Taking A Bow
Tom Watson Retires As Foundation Board Chair
Much of the success of the San Jacinto College Foundation has been thanks to its board chair, Tom Watson.
Since 2002, Watson has been an active board member of the San Jacinto College Foundation and in 2016 was named board chair. From organizing annual fundraising events to creating awareness among the local community, he never lost sight of his purpose: to create access and success for current and future students through scholarships and program funding.
Upon retiring this year, he says he will miss working with everyone at San Jacinto College and the Foundation team.
“I want the Foundation and its leadership to continue focusing on making the best decisions they can to benefit our students and the College,” Watson said. “This is not easy. It takes thinking outside the box. Many times, it’s best to come up with new ways – with new and exciting ideas – to accomplish results.”
Watson’s most recent fundraising success was the 2020 Gala with a Twist. The virtual gala from January to June 2020 raised more than $360,000, with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting immediate student needs such as tuition, books, clothing, transportation, child care, and more. Following Watson’s retirement, board member Steve Cowart will serve as the Foundation’s board chair.
About The San Jacinto College Foundation
Thousands of students achieve their goals, earn their certificates or degrees, and become positive and productive leaders in our community through the assistance of the San Jacinto College Foundation. Founded in 1996 by community members of East Harris County, the Foundation ensures that no one is denied a college education due to a lack of financial means. Over time, the Foundation has expanded its role to include a wide variety of programs and services. Individuals, foundations, and corporate partnerships assist in achieving this goal, but there is so much more to do. With your help, the Foundation can grow to meet the needs of more students in our community. Give a scholarship. Support a veteran. Arrange a planned gift. Provide program funding. Make an annual donation. Join the alumni association. Volunteer.
Your tax-deductible gift will change lives. For more information, contact us at 281-998-6104 or visit sanjac.edu/foundation.
A Decade Of Dedication
For nearly 11 years, Ruth Keenan has served as the executive director of the San Jacinto College Foundation. Announcing her retirement this year, she reflected on her time at the College and the impact the Foundation continues to make for many students and their education.
“I have loved being able to connect donors to their passion of helping others and, in turn, students to their personal success,” said Keenan. “Forming new partnerships and expanding existing programs was something I looked forward to every day, and it’s definitely something I’ll miss.”
After earning her International CFRE certification in 2014, Keenan served as a board member for the Greater Houston Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and was a local mentor for many nonprofit executives new to the field. In 2016, she was named an honorary admiral in the Texas Navy by Gov. Greg Abbott and in 2018 was appointed to the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives (NANOE) Board of Governors. She was instrumental in developing the College’s emergency student funding and planned giving programs and in establishing the College’s Promise for Their Future scholarship endowment that raised more than $1.2 million in scholarship funds. She also created the Foundation’s Veteran Wall of Honor initiative, which provides scholarship funding for veteran students. Overall, she is proud of her work with the strong, active San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors in developing new community partnerships and serving the needs of the College and its students.
Keenan looks forward to seeing the great work the Foundation will continue to do surrounding student success.
“I know that the Foundation will continue to build on previous successes with continual giving and connecting to new donors who are ready to partner in our mission of educating the many communities we serve.”