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(l to r) Shawna Fahrenthold, Coordinator, Greater Kerrville Center; Jim Eskin, Executive Director, Alamo Colleges District Foundation; Dr. Yvonne Katz, Alamo Colleges District Board Chair; Mrs. F. O’Neil Griffin; Mr. F. O’Neil Griffin; Christina Exum, Kerrville Center graduate; and Ellen Williams, former Kerrville ISD administrator.

Alamo Colleges District Nets $2.445 Million Gift To Benefit Students at Its Greater Kerrville Center

At a press conference today, the Alamo Colleges District announced a $2.445 million gift from noted philanthropist F. O’Neil Griffin to fund scholarships and programs at the Alamo Colleges District Greater Kerrville Center. Specifically, the gift provides $1,222,500 to be added to the Neil and Elaine Griffin Foundation Endowed Kerrville Opportunity Scholarship, $500,000 for renovating the Career and Technical Education Building at the center and $722,500 to establish the Neil and Gena Griffin Endowed Excellence Fund that will provide an ongoing stream of funds to strengthen programs, facilities and operations at the center. 

This donation is the largest ever received by the Alamo Colleges Foundation. Previously, Griffin donated $1.05 million in 2010 to establish The Neil and Elaine Griffin Foundation Endowed Kerrville Opportunity Scholarship.

Griffin is a noted Kerrville business leader and charitable donor. He is the former owner of the First National Bank of Kerrville, chairman and CEO of Mountain Banks, Ltd., a multibank holding company, and former vice chairman of First City Banccorporation, a multibank holding company. One of ten children born on a farm in Osceola, Arkansas, Griffin served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and earned his bachelors degree from Arkansas State University under the G.I. Bill, followed by a master’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin. He has also has made generous gifts to Peterson Regional Medical Center and Schreiner University in Kerrville.

The Greater Kerrville Center is located in the historic, former Tivy Education Center at 1012 Barnett Street in Kerrville. The 19,000-square-foot facility encompasses 11 state-of-the-art, multimedia classrooms, including two wet labs for science classes and a nursing simulation lab. Two classrooms also have video-conferencing capabilities to expand program offerings and to make meetings more accessible. The facility was funded by a capital campaign that raised $2.2 million. The Griffin Foundation also contributed the first $250,000 to the capital campaign. 

The center, which was originally housed at Hal Peterson Middle School, was made possible through a partnership between The Alamo Colleges District and the Kerrville Independent School District, supported by the Kerrville area community. The center, the only non-private higher educational facility in the area, began offering classes in fall 2008. The center provides access for Kerrville area residents to associate degree courses, plus tuition-free, dual credit courses for high school students and workforce training to help workers attain the education and skills needed to meet to the workforce needs of the area.

Since its inception, the Kerrville center has enrolled 11,316 students. The Alamo Colleges District - San Antonio College Licensed Vocational Nursing to Associate Degree Nursing program is housed at the Kerrville center, which also offers academic courses for transfer as well as technical programs in certified nursing assistant, child development associate and welding.

“We are sincerely grateful to the Neil and Elaine Griffin Foundation for their vision in providing this second, even more generous gift, which will make a lasting difference in the lives of Kerrville area residents,” said Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Bruce Leslie. “We also are deeply appreciative of the efforts of the Kerrville Independent School District and the Kerrville community in helping us make this center a success,” he added.

The Alamo Colleges District service area includes Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Kerr and Wilson counties.