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It Was a Very Good Year

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR

Glendon Forgey
President, Frank Phillips College

One of the songs Frank Sinatra made famous was “It Was a Very Good Year.”  As a new year has just begun it is often customary to reflect on successes or important events of the previous year. 

Although the weather in January and February was frigid, the college 2021 spring semester was off to a hot start as enrollment achieved record highs.   That trend continued into the fall semester as the college was recognized as the fastest growing community college in Texas with a 32.4% growth rate.

Many much-needed improvements were made to college facilities.  The old electronic sign was replaced with a high-definition digital sign.  Old carpeting in the library and classroom building was replaced.  The BCAC swimming pool received a new paint job and new fitness equipment was acquired.

The college resumed commencement activities after cancelling the 2020 event due to COVID.  A record 291 students received degrees or certificates including 40 high school dual credit students earning credentials.

The college dedicated the Nutrien Livestock Genetic Barn to facilitate the nation’s only community college embryo transplant program.  This program is advancing rapidly under the direction of Dr. Byron Housewright, with students nationwide seeking to enter the program.  The college is grateful to Nutrien and all community partners who assist the college.

For the first time in its history, FPC hosted a visit from a sitting governor as Governor Gregg Abbott came to campus.  Governor Abbott was greeted by local dignitaries and college faculty, staff and students.  FPC Director of Facilities, Regina Haney, and her staff went all out to ensure the college grounds and facilities were in excellent condition for the visit.

The college rodeo set a national record for the most entries/runs ever at a college/university rodeo event.  Over 600 competitors entered with over 900 runs at the rodeo which was held in Canadian. Approximately $50,000 in prize money was earned by various competitors. 

The Perryton Campus started a cosmetology program in a remodeled building just across the street from the main campus.  The program has been highly successful under the leadership of FPC cosmetology instructor Kevin Harrison.  Many community members are patrons of the program, and the college appreciates their patronage.   It is a great place to get a haircut!

Due to a shortage of truck drivers, FPC began plans to offer a certified driver’s license program at the Dalhart Rahll Campus.  A truck was acquired, and curriculum designed.  Plans are already in the works for the program to be offered at the Perryton and Borger campuses.

FPC employees began a scholarship program named the “Plainsmen Legacy” scholarship program in September.  The new scholarship is funded by generous employees of the college to benefit needy students.  To date over $16,000 has been pledged for future FPC students.

The college is pleased to report that it is in prime position to continue building on past successes, continue serving our students, and continue enhancing all our communities in the coming year and future.

Yes….it was a very good year.

Frank Phillips Philanthropists

FRANK PHILLIPS PHILANTHROPISTS

Glendon Forgey
President, Frank Phillips College

Philanthropy is an important part of the college mission. The success of many students to achieve their academic or career goals would be much more difficult without the generosity of our community partners. Fortunately, Frank Phillips College (FPC) is blessed with many individuals, businesses, and organizations that support the college and our students in numerous ways.  Let’s look at a few examples.

Nutrien is a huge supporter of Frank Phillips College.  A couple of years ago, one of the college agriculture buildings was destroyed in a storm.  Nutrien stepped up with a large donation to help establish the Nutrien Livestock Genetics Center.  This facility is being used to implement the new embryo transfer program.  In addition, just last month, Nutrien graciously donated $100,000 to help fund the FPC Agriculture Department and Show Team for the next two years.

Many other businesses support the college and college organizations.  Fresh Ideas and Jesse’s Pizza helped to equip the college game room.  JBS USA supports college students through its “Better Futures Program.” They recognize and believe in the transformative power of higher education, and the opportunities that come from further education, coursework, and technical skill training. To ensure this, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation have committed to providing team members and their dependents the opportunity to pursue their higher education dreams for Associates Degrees and Trade Certificates completely free of tuition charge.

The Phillips High School Alumni Association (PHSAA) plays a major role in providing scholarships to FPC students. At the recent 2021 Scholarship Banquet over twenty students received awards from fifteen different endowments established by PHSAA alumni.  The Brumley Foundation provided another fifteen scholarships.  There are over 50 endowed scholarships which award approximately 100 students with scholarships on an annual basis.  Over $200,000 in scholarships were awarded from generous donors.

Area school districts and their associated non-profit organizations are another large contributor.  The Borger, Channing, Spring Creek and Follett independent school districts combine to fund nearly $100,000 in dual credit payments for high school students taking college courses. The Perryton Pathways Scholarship program funds nearly 100 students every year to pursue their goals.

Gene and Louise Rahll are fantastic philanthropists and are the primary reason for the Frank Phillips College – Rahll campus in Dalhart.  Thanks to a very generous donation by the Rahlls, FPC and the Dalhart area were the recipients of a new 24,000 square foot college campus.  The academic building has current technology and enough classroom space to fill the educational needs of the community today and into the future.  Not only did the Rahlls provide funds for the campus, but they also continue to support FPC students with much needed scholarship funds.

This year FPC employees began a new scholarship program to assist students attending FPC.  Over $15,000 has already been pledged since September 1.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks.  I am thankful for Jesus Christ, our country, our communities, the opportunity to serve at FPC, and the philanthropists that support FPC and our students.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving and remember November 30th is National Giving Day. Please consider giving to Frank Phillips College and supporting the transformative power of higher education.

A Pinnacle Panhandle Performance

A PINNACLE PANHANDLE PERFORMANCE

Glendon Forgey
President, Frank Phillips College

To reach a pinnacle is to reach the highest or culminating point of success.  Such is the case with the academic accomplishments at Frank Phillips College (FPC).

At a recent budget workshop, one FPC regent asked, “How does the administration, or the public in general, know if FPC is preparing our students to excel in the workplace or in their future academic pursuits?” 

The facts give evidence of the academic excellence occurring at FPC.  Here’s the proof.  Let’s begin with the nursing program.  FPC offers one of the best licensed vocational nursing (LVN) programs in the state.  How do we know?  Our LVN students have had a 100% pass rate of the state licensing exam for four consecutive years.  It is the ONLY Texas community college LVN program that can say that!   In addition, for the first time in its history, the LVN program was ranked in the top 10 programs in the State of Texas.   Not to be outdone, FPC cosmetology students also have a 100% pass rate. This is a great compliment to the outstanding faculty who instruct our LVN and cosmetology students. 

What about the academic preparation and performance of FPC students who transfer to universities such as WTAMU?   A recent study by WTAMU showed that FPC students had just as good of grade point average (GPA), or sometimes better, than students who were attending WT for the first time (FTIC) or of students who transferred to WT from another college. Here are some additional statistics from the WT study regarding FPC students:

  • The GPA for FPC students in the WT College of Business was 23% higher than FTIC students.
  • The GPA for FPC students in the WT College of Education was 15% higher than students who transferred from another college.
  • The GPA for FPC students in the WT Nursing and Health Sciences program was 12% higher than FTIC students.

Not only are FPC students well prepared for their future academic pursuits, but they are also 7% more likely to continue their education than other Texas community college students.  Furthermore, FPC students are more likely to graduate with their degree than students from other colleges and do so in almost half the time.

Another huge performance measure is in FPC workforce programs.  Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board data shows that FPC students are 20% more likely to be employed than other Texas community college students.  This measurement reflects the exceptional quality of instruction received by FPC workforce students and the value area employers place on FPC graduates.

The academic reputation of FPC has resulted in a record enrollment for FPC this fall.  For the first time ever over 1,600 students have enrolled at FPC!!  More and more students are taking advantage of the outstanding education and workforce opportunities. 

There are even more statistics that reveal the excellence that is occurring at FPC, and with the support and partnerships with our local independent school districts, industry, and community partners the excellence will continue.

And as the song goes….”the best is yet to come.”

Health Matters

HEALTH MATTERS

Glendon Forgey
President, Frank Phillips College

Some people think they need to lose weight but are not into exercise.  Their idea of exercise is lifting the fork from the plate to their mouth.  Not the best way to lose weight. Most, if not all, physicians highly recommend some type of physical exercise.  In fact, the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy in 1st Timothy 4:8 that physical exercise has some value. So, not only is bodily exercise recommended by your doctor, but God is okay with it too.

Some people enjoy working out.  Count me as one of those.  Working out has been part of my weekday routine since 2004.  To my great pleasure, Frank Phillips College (FPC) has a tremendous facility at which one can do about any type of exercise one could imagine.  Treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines, step mill, ellipticals, stair masters, weight machines, free weights, a handball court, a swimming pool, hot tubs, a sauna, a steam room and other amenities, the Borger Community Activity Center (BCAC) has something for everyone and at very low rates.

Based on comments from facility patrons, the BCAC has needed some upgrading (kind of like some of our bodies).  Over the last few months, the BCAC has added new equipment and refurbished machines and cushions to improve the facility.  The women’s weight room was moved upstairs close to the steam room.   A small play area was added in the women’s weight room so that ladies who want to exercise but have no childcare can keep an eye on their children.

Many people who work out in the weight room like to swim afterwards.   Swimming is one of the best methods of exercise as it puts less stress on joints and uses almost every muscle in our bodies.   As you may have heard the BCAC swimming pool was affected by the extreme cold weather in February and the heater and pool pump had to be replaced.  Getting the parts took longer than anticipated due to manufacturing and shipping delays.  However, during that replacement process, the pool was thoroughly cleaned and has been repainted.  The wait has been worth it.  The pool looks brand new, and the water appears very refreshing and is just waiting for all swimmers or people who like to participate in water aerobics.  In addition, the college is exploring the possibility of adding a diving board and slides to make the pool even more fun!

As the BCAC is a publicly supported facility, accessibility is important.   FPC is aware that many people prefer exercising or swimming later in the evening or on weekends.  To better meet the needs of the community, the BCAC is now open longer in the evenings and on Saturdays. Plus, you never have to worry about parking around the BCAC.

In addition, be on the watch for volleyball leagues, basketball leagues, indoor soccer leagues, and other activities on the newly designed and painted BCAC gymnasium court.  The court had not been repainted in several years and has a new design.  If nothing else, come visit the BCAC and look at the new design of the court.  You will be amazed!  Also, the BCAC will be offering yoga and other classes in the future as interest warrants. 

So, do your body (and mind) a favor and start an exercise program.  There is no better time than today, and there is no better facility that has all the amenities described above than the Borger Community Activity Center on the Frank Phillips Campus.

Economical Education

ECONOMICAL EDUCATION

Glendon Forgey
President, Frank Phillips College

Many articles have been written regarding the cost of going to college.  Students and their parents voice concern about the escalating cost of tuition, books, residential housing, etc.   This is not one of those articles. Instead, this is about the excellent economic opportunity students have in attending Frank Phillips College (FPC).

Over a decade ago, the Texas legislature began a pilot program to allow community colleges to partner with local high schools to create early college high schools which offer dual credit courses.  The program allowed freshmen in high school to begin taking college level classes to help reduce the cost of a college degree or certificate.  The program was hugely successful with many early high schools created and an increase of dual credit class offerings.  In many high schools the tuition is waived, paid by a community educational foundation, paid by the school, or paid by another source, making the courses practically free to students and families.  This is a tremendous economic value to families!

In addition, in 2012 the Texas legislature passed House Bill 5 (HB5). This legislation Introduced a new career and technology education (CTE) course development option. The courses prepare students for a specific career, technical training, or college readiness.  These courses are also eligible for dual credit and at very little, if any, cost to the student.

Panhandle students and their families are very fortunate FPC continues to offer high quality, affordable educational opportunities.  The in-district tuition rates of FPC are among the lowest in the state.   Numerous high school students are taking advantage of the dual credit classes offered by FPC.  In many cases, the college partners with our local school districts to share facilities and qualified instructors.  This helps to keep college expenses low and exhibits the practice of good stewardship of taxpayer funds.

One might ask: “What about the cost of books?”   It is true books can be very costly.  FPC faculty are extremely aware of the cost of books to students.  This is why many of the instructors at FPC use their own curriculum and do not require traditional books.  This is not a new practice.  Faculty have used handouts and other materials for many years to help curtail educational costs.  With the advent and expansion of the internet, materials and eBooks are available online for instructional use to help defray “book” expense.

The educational economic value does not end with dual credit students.  Frank Phillips College offers many workforce programs for adults that lead to high paying jobs.  These courses have the same low in-district tuition rates as traditional courses.  FPC listens to industry and community partners to offer training in much needed areas such as welding, nursing, electrical, instrumentation, and process technology.  Additional programs are being planned to meet the ever-changing needs of the Texas Panhandle economy.

The educational opportunities at FPC are truly valuable, but the economic benefits can only be reaped by those who take advantage of the programs.   You are strongly encouraged to capitalize on these programs that can enrich and transform lives and communities.  Contact FPC or your high school counselor for dual credit information as enrollment is beginning now for Fall 2021.

Remember, you miss every shot you do not take.

First Impressions

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Glendon Forgey
President, Frank Phillips College

First impressions are important.  While a book should not be judged by its cover, many people are unlikely to read it if the cover is not appealing.  And as Will Rogers once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  That sounds like something Yogi Berra would say.

It has been my good fortune to have visited the Texas panhandle on a few occasions.  My mother grew up in Dalhart and graduated from Dalhart High School.  All the Texas panhandle countryside that was experienced during those visits was flat.…. until my first visit to Borger.  What a very pleasant and appealing surprise!

The scenery of the hills and canyons around Borger is amazing.  Flat can get boring and dull.   When driving into Borger the beautiful topography emerged like a diamond in the rough.  The area around Borger is reminiscent of a miniature Arbuckle Mountains, in the southern part of Oklahoma.  There is just something about rock formations that have always been attractive to me.  Perhaps geology should have been my calling. 

The area topography was not the only thing that made a good first impression.  Having lived in East Texas and having been president at another Texas community college, it was known that Frank Phillips College was one of the smaller community colleges in Texas.  Furthermore, having visited some of the smaller Texas community colleges my expectations were not high.  However, the campus and facilities of Frank Phillips College are extraordinary. 

From the inviting, elegant library to the spacious, charming auditorium; from the dynamic community center to the technology-enhanced classrooms, the Borger campus is second to none.  Not to be outdone, the FPC campuses at Dalhart and Perryton also have exceptional facilities and are beacons of educational enlightenment in their respective communities.

Being new to campus, it was inspiring to communicate with eager and engaging students.  Although the students come from all over the world, they have bonded together to create a familial environment where everyone knows everyone’s name.  These bright, polite, and positive young people give hope for the future. 

The FPC faculty and staff are perhaps the biggest impression.  One can immediately tell that students are first in everything done on the FPC campuses.  The expression “We love our students” can be frequently heard.  Helpful, friendly, and caring, are just a few attributes to describe these wonderful people.  The hospitality exhibited by the dedicated employees at FPC extends into the communities as well.  One would expect nothing less in Texas! Several community members have stopped by the campus and extended a warm welcome to Borger. 

It is a well know fact that things are bigger in Texas.  Frank Phillips College and the communities it serves has certainly left a BIG Texas first impression and better things are sure to come.