Blinn College has named a former student and seven-year veteran of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service its alumni relations director, the College announced today.
Dr. Kyle Merten joins the Blinn Foundation staff after serving seven years with Texas 4-H, including the past five as an assistant professor and Extension specialist. As Extension specialist, he applied for and received over $100,000 in community and state grants over the last two years and coordinated the Texas 4-H Roundup, the organization’s premiere leadership event.
“This opportunity gives me a chance to build a brand-new position from the ground up and create a bright future for the alumni and friends of Blinn College,” Merten said. “I enjoy developing relationships and being around people, so when I got the call about this opportunity, I felt like it was the best of all worlds for me.”
Since Merten began coordinating the Texas 4-H Roundup five years ago, the event has experienced a 60 percent boost in attendance and now hosts almost 4,000 youths, volunteers and county Extension agents from across the state. The Roundup garners over $200,000 annually for Texas 4-H program.
Merten coordinates the Texas 4-H Leadership Conference, National 4-H Congress and National Conference and has played a key leadership role in coordinating the Texas 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest and developing the Texas 4-H Golf Challenge.
“He came very highly recommended by everyone we spoke to in the community,” said Susan Myers, executive director of the Blinn Foundation. “He has had tremendous success with Texas 4-H and we’re excited to bring that energy and creativity to Blinn College.”
A Brenham native with ties throughout Brazos Valley and the rest of the state, Merten graduated from Brenham High School in 2002, where he also enrolled in Blinn dual credit courses. He continued taking courses at the Blinn – Brenham campus his freshman year at Texas A&M, then moved to College Station as a sophomore, where he continued taking courses at Blinn – Bryan.
Merten earned his bachelor’s degree (2006) in Agricultural Science and his master’s (2007) and doctorate (2012) in agricultural education from Texas A&M. His wife Mindy and children Barrett and Gretchen now live in Brenham.
As Blinn’s alumni relations director, Merten will organize and strengthen the College’s alumni database and help communicate Blinn’s accomplishments and upcoming events to former students and friends of the College. Additionally, he will work closely with Blinn’s Alumni & Friends Association and the Alumni Lettermen Association and participate in fundraising projects in support of the College’s students and programs. He begins his duties July 1.
The Blinn Foundation supports programs and activities that enhance the quality of education for Blinn College students and expand the educational opportunities for the entire community. While raising funds is an important function, the Foundation also seeks to heighten community awareness of the mission and accomplishments of the College and to promote excellence in education.
Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has raised more than $13 million for Blinn. Those funds have been used to help launch major construction projects across Blinn’s campuses, including the A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center, the J. Hal and Allyne Machat Music Facility, the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex and the Bert and Mae Dean Wheeler Residence Hall. An additional $1 million has been spent purchasing classroom equipment and supplies requested by Blinn faculty.
For more information on the Foundation and its mission, call 979-830-4107 or visit: www.blinn.edu/foundation. Story and photo courtesy of Blinn College.