2023 District 4 Pacesetter

2023 District 4 Pacesetter

Dr. Brenda Hellyer
San Jacinto College District
Pasadena, TX

Dr. Brenda Hellyer’s transformative leadership has positioned San Jacinto College as a national benchmark. Under her guidance, the institution has been recognized multiple times among the top 10 community colleges by the Aspen Institute. 

Her dedication to equity and accessibility attracted a remarkable $30 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott during challenging pandemic times. The funds fueled initiatives like the 21 Forward Scholarship for 2021 high school graduates and the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship, a last-dollar scholarship that will pay for recipients’ certificate or degree for up to three years, no questions asked.

Regionally and nationally, Dr. Hellyer’s visionary strategies have strengthened vital sectors, from petrochemical to maritime. To ensure San Jacinto College is meeting the needs of these industries, she developed Chancellor Advisory Councils comprised of executive leadership from top companies in the district. These leaders share, as she calls it, “the good, bad and ugly” with her. She wants to understand what is working for these companies, what areas need some work and what just needs a complete overhaul. Collaborations with these industry giants have resulted in innovative training facilities such as the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, and Technology. The $65+ million facility was built by industry and for industry, and it was even funded by industry. 

On a state level, her role in redefining community college funding is historic. Dr. Hellyer champions inventive marketing endeavors, such as fortune cookie advertising, and consistently strengthens community ties, as demonstrated by successful bond approvals. Her unwavering support extends to NCMPR, enabling staff participation and professional growth.

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