Collin College announced today the loss of a great leader as The Honorable Brenda Willard Goodell, chair of the district’s Board of Trustees, passed away Dec. 31 following a brave battle with cancer.
Goodell, a Celina native, was appointed to the Collin College Board of Trustees in 2001 and was elected and re-elected to Place 9 on the board in 2002 and 2008 respectively. Trustee Goodell most recently led the board as chair, and she was the first woman to hold the gavel as chair of the Collin College Board of Trustees.
The flags on all campuses of Collin College are lowered to half-staff in Goodell’s memory, and services are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 4 at the First Baptist Church of Celina. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Brenda Willard Goodell Scholarship Fund in care of the President’s Office or Collin College Foundation at 3452 Spur 399, McKinney, Texas 75069 or 972. 599.3145.
According to Trustee Sam Roach, former chair, “Brenda brought a great deal of wisdom and perseverance to the boardroom as well as an abundance of common sense. She was not afraid to tackle difficult issues and see them through to resolution. Higher education has lost a great visionary, and I have lost a dear friend, but students for generations to come will benefit from her hard work. Brenda’s beautiful smile and positive attitude will certainly be missed by everyone who she touched.”
During Trustee Goodell’s tenure, enrollment at the college grew from about 36,000 students annually to 53,000 each year, and the district’s campuses were transformed with historic expansions. Additionally, two new campus sites were acquired in Celina and Farmersville. Under Trustee Goodell’s leadership, the college froze tuition consistently ensuring opportunity for all who want an affordable college education.
“We are heart-broken to lose Trustee Brenda Goodell, and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family,” said Cary A. Israel, district president for Collin College. “Brenda was a magnificent leader and had remarkable courage as well as tremendous commitment to higher education. We will miss her vision, guidance, humor, support, advocacy and creativity greatly, but she left a tremendous legacy through her servant leadership.”
Collin College also earned national acclaim during her tenure, not the least of which was designation in 2010 as a national Center of Excellence in Nursing education—the first in Texas and one of only 19 in the United States. Another recent milestone under her term as chair was an unprecedented $20 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education to lead a consortium providing training and workforce development for unemployed workers.
Her commitment to the community also included service as a board member of the local scholarship foundation C.A.R.E.; chairman of the building committee and Women’s Ministry co-director for the First Baptist Church of Celina; member of the Celina Chamber of Commerce; former member of the Southwest Credit Association Board of Directors; former secretary of the Celina ISD Board of Trustees; and a former member of the Appraisal Review Board for Collin County Central Appraisal District.