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Blinn honored as a 2024 Bellwether Legacy Award finalist for its role in the RELLIS Academic Alliance

The Bellwether College Consortium’s Legacy Award is presented only once every five years

The Bellwether College Consortium’s Legacy Award is presented only once every five years

February 13, 2024

The Bellwether College Consortium has named the Blinn College District a national finalist for the 2024 Legacy Award, which honors an innovative community college program demonstrating five or more years of student success. Blinn has been recognized for its role in the RELLIS Academic Alliance, providing the freshman- and sophomore-level coursework that leads students to a wide variety of bachelor’s degree pathways from the partner universities.

To be eligible for the Legacy Award, colleges must submit a replicable, scalable, program with years of evidence-based success. The Legacy Award is presented only once every five years at the annual Community College Futures Assembly.

“Selection as a Legacy Award finalist is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our faculty, administrators, and staff who have tirelessly championed our mission of providing accessible, high-quality education,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “At Blinn, we believe in creating pathways that empower students to achieve their academic and professional goals. The RELLIS Academic Alliance exemplifies this commitment by offering seamless transitions for students to earn bachelor’s degrees in a variety of in-demand fields. Together with our Alliance partners, we are forging a legacy of excellence in higher education, and I am confident that our collective efforts will continue to inspire and empower generations of learners.”

This year’s Legacy finalists are:

  • Blinn College District (TX)
  • Community College of Beaver County (PA)
  • El Paso Community College (TX)
  • Gaston College (NC)
  • Hudson County Community College (NJ)
  • Pensacola State College (FL)
  • Pima Community College (AZ)
  • South Mountain Community College (AZ)

“The Legacy Award is the consortium’s highest honor and only past recognized Bellwether programs are eligible to compete for this recognition,” said Dr. Rose Martinez, Director for the Bellwether College Consortium. “These finalists are extraordinary colleges that scaled solutions to tough challenges and documented five years or more of admirable success. These challenges were often exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and addressed with analytics-supported implementation of historic modifications in instructional delivery and student support.”

As the newest model of higher education in Texas, the RELLIS Academic Alliance unites regional university partners at Blinn College at one location in Bryan, Texas. Each program at the RELLIS Academic Alliance establishes a seamless pathway for students to earn a bachelor’s degree from an in-demand field, from criminal justice to business, cybersecurity, health science, engineering, and many more. Through the Alliance, students can complete their freshman- and sophomore-level courses through Blinn and seamlessly earn their bachelor’s degree in related fields from a regional university also located at Texas A&M-RELLIS.

In addition to its focus on the RELLIS Academic Alliance, Blinn’s presentation addresses Blinn’s TEAM, Texas A&M Engineering at Blinn, and Aggie Student-Centered Express Nursing Degree (ASCEND) partnerships with Texas A&M University.

Blinn’s role at the RELLIS Academic Alliance was a Bellwether Award finalist in the Planning, Governance, and Finance category in 2021. In 2022, Blinn was named a finalist for its orientation course for online students and for its offender re-entry training developed in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Brazos County Detention Center. Last year, the Blinn Dental Hygiene Program’s Give Kids a Smile event and its FutureWorks Academy leadership development program were recognized as finalists.

Each Legacy Award finalist team will provide a presentation to an audience that will include anonymous judges and share how their project addresses a critical issue affecting community colleges. Event co-sponsors include the National Council of Instructional Administrators, the National Council for State Directors of Community Colleges, and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training. The national competition will be held February 25-27, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas, and the winner will be announced at the event.

For more information about the RELLIS Academic Alliance, visit or

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