyson’s high school years following the death of his father,” she said. “They lived on a farm 13 miles from town and had no car. Mr. Tyson, the year after his father’s death, went back by school bus to the high school from which he graduated and took all the classes he could that he had not taken while a student. He made good grades and seriously wanted a college education, with no means of getting one.

“Frank found a way to get a college education. He worked really hard, with a full class load, two jobs, and a small scholarship.”

Frank Tyson in 1954 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown and began a career in teaching. He taught school for two years, was the coach for girls’ volleyball and basketball teams, and drove a school bus.

Through those additional jobs and eating only two meals a day (cereal for breakfast and the school lunch), he saved enough money to return to college and earn a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville).

While at Texas A&I, Frank Tyson earned a substantial scholarship from Conoco Oil Co. and joined that company after graduation.

He was with Conoco for 31 years, progressing through several leadership roles before retiring.

Jody Tyson’s 55 years in education included 12 years with Blinn’s Alternative Certification Program and teaching English. She also developed and taught a summer class for athletes designed to help them learn about college classroom expectations and how to manage their schedules, time and priorities.

“My husband and I both loved Blinn,” she said. “I can’t think of anything that would have made Frank more proud than giving money to Blinn and to have it be for an engineering scholarship for a Blinn student.”

“Anyone, no matter the individual circumstances, can earn a college degree if he/she is willing to commit to the challenge. Our hope is that the recipient is someone who will stay focused and committed to earning a college degree that will change his/her life forever.

“Blinn is the best place in Texas or anywhere else to start that path.”

Engineering runs in the family; the Tyson’s daughter Zoe is also an engineer. She and her husband Terry Rascoe made a $2,500 donation to the Engineering Scholarship Fund.

“I am an engineer because my dad was an engineer,” Mrs. Rascoe said. “I have great memories of working on projects with my dad, and pursuing an engineering degree was a natural path for my future.”

Blinn Foundation Chair Sam Sommer said endowed scholarships can be life-changing for students.

“We’re so grateful to people like Mrs. Tyson and Mrs. Rascoe, whose generous donations will help many, many students,” Sommer said. “Every endowed scholarship provides an opportunity for a deserving student to attend Blinn College, an opportunity some of them might not get otherwise.”

The Foundation is a tax-exempt organization that provides financial support for programs and activities that enhance the quality of education for Blinn students and expand educational opportunities. It also looks to heighten community awareness of the mission and accomplishments of the college and to promote excellence in education. More information is available at www.blinn.edu/foundation.

Endowed scholarships are available to incoming and returning students from a wide range of backgrounds, majors, and experiences. Students are considered based on high academic achievement, participation in student activities, and community involvement.

Current high school and college students can apply for Blinn scholarships by completing the application at www.blinn.edu/scholarships. Prior to applying for scholarships, students must complete their application for admission to Blinn College at www.applytexas.org.

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