Odessa College Gets Boost to Their Bottom Line

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--Less than a week after finding out they might get their funding cut from the state, the community is now chipping in to help fill their coffers.

President Gregory Williams and State Representative Tryon Lewis said it last week, Odessa College would win the funding fight.

The money they're getting may not be from the House of Representatives but it's money that ensures more students get a chance at continuing education.

"It's during these times, when we need more and more support, as you know. And we need our friends to wrap their arms around us," Williams said.

The news from Texas Senator Kel Seliger on Monday, was music to the ears of administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni of Odessa College.

"Rep. Tryon Lewis and I have been working since the announcement first came out, to see to it that the decision that ultimately results in the budget being passed includes the funding for these community colleges. It's early in the process but the Senate budget shows some progress," Seliger said.

Doctor Williams said, "We should receive that as we should have received the money from the House of Representatives. We know we're going to get that as well. It's will be a drawn out process that is very unnecessary. We shouldn't have to go through these things."

On Tuesday, the community continued to rally in support of a school, that is preparing to celebrate 65 years, and is also enjoying the highest enrollment in their history.

"On behalf of Wells Fargo, we are making an initial donation to Odessa College in the amount of $5,000.00," Wells Fargo President, David Shipman, said.

But it doesn't stop there. Wells Fargo is issuing a challenge to Odessa businesses to do the same. Some have already responded.

"A local business owner, here in Odessa, called and said, 'David, I heard about your challenge and I want to match your donation,'" Shipman explained.

Seliger hopes the move by the Senate will send a strong message to his fellow lawmakers in the House, "Community colleges are successful.  They are important and they deserve the support of the people in the state of Texas and the people who represent them in Austin."

The $10,000 Odessa College received Tuesday, plus funding from the Texas Senate, will do much to ease the fears of those thinking about what could happen.

According to Dr. Williams, "We have learned that being excellent is not good enough. We need to be super-duper amazing, I guess. So, we will just do that."

Next Wednesday, February 2 is Community College day in Austin. It's a chance for college leaders and students to meet state legislators and learn how the legislative process works.

NewsWest 9 has learned that a group from Odessa College plans to make that trip to the State Capitol.