Category: GC Foundation

Theron Waddell and Jeri Jaquis endow scholarship for future teachers

Longtime Galveston College professor Theron Waddell is thankful for the experiences he had as a college student and the influence his college professors had on his decision to pursue a career in education.

To show his appreciation for the “gifts” his professors gave to him and the impact his 50-year career at Galveston College had in his life, Waddell and his wife, Jeri Jaquis, established the M.T. Waddell Scholarship with the Galveston College Foundation to provide support for future students majoring in social or behavioral sciences for which there are teaching opportunities at the high school or college level.

Theron or “Bujo” as he is known to friends and family, spent 50 years on the faculty of Galveston College before retiring in May of 2019. Jeri taught in the Galveston College Nursing program for 17 years before joining the faculty of the University of Texas Medical Branch, where she still teaches as an adjunct professor.

“I had students whose mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters were in my classes,” Theron said. “Former students come up to me at the grocery store, the pharmacy and other places in the community. They’ll say, ‘Do you remember me?’ Most of the time, I do.”

The Waddells said they became interested in endowing a scholarship at Galveston College because so few students consider careers in teaching social sciences, which include disciplines such as history, political science, psychology and sociology among others. They were also troubled by the lack of scholarships for students who wanted to pursue careers in teaching.

“My father always said, ‘Think about what you’re doing now and think about what others will think about you when you’re gone,’” Theron said. “We started looking at scholarships available to students. There were many scholarships for students majoring in engineering and health sciences, but scholarships for students who plan to teach – especially in the social sciences disciplines, were almost non-existent. We hope this scholarship will encourage students to pursue careers in teaching – maybe even at the community-college level.”

Theron began his professional career as the first full-time administrative assistant in the Texas Senate from 1963 to 1967, working for Senator Criss Cole, Senator Chet Brooks and the Senate Interim Committee on Vocational-Technical Education. While there, he authored a report titled “To Bridge the Gap,” which resulted in legislation that laid the foundation for career-technical education in Texas as it stands today.

After serving as an instructor of government at Sam Houston State University, Houston Baptist College, San Antonio College and San Jacinto College, he began his career at Galveston College on September 1, 1969, as professor of government.

From 1969 to 1984 and 2002 to 2004, he chaired the Social Sciences department at Galveston College. He also served as special assistant to the president for policy research and writing for six years, acting assistant dean of the Humanities division for two years, acting director of Student Services a year, and director of the Arts and Humanities division for seven years.

He served on the adjunct faculty of Texas A&M University at Galveston for 20 years and as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. For 10 years, he chaired the Galveston County Democratic Party. He also served as the legislative chair and vice president and program chair of the Texas Government Section of the Texas Community College Teachers Association.

Among the thousands of students Theron taught at Galveston College were former Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough, the late Florentino “Tino” Gonzalez who served on the Galveston Community College District Board of Regents, and Angela Wilson, community news editor with the Galveston County Daily News and member of the Galveston College Foundation Board of Directors.

“I had decided to go back to college in the summer of 2004 and so of course I had to start all over again with my basics at Galveston College. That summer I took government from Professor Waddell and it was one of the most interesting classes that I ever had. I was majoring in history at the time, so the class offered me a lot of new information that I hadn’t learned before in high school,” Wilson said.

“He was always so thoughtful and amusing, to me; however, he was stern and was a tell-it-like-it-is teacher that I’m sure has had his footprint on a lot of people’s lives throughout his 50-year teaching career.

“As a current member of the Galveston College Foundation Board of Directors, the scholarship established by someone who meant so much to our community and this college is one that I’m sure will help those students who want to do better and do more in their own way. By establishing this scholarship it’ll help the board continue its mission, too, to help students obtain their degree.”

Jeri and Theron met at Moody Memorial United Methodist Church while performing in the chorus for Handel’s Messiah. They have been married for 36 years.

Although they are retired, the Waddells stay busy volunteering in the community. They have served as volunteer ushers at The Grand 1894 Opera House since 2005, and they volunteered with Dickens on The Strand for more than 20 years.

Most recently, they volunteered to assist in administering COVID-19 vaccinations at the mass vaccination clinic at Walter Hall Park in League City and the Galveston County Health District in Texas City, where they are members of the Galveston County Medical Reserve Corps.

“For me, this scholarship is all about student success,” Jeri said. “The very first day we volunteered at the clinic in Texas City, a former nursing student of mine from Galveston College walked up to me and asked me if I recognized her. I enjoy seeing my former students working at various places in the community and hearing their success stories.”

Jeri is also chairing the American Heritage Committee for the George Washington Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. The couple have been riding in organized bike rides since 1987.

“Throughout their lives, Theron and Jeri have inspired students to ensure their success and encouraged them to fulfill their potential. We are deeply grateful for their tremendous generosity in supporting our students and helping to remove financial barriers for those who are considering careers as teachers,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, Galveston College president.

“Galveston College is blessed to have benefactors such as Professor Theron Waddell and Jeri Jaquis,” said Keith McFatridge, Galveston College Foundation chair. “Their scholarship will make it possible for so very many students to succeed in the future. We greatly appreciate their generous donation making it possible for so many future Galveston college students to obtain their education.”

Greater Texas Foundation Logo

Galveston College receives Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap grant

The Greater Texas Foundation recently awarded Galveston College a total of $122,500 over a three-year period to be given to students facing unexpected and untimely crises that may prevent them from completing their education.

The $1.5 million Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap grant program will help Galveston College and nine other community colleges across the state develop efficient, equitable, sustainable emergency aid programs to ensure students receive the support they need to persist through financial crises.

“Galveston College was selected to participate in the Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap for demonstrating a strong commitment to student success and a thoughtful approach to meeting students’ needs,” said Leslie Gurrola, director of programs and strategy for the Greater Texas Foundation. “We’re excited to extend the reach and impact of the good work that is already happening here.”

According to a 2020 study done by the Trellis Company, 61 percent of Texas public two-year college students said they would have trouble obtaining $500 in cash or credit to meet an unexpected need within the next month. Fifty-three percent worry about being able to pay their current monthly expenses, and 73 percent have run out of money at least once in the past year.

“Some crises affect entire communities; others are personal,” said Sue McMillin, president and CEO of the Greater Texas Foundation. “Either way, the effects on students can be devastating. The Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap program is designed to help colleges be there for their students no matter what crisis they’re facing.”

In 2019, the Galveston College District Board of Regents and the Galveston College Foundation began working toward assisting students in emergency situations by establishing the Galveston College Emergency Scholarship to help students with unexpected circumstances that may significantly interfere with their ability to attend college.

Other efforts to assist Galveston College students include the Galveston College Food for Thought mobile food pantry, which provides food to students in partnership with the Houston Food Bank and the Galveston County Food Bank, and the Whitecaps Wardrobe clothing closet, which provides professional clothing to students to wear to interviews and on the job.

“We are grateful to the Greater Texas Foundation for its support of Galveston College and Texas community college students. Technical assistance from the Greater Texas Foundation will benefit our emergency aid program by helping us to streamline the process and make it more efficient – and thus more capable of delivering emergency assistance to students more quickly,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, Galveston College president.

“Galveston College is committed to supporting student success and knows students need a little additional support during times when challenges interfere with attendance, retention and completion. Students have expressed needs for emergency help with rent, utility bills, transportation, medical, home repair, childcare, food and more since the Emergency Scholarship program has been in operation,” said Kelly Merry, director of development and the Galveston College Foundation.

“Building up this scholarship program is important. In comparing total enrollees in the fall of 2020 with students who received Emergency Scholarships during the same time period, the pass rate and the success rate show significant improvement for those who received emergency funds. We’re grateful for this opportunity to partner with the Greater Texas Foundation.”

Participating colleges were selected through a competitive request for proposals (RFP), which was open to all public Texas community colleges enrolling 10,000 students or fewer, along with their respective foundations. Collectively, the 10 Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap colleges enroll more than 53,000 students.

For more information, visit the Greater Texas Foundation website at

Galveston College Foundation Logo

Fall brings changes to Galveston College Foundation logo

Fall brings changes. With the start of a new academic year, the Galveston College Foundation is sporting a new look.

“After more years than anyone can remember, the Galveston College Foundation has a new logo that is indicative of what we are: A beacon of light for the future of our students on Galveston Island,” said Jeri Kinnear, Galveston College Foundation board chair.

In 2018, Galveston College modernized the college’s logo as part of its public relations and marketing program. It was the first change to the logo in more than 35 years. The college refreshed the logo with bright orange and royal blue colors and also updated the font style.

“The college logo represents the high-quality learning experience students have here on the island,” said Carol Langston, director of Public Affairs at Galveston College.

The influence of a logo is important.

“A logo is undoubtedly one of the single most important elements of a college’s marketing and communications program. It’s an integral part of a college’s brand, perhaps the most impactful means of recognition that is used in all types of materials, from billboards and brochures to apparel and commercials,” said Langston.

The foundation logo builds off that aesthetic.

“It’s important to have college and foundation logos that are complementary to each other so that our brand stays strong and recognizable,” Langston said. “We are excited that the foundation board of directors has selected the jetty lighthouse image, as well as the college’s official royal blue color and a warm yellow from the college’s secondary color palette, as part of the new foundation logo design.”

The new foundation logo shows beams of light radiating from the lighthouse, and seabirds have been added to emphasize the island community the Galveston College Foundation serves.

The design by Galveston College’s own creative services manager, Sandi Smith, shows an “emphasis of the foundation’s commitment to the students at Galveston College while maintaining our commitment to its legacy,” said Carol Hodges, Galveston College Foundation board secretary.

Jeri Kinnear

Galveston College Foundation board chair looks back on 7 years of service

After seven years with the Galveston College Foundation, Jeri Kinnear will leave her position as chair of the board of directors at the end of August. A strong proponent of education, Kinnear is an experienced and committed community leader. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards and is a founding member of the Galveston Sustainable Communities Alliance and a founding member of the Moody Early Childhood Center.

As her board term ends, she reflects on her time with Galveston College Foundation.

“I am very grateful to Jan Coggeshall who more than seven years ago told me she wanted me to serve on the Galveston College Foundation board. At that time, I didn’t understand how important the Foundation was for many of Galveston’s graduating classes, but I soon found out. I will be forever grateful for her advice, trust and friendship.

“Galveston College Foundation is an important and serious institution providing life-changing opportunities to the graduating classes of Galveston for the education they want to pursue without the financial barriers that plague so many others.

“During my time on the board, we have contracted with a professional nonprofit accounting firm to provide monthly financial reports. We hired an excellent nonprofit auditing firm to provide essential yearly reports. We established firm investment parameters for our financial advisors, and we established a set of bylaws that are indicative of what we are and what we do. Under our previous development director, we secured enough capital to provide for the tuition of all Universal Access eligible students, and enough funds to assist with their additional expenses. And, we assisted the college in hiring a new highly qualified executive director for the development office.

“The future of Galveston College is exciting. There is a Facilities Master Plan in place presently focusing on nursing and health sciences. Soon a new instructional building will be seen on campus with more to follow. The Foundation is there to support those new nursing and health sciences students.

“I am proud of what all of us who have served on the board have accomplished over the past seven years. It has been a pleasure working with Dr. Myles Shelton and the staff of Galveston College, especially Gloria Milton and Brett Benson. I leave the board with a heavy heart but knowing that this board and future boards will make a difference by continuing to ‘open doors and change lives.'”

The Galveston College Foundation welcomes its returning and new board members at its August 2021 meeting.

“Jeri is involved with many nonprofit organizations looking to make our community better,” said incoming chair, Keith McFatridge. “It has been a pleasure to work with her and experience her commitment to education and Galveston College students. I am sure she will continue her tireless work for the island and its younger generation.”

Vic Pierson

Galveston College Foundation Board of Directors thanks Vic Pierson

In August Victor Pierson will end a seven-year term as a director on the Galveston College Foundation Board of Directors. Pierson is chairman, president and CEO of Moody Bank and Moody Bancshares, Inc. He joined the Foundation in 2014 when the board began a period of aggressive portfolio investment. His time on the board saw exceptional growth for the Foundation’s Universal Access Community Endowment Scholarship (UA). “I am very glad to be included,” Pierson said.

Pierson helped guide the Foundation’s growth, allowing the UA scholarship to steadily increase its ability to assist students. The endowment became fully funded in 2019 and the scholarship now fully funds a Galveston College 60-hour associate degree or certification program. The growth allowed the board to increase the scholarship to assist with books and other education costs, UA+, to $2,100. Today, the board oversees 60+ scholarships with assets over $19 million.

“Vic has been a devoted member of the Galveston College Foundation board,” said Jeri Kinnear, the Foundation chair. “He always steps forward when asked, and you can’t get better than that.”

Pierson credits fellow board members for the scholarship’s success. “Everyone has been so creative,” he said. He mentions Paulie Gaido, a fellow Galveston College Foundation director, restaurateur and author of “Entertaining at Home with Fresh American Seafood and Exceptional American Wine.” Gaido’s fundraising featuring his book helped heighten community awareness for educating the next generation of chefs and raised more than $80,000 for the Vandy Anderson Culinary Arts Scholarship.

A love of education and community drives Pierson, he said. A graduate of Midwestern State University, he entered banking in Wichita Falls and moved to Galveston in 1985 to join Moody Bank. He began teaching accounting at Galveston College and continued through 2001. Pierson went on to become only the fifth chairman of the privately-owned bank in its 155-year history. He also served as mayor of Jamaica Beach from 1999 until 2013.

He is deeply involved in volunteer activities on local, state and national levels. He is a presidential appointee to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Commission, and previously was a gubernatorial appointee to the Coastal Coordination Council. At Southern Methodist University, he chairs the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking Foundation Board of Trustees. He served as dean of bankers for the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking. At Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School Commercial Banking program, he serves on the Advisory Board’s Executive Committee. He also sits on the Board of Visitors for Texas A&M at Galveston and chairs the University of Texas Medical Branch President’s Cabinet.

The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce honored him as the inaugural recipient of The Vic Pierson C-Crewe Award in honor of fostering the growth of young professionals. Pierson’s resume of leadership roles in community improvement is a directory of Galveston nonprofits including United Way, The Grand 1894 Opera House, Galveston Island Rotary Club, Galveston Artillery Club, 50 Club of Galveston County, Prevent Blindness, Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance and Historic Downtown Strand Seaport Partnership.

“The city and college have made tremendous progress in the last 36 years,” Pierson said.

He and his wife, Janice, have three children: Frankie Touchy (Jami), Laurie Popovich and Lindsay Touchy. They have three grandsons and one granddaughter.

Kelly Merry

Galveston College announces new director of development and Galveston College Foundation

Kelly Merry has joined Galveston College as director of development and the Galveston College Foundation.

Merry has 18 years of experience working as a development professional, with individual success in major gift, planned gift, capital campaign, donor relations, and annual gift work, as well as organizational success in leading and growing a development team.

“Kelly brings to us extensive fundraising experience in a variety of areas, and I am extremely impressed with her enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment to student success,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, college president. “The search committee did a wonderful job in finding the right candidate in Kelly. She understands the mission of Galveston College, our students and our community. We are truly excited to have her join our team.”

Merry most recently served as a foundation director at a children’s hospital in the Pacific Northwest where she worked on a $1 billion campaign. She has served on the boards of directors and executive committees of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Washington Chapter and Washington Planned Giving Council, where she most recently served as immediate past president. She is a past member of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Merry holds a certificate in fundraising management from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in information systems and statistical analysis from the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University.

Merry said she is excited to join the Galveston College family.

“The rich history of Galveston Island, the vibrancy of its community and the positive impact Galveston College has on its students drew me to this position,” she said. “I look forward to immersing myself in the community and helping support the vision of a progressive, dynamic institution of higher education known for its partnerships with businesses and organizations and its commitment to provide a quality learning environment that is student-focused.”

Scholarships available at Galveston College

Galveston College opens scholarship application for 2021-22 academic year

The 2021-22 application for Galveston College scholarships is available online at The deadline to apply is Friday, April 16, at 5 p.m.
Galveston College is committed to providing scholarship opportunities to students by seeking funds from individuals, businesses, organizations and college resources. The criteria for eligibility and the award amount for these scholarships have been developed in cooperation with each scholarship sponsor.
The scholarship program at Galveston College encourages graduating high school seniors, transfer students, currently enrolled students, and other deserving individuals to apply for scholarship monies.
Awards range from $500 to $2,500 per academic year. Academic excellence, financial need, displayed leadership abilities and participation in extracurricular activities are taken into consideration during the award process.
Visit and complete one application to be considered for Galveston College scholarships.
For more information about Galveston College scholarships, please contact the Financial Aid office at

Galveston College Foundation announces Helen K. and Phillip A. Lohec Endowed Scholarship

The Galveston College Foundation Board of Directors has announced the creation of the Helen K. and Phillip A. Lohec Endowed Scholarship at Galveston College.

Established by Mark T. and Pamela Lohec Stasney and family, the new scholarship is available to full- and part-time students at Galveston College who are pursuing an associate degree or technical certificate and may be applied to tuition, fees, books or course supplies. The first recipient will be announced in spring 2022.

“My parents have been a part of the Galveston community for decades,” said daughter Pamela Stasney. “They have served and volunteered in the community in many roles, from government to historical to education to church. We wanted to find a way to honor their contributions and hard work, and we felt a scholarship at a local institution would be an appropriate way to thank them while supporting and encouraging others. We hope the recipients will find the same calling to work hard and to support their home communities.”

Galveston College Foundation Board of Directors Chair Jeri Kinnear said, “It is a great honor to announce that Pam Stasney and her family have endowed a scholarship to recognize the contributions that her parents, Helen K. and Phillip A. Lohec, have made to our community. Galveston College is so fortunate to have patrons such as the Stasneys, who like the college believe and support the philosophy of “opening doors and changing lives.”

“On behalf of our students, faculty and staff at Galveston College, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the creation of this endowed scholarship that will benefit our students for years to come,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, president of Galveston College. “We are thankful for the Lohec family and the positive impact they’ve had on the Galveston community.”

Currently, there are several scholarships available for students interested in Galveston College.

Application information is available on the college website at and from the Office of Financial Aid at

To make a gift to the Galveston College Foundation, please contact Dr. Van Patterson at (409) 944-1205 or

College Foundation announces endowment of Vandy Anderson Scholarship Award in Culinary Arts

The Galveston College Foundation Board of Directors has announced the creation of the Vandy Anderson Scholarship Award in Culinary Arts endowment at Galveston College.

The new scholarship will foster the development of aspiring culinary arts professionals enrolled at Galveston College. The first recipients of the Vandy Anderson Scholarship Award in Culinary Arts will be announced in spring 2021.

“The Vandy I knew loved good food. You could frequently find him along with his food enthusiast friends enjoying the culinary achievements of all his favorite restaurants. This scholarship honors Vandy’s love for Galveston’s culinary gastronomic community and those that chose to take up that life’s work. The Galveston College Culinary Arts Academy scholarship means that students will be able to pursue their dreams and our local hospitality industry will have a skilled workforce,” said Jeri Kinnear, chair of the Galveston College Foundation.

Ann Anderson, Vandy Anderson’s sister, said she is thrilled and grateful to everyone in the community who supported the family in establishing the endowed scholarship.
“We are so honored by the establishment of this scholarship that lovingly will be named after Vandy, to whom education, history and the island were so very important,” Anderson said. “By supporting culinary student talent, this scholarship will celebrate our Vandy’s passion for life, support for education, and love of family and community – not to mention a fine meal!”

Vandy Anderson passed away on April 16, 2016. He was 73. He started his radio career at KILE radio and would become the owner/manager of KGBC for more than 30 years. Broadcasters inducted him into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.
“Vandy served his community in numerous ways as a broadcaster, trustee, chair or adviser for organizations across Galveston until his passing,” said Paulie Gaido, retired Galveston restaurateur. “The scholarship honors his legacy in the Galveston community and his love for the people of the island.”

Gaido’s book, “Entertaining at Home with Fresh American Seafood and Exceptional American Wine,” which he wrote with his wife Mary Kay, helped raise funds locally to honor the much-beloved man known as the “Voice of Galveston” during his long tenure at KGBC.

“On behalf of our culinary arts program and our culinary students, I want to thank all of those who made this endowment possible for their generous and thoughtful gifts,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, president of Galveston College. “This scholarship will honor Vandy’s memory and celebrate his passion for life, the joy of cooking and the importance of the culinary arts. We are grateful for and humbled by the Anderson family’s decision to honor Vandy in this way.”

Currently, there are several scholarships available for those interested in the Galveston College Culinary Arts Academy. Application information is available on the college website at and from the Office of Financial Aid at

To make a gift to the Vandy Anderson Scholarship Award in Culinary Arts or for more information about the Galveston College Foundation, please contact Dr. Van Patterson at (409) 944-1205 or
Dr. John P. McGovern

McGovern Foundation donates $40,000 to Galveston College Foundation’s Universal Access Scholarship programs

The John P. McGovern Foundation recently donated $40,000 to the Galveston College Foundation’s Universal Access Community Scholarship Endowment and Non-Tuition Educational Expenses Fund programs. The contribution continues the McGovern Foundation’s long history of support for Galveston College students. John P. McGovern Foundation contributions since 1996 total almost $900,000 toward Universal Access Scholarship funding and health programs at Galveston College.

The generosity of the McGovern Foundation mirrors that of the man who started it. He was a co-founder of the American Osler Society and founder of the McGovern Allergy Clinic in Houston. He established his foundation in 1961 and focused his philanthropy on the Texas Medical Center and programs benefiting families and children.

The Universal Access and Universal Access Plus scholarships will continue to help eligible Galveston students into the future and arrive at their educational goals sooner. Universal Access fully funds tuition and fees for a 60-hour degree program at Galveston College. Universal Access Plus in 2019-2020 provided $500 towards textbooks, digital tools, access fees and laptops.

In spring 2020, 74 percent of Galveston College’s students attended college on a part-time basis. Twenty-four percent had dependent children at home. Seventy-six percent juggled the demands of working and higher education. It takes Galveston College students an average of 3.7 years to graduate without public or private financial assistance. Universal Access students graduate on average in 2.7 years.

The McGovern Foundation also benefits students in the health sciences through another scholarship program.

The John P. McGovern 21st Century Memorial Scholarship in Nursing and Health Sciences is a separate example of the impact the McGovern Foundation has had on the fabric of Galveston College. The McGovern Scholars are health sciences students with a 3.0 or better GPA and receive an $800 scholarship.

For the Galveston College community, the focus of McGovern Foundation’s generosity is helping its students pay for tuition, fees, books and digital resources. This allows them to focus on their studies, stay in college and graduate.

John P. McGovern 21st Century Memorial Scholarship in Nursing and Health Sciences recipients Joshua Bland (left) and Ashlay Lewis-Helton attend President’s Evening 2020, Galveston College’s donor recognition event.

Dr. John P. McGovern gets a hug at the Children’s Zoo that bears his name. The John P. McGovern Foundation has donated almost $900,000 since 1996 to Galveston College Universal Access, Nursing and Health Sciences.
Photo courtesy Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle