The Blinn College District will celebrate six friends and alumni with induction into the Blinn College Alumni and Friends Association Hall of Honor with a special luncheon Friday, Oct. 6, at the Blinn College-Brenham Campus Student Center.
This year’s inductees are Don Adam, John Dujka, Joel Franke, Robert Giles, Charlie Matejowsky, and Lillie Ann Turner-Beatty.
The Hall of Honor recognizes Blinn’s most distinguished alumni, local business leaders, and those who have made a significant impact in their communities or professions. Inductees are recognized at a luncheon during Blinn’s homecoming week each year.
The luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the Janis Sneed Banquet Room. Tickets are $30 for an individual and $240 for a table of eight. Reservations are available by email to email@example.com or by calling 979-830-4344.
The Alumni and Friends Association maintains contact with all former students and friends of the College, encourages support for and participation in the educational, cultural, athletic, and social programs of the College, encourages personnel recruitment by members, assists the College in achieving planned goals and objectives, and provides fellowship among former students and friends.
Donald A. Adam, of Bryan/College Station, is Chairman of The Board and CEO of The Adam Corporation/Group, a privately owned company headquartered in College Station, Texas, since 1969. The Adam Corporation is comprised of companies that include the banking industry, residential and commercial real estate development, Country Club ownership and management, insurance inspection, aircraft charter service and thoroughbred horse breeding and racing.
Upon graduating from Texas A&M University, Adam entered the military as a lieutenant and left the military after serving three years as a captain. Following his military service and return to Texas, he founded his first business designing and implementing pension retirement plans for a large group of corporate entities. It was through this business in 1964, while implementing a pension plan for a company that was engaged in cable television, that he became aware of the ultimate opportunities of this infant technology and its potential for substantial growth.
After much study and research, Adam founded his first cable television company in 1969 providing service to the Bryan/College Station community. The business grew to be one of the largest privately owned operators in the United States, serving more than 150,000 households in eleven states. He began divesting the cable television properties in 1987, enabling him to participate in the rebuilding of the financial industry in Texas.
He founded First American Bank in October of 1988 by acquiring 11 failed financial institutions and ultimately acquiring three more failed institutions. The 14 institutions were consolidated into a single entity with assets in excess of $3.8 billion and were restructured to become one of the highest performing banks in Texas. First American Bank was sold in March 2005 to CitiGroup, at the time the largest financial institution in the world, which expanded CitiGroup into the Texas market with 107 banking centers. In 2006, Adam founded American Momentum Bank in Tampa, Florida, with $100 million in initial capitalization, setting a record for a de novo bank in America. The Bank now has locations throughout Florida, Bryan/College Station, and West Texas, with assets exceeding $2.8 billion.
Adam has many philanthropic interests in both Texas and Florida. He has provided time and financial support to American Heart Association, Health for All, Boys and Girls Club, The Opera and Performing Arts Society, Brazos Valley Food Bank, and to Texas A&M University for many years. Mr. Adam, who early in life was cured of melanoma cancer, was privileged to have funded The Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Adam also was a charter member of the George H. Bush Presidential Library Foundation in College Station, serves as the Chairman and President of the F.W. Bert and Mae Dean Wheeler Foundation, and is the founder and director of the Donald and Donna Adam Family Foundation.
Adam, who was a member of The Corps of Cadets while attending Texas A&M University, was honored by being inducted into The Texas A&M Corps Hall of Honor. He has been named Master Entrepreneur and Outstanding Alumnus by the College of Business at Texas A&M University. In addition, Adam was named a Distinguished Alumnus at Texas A&M University and was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
Adam resides in Bryan with his wife, Donna. They have two children, both graduates of Texas A&M University. They have six grandchildren, the oldest five also are graduates of Texas A&M University. They also have six great grandchildren.
John Dujka was raised on a farm on the coastal plains of Texas near the community of Orchard. He grew up listening to his paternal grandfather Herman Brossmann of St. John (near Schulenburg) playing his accordion, and he also sang along with his grandmother Clara Brossmann, who played the organ in St. John the Baptist Church. His musical talent appeared early, and he began formal piano study at the age of 7. By age 11, he was playing the organ at Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Wallis and began entertaining for weddings and other events at the age of 12.
His band director, Al Sulak, gave him the opportunity to play piano in the Brazos High School Jazz Band while only in sixth grade. Later, Sulak would have Dujka play in his dance band, “The Country Sounds,” where John polished his “Nashville” piano playing style.
Meanwhile, Dujka’s classical piano abilities caught the attention of numerous college professors, who invited him to attend various university summer piano camps throughout his high school years before choosing The University of Houston to continue his collegiate music studies. Subsequently, Dujka earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where he studied with Albert Hirsh, Ruth Tomfohrde, and world-renowned pianist Abbey Simon.
Dujka came to Blinn in the fall of 1990 expecting only to be a short-term substitute instructor. By a twist of fate, another colleague at Blinn was moving, and offered Dujka her studio of 25 piano students plus the opportunity to be a part-time music instructor, thus starting what has now become a 32+ year career. Dujka currently is Professor of Piano and Music Theory and is a collaborative pianist on staff, performing regularly with students, faculty, and guests. He also maintains a private piano studio in Brenham and is a member of the Texas Music Teachers Association and Brenham Area Music Teachers Association. He regularly serves as an adjudicator for competitions and other area piano events. Dujka founded the annual Blinn College District Young Pianists Competition in 2002 and was honored by Mary and Larry Whigham in the spring of 2022 with the establishment of a Blinn endowed scholarship in his name.
Dujka has been featured soloist with the Blinn College Symphonic Band, performing Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” and Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A minor,” along with numerous solo recitals over the years.
Dujka is a versatile musician who is at home performing classical repertoire, as well as Czech and German folk music, and country/pop styles. Dujka and his brother Mark also have performed as “The Dujka Brothers” since 1986 across Texas and are known throughout the country for their recordings of Czech folk music. They have appeared nationally on the Mollie B. Polka Party and Big Joe Polka Show televised weekly on RFD-TV. Their music also is heard each Saturday along with other polka artists on KULP 1390 AM from 10:00 a.m. to noon, where Dujka is the DJ of “Saturday Morning Dance Time.”
Dujka performs monthly as part of the house band for the Bluebonnet Opry in Brenham as well as the Fayette County Country Music Show in La Grange and has had the chance to play piano with some of country music’s biggest names.
John counts as his most precious blessings his three children: William, age 23; Kalyn, age 21; and Nadia, age 18. He also is blessed with the love and support of Kimberly Macik Jobb, who herself comes from a musical family background.
Dujka would like to thank his colleagues over the years who have helped to build the Blinn Music Department into what it is today. He also would like to thank Chancellor Dr. Mary Hensley and members of the administration for their leadership and support, as well as former chancellors and administrators who helped to make the O’Donnell Performing Arts Center, the Machat Music Facility, and the Schmidt Recital Hall a reality during his tenure.
Most importantly, Dujka is extremely proud of the success of hundreds of music students he has helped during his 32+ years at Blinn College, many of whom are now his colleagues and friends.
Joel Franke was hired at Blinn College in 1971 as a Government Instructor on the Brenham Campus. In 1983, he was named Division Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, a role he held until his retirement in 2003.
Franke enjoyed working with his colleagues and students. He served as chair of the Council of Divisions several times and was a common sight at Blinn College functions and events. He enjoyed working with his students in the classroom and out. He sponsored the student organizations Circle K, College Republicans, and the Student Government Association. At the state level, the Texas Junior College Student Government Association honors his legacy every year with the Joel Franke Advisor of the Year Award given to the best student government advisor in Texas.
Franke’s legacy at Blinn is far reaching. Wherever he went, he encountered former students. It was rare that his family traveled that he was not recognized. Franke’s love for Blinn College was passed on to his family. His wife Pam taught developmental reading after her retirement from the Brenham Independent School District. His daughter Kim teaches sociology and his son, Brandon, is the Dean of Social Sciences. He has eight grandchildren, six of which are of college age. All six of have been Blinn College students, with two, Hannah and Dylan Franke, serving as Student Government Association representatives and as ambassadors to visiting students, sharing the love of Blinn College that started with their grandfather.
Franke retired from Blinn College in May of 2003. After several bouts with cancer, he passed away on November 11, 2003. He was able to meet six of his grandchildren, who affectionately referred to him as Pop Pop.
Robert Latham Giles dedicated his life to service. Born into the greatest generation, he served in the U.S. Merchant Marines during World War II and then continued his service for 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a master sergeant. Giles was a native of Newburyport, Massachusetts, but always claimed he got to Texas as soon as he could!
Giles was committed to his military career, but after retiring from the Air Force, he discovered that academia was a natural fit for him. Giles received his Bachelor of Science in History from McMurry College in Abilene, Texas. He went on to earn his Master of Education from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, having pursued his postgraduate studies in history at Sam Houston State University, West Texas State University, and the University of Texas. He had an insatiable appetite for learning and an unquenchable thirst for history.
Giles put his passions for both education and history, informed by and enhanced with his experience and knowledge earned in the Air Force, to work for the betterment of Blinn’s students. He devoted the last 22 years of his career and life to teaching history at Blinn College. Committed to a life lived in service to others, he was the Phi Theta Kappa (the international honor society for two-year colleges) sponsor for the Beta Alpha Chapter of PTK at Blinn College for 20 of his 22 years at Blinn.
Regarding his work with PTK, he once commented, “That has been the easiest job I’ve ever had — showing others what the Blinn College student body is made of.” In his more than two decades at Blinn and through his zeal for history, service, wisdom, and respect for all, he positively impacted thousands of lives both inside and outside the Blinn classroom.
Giles was instrumental in building a state, regional, and national reputation for the Beta Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and during his tenure, Beta Alpha students were recognized at the national level for 20 consecutive years. Their success became synonymous with Blinn College’s reputation as an academic transfer two-year college. With Giles as the senior sponsor of Phi Theta Kappa beginning in 1968, the Beta Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa won top state and national recognition every year for the next twenty years:
- Most Active Chapter Award
- Most Distinguished Chapter Award
- Gayle Wyatt Service Award
- Tri-Forum Award
- Top Ten Chapters Award (“Blinn College: A Century of Service, 1883-1983”)
In 1976, Dr. Margaret Mosal, the executive director of Phi Theta Kappa, honored Blinn College's Beta Alpha Chapter for its continued excellence by creating the Beta Alpha Award for Continued Excellence, awarded to chapters that are named a Distinguished Chapter for three consecutive years. This is the only national award named in honor of an individual chapter.
In 1985, Giles was one of the first Phi Theta Kappa sponsors to receive The Mosal Award, named in honor of Dr. Margaret Mosal, PTK’s first executive director. The stipend afforded him the opportunity to study abroad in Austria.
Individual honors awarded to Giles include:
- the PTK Male Sponsor of the Year in 1970,
- the first to be named the Most Distinguished Sponsor in the nation by Phi Theta Kappa in 1972,
- and the first sponsor placed into Phi Theta Kappa’s Hall of Honor.
Giles and his wife, Genevieve, established and integrated their family roots in Brenham, becoming active members in their educational, social, and religious communities. They and their two daughters were faithful members of St. Mary’s Church in Brenham, where Giles again expanded his life of service as a religious-education instructor and church council member. They were beloved and respected by all who knew them.
Much to the shock and sorrow of all who knew, loved, and respected him, Giles died unexpectedly on January 16, 1988, two days prior to the start of his 22nd spring semester at Blinn College.
A resolution in memory and appreciation of Giles was created by the Blinn Board of Trustees after Mr. Giles died unexpectedly in January 1988, stating that “each year he served as a sponsor [of the Beta Alpha Chapter] both Blinn College and the Beta Alpha Chapter received considerable national recognition as a result of his work...”
The Board expressed to the family “…its appreciation and heartfelt thanks for his years of service and its recognition of and deep gratitude for his service to Blinn College…”
The Robert Giles Distinguished Advisor Award was named for Giles after his death, and his co-advisor Janis Sneed was the first recipient of the Giles Distinguished Advisor Award.
Robert L. Giles/Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship was established in 1988 by the alumni and friends of the Blinn College Beta Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa in his memory. This scholarship is awarded to a returning sophomore who is a member of the Beta Alpha Chapter and has exhibited superior academic and leadership skills.
Giles and his wife, Genevieve, are survived today by their daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Mark Siemsglusz; daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Lance Kuecker; grandchildren, Christopher (Emily) Siemsglusz, Mary Catherine (Matt) David and Sara (Justin) Dreyer and William (Jacqui) Kuecker, Robbie Kuecker, James Kuecker and Caroline Kuecker; as well as five great-grandchildren, Ryder and Lilly David, Lincoln and Frances Siemsglusz, and Hayes Dreyer.
A member of the Blinn Class of 1964, Charlie Matejowsky is the Vice President of Financial Sales and Services at Van Dyke Rankin Insurance and formerly was the head football coach and athletic director at Brenham ISD.
As a Blinn student, he served as the public address announcer for the Buccaneer baseball and track teams. As an alumnus, he served as a track meet official for many years and was the public address announcer for the first Blinn football team to win a national championship.
Matejowsky earned his associate degree from Blinn in 1964 before earning his Bachelor of Arts in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Texas A&M University in 1966. At Texas A&M, Matejowsky was inducted into the Phi Lambda Theta education honor society.
He served as a teacher and coach at Caldwell, Westlake, and Gatesville high schools and was named the Teacher of the Year at Gatesville in 1976. He moved to Brenham in 1976, where he served as head football coach and athletic director for Brenham High School.
Matejowsky has been with Van Dyke Rankin Insurance since 1981 and is a certified insurance counselor, life underwriter training fellow, and is on the national faculty for the National Alliance: Insurance Education and Research.
He has served as an ordained deacon and pastor at several area churches and has been a member of First Baptist Church for 46 years, including 25 years as a Sunday School teacher. He was an original member of the Brenham ISD Foundation, has been a Brenham Booster Club member since 1979, and was one of the original organizers of the Blue Bell Fun Run. He also was instrumental in the revival of the Little Dribblers youth basketball program and served as a member of the Washington County Umpires Association.
In 2016, Matejowsky received the Bruce Murray Award in recognition of his leadership in the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and his community service. Matejowsky and his wife Carolyn were named the Washington County Man and Woman of the Year in 2019. In 2020, Matejowsky was presented with the NAIFA Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his long and meritorious service to his community and the State of Texas. He is a three-time Blue Blazer of the Year and has served on many Washington County Chamber of Commerce committees over the past 35 years, including one year as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Charlie and his wife Carolyn, a 2011 Hall of Honor inductee, have been married for 56 years and have two adult sons: Chip Matejowsky, a computer specialist in Cary, N.C., and Dr. Ty Matejowsky, a tenured professor at the University of Central Florida. The Matejowskys have five grandchildren.
LILLIE ANN TURNER-BEATTY
Lillie Ann Turner-Beatty is the daughter of Lawson and Mary Turner and grew up in Caldwell, TX.
Her parents guided their 10 children toward furthering their education. Upon graduating from Caldwell High School, she attended Blinn College, where she obtained her associate degree and was named Homecoming queen in 1971.
Turner Beatty matriculated to Sam Houston State University (SHSU) and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. While at SHSU, she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is still an active member and mentors young ladies that have aspirations to attend college. In addition to her activities in the community, she serves Community Missionary Baptist Church working with youth that desire to further their education.
In 2022, she organized a 50th reunion of the Blinn College Ebony Club that donated an Endowed Scholarship on behalf of the organization. She also works diligently to support homeless veterans by donating 5,000 clean socks.
Turner-Beatty has worked in the insurance industry for 43 years and currently owns and operates Duncanville Insurance Services, an independent insurance agency. Her life is a reflection of her motto, “Live, Laugh, and Love.”
(Story courtesy Richard Bray, Blinn Information)