Usually when a friend is aware that I am a regent at Galveston College, their first question is, “How’s the college?” They don’t "really" want to know. Kind of like, “How are you this morning” when they really don’t want the answer. My response is always, “The college is doing well.” Here’s a little about what that means.

Given the role of Galveston College, the faculty and staff do well at getting students in and out the door. That is; we attract and enroll new students and help them find their way to a degree or certificate. Students represent a wide range of ages. I noted during commencement a few years ago the youngest graduate was 19 and the oldest was 66.

For academic years 2014, ‘15, ‘16 and ‘17, the college awarded respectively 478, 475, 516 and 569 degrees and certificates. It enrolled 2,048, 2,071, 2,200 and 2,197 for those same academic years. Some 74 percent of the enrollment is part-timers; fairly consistent with most community colleges. With the dual credit option, Ball High School students can complete high school while simultaneously enrolled at Galveston College and earn 30 (or more) college credit hours. Through the Universal Access Scholarship Program, the associates degree can be earned tuition free.

Being able to offer baccalaureate degrees will be tremendous for the college. The plan is to offer a baccalaureate in nursing and one or more in a technical area. Legislative approval simply gives the college the OK to begin the arduous process of satisfying state and national accreditation requirements. We don’t expect the first baccalaureate student to be admitted before fall 2019 or 2020. To that end, the board is now discussing plans for a new science and technology building with sufficient laboratory and teaching space to support these new programs. Exciting times for all of us.

Galveston College and our nine member board, is among 50 state-supported community colleges governed by more than 400 locally elected regents and trustees. Funding comes from a combination of tuition and fees, local taxes and state revenue (about 25 percent). After several years of declining state revenues, funding for community colleges slightly improved during the recent legislative session. A giant thanks go to our state representatives, the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the Community College Association of Texas trustees. President Myles Shelton and I, along with the late George Black, spent many days in Austin providing requested testimony on issues directly affecting education on our campus.

Galveston College is doing well due to the tremendous support from the community and the Galveston College Foundation. The numerous other foundations, corporate organizations and individual benefactors recognized at the president’s reception recently were inspiring. These donors make the Universal Access Scholarship program possible and give students educational opportunities where none might be possible otherwise.

So yes, Galveston College is doing well, thanks to you and our students.

Raymond Lewis is chair of the Galveston College board of regents, and board chair of the Community College Association of Texas trustees.


(2) comments

Kelly Naschke

Ray, I know you have some predawn conclusions about me based on my politics as it relates to some of my posts, but I have to give a huge thanks to Galveston College for instilling in me the fact that I could succeed in life based on my own hard work. GC was my springboard to the attainment of a University degree. Thanks to the work I put in inside those hallowed,halls I learned to rely on no one for my success...but MYSELF. Conservatism in a nutshell. Thanks for being a contributor!

Raymond Lewis

Thanks Kelly. Your story is why community colleges are so important.

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