During the days of the Texas Republic, Masonic Lodges were usually two stories tall. The second floor was reserved for lodge activities, while the first floor was for school children in the community — a physical representation of Freemasons’ support for education.
Brenham-based Graham Masonic Lodge No. 20 recently continued its support for education with the establishment of a new endowed scholarship to the Blinn College Foundation.
The $15,000 gift marks the third endowed scholarship endowed by the Lodge. All three were established in honor of Masons who have served as administrators, educators or trustees at Blinn College, including Dr. Thomas M. Spencer, Dr. James H. Atkinson, Dr. Charles Cottingham, Waldo F. Burt, Bob Ham, B.C. Crawford, Nathan L. Byrd, James Carstarphen, Johnell Schmidt, Clifford “Conway” Draehn, Dr. Greg Phillips and former Blinn trustees Julian E. Weisler, Leon Toubin and Steve Westbrook.
“Our primary charity is support of education,” said Michael R. Thorpe, Graham Lodge Worshipful Master. “Most lodges in the state are involved in education.”
All three of the lodge’s endowed scholarships were funded through member donations or members who included a financial gift in their wills, Thorpe said.
Area students planning careers in education are given first priority in consideration for one of the lodge scholarships, but Thorpe said they also have been awarded to other students who need financial assistance.
The Blinn College Foundation oversees almost 300 endowed scholarships. Sam Sommer, Foundation Board Chair, said that number is growing as organizations like Graham Masonic Lodge continue – and expand – their support for the College.
“We have been fortunate that so many organizations and individuals continue to step forward to provide endowed scholarships to students,” Sommer said. “Scholarships make a tremendous difference and have a significant impact on many students. That impact will reverberate through the years.”