The Bedichek-Orman auction and professional development fund are named in honor of two esteemed HCC faculty members that the HCC family tragically lost too early.
Dr. Wendell Bedichek ’s arrival as a full-time faculty member in the early years of HCC was an important event for the College. He brought with him a Ph.D. from the University of Texas but most important, he brought an effortless leadership style and a sense of humor that was both subtle and generous. In those days there was only one Government/Economics Department for the whole system and teaching was accomplished in high schools mostly at night.
Wendell taught all over the system in every kind of building and situation that can be imagined. Because of his obvious capabilities, he quickly became department chair and took on the responsibility of searching for and finding outstanding people to teach government and economics. It was Wendell’s influence and excellence that helped bring in outstanding part-time faculty and later excellent full-time faculty members, creating the nucleus of government departments all over the present decentralized system.
Those who knew Wendell will remember his teaching expertise, his rapport with students based on their respect for him and his scholarship. Wendell and Dr. Neal Tannahill collaborated on both Texas and national government textbooks which became best sellers in the textbook market all over the state and country. Wendell loved the community college but he mourned its lack of funds for faculty development.
After Wendell’s death, faculty and staff wanted to honor his memory in some permanent way. Remembering Wendell’s hope for ways to help faculty grow, they chose faculty development as their goal. This was the impetus for the Bedichek Faculty Development Fund. Wendell’s death was a tragedy of major proportions both because it was so sudden and because HCC lost an important scholar, teacher, and leader. The Bedichek Fund (now the Bedichek-Orman Fund) is the embodiment of his belief in helping faculty grow.
Helen Orman served for eighteen years as an English professor and eventually Department Chair of Literature, Languages, Education, and Philosophy of the Southwest College. Also a visual artist, her work was displayed in numerous exhibitions in Houston and throughout Texas. She was especially known for her artworks depicting images in Dante’s Inferno and a series of portraits of women reflecting their inner goddess power, and finally a series of collages created from found objects often related to places she had traveled. Her love for teaching, however, surpassed all of her many passions.
Teaching was an art for Helen. She regularly taught World Literature and Women in Literature courses, and she developed the first multicultural literature course with a special focus on memoir and designed the first Humanities 1301 course offered at Houston Community College. She also served as Faculty Association President and chaired numerous committees.
The college twice honored her with outstanding teaching awards. In 2000 she received the Bedichek Distinguished Service Award, and the following year selected for Who’s Who of American Women. In 2004, she was murdered at a gas station. At the time of her death, she was preparing for an exhibit entitled Places Real and Imagined. For her numerous contributions to the college and community, the HCC Faculty Senate voted to change the name of the Bedichek to the Bedichek-Orman Faculty Development Fund.