Tears and laughter flowed as Clare Atkinson Wonders and Newell W. Atkinson III shared their experience when they first attended a community college.

"I know I wouldn't have a degree if it wasn't for my junior college," Atkinson III said.

Atkinson III said he had to acquire better study habits and a smaller setting allowed him to do just that in order to move on to a bigger university. He received a degree in Agriculture from Texas A&M University.

Wonders said she also attended a junior college, which led to accomplishing her education degree.

The siblings told those in attendance the importance of having Coastal Bend College in Alice to prepare students for 4-year universities or other vocational trades. 

On Tuesday, Coastal Bend College officials honored the brother and sister by dedicating the Alice Cougar Center in their name. A plaque was unveiled in the entrance of the center in recognition of both Wonders and Atkinson III for their $10,000 donation to the community college. They have continued to support the college throughout the years. 

"I don't know what else to say, except thank you," Wonders said with tears in her eyes.

CBC President Dr. Beatrice Espinoza thanked the Atkinsons for their generous donation. Alice Campus Director Dee Dee Arismendez read a bio on the siblings and their extended charity work.

For decades, the two have given back to the community in forms of donations to organizations such as Alice Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of Alice, Board of Realtors, Lions Club, Optimist Club, Alice Rotary, Tejano ROOTS, Third Coast Squadron, VFW, Knights of Columbus, among others.

The Atkinsons have been beneficial in bringing new development to Alice from donating land to attract businesses such as Walmart, Spohn Hospital, several shopping centers, IHop, Urgent emergency care clinic, La Quinta, Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn and others. 

The dedication concluded with a ribbon cutting of the Cougar Center hosted by the Alice Chamber of Commerce and Alice Ambassadors followed by a reception.