John Sharp
John Sharp

The Washington County Chamber is pleased to announce that John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, will be the featured speaker at the 2016 Annual Banquet.

The event will be held on Tuesday, February 2, at Fireman’s Training Center in Brenham.  The theme of the banquet is “Leadership: Sharing the Vision.”

“We are very happy to have John Sharp as our banquet speaker.  He is a respected leader of higher education in this state and a renowned public servant,” said Wesley Brinkmeyer, outgoing Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

John Sharp was appointed chancellor of The Texas A&M University System by the Board of Regents in September 2011. He leads the 19-member system with an annual budget of $4.2 billion. Enrollment at the System’s 11 universities and health science center has grown to more than 137,000, and externally funded research expenditures are in excess of $932 million.

The system’s flagship, Texas A&M University, stands among the nation’s top research universities for total research expenditures and is the only Texas institution of higher education listed in the National Science Foundation’s top 20.

Sharp brings with him more than three decades of public service. He came to the A&M System from Ryan & Company, where he was a principal with the largest state and local tax consulting firm of its kind in Texas.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Texas A&M University in 1972, where he was a member of the Corps staff of the Corps of Cadets and was elected student body president. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves. He belongs to the American Legion.

In 1976, Sharp received a master’s degree in public administration from Southwest Texas State University while working full-time with the Legislative Budget Board in Austin. In 1978 he opened a one-man real estate firm in Victoria and became a successful small business owner.

That same year he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and was named “Outstanding Freshman” by Texas Monthly. He won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1982, where he served on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in 1986.

In 1990, Sharp was elected State Comptroller and re-elected in 1994.

He is married to Charlotte Han of Austin since 1978. They have a son, Spencer, and a daughter, Victoria. The Sharps are active members of their church and are involved in many community and humanitarian efforts.

Brenham native Charles W. Schwartz from the Texas A&M Board of Regents will introduce John Sharp at the banquet.  Senator Lois Kolkhorst will also be welcomed to the stage for a special presentation.

Chad Gerke of The Gerke Law Firm and Washington County Chamber board of directors will be the MC.

Headline sponsors of the banquet include Blinn College, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, Brenham Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Brenham Clinic, Brenham National Bank, Germania Insurance, Scott & White Healthcare and Van Dyke Rankin Insurance.

“We are very grateful to these sponsors,” said Page Michel, Chamber president, “because they will enable us to host a great event for the community, plus they join in applauding the efforts of the volunteer leaders and citizens who will be recognized.”

Four Washington County Chamber board directors who ended their three-year term of service in December will be recognized:  Michael Groves of  NOV Elmar Artex; Dennis Crowson from Blinn College; Gracie Slattery from Brenham Clinic/College Station Med; and Ash Patel of Best Western Inn of Brenham. Wesley Brinkmeyer from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative will serve one more year on the board as Immediate Past Chairman.

One Brenham Economic Development Foundation board member who ended nine years of service in December will also be recognized: David Yeager from the A.W. Hodde Jr. Technical Education Center at Blinn College.

Another highlight of the evening will be the announcement of the Man and Woman of the Year-Lifetime Achievement Award winners.  Last year’s recipients were Nita Hyatt and Donald Ray Ahrens, who will return to do the surprise introductions of the 2015 winners.  The Blue Blazer of the Year Award will also be announced.

Tickets for the banquet will go on sale January 4 at the Washington County Chamber, located at 314 S. Austin Street in Brenham. Individual tickets are $35 per person, on sale until January 26.

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