A $250,000 gift from John Kritser, president of Amarillo-based Yellowhouse Machinery Company, empowers the College to add a highly advantageous hydraulics component to its diesel-studies program.
To honor the vision and generosity of its benefactor, the program has adopted his name and will be known as the Kritser Diesel Program.
“Mr. Kritser’s generous gift will allow us to greatly enhance the learning outcomes of our program,” Megan Eikner, dean of technical education, said. “It will benefit both the students we serve and the workforce they enter. We cannot thank him enough.”
The gift is primarily intended to fund all the components necessary for adding a three-credit-hour course in the Fundamentals of Hydraulic Systems to AC’s Advanced Mechanics Certificate Program. This includes equipment and supplies – everything from a hydraulic gear engine and a bulldozer to lab tools and a backhoe – and the addition of a fulltime instructor with hydraulics know-how.
“Finding good, home-grown diesel technicians is one of our biggest industry challenges, but especially those with specific knowledge of hydraulics,” Mr. Kritser said. “It’s all about hydraulics and electrical components these days, systems that are becoming more sophisticated every year.
“I saw this as an opportunity to help a good diesel program become great,” he said. “AC has a solid foundation, a good program worth enhancing. Helping step it up a notch is why I made the gift.”
The new hydraulics course is expected to be rolled out in time for the fall semester of 2017. It will be offered both days and evenings and initially accommodate approximately 15 students in each class.
Mark White, executive vice president at Amarillo College, said he is gratified not only by the transformational gift, but also by Mr. Kritser’s shared expert knowledge of how the AC program can best respond to the needs of an industry it is intended to serve.
“It is absolutely invaluable to have someone like John Kritser share his industry expertise with Amarillo College,” he said. “This is the beginning of a very intentional effort on my part to encourage our industry partners to become far more integral members of the College community, to truly become part of our campuses and our mission in a very big way.”