The Thomas Years (August 2008-Present)
The fourth president of Midland College, Steve Thomas, Ph.D., is no stranger to West Texas or to the college. He was born in McCamey in Upton County, moved to Crane when he was two and moved to Midland when he was an eighth grader. Thomas was a student at Lee High School before going to Texas State University, where he earned a BA in sociology and psychology. Thomas married Vicki, a native Odessan, in April 1979. Thomas went to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin to get his master's degree in counseling. He began his first stint at MC as an adjunct instructor at night, while still working as a licensed marriage counselor. He eventually joined the faculty at MC full-time in 1979. On the advice of Jess Parrish, MC president at the time, and Raymond Yell, an MC administrator, Thomas took a sabbatical in 1984 and then a year's leave of absence to work on his doctorate in education administration at The University of Texas in Austin. He then came back to MC in 1986. Thomas moved to Lexington, Kentucky with his wife and young daughter, Lindsay, to become dean of academic affairs at Lexington Community College. He also served as a dean at Victoria College in Victoria, Texas, for nine years. In 2000, he became the president of Vernon College, a position he held for the eight years prior to coming back to MC.
The F. Marie Hall Academic Building (MHAB) was officially dedicated on August 27, 2008. Visitors to the F. Marie Hall Academic Building are welcomed by the two-story Amistad Atrium, which was named by Hall, who said she values friendship and community. The area was designed as a gathering space for people to use before and after events in the 102-seat lecture hall that is situated just off the atrium.
A five-year agreement with Texas A&M University allows students to take foundation classes in biomedical science at MC and then make a more simplified transfer to College Station.
In its first renovation since it was built in 1975, more than 2,600 square feet was added to the Murray Fasken Learning Resource Center (LRC). The renovation is part of the larger 2005 bond issue. The LRC has also expanded virtually through its collection of e-books through the Tex Share program and Amigos, which is the southwestern division affiliated with the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center). Two additional display cases for DVDs have been added that include 300 feature films in the LRC collection.
For the first time, the Midland College women's and men's basketball teams won their conference championships in the same year.
Children recited The Pledge of Allegiance and then sang to the crowd under the portico of the new Helen L. Greathouse Children's Center (HLGCC) during the open house on April 8, 2009. The new center, located on the southeast side of campus near the Physical Education Building, was made possible by Greathouse's earlier endowment to Midland College and by contributions from the 2005 $41.8 million bond issue. The previous Greathouse building was equipped to handle up to 52 children, and the new 10,8938 square-foot facility is set to handle up to 128 children on a weekly basis.
Early College High School @ MC debuted with 125 high school freshman students. The ECHS@MC program is geared toward first-generation college students, economically disadvantaged and minority students. ECHS gives students the opportunity to earn their high school diplomas as well as associate degrees from MC. Donations made to the MC Foundation enable students to receive free college tuition and books.
Fox II Science Building opened for classes
A $3 million renovation project on the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center was completed after 16 months of construction. The renovations consisted of installing an elevator, remodeling the locker rooms, remodeling all the restrooms and re-doing the "green room." Funds to remodel the green room were provided by Peggy & Bob Cowan. The Peggy & Bob Cowan Green Room includes a large watercolor painting designed by MC Art Professor Warren Taylor and painted by MC art students.
Long-time MC golf coach Delnor Poss was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame. Poss was one of seven coaches from across the nation to be inducted.
The Dorothy & Clarence Scharbauer Student Center, which underwent renovations for 18 months, reopened and now offers 53,700 square feet of new amenities for students, which include a new testing center, newly renovated registration and cashier's offices, counselor's offices, mail room, a new snack bar and an Internet cafe.
The Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series celebrates its 10th anniversary with the return of Marvin Hamlisch, who was the first entertainer for the series. He performed on a Steinway D Concert Grand Piano that was donated to MC by F. Marie Hall.
MC mourned the loss of its first president, Al G. Langford. Langford died on September 10 at the age of 83.
On September 30, Midland College became the fourth community college in the nation to hold the title of an "All-Steinway School of Music." A grant for $500,000 from the Bryce and Isabel Rea Trust allowed MC to purchase nine Steinway pianos. The Rea Trust also provided for the establishment of the Bryce and Isabel McClintic Rea Center for Music Technology and Creativity located in the Allison Fine Arts Building.
Thanks to a generous donation from Virginia Hanley and her late husband Alvin "Doc" Hanley, MC's was able to upgrade its printmaking studio and equip with state-of-the-art technology.
A new cooperative agreement, the Hispanic Institutions Transfer Access Project (HITAP) was instituted. The program allows students to take all the courses needed for degrees in education, kinesiology and criminal justice on the MC campus.
The Lady Chaps Volleyball Team won the conference title. The win solidified the Lady Chaps second consecutive WJCAC title.
Will Morris, Ph.D., dean of social and behavioral sciences at MC, was named the Henry Chair of History. The endowed chair was established with a $500,000 gift from Paula & Jim Henry. The gift also allows MC to administer the annual West Texas Symposium of History and publish the West Texas Journal of History.
After more than four years of planning and building, the new MC softball field opened on February 16.
In one of the all-time shows of consistency, the MC golf team qualified for the NJCAA Men's Division I Golf Championships for the 24th consecutive year.
Midland College hosted its first "See MC/Si MC" event. The event became an annual tradition for the college to invite the community to campus in a fun family atmosphere in order to showcase MC's programs and services.
The newly renovated F. Marie Hall SimLife Center was dedicated. The center has state-of-the-art programming and simulation equipment. The center is named in recognition of MC benefactor F. Marie Hall. It is equipped with the Laerdal Company's SimMan and SimBaby manikins, Baumard Noell birthing simulator, recording devices and healthcare equipment. The SimLife Center partners with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Midland Memorial Hospital to train a variety of students and healthcare professionals.
The men's residence hall was rededicated as the David E. Daniel Hall in honor of MC's third president Dr. David Daniel.
The college began its year-long 40th anniversary celebration with a concert by Lyle Lovett and his Large Band as the fall 2012 installment of the Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series.
MC instituted an Alumni Relations program in an effort to involve former MC students in campus events and advancement.
During MC's 40th commencement ceremony, students in the first graduating class of ECHS@MC received associate degrees. Then, a week later, those 17- and 18-year-old college graduates received high school diplomas when ECHS@MC observed its first high school graduation ceremony at the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center on the MC campus.
An anonymous gift provides the building of a dedicated building for the MC Firefighter Academy at the Harris Field Fire Training Facility owned by the Midland Fire Department and located on Farm-to-Market Road 307. The 2,400 square-foot facility includes a 25-seat classroom, two engine bays, men's and women's locker rooms, a kitchen and offices.
MC established the Permian Basin Energy Leaders (PBEL) Legends Lecture Series. The inaugural lecture was given by longtime MIdland oil executive and businessman Jim Henry, chairman of Henry Resources.
The Chaparral Baseball Team finished 3rd in the Junior College World Series held in Grand Junction, Colorado.