On Thursday, Sept. 30, elected officials, community members, faculty, and staff attended the grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for the center, which opened to students in 2020. The event was postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer thanked the guests for supporting students and recognized College community leaders and employees, who continue to bolster San Jac, earning it a Top 5 ranking in the U.S. as an Aspen Prize Finalist with Distinction.
“Our goal is to help our students succeed in what they start and ensure they are ready for their next step,” Dr. Hellyer said. “With facilities such as this one, San Jacinto College continues to provide top-notch learning opportunities that emulate the hands-on experience and cutting-edge technology they will encounter in the workplace. We are focused on putting our students on a path to success.”
Programs offered in the new center include cosmetology instructor, cosmetology operator, cosmetology high school operator dual credit, barber conversion, facial specialist/esthetician, nail technician, restaurant management, pastry chef, and culinary arts.
Culinary students catered the event with a breakfast buffet of brisket tacos, mixed fruit cups, and banana and zucchini bread. After the ceremony, cosmetology students demonstrated facials, hair cutting, and nail art. Guests also enjoyed hand massages and sampled small bites, including gouda shrimp and grits and make-your-own strawberry shortcake.
The 57,000-square-foot Cosmetology and Culinary Center stemmed from the College’s 2015 $425 million bond referendum, which funded several new facilities, building renovations, and infrastructure and security updates.
“This center is an innovative space for teaching and learning,” said Heather Rhodes, North Campus dean of business and technology. “I am really excited for the programs in this new center because students are learning through hands-on training, which gives them real-world experience.”
Culinary students train in state-of-the-art labs with multiple food prep stations, ovens, stoves, and industry-standard walk-in refrigerators and freezers. The facility also includes a bistro dining area that can host events catered by students.
In addition, the center features a full-retail spa where the public can get pampered while students gain hands-on experience. Starting in spring 2022, the salon will offer haircuts, basic styling, facials, facial waxing, manicures, pedicures, and more.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Tiffany Burton, North Campus department chair of consumer services and legal professions. “You get a great bargain while supporting students’ educational experience and offering real-time feedback from a consumer perspective.”
For more information and updates about the College’s newest construction projects, visit www.sanjac.edu/bond.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the people of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top 10 community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College’s impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.
Front Row (l to r): Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor, San Jacinto College; Sydni Calais, pastry chef alumna; Heather Rhodes, dean of business and technology, North Campus; and Marie Flickinger, chair, San Jacinto College Board of Trustees.
Second Row (l to r): Christine DiCosimo, office of State Rep. Briscoe Cain; Teri Zamora, vice chancellor of fiscal affairs, San Jacinto College; and Dan Mims, member, San Jacinto College Board of Trustees.
Third Row (l to r): Dr. Laurel Williamson, deputy chancellor/president, San Jacinto College, and Dylan Menard, office of State Rep. Briscoe Cain.
Fourth Row (l to r): Dr. Allatia Harris, vice chancellor, strategic initiatives, San Jacinto College; Dr. Aaron Knight, provost, South Campus; Sandra Ramirez, vice chancellor, human resources/ organizational talent, San Jacinto College; and Van A. Wigginton, provost, Central Campus.
Fifth Row (l to r): Rob Stanicic, chief technology innovations, San Jacinto College; Dean Barnes, San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors; Dr. Alexander Okwonna, provost, North Campus; and Teri Crawford, vice chancellor, external relations, and executive director, San Jacinto College Foundation.
Front Row (l to r): Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor, San Jacinto College; Marsha Bowden, senior designer, Huitt-Zollars; Dr. Alexander Okwonna, provost, North Campus; and Heather Rhodes, dean of business and technology, North Campus.
Second Row (l to r): Antonio Puerto, project architect, Huitt-Zollars; Bryan Jones, associate vice chancellor, facilities services, San Jacinto College; Chris Hudson, senior vice president, Huitt-Zollars; Pat Pollard, project executive, Tellepsen; and Charles Smith, associate vice chancellor, fiscal initiatives and capital projects, San Jacinto College.
Third Row (l to r): Jeff Story, account manager, Furniture Marketing Group, and Tyler Pilgrim, project manager, AECOM.
Front Row (l to r): Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor, San Jacinto College; Kristin Harris, cosmetology instructor, North Campus; and Heather Rhodes, dean of business and technology, North Campus.
Second Row (l to r): Tina Sanchez, cosmetology professor, North Campus; Cornellia Angelle, cosmetology program director, North Campus; and Dr. Alexander Okwonna, provost, North Campus.
Third Row (l to r): Kim Johnson, cosmetology instructor, North Campus; Tiffany Burton, department chair, consumer services and legal professions, North Campus; and Oletha Brown, cosmetology professor, North Campus.
L to R: Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor, San Jacinto College; Michael Schuster, culinary arts professor, North Campus; Tiffany Burton, department chair, consumer services and legal professions, North Campus; Andrea Huerta, culinary arts program director, North Campus; Heather Rhodes, dean of business and technology, North Campus; and Dr. Alexander Okwonna, provost, North Campus.
Chef Andrea Huerta with her former student Sydni Calais, owner of Sweets by Syd
Grand opening guests
Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer addresses guests at the grand opening Sept. 30.
Dr. Alexander Okwonna, North Campus provost, shares about campus bond projects, including the new Cosmetology and Culinary Center.
Heather Rhodes, North Campus dean of business and technology, shares details about the new center during the grand opening.
A student's handiwork from the barber conversion program
Culinary students serve gouda shrimp and grits for event guests.