Funding roundup

Amarillo College students, staff and faculty celebrate a $2.5 million contribution from Amarillo National Bank toward the college’s Badger Bold campaign. (Photo: AC)

Amarillo College has received a $2.5 million donation from one of its most consistent benefactors, Amarillo National Bank (ANB).

The gift significantly boosts ANB’s contributions to the Texas college’s $45-million Badger Bold comprehensive campaign, which launched in September 2022 behind ANB’s lead gift of $1.2 million.

Thanks to this gift, the first comprehensive campaign in the school’s 94-year history has now garnered a total of $36.5 million in gifts and commitments.

“We’re excited to increase our support for AC because of the impressive results of the Badger Bold Campaign,” said ANB President William Ware. “The recent improvements to the college are game-changing and will transform our workforce.”

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Recently, Bill Thienes saw Blinn College nursing students using virtual reality (VR) headsets made possible thanks to a donation he made. He was so impressed by the students’ reaction to the technology that he pledged an additional $30,000 gift, meaning the college can double the number of VR headsets.

“It’s absolutely wonderful to see the students so excited. I think what impresses me most about this technology is how enthusiastic everybody is,” Thienes said.

Students can check out the headsets, much like a library book, and use them to practice their skills on their own time.

“This technology is a resource for our vocational nursing students in Brenham that provides a new, active learning environment for them to enhance their critical-thinking skills and promote their clinical judgment,” said Michelle Marburger, the college’s vocational nursing program director. “Having a new way to expose students to a hospital setting, either virtually or in person, is vital to helping our students become confident healthcare professions.”

In addition to his gifts in support of Blinn’s nursing programs, Thienes, a retired petroleum engineer, previously established two endowed scholarships through the Blinn College Foundation.

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The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has awarded $2.7 million to Dallas College’s School of Education to support its Early Childhood Education Pipeline Pilot Project. The project will provide early educator pathways for students pursuing college credentials, including associate and bachelor’s degrees in child development or early childhood education.

Dallas College will design and develop an online, competency-based Texas core curriculum geared toward the early childhood workforce. This effort provides multiple on-ramps for students to enter the program to earn stackable credentials while completing a degree.

The Dallas College course content funded through the project will be open-sourced and accessible to other institutions across Texas.

The immediate goal is to award credentials to 500 early childhood educators employed at Texas Rising Star-rated childcare centers by fall 2024.

Funding also will support the development of a comprehensive early childhood workforce data system, allowing the north Texas region to implement the infrastructure and information required for industry and employer partners to make strategic hiring decisions with new and current employees.


Members of San Diego’s congressional delegation traveled to San Diego Mesa College to present representatives from the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) with a check for $3.4 million from the U.S. Congress. The funding, approved in December 2022 as part of the fiscal year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, will benefit district students in three areas:

  • $1.2 million to better serve lesbian, gay and transgender students
  • $1 million for an initiative to expand service at the San Diego College of Continuing Education to youths who have recently aged out of the foster care system
  • $1.2 million for new and expanded centers serving undocumented students

“These funds will support the academic success of our students, particularly students who face unique challenges as they pursue their education,” said SDCCD Chancellor Carlos O. Cortez.  

U.S. Reps. Sara Jacobs, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas present a ceremonial check to representatives from the San Diego Community College District and other members of the community. (Photo: SDCCD)


Bay College has received a $349,000 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Workforce training grant, which is designed to support and advance students interested in pursuing a career in the paramedic field.

Bay College will use most of the funding to provide scholarships directly to paramedic students enrolling in the fall semester. A portion of the funding will go toward buying equipment allowing EMS agencies to use synchronous learning for their EMT employees who wanting to become paramedics but cannot attend classes in Escanaba.


Itawamba Community College’s (ICC’s) precision manufacturing and machining technology program has received a $20,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. The college is using the funds for financial aid to support several students in the program.

New York

LaGuardia Community College/CUNY continues to explore options for students to gain an innovative and affordable learning experience, including the use of open education resources (OER). LaGuardia natural sciences professors Joshua Tan and Allyson Sheffield received a $12,000 grant to work on an OER textbook to complement the “Life in the Universe” course, which serves about 400 students each year.

The main structure of the OER textbook is nearly complete, with content development underway. The grant will help to complete the work and add additional content to the supplementary materials.

The grant comes from the New York Space Grant Consortium, which is led by Cornell University and funded by NASA. In January, LaGuardia Community College became the newest affiliate member of the NYSG Consortium, as part of the consortium’s efforts to create greater engagement and exposure to STEM for underrepresented minorities, women and first-generation students.

North Carolina

Central Carolina Community College’s (CCCC) new animal facility will be well-outfitted thanks to a $196,800 grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

The new large-animal facility will allow veterinary medical technology (VMT) students to learn basic husbandry and handling of large animals, while understanding the importance of pasture management and the nutritional requirements of livestock species. About 105 students will be trained annually at the facility, helping to address a critical need for large-animal veterinary services in rural areas.

“For the past 30-plus years, the CCCC VMT program has leased a barn which has been retrofitted to become a teaching facility. Having the opportunity to design a facility with student, instructor and animal safety in the forefront will allow us to continue serving our students and our communities with the tools and learning opportunities to succeed in their future endeavors,” said CCCC VMT instructor Kim Browning.

A look inside Central Carolina Community College’s new large-animal facility. (Photo: CCCC)

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
Tabitha Whissemore is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.
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