College making big plans for 50th anniversary
by Chip Latcham
Jan 31, 2014 | 405 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Coastal Bend College and its foundation board of directors have ambitious goals for the future.

At its first meeting of the new year and board retreat Thursday, the members, from Pleasanton and Floresville to Alice and Kingsville, discussed the foundation’s goals for 2014 and learned of CBC’s funding priorities.

The major topic of interest concerned plans for CBC’s 50th anniversary commemoration, which will kick off in the fall of 2015 with special events.

The Bee County Junior College District was created by election in November 1965. The board of trustees changed the name from Bee County College to Coastal Bend College on Sept. 1, 1998.

A capital campaign will be held in conjunction with the golden anniversary celebration as foundation members hope to raise funds from businesses, organizations and individuals in this nine-county region.

Indeed, the college has long been a major asset in this community, offering an accessible path to college courses/degrees and promising careers.

Patricia Patel, executive director, said the foundation’s main goal is “to increase visibility and awareness of the college,” which provides quality, affordable education to children throughout the region. She added her personal goal is “to pay the opportunity forward,” describing how CBC greatly impacted her life.

Just Thursday, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times announced that Kingsville ISD is partnering with CBC and Texas A&M-Kingsville in a program offering college credits to all its students.

That high school would be transformed into an early college high school, offering students the chance to earn as many as 60 hours of college credit for free by the time they earn their diplomas, officials announced.

Bee County and area high schools for years have been offered and many have taken advantage of dual credit courses through CBC, which will allow the students to transfer to TAMU-Kingsville to complete their degrees. Many others have gone on to TAMU-Corpus Christi, UT-Austin and A&M.

There are too many successes at CBC to enumerate here, but some of them include: oil patch preparation systems training classes begun; obtaining grants to help adults prepare for jobs in the Eagle Ford Shale; drafting and design and oil & gas technology courses; a reinvigorated Cougar athletics program; sponsoring the annual wildlife calendar with award-winning photographers; and foundation-hosted special events such as the “Cinderella” ballet performance and social sciences lecture series on the Bible and archaeology featuring a world-renowned scholar.

Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, college president, described some obstacles, including declining enrollment because of the improved economy and aging facilities. Some of the top priorities for foundation gifts include creating a “Rising Star” program with expanded dual credit opportunities for up to 32 high schools in the area which have expressed interest; providing more lecture series events; purchasing industry labs, equipment and uniforms; and upgrading student housing at the Beeville campus, community rooms and outdoor space at each college site.

Our best wishes to Dr. Espinoza, the CBC Foundation and other college officials as they prepare to celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary.
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