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Endowed scholarship established at Blinn College in honor of Donald and Jo Strickland

Wayne Giese and Clarence Gerke gift $15,000 to the Blinn College Foundation

Wayne Giese and Clarence Gerke gift $15,000 to the Blinn College Foundation

April 15, 2021

Donald Lee and Jo Strickland’s commitment to education has been honored through a new endowed scholarship to Blinn College.

Clarence Gerke and Wayne Giese gifted $15,000 to the Blinn College Foundation in honor of the Stricklands.

Donald Strickland was a prominent Burleson County businessman who graduated from Blinn and later served on the Blinn College Foundation Board of Directors. He died in June 202o at age 92. Jo Strickland died in 2018.

His business interests included Strickland Funeral Home. Gerke and Giese are co-owners of Memorial Oaks Chapel in Brenham.

“Both of them felt that education was very important,” Gerke said, “and they felt that the Foundation was really important as well. They were very, very adamant about their support of Blinn College.

“I can’t say enough good things about both of them. They did a lot for the community. They both wanted to give to kids, and we feel this scholarship is a way to do that. We wanted to memorialize and honor them, not only to the people in Washington County but also to the people in Burleson County.”

Donald Strickland was active in a number of civic and governmental organizations, including serving as mayor of Somerville and on the Brazos Valley Council of Governments Board of Directors.

Sam Sommer, Chair of the Blinn College Foundation Board of Directors, said the organization “is proud to accept a gift honoring the Stricklands.”

“The Stricklands devoted their lives to helping others,” Sommer said. “Through this scholarship, those efforts will continue for generations.

“Every endowed scholarship goes to help a deserving student receive the quality education that Blinn College is known for. We are truly grateful for the gift.”

The Foundation oversees almost 300 endowed scholarships that are available to incoming and returning students from a wide range of backgrounds, majors, and experiences.

The Foundation also provides financial support for programs and activities that enhance the quality of education for Blinn students, looks to heighten community awareness of the mission and accomplishments of the College, and promotes excellence in education.

More information on funding an endowed scholarship or applying is available at or by calling 979-830-4017.

Current high school and college students can apply for all Blinn scholarships through a single application at Prior to applying for scholarships, students must complete their application for admission to Blinn College at

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