NCTC Foundation honors alumni, community

Elizabeth F. Abu | Mar 1, 2021

The North Central Texas College Foundation was unable to hold its annual Starlite Gala this year, but that didn’t stop the foundation from honoring individuals and organizations that have given of their time and resources to further NCTC and their local communities.

The F.M. Hemphill Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor that can be granted to graduates and former students of NCTC. The NCTC Foundation established this award twenty-seven years ago, fittingly named in honor of the college’s distinguished president of the Class of 1926. This year’s F.M. Hemphill Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Denton’s Eddie Renz.

Eddie Renz grew up in Sanger, Texas with two older sisters and parents who were always working hard. As a young child, he learned to cook from his grandmother who was a serial entrepreneur. However, her main business was selling cookware and Eddie used to help her cook at dinner parties. It was then that he learned the art of building relationships and connecting with people around the dinner table.

In 1993, Renz graduated from Liberty Christian in Denton, TX before attending NCTC at the Gainesville campus, where he obtained his associate degree before transferring to Texas Woman’s University. He started his web and graphic design business in 2009. His parents and grandmother would tell him “When you want something, you work hard for it.” He decided to started Chemist Creative which has now become Stature Design.

While attending NCTC, Renz paid his way through college by working three part-time jobs, including working at the elementary school, throwing newspapers, and driving the special education school bus. After graduating from NCTC, he received his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from TWU and his Master’s in Theology and Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Over the years, Renz has started a number of businesses including, and In 2020, he published the first in a series of children’s books - Esmeralda Hears Something Scary. The books will teach parents and children that their emotions, like sadness, anger and fear, are gifts and should not be suppressed. 

Eddie lives in Denton, TX, and considers himself an equality advocate. He is on the board for Serve Denton. As an artist and a designer, he is extremely proud of the work that he has crafted over the years, but he is even more proud of the relationships he has built and the friends that he has in the community. He is continually pushing us all forward and nudging those around him to never settle for mediocrity, but to always strive for greatness.

The NCTC Foundation established the Ed Wright Community Service Award to recognize individuals, organizations, and/or businesses for meritorious service to the college and/or the community. 

The Ed Wright Community Service Award for Cooke County was presented to Abigail’s Arms Cooke County Family Crisis Center.

Abigail’s Arms Cooke County Family Crisis Center is a 501 C3 nonprofit organization that serves victims of domestic/family violence, sexual assault, child sexual assault and other violent crimes including, but not limited to, aggravated assault, homicide and kidnapping. Abigail’s Arms was established in 1983 and began with a crisis hotline that evolved into a full-service agency. In 2014, Abigail’s Arms opened the first 24-hour emergency residential facility in Cooke County. In addition to serving shelter clients, they also serve non-residential clients. The agency identifies and addresses the holistic needs of victims and their families. All services are free and confidential. No appointment is necessary for immediate face to face crisis intervention and advocacy. Last fiscal year Abigail’s Arms saw 1,372 victims of violence. Of those, 834 were children. In addition, they fielded over 16,000 calls requesting information and services.

At the beginning of 2020’s pandemic, Abigail’s Arms’ staff immediately adapted protocols to ensure the safety of staff and clients so that the agency never had to close its doors. It remained open serving clients either virtually or face to face. The staff went to great lengths to let clients know they were not alone during this troubling time. They adopted an attitude of “whatever it takes” to continue to provide these critical services.

Abigail’s Arms’ focus is embracing families, saving lives, and impacting change.

The award for the Graham campus was presented to Garrett Pettus.

Garrett Pettus is a leader within the Graham community and has specifically stepped up in the form of leadership and volunteerism when it comes to supporting NCTC Graham. Garrett stays very busy with a family business, being a husband, devoted dad, loyal friend, and dedicated community member but it never fails no matter the time if you call on him for help, he will be there as soon as he is able. Garrett is the definition of a helping hand. Whether it is letting the college borrow his land for our annual fundraiser or his pick-up to haul supplies, he is always willing to support his community. He continues to find ways to build community in Graham and his dedication to NCTC Graham is one of many examples of his efforts.

The Graham NCTC Foundation hosts an annual Shootout on the Prairie and this past year the event was in jeopardy of being canceled. Garrett stepped up to offer his own personal property as an event location so that this important fundraiser could continue.

The service award for Montague County went to the Amity Club of Bowie, Texas.

The Amity Club has been active in the community with their Wreaths Across America project since 2017, placing 600 wreaths on the Veteran’s graves this past December 2020. The club is active with the Chamber of Commerce in Bowie and has been instrumental in applying for three different historical markers for Elmwood Cemetery, 2nd Monday Grounds and the Bowie City Auditorium.  One of the Amity Club members wrote the history of Bowie and took parts of this history to apply for the markers. 

The Amity Club is responsible for a Political Rally every other year to highlight local, county and state candidates running for office.  All funds received from this rally benefit the scholarship program, the food and deserts auctioned off also benefit the program.  The Amity Club receives applications in the spring in order to award two scholarships to deserving Bowie High School and Goldburg High School seniors. The Amity Club has held numerous fundraising events, a Diaper Drive for the Pregnancy Center in Bowie, along with a Food Drive to help Bowie Mission.

The award for Denton County was given to Lovepacs.

Lovepacs was born out of a shared desire to help children in the Denton County community. In November 2011, the four founding families were made aware of 6 kids at Camey Elementary in The Colony who were being sent home from school every Friday with a backpack of food because they were not getting enough to eat on the weekend. After talking to the school counselor, there were many other kids who were going to be hungry over the Thanksgiving holiday when they were out of school for a week.

The thought of kids not eating touched the hearts of these families, and they began Lovepacs to try to fill in the gaps for these children over the holidays. Even though their first goal was to pack boxes for those 6 kids with enough food for the Thanksgiving holiday, they knew (due to demographic information) that the number of at-risk kids was much higher than six.

The community generously donated enough to provide not just 6, but 46 boxes of food, each box feeding one child 2 meals and a snack each day for the 9-day break. Packing these boxes became a community affair, as neighbors came together and donated their time. When Lovepacs contacted the schools to find out how many Lovepacs would be needed for Christmas, the number more than doubled to 100. By Spring Break, needs had once again doubled the donations, and over 200 kids were fed with Lovepacs.

Lovepacs has grown to over 250 volunteers, serving 13 communities to ensure children have food over school breaks.  This past year, Lovepacs provided food for over 900 children.   

During the coronavirus pandemic Lovepacs stepped up when the schools were closed. Lovepacs knew that many of these students were dependent on the food at school as their one meal a day. Lovepacs volunteers spend countless hours each week packaging and preparing meals for these children so they would not go hungry.

Awards were also sent to the newest inductees into the NCTC Foundation Honor Circles.

Members of the Patrons Honors Circle who have given between $1,000 and $4,999 included: Elizabeth Abu, Bates & Martin Architects, Citrix, Maame Darkwa, Lori Dunn, Dr. Kevin Eubanks, Cherly & Marvin Furdge, Graham Hospital Auxiliary, Jack & Emogene House Memorial Scholarship, Elizabeth Leyra, Tom & Ellen Kilgore, Charley Lanier, Pat & Marilyn Lawson, Equine Express, Vincent & Janylle Palmby, Big Hat Limousines and Transportation LLC, Carol Novak, James Page, Perdue, Brandon Fielder, Collin & Mott , Gloria D. Prince, Adam Ramsey, Donald Randell, Richeson Management Corporation, Erick Wright, Nicholas Bixby, To the Moon – Cindy Berend Scholarship, Bruce Street, Chuck Rosebraugh, Brian Hill, DDS, Kim & David Carroll, Graham Savings and Loan, and Ciera Bank.

Inductees into the Benefactors Honor Circle, who have given between $5,000 and $9,999, included: Susan & Mark Svane, Robbie & Diane Baugh, Jennifer Beal, Anthony Benson, Denise & Ricky Cason, James C. Cooksey, Claud & Carol Fry, Richard Huckaby, Balentine - Jones Family Fund, Tim & Sandra Jones, Franz Klutschkowski, Stephanie Lindsey, Ron & Mitzie Underwood, Burkett Enterprises, Dustin Office Machines, Grace Weatherly, Lee Russell & Jeff Wilson, Forestburg Riding Club, Steven Fleming Memorial 4-H Scholarship, First Baptist Church of Gainesville, and Southern Bleacher Company.

The Founders Honors Circle, including inductees who have given between $10,000 and $19,999, included: The Good People of Graham, TX, Ryan & Christy Morris, Ray Walker Scholarship, Karla & John Metzler, Great Western Dining, and Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter, Inc.

Bronze Honors Circle inductees, who provided gifts between $20,000 and $29,999, included TDIndustries and Randy Cantin.

Inducted into the Sterling Silver Honors Circle for gifts between $30,000 and $39,999 were Dr. Rochelle Gregory, NCTC Chancellor Dr. Brent Wallace, and Medical City Denton.

Inducted into the White Diamond Honors Circle for gifts between $50,000 and $99,000 were Frank & Dorothy Knapp, the Denton Public School Foundation, and Temple Baptist Church.

Inducted into the Blue Chip Honors Circle for gifts over $100,000 were Bill Adams and Phil Schenk & Donna Smith.

Though there was not a physical event, you can still buy tickets to support the NCTC Foundation at

For more information about helping provide scholarships through donations to the NCTC Foundation or about membership in the NCTC Alumni Association, contact Debbie Sharp by email:




DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD— The F.M. Hemphill Distinguished Alumni award was presented to Eddie Renz. L to R: NCTC Foundation Executive Director Brian Manhart, Eddie Renz, NCTC Development Coordinator Michelle Harvey, and NCTC Vice Chancellor of External Affairs Debbie Sharp.


For more pictures and video tributes for our winners, visit