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Brenham Masonic Lodge adds to legacy of helping students with fourth endowed scholarship at Blinn College

Scholarship honors Masons who have served as administrators, educators, or board members at Blinn

Scholarship honors Masons who have served as administrators, educators, or board members at Blinn

August 19, 2021

Brenham-based Graham Masonic Lodge No. 20 has  gifted a fourth endowed scholarship to the Blinn College Foundation.

Lodge officials presented a $15,000 check to the Foundation during a recent cornerstone leveling ceremony at the new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Innovation (STEI) Building on the Brenham Campus.

This scholarship is in honor of Masons who have served as administrators, educators, and trustees at Blinn College. Administrators and educators honored are Dr. Thomas M. Spencer, Dr. James H. Atkinson, Dr. Charles Cottingham, Waldo F. Burt, Bob Ham, B.C. Crawford, Nathan L. Byrd, James Carstarphen, Johnell Schmidt, Clifford “Conway” Draehn, and Dr. Greg Phillips. Former Blinn trustees honored are Julian E. Weisler, Leon Toubin, and Steve Westbrook.

Michael R. Thorpe, who serves as Worshipful Master of Graham Masonic Lodge, said education has been a priority since the lodge was established.

“As far back in history that I can find, Free Masonry has supported education,” Thorpe said. “Graham Lodge, which was established in 1845, built the first public school in Washington County in 1849 and financially supported it until the county established a school district. Since then, we have supported public schools through scholarships and have recognized teachers and staff yearly. We also provide items for students in all schools annually and are supporters of Public Education Week. We have provided funds for special purchases at the request of teachers and staff when funding wasn’t available.”

All four of the lodge’s endowed scholarships have been funded through member donations or members who included a financial gift in their wills, said Thorpe.

Sam Sommer, Chair of the Blinn College Foundation Board of Directors, said Masons continue to be one of the staunchest supporters of the College and its students.

“The four endowed scholarships provided by Graham Masonic Lodge are evidence of its members’ commitment to helping others through education,” said Sommer. “Endowed scholarships can be life-changing for students. We thank them so much and are so appreciative for what they’ve done to help so many Blinn students.”

The Foundation, which oversees approximately 300 endowed scholarships, is a tax-exempt organization that provides financial support for programs and activities that enhance educational opportunities for Blinn students.

Endowed scholarships are available to new and returning students from a wide variety of backgrounds, majors, and experiences. Scholarships are awarded based on high academic achievement, participation in student activities, and community involvement.

Students can apply for Blinn scholarships by completing a single application at Prior to applying, students must complete an application for admission to Blinn College at

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