Beebe Speaks to Colorado City Lions
Dr. Barb Beebe, president of Western Texas College, came to talk to the Colorado City Lions Club last Friday. She brought photos and talked about the renovations ongoing at the college in Snyder, among other things.
Dr. Beebe was appointed the sixth president and first woman president of WTC in January 2013. In the 20-plus years leading up to her appointment as president, she taught Economics and Management at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, was the Director of Academic Programming at a Community College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was the Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Allegany College of Maryland.
Dr. Beebe said that renovations are being made at WTC for the first time in 42 years, and most of the $15 million will go into repairing and updating infrastructure, like the heating and air conditioning systems, paving, plumbing, etc.
Approximately 300 students live on the campus, and it has been a struggle, as the cafeteria was set to hold a maximum of 200 students. Part of the renovations has included doubling the size of the cafeteria to the north.
Work is also progressing on the theater department and gymnasium. Due to a major leak, WTC had to make the decision to fill in the swimming pool, Beebe said. The huge space will now be used as a cardio, workout room. An indoor track has been added, and exercise equipment will be installed in the room as well.
New stage lighting and ceiling has been installed for the theater department, and new flooring can be found in various spots around the campus.
Though enrollment at the college is higher than ever, fewer students want to work. The work study program at WTC has suffered, because few students show up to participate in the program. Dr. Beebe said that the institution lost half of their financial aid for the work study program as a result.
One group of students differs from their U.S. counterparts. Beebe said that international students participate at a high ratio in the work study program.
A Community Impact Study performed by Texas A&M University showed some interesting facts about WTC. There are 134 full-time, 82 part-time, and 52 student part-time employees who have jobs at the college.
The study showed that 37 services were performed by outside sources on a contractual basis.
Dr. Beebe was proud of the fact that 95.8% of all WTC graduates are either currently employed or are seeking further education. That number is above the state average, she said.
Not surprisingly, the study showed that the college contributes to the community in a variety of ways. About 87% of WTC employees are homeowners, and therefore, taxpayers, and 96% contribute regularly to civic, social or religious organizations.
Dr. Beebe said the study showed that 72% of employees’ net incomes are spent in Scurry County, and 78% use primary physicians in Snyder. Also, 84% reported that they bank locally.
The university study found that WTC contributes over $28 million to Scurry County’s economy, by supporting over 300 jobs which amounts to $13 million to labor income. The study estimates that, over the next 40 years, each incoming WTC class will contribute $38.6 million to the economy of this region.
With an enrollment higher than ever, Dr. Beebe said she’s really excited about the upcoming school year.
“It’s a great place for staff, and a great place for kids,” she said. “The classes are small, so we get to know students.” Dr. Beebe said she even keeps in touch with some of the students who have graduated and moved on.
Western Texas also works with Colorado ISD to provide dual-credit classes for high school students. Bob Reily asked what percentage of WTC grads actually go on to further their education, and Beebe estimated that number to be between 60 and 70%.
Mark Waldrip said that Dr. Beebe does a lot for the students at WTC. He said she’s very involved in every aspect of the campus life. She replied that the students are “wonderful kids” and are very appreciative.
Mayor Jim Baum asked Beebe how she ended up in Texas, as she’s from the northeastern part of the U.S. She said her sister lived in Dallas, and when she came for an interview, she thought there was no way she would stay.
“But the people are so nice. I love it! I think it’s just a marvelous place!” the college president said.
This article was reprinted with special permission with the Colorado City Record, Colorado City, Texas.
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