Collin College honored several state legislators at a reception Sept. 26 for their work on legislation that will enable the college to offer baccalaureate degrees in selected disciplines. The reception took place at the Collin Higher Education Center in McKinney.

The legislators in attendance, including Sen. Craig Estes, Sen. Van Taylor, Rep. Jeff Leach, Rep. Scott Sanford and Rep. Matt Shaheen, each had a role in passing Senate Bill 2118, which allows some Texas public junior colleges to offer selected baccalaureate degrees. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 12.

Other area legislators who supported the bill but were unable to attend included Rep. Jodi Laubenberg, Rep. Justin Holland, Sen. Bob Hall and Sen. Jane Nelson.

Collin College District President Dr. Neil Matkin praised the hard work the legislators did in getting the bill passed. Collin College plans to offer three baccalaureate degrees, including a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a bachelor of applied science and a bachelor of applied technology.

“In the field of nursing alone, the impact of this legislation cannot be overstated. The United States is facing a serious shortage of registered nurses with bachelor of science in nursing degrees,” Dr. Matkin said, noting that Texas will face a shortage of more than 70,000 nurses over the next three years. “That’s just one example of why this had to happen, and why it is so important for our region. The bachelor’s degrees in applied science and applied technology will also meet the demand for skilled workers in those disciplines — a key component to the growth we all know is right around the corner for Collin County.”

Collin College Board of Trustees President Dr. Robert Collins thanked the legislators for their diligent planning and tireless efforts, and for seeing the value in offering more and greater higher education opportunities in the state’s community college system.

“This has been a dream of ours at Collin College for many years, particularly in the area of nursing,” he said. “This legislation was both timely and important, and we are grateful to our representatives in Austin for their support of this bill.”

Each legislator was presented with a framed commemorative medallion inlaid with the Collin College seal and a copy of the Collin College Master Plan book, which outlines the $600 million building plan currently in progress..