College of the Mainland to commemorate its largest single donation

Funds will establish new occupational safety curriculum and scholarships

Texas City, Texas—College of the Mainland will commemorate the bequest of $5 million on Thursday, April 19, 2007—the largest single donation the school has ever received—from Eva Rowe as part of the settlement of her lawsuit against BP for the Texas City oil refinery explosion in 2005.

Rowe, whose parents were among the 15 workers killed in the BP refinery explosion, will headline a press conference scheduled in the College of the Mainland Administration Building lobby. A luncheon for guests and members of the media will be held immediately following the press conference in the President's Boardroom.

In attendance will be Dr. Homer "Butch" Hayes, president of the College of the Mainland; Dr. Jeffrey Oakley, director of the College of the Mainland's new occupational safety and health program; Donald Parsley, president of the College of the Mainland Foundation; William Raley, associate vice president for industrial education; Rowe; and attorney Brent Coon, of Brent Coon and Associates.

The $5 million donation, to be used for the college's new occupational safety and health education program, is part of the settlement reached by Rowe and her attorney, Coon, in November 2006. BP agreed to match up to $2 million for any donation made through June 30, 2007, to the College of the Mainland Foundation's Memorial Scholarship for the 15 victims of the 2005 incident. Donations and the matching funds from BP will used to create scholarships for the college's current and future students.

"I have always believed in the importance of education," said Rowe. "I'm pleased that the College of the Mainland will use these funds to create a new program to provide education and training for safety professionals in our community and scholarships to those students most in need of financial support."

Hayes gratefully accepted the gift on behalf of the college. "We are honored that Eva Rowe included College of the Mainland as a part of her settlement from BP. This is the largest single-donor gift the college has ever received," said Hayes. "For College of the Mainland and the communities of southeast Texas, it is very exciting to have scholarship money to offer students. Furthermore, our new occupational safety program is an excellent and exciting addition to the college's offerings of education and training; indeed, the program will allow for our students to seamlessly transfer to other institutions. This will be an important program for the community, both from the perspective of dealing with safety issues in our area businesses and in providing career opportunities for our students."

College of the Mainland's occupational safety and health program, headed by Oakley, will provide trained specialists to the petroleum, chemical, aerospace, shipping, construction and hospitality industries throughout the Houston-Beaumont-Galveston corridor. This program will fill the need for quality occupational safety professionals brought about by the area's creation and expansion of businesses. The curriculum is designed to meet the qualification requirements of the Certified Safety Profession exam.

"Students will gain thorough knowledge of OSHA rules and regulations and have the training to identify and control occupational risks," said Oakley. "We will also evaluate the benefit of qualifying for the American Board of Engineering Technologies accreditation."

College of the Mainland is a learning-centered, comprehensive community college dedicated to student success and the intellectual and economic enrichment of the diverse communities we serve.

College of the Mainland Foundation was established as the fundraising branch of the college and as a separate tax-exempt organization providing funding for student and college needs. Its mission is "a strong foundation building success for tomorrow."