The Permian Basin Area Foundation gave out almost $600,000 in scholarships and grants Thursday night, offering them both financial support and advice before they begin their collegiate careers.
PBAF Chairman Cal Hendrick began the night by announcing they would be giving out 296 awards this year, more than $584,000 in scholarships and grants. In the 30 years since PBAF began, Hendrick said they had awarded more than $105 million in scholarships.
Midland At-Large City Council Member Spencer Robnett, now 31, was a PBAF scholarship recipient himself when he went to Texas A&M, and offered some advice to the newest recipients.
“Tell them you’re from West Texas,” Robnett said. “Tell them the people of West Texas are some of the best in the world.”
Robnett also encouraged them to come back to West Texas after they graduate from college, and said there would have better job prospects in a 100-mile radius from the Midland County Horseshoe Arena than possibly anywhere else in the country or the world due to the booming oil and gas industry.
“We need you,’ he told them. “We have an unimaginable amount of work ahead of us.”
He said Midland is facing up to $1 billion in needs like infrastructure and housing, and that they would need people in industries like energy, finance and law.
“Nobody knows West Texas better than West Texans and it is going to take our generation to solve the challenges and opportunities that come along with the region,” he said. “I want you to come back to West Texas and make the region in which we live a better place.”
He closed by telling them to remember they’re from West Texas, and remember the lessons they learned there, and that those lessons would serve them well wherever they go.
Dane Madrid was one of the many scholarship recipients, receiving the Ted G. Roden Memorial Scholarship of Standard Sales, where he works. He said he will be going to UTPB to major in biology.
“I knew I wanted to be a part of [PBAF],” Madrid said. “It’s just a well-gathered community and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Attison Hall was the recipient of the Gene Douglas Hawley Memorial Scholarship, and will be attending Texas Tech University to study kinesiology. She said she knew the Hawley and his family going to church with them.
“They’ve been really close to us, so it’s just an honor to be recognized by someone that I’ve known,” Hall said.