Joining the Midland College Alumni Association is one of the best ways to show your Chaparral pride! Throughout the year the Association sends out publications and hosts a number of events to help you maintain a close connection to Midland College. We also provide opportunities for you to network, socialize, and give back.
The past year’s events included a mixer at Twist Restaurant & Bar, a clean-up of our new Keep Midland Beautiful Adopt-A-Spot, and a volunteer opportunity during Lone Star Pet Sanctuary’s Runnin’ Fur Rescues Spooky 5K.
Each year our alumni also generously help raise funds to award a scholarship to a deserving Midland College student planning to transfer to a four-year institution.
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Welcome to the August 2018 Midland College Alumni Association Newsletter. This newsletter serves to update alumni on the happenings of the college. The mission of the Midland College Alumni Association is to reconnect MC alumni and build strong, engaging relationships with former and current students, employees, and retirees. Membership is free.
Midland College alumni make me proud to be the college’s president. Our alumni do great things, and I hope that you have pleasant memories of your time at Midland College. In my 10th year as president of Midland College, I am more impressed by the achievements and commitment of our alumni than ever.
We say that Midland College is Your College, and that is especially true for our alumni. We want you to stay engaged in the ongoing life of the college. Join us at Chap Center for the upcoming Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series event on September 25 featuring U.S. Army retired General David Petraeus and on October 9 for the fall installment of the Phyllis and Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series featuring country music legend Emmylou Harris. Bring your family to the Allison Fine Arts Building on December 6 for Holiday Evening, a fun-filled evening of music, art, food and visits with Santa.
Exciting things continue to take place at MC. We will begin the 2018-2019 academic year with the groundbreaking of the June and Frank Cowden, Jr. Dining Hall. When it is completed in spring 2020, I invite you to join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the beautiful new facility located adjacent to the Scharbauer Student Center.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments or would simply like to “reconnect” with Midland College, I welcome you to contact us. We love hearing from our alumni and the great things you are accomplishing!
Steve Thomas, Ph.D.
President, Midland College
On Friday, May 11, Midland College held its 45th Annual Commencement Ceremony. Over 500 students graduated with bachelor degrees, associate degrees, and certificates. “Thanks to the college’s Pathways to Success initiative, the number of students completing Midland College credentials has increased dramatically in the past four years. We are very proud of our students and their dedication to persist in earing baccalaureate degrees, associate degrees and certificates,” reported MC Registrar Angela Balch.
Of special importance in this year’s ceremony was the recognition of a record number of Legacy graduates. For the past two years, these students attended Midland College on the Legacy Scholarship, and each contributed 40 hours of community service annually to various community nonprofit organizations. Thanks to the generosity of four local philanthropic foundations- Abell-Hanger Foundation, Helen Greathouse Charitable Trust, Chaparral Foundation and Scharbauer Foundation- each year Legacy students are able to receive a $2,100 scholarship to attend MC. For the 2017-2018 academic year, 117 students graduated from MC as Legacy Scholars. During the ceremony, Ryan Adams presented the commencement address to a packed house at the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center.
In spring 2020, Midland College students, employees, and the entire community will be able to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner in the beautiful new June and Frank Cowden Jr. Dining Hall. A groundbreaking is scheduled for Monday, September 10, 2018, at 11 am, after which construction will begin. The June and Frank Cowden Jr. Dining Hall will be incorporated into the Scharbauer Student Center and will provide:
- Adequate seating and kitchen facilities for current needs and future growth
- A Community Room to be used by both college and community groups for meetings and luncheons
- A kitchen area that will serve both the dining hall and the student center snack bar
- A beautifully designed outdoor dining area
On May 3, 2018, alumni and staff of Midland College’s Williams Regional Technical Training Center gathered with community members at the Grey Mule Saloon in Fort Stockton to raise funds for the Scholars’ Dollars program.
This program provides scholarships to dual credit high school students, college students, and technical training students who are residents of Pecos County and enrolled at the WRTTC. At this event, an impressive total of $1,125 was raised and everyone enjoyed this inaugural event.
On Wednesday, May 2, 2018, Midland College held its annual Cram Fest end-of-year bash from 11:30 am to 1 pm on the lawn by the bell tower. This event is designed to give students a break from studying for finals and celebrate graduates. Free t-shirts were given to the first 100 students, and any student with a MC Student ID received a meal ticket to enjoy lunch at Munchies, Elotes Chevere, or Tubby’s food trucks. Other goodies were given out such as Midland College water tumblers, sunglasses, and Alumni Association bumper stickers. Over 250 students attended.
Each semester, the Midland College Foundation hosts both the Phyllis and Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series and the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series. Both events are free to the public and are hosted at the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center.
This fall, the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series will feature General David Petraeus on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
The Phyllis and Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series will feature 13-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
Prior to each event, a reception is held for a group of distinguished donors of the college called Friends of the Series, who help underwrite the cost of these programs, allowing them to be free to the community. If you are interested in joining the Friends of the Series, please call the MC Foundation office at (432) 685-4526.
In May 2004, 18-year-old Adriana Ortega was sitting in her living room and crying as she was holding her infant son and watching the televised graduation ceremony for her Midland High School classmates. Ortega was not there because she had dropped out of school two years earlier to get married. “Watching my friends graduate made me realize that I needed to get a high school diploma, so I started taking GED® classes at Midland College, and 3 ½ months later, I had a high school diploma,” explained Ortega.
Ortega remained married raising her son Santiago and daughter Karyme, who was born two years later. When Karyme started pre-school in 2010, Adriana decided it was time to take her education one step further, so she enrolled in classes at Midland College. “I wasn’t sure what my major would be,” said Ortega. “I enrolled in a few business-related classes, and then one day, as I was sitting in a Business Systems class taught by Sylvia Brown, I realized that a business career was my calling. What can I say . . . I like ‘paperwork!’”
While she was taking classes, Ortega worked full-time as an administrative assistant, was married and raising two young children. In 2013, she graduated from Midland College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Systems and soon obtained an administrative assistant position at D&H pumps. She was also active in Midland College’s Students in Philanthropy organization and was a member of Sigma Kappa Delta, the English Honor Society.
“I really enjoyed having Adriana as a student,” said Business Systems Department Chair Sylvia Brown. “She was always eager to learn new things. She fully participated in all the classroom activities. I could tell that she has the confidence needed to accomplish everything she sets her mind to do.” In 2015, Ortega enrolled once again at Midland College — this time pursuing a baccalaureate degree in Organizational Management. She excelled in her classes and was able to further her career when she accepted a position as an administrative assistant working for a local oilfield service company, Badger Daylighting.
However, life wasn’t exactly idyllic for Ortega and her family. In 2016, Adriana and her husband of 15 years divorced. She suddenly became a single mother; however, she was determined to complete her degree. Ortega said it was hard to juggle finances. In July 2017, she was forced to obtain a part-time job working two evenings each week at Kirkland’s at Midland Park Mall. Fortunately, her college tuition was being financed in part through the Midland Uptown Business & Professional Women’s scholarship.
“It wasn’t easy raising a family, working and going to school,” stated Ortega. “My family had to make lots of sacrifices, but it is worth it.” In May 2018, Adriana Ortega graduated from Midland College with a Bachelor of Applied Technology degree in Organizational Management. In June, she celebrated two years of employment at Badger.
“Every student has a different path to graduation,” explained Organizational Management Associate Professor Ryan Peckham. “Adriana’s work ethic and determination have never wavered, and even in the face of adversity, she has persevered. I am proud of her, but more importantly, she should be very proud of herself.”
Adriana Ortega wants to take her career even further. She said that she will spend extra time this summer and fall with her children — Santiago is now 15, and Karyme is 13. However, she plans to get right back in school in January, either taking paralegal courses or working on an MBA.
The 18-year-old high school dropout who was sitting in her living room crying as she was watching her classmates graduate is now a 33-year-old college graduate determined to excel in her career.
- August 27: First class day of the Fall 2018 semester
- September 25: Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series: General David Petraeus; 7:30 pm at Chap Center
- October 9: Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series presents Emmylou Harris; 7:30 pm at Chap Center
- October 13: Veterans Benefits Fair: Free event to learn about community services available for Veterans
- November 21: Campus closes at noon for Thanksgiving Holiday
- November 22-23: Campus closed for Thanksgiving
- December 6: MC’s Holiday Evening event: Free pictures with Santa, cookies and hot chocolate. Frito pies for $5 and donation hay rides benefiting MC Students in Philanthropy. Student art show with unique pieces for sale.
- December 18: Campus closes for Winter Break
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Thank you for choosing Midland College! If you are here to collect a few credits, take courses to transfer, or here to start a new career, we welcome you.