QUICK TAKES - November 2021
During their Nov. 9 regular meeting, the Board of Regents recognized several individuals as well as the generosity of a foundation, including Texas State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa personally recognizing former Regent Elva Estrada; Del Mar College (DMC) employees Beverly Cage, Alan Berecka, Dr. Charles “Chip” Campbell, Janet Kamps and Kiwana Denson; and the Tres Grace Family Foundation.
Texas Legislature Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (District 20) attended the November Board meeting to praise the dedication of former Regent Elva Estrada, who represented the District 3 seat on the DMC Board of Regents for 14 years. Sen. Hinojosa submitted Resolution #288 and the Texas Senate passed the special recognition honoring Estrada’s service to the College and education in general throughout the Coastal Bend. Rather than read the resolution, Sen. Hinojosa said he would speak from the heart and noted that “Del Mar College has had the most amazing growth and plays a key role in our economy. Education is the best thing that we have in society, and Regent Estrada was the epitome of representing education.” He noted her 33 years of service as a teacher, principal and other roles within education. He noted that Estrada understood all levels of education and had a significant impact on Del Mar College. While former Regent Estrada could not attend the recognition, her husband Moses and daughter Laura did and expressed both their and Estrada’s appreciation for the recognition and support of DMC leadership and the Board of Regents. Board Chair Carol A. Scott ended the recognition by noting to Estrada, who watched the recognition online, “Your shoes are very big to fill, and we promise to do our best to do the work as you would have us do it.” Thank you, Sen. Hinojosa, for recognizing former Regent Estrada’s hard work and dedication to education! And, thank you, Regent Estrada, for your service to Del Mar College! To read about former Regent Estrada, go to vikingnews.delmar.edu/dmc-board-of-regents-accepts-resignation-of-district-3-regent-elva-estrada/.
Beverly Cage, Director of DMC Student Leadership and Campus Life with Student Engagement and Retention, was named Vice President of Membership for the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education (TABPHE) as well as a Co-Chair of the Student Committee with Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Since 1973, TABPHE has been a dynamic organization, and Cage has been a member for the past 10 years and has served in various roles. While TABPHE is an organization that provides professional development for faculty and staff, most importantly members recruit African American students into higher education and help them enter the workforce successfully. Thank you, Beverly, for your leadership and dedication to members of TABPHE and students!
Alan Berecka, Professor of Learning Resources and Reference Librarian, has a new poetry collection titled A Living is Not a Life: A Working Title, published by Black Spruce Press located in Brooklyn, NY. The collection describes Berecka’s varied work experiences over the years, including baling hay; working as a garbage man, telephone operator and teaching fellow in the English Department at the University of North Texas and being a librarian. The collection also features poems similar to thought exercises and writings regarding the concept of work as explored through poems about his parents’ jobs. Berecka has a dedicated history of organizing poetry readings, open mic activities and a series of on- and off-campus poetry events. In 2017, he was named the first Poet Laureate of Corpus Christi, and he has chapbooks and four other published collections: The Comic Flaw, Remembering the Body, With Our Baggage and The Hamlet of Stittville. Poetry readers can acquire Berecka’s newest collection, A Living is Not a Life: A Working Title, through Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Congratulations, Alan, on your latest published collection!
Business Administration and Entrepreneurship Department Chair Dr. Charles “Chip” Campbell has been appointed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to serve on their Texas Transfer Advisory Committee (TTAC) Discipline Specific Subcommittee on Business Administration. The three-year appointment began in October and runs through Aug. 31, 2024. Dr. Campbell will aid with the development of the Texas Transfer Field of Study Curriculum for Business Administration. The subcommittee is comprised of 40 faculty members with equal representation from community colleges and public universities as well as two members from the TTAC and equal representation from the sectors. The charge of the subcommittee is to use a data-informed approach to support transfer students from community colleges, specifically maximizing course applicability to a university major when they transfer. Dr. Campbell’s expertise in the discipline will further the development of an effective system of transferable courses among Texas’ public higher education institutions. Congratulations, Dr. Campbell, on your THECB appointment!
Janet Kamps, Director of eLearning, has been appointed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Learning Technology Advisory Committee (LTAC), currently effective through Aug. 31, 2024 for a three-year term. The committee serves as a forum for problem-solving and generating ideas to improve digital learning in higher education that reflect the goals of the Coordinating Board’s 60x30TX strategic plan. LTAC has 23 voting members and one non-voting student member who represent diverse institutions from across Texas and serve in a variety of leadership capacities related to learning technology. The committee meets four to six times each year as a full committee and sporadically as workgroups that address specialty projects. Kamps’ experience and heightened awareness of digital learning will lend invaluable expertise to the committee. We’re Viking Proud of your appointment, Janet!
Director of Strategic Initiatives Kiwana Denson was recognized by The Bend: Coastal Bend Life magazine as Humanitarian of the Year for her voluntary educational work about water safety, her and her husband Terry’s establishment of the Je’Sani Smith Foundation and her advocacy for legislation focused on water safety that passed during the 87th Texas Legislative Session with the help of legislators Rep. Todd Hunter and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa to enforce mandates on the use of lifeguards and informational signs to improve safety on public beaches. The October 2021 issue of The Bend shares Denson’s work to honor her son Je’Sani, who drowned in 2019 at Whitecap Beach after being swept away by a rip current. She has preserved and honored the memory of her son by providing education and awareness about rip currents and water safety through billboards, mini beach safety awareness events and appearances among local news media, and her efforts locally and statewide have undeniably saved lives. Use the following link to read The Bend magazine article on their website: www.thebendmag.com/2021/09/30/369201/her-kiwana-denson. Thank you, Kiwana, for what you have accomplished to save lives in honor of your son Je’Sani!
The Tres Grace Family Foundation awarded the Harmon Dobson Legacy Award for the first time to Del Mar College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Program with the Department of Architecture, Aviation and Automotive, along with a $50,000 check. A family-led foundation by the children of the founders of Whataburger, the Tres Grace Family Foundation was established in 2019 to honor the spirit of the late Grace W. Dobson. Her legacy of generosity during her lifetime is carried on through this foundation dedicated to improving communities by supporting programs that provide hope and empowerment, create a positive and lasting impact and help people build better lives. Applying for a Tres Grace Family Foundation grant is by invitation only with the foundation focused on the areas of Education and Health & Human Services. The Aviation Maintenance Technology Program was recognized for its exceptional ability to address the workforce needs of the aviation industry, including the graduation rate and student pass rate of the Federal Aviation Administration A&P (Airframe and Power Plant) examination with 100% placement of graduates into the workforce. Learn more about the foundation at www.tresgraceff.org/. Thank you to the Tres Grace Family Foundation for your support of Del Mar College, and Congratulations to the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program for a job well-done in preparing students for the workforce!
• With four tournaments already in their rear-view mirror this fall, the Del Mar College Vocal Vikings speech and debate team participated virtually in the Bayou City Speech Tournament and Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association competition recently. Over 160 students from 13 other colleges and universities vied for top awards during these tournaments. Journalism major Nichaela Shaheen won two third-place awards and one fourth-place award in the Poetry Category while Speech major Emily Rivas competed in the Informative Speaking Category and brought home two fifth-place awards and one sixth-place award. Additionally, Rivas tied with teammate and Speech major Gabbie Vela for the Top Novice in Poetry Category. Other Vocal Vikings who participated virtually included Speech majors Alden Sparrow and Mary Gaczewski. Sarah Contreras, Professor of Speech with the Department of Communications, Languages and Reading, is the Vocal Vikings’ advisor. The team has competed virtually since March 2020. However, the College’s forensics team plans to attend the Off Broadway Swing in New York City this December, which will be their first face-to-face competition in 21 months.
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Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.