Tarrant County College
50th Anniversary

Need is the mother of invention. In the early 1960s, a handful of Tarrant County citizens had the vision to see the need and the will to do the inventing. The voters grew to share their dream, and the result — in an election on July 31, 1965 — was the creation of the Tarrant County Junior College District. Now, almost 50 years later, the first campus has grown to five, with a sixth on the horizon. Chalkboards have given way to multimedia and computers. The initial enrollment of 4,272 has soared to more than 100,000 each year.

Much has changed, but much remains the same — particularly the unwavering dedication to student success. We’ve accomplished much, but we know there’s a great deal more to be done. But, even as we plan for the next half-century, we pause to honor our past. Pause with us, and help us celebrate our Golden Jubilee.


Unlimited optimism matched with boundless energy marked TCJC’s first five years. Under the guidance of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Joe B. Rushing and his team created a curriculum, built and staffed two campuses, received full accreditation, and — most important — began our tradition of providing knowledge, skills, and the hope of a better future to the people of Tarrant County.

First Board of Trustees


Original Board of Tarrant County Junior College
From the left, back row, are Delbert Adams, Edward Hudson, Dr. J. Ardis Bell, and Rev. L.L. Haynes (the first African-American elected to office county-wide). From the left, front row, are Dr. May Owen, Jenkins Garrett, and John Finn.

On August 10, 1965, 10 days after they were elected, the members of the first Tarrant County Junior College Board of Trustee conduct their initial meeting in the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce offices. The new trustees took the oath of office; drew to determine the length of their staggered terms of office; elected Fort Worth attorney Jenkins Garrett president, John Finn vice president, and Dr. May Owen secretary, and named as their top priorities the selection of a chief executive officer and the acquisition of sites for the first two campuses.

The seven trustees were hand-picked by the Committee for the Junior College and ran as the "Town Hall Slate." From the left, back row, are Delbert Adams, Edward Hudson, Dr. J. Ardis Bell, and Rev. L.L. Haynes (the first African-American elected to office county-wide). From the left, front row, are Dr. May Owen, Jenkins Garrett, and John Finn. Two other African-American candidates, Clifford Davis and Dr. Clyde Broaddus, also were candidates.

First CEO


Joe B. Rushing
Joe B. Rushing, TCJC's first CEO

It took the Board of Trustees only slightly more than a month to find Tarrant County Junior College’s first chief executive officer — Dr. Joe B. Rushing. A native of Brown County in West Texas, Rushing had been proposed to the board as a candidate by its consultant, UT Austin Professor C.C. Colvert, although Colvert thought their chances of getting him were slim. Rushing, happy in his position as founding president of Broward County Junior College in Florida, was reluctant to come to Fort Worth for an interview. Once here, however, he was caught up in the board’s enthusiasm and accepted the CEO position on September 3, 1965. Rushing’s first exposure to junior colleges was as a part-time chemistry teacher at Ranger Junior College. He later earned his doctorate in junior college administration at UT Austin before becoming head of adult education at Wharton County Junior College.

South Campus Dedication


Governor Connally delivers an address
Texas Governor John Connally addresses the South Campus dedication

Texas Governor John Connally speaks at the dedication ceremony of Tarrant County Junior College South Campus in the HPE Building gymnasium on December 6, 1967. Also taking part in the ceremony were U.S. Representative Jim Wright and Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes. Governor Connally indirectly spurred the formation of TCJC in 1963 when his Texas Commission on Higher Education called for more junior colleges, including one in Fort Worth. Another Connally panel, the Committee on Education Beyond High School, included founding Board of Trustees President Jenkins Garrett, who dated his interest in a junior college from that appointment. In his speech, Connally urged students to apply their educations "to promise, not protest; dedication, not dissent." In his remarks, Garrett called the campus "a tribute to the cooperation and support of … all that have had a part in this great thing."

South Campus Opens


South campus, probably fall of 1967
Tarrant County Junior College South Campus, probably in the fall of 1967, looking from the southwest

The Board of Trustees, on December 1, 1965, selected the campus site, engaged Morris Parker and Mervyn Croston and the lead architects, and declared that that the campus would open for classes in September 1967 — only 21 months away. When the architects protested that there was no way the deadline could be met, they were told to start work or face replacement by another firm. The accelerated design process yielded a plan for 23 buildings, all but two being single-story and thus quicker to build. The construction contract was awarded on August 19, 1966, to McCann Construction of Fort Worth for $8,617,455. Using a novel plan that divided the project into four color-coded segments, each with its own crew and supervisor, the contractor brought the job in on time, and classes began on September 18, 1967, as the board promised.

Northeast Campus Project


Aerial shot of the construction of the Northeast campus
Tarrant County Junior College Northeast Campus viewed from the south, circa spring 1969

The 188-acre site, which lay across the border between Hurst and North Richland Hills, was purchased for $2,500 per acre. Albert Komatsu was the architect, and McCann Construction, which was to build the South Campus, also won the contract for Northeast with a bid of $6,913,333. McCann had slightly more time for the Northeast project, but a seven-week strike by the Iron Workers Union and a spate of bad weather cost him 124 work days. With all buildings running up to two months behind schedule, the College was forced to adopt a plan whereby Northeast students would attend classes on South for the fall 1968 semester. Even when the majority of the campus opened in spring 1969, physical education classes were conducted in a nearby church gym.


It was a decade of growth, with enrollment almost 20,000 by 1979. The College welcomed two campuses in 1976 — the Northwest Campus and the Community Campus, a Districtwide administrative structure incorporating all TCJC non-credit courses. It was also a time of change on the Board of Trustees. By decade’s end, only two of the original seven trustees — Drs. May Owen and Ardis Bell— remained.

Bonds Fund Expansion


Students promoting an upcoming bond election
Students promoting the $21 million bond that eventually funded TCJC's expansion

Go-go boots and "hot pants" were the height — or the short — of fashion in 1971 as evidenced by three of these five students promoting an upcoming bond election — the second in TCJC’s history. The $21 million package was to fund the construction of the new Northwest Campus and expansion at South and Northeast. South was to get additions to the library, faculty office buildings, and bookstore plus a new multi-purpose teaching facility — the Rotunda — and a new technical-vocational building. On Northeast, the student center and faculty office building were to be expanded, and new classroom and technical-vocational buildings were to be built. The measure was approved, 7,492 votes to 5,273. Among citizens working for passage of the proposal were future state senator and Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and two future TCJC trustees — Audrey Trammel of Azle and J. Pete Zepeda of Fort Worth.

Northwest Campus Ground-breaking


The ground-breaking at the Northwest campus
Mules pull a plow at the Northwest Campus ground-breaking

Easily the most novel of many groundbreakings in the history of Tarrant County College took place on February 14, 1974, when Chancellor Joe B. Rushing and board Vice President Ardis Bell kicked off construction of the Northwest Campus with a plow pulled by a span of mules. In addition to being a good photo op, the method chosen was appropriate since the new campus, besides being rural, was to be the site of an agribusiness program. Bell would later say that he knew nothing about plowing, but left it pretty much to Rushing, who had been reared on a farm. Land for the campus, 193 acres on the east end of Marine Creek Lake, was donated to the College years earlier by F. Howard and Mary D. Walsh. The original gift was to consist of 150 acres, but 50 acres turned out to be in a floodplain and thus not suitable for buildings.

TCJC is Ten Years Old


Birthday party dinner
Ten children, one born in each year of the College's existence, for the tenth birthday celebration

For decades after the founding of Tarrant County Junior College in 1965, it was Dr. May Owen’s tradition to host a "Birthday Party" dinner each July 31. The main feature of the 1975 celebration was this lineup of 10 children, one born in each year of the College’s existence and each draped with a sign highlighting a significant event that occurred that year. The 10-year span saw the passage of two bond elections, the building of two campuses with a third nearing completion, an enrollment increase from 4,272 to more than 16,500, an increase in the annual budget from $1.8 million to $22.6 million, and full accreditation by the Southern Association of College and Schools’ Commission on Colleges for five years in 1969 and for an additional 10 in 1974. Eventually, the cost of the dinner grew to the point where the College picked up most of the tab without the extremely cost-conscious Dr. May Owens being any the wiser.

Northwest Campus Construction


Aerial view of the Northwest campus
Aerial view of the construction of the Northwest Campus

The photo pictured is Tarrant County Junior College Northwest Campus viewed from above while under construction in 1975. Designed by the architectural firm of Preston Geren and Associated, the campus was all under a single roof except for the D Wing (located in the lower part of the photo), which housed the physical education facilities, and the slender Maintenance Building to its left. The traffic circle (top left) is in a corner formed by Administration Wing extending upward and C Wing extending to the left. The Node is just to the right of the C Wing, with A Wing extending toward toward the top left and B Wing jutting right, toward the lakefront. Shortly after this photograph was taken, a 52-day labor strike forced a delay in the opening of the campus from fall 1975 to spring 1976. However, Northwest did conduct classes in fall 1975, finding space in Boswell and Castleberry High Schools and in TCJC’s facility at Meacham Field airport.

Dedication of Northwest Campus


Dedication of the TCJC Northwest campus
Dr. Judith J. Carrier speaks at the Northwest Campus dedication

Dr. Judith J. Carrier, dean of student development services, spoke on April 9, 1976, at the dedication of Tarrant County Junior College Northwest Campus. The campus was supposed to have been ready for classes the previous September, but the opening was delayed due to a labor strike. The delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Northwest proved to be the only college or university campus to open in the Bicentennial year of 1976. Carrier had just received a flag and certificate proclaiming Northwest the Bicentennial Campus. Behind Carrier is trustee and board Vice President Loyd Cox. In the group to Cox’s left, Northwest President Michael Saenz is speaking to John Anderson of the American Bicentennial Commission, who presented the certificate and flag to Carrier. To Saenz’s left is Marshall Lynam, who represented Congressman Jim Wright in presenting the campus an American flag that had flown over the Capitol.

100,000th Student


TCJC's 100,000th student
Mrs. Ronald G. Ovel was the 100,000th student to enroll at TCJC

Mrs. Ronald G. Ovel received more than a schedule when she signed up for classes at Tarrant County Junior College Northeast Campus for the fall semester of 1977. She turned out to be the 100,000th student to have registered since the college opened its doors on September 18, 1977. Mrs. Ovel, flanked in the photo by son Steven, 13, and daughter Kelly, 9, was a 1954 graduate of Twin Falls High School in Idaho and a student in Northeast’s Medical Records Technician Program. One of the fundamental missions of junior or community colleges is to serve the educational needs of non-traditional students, including people returning to school many years after high school. Such students often proved to be far more intellectually curious and dedicated to learning than their younger counterparts. TCJC provided special assistance to women returning to the classroom through the WIN-R — Women in New Roles — program established on South Campus in 1978.


Enrollment kept growing. The fall of 1980 total of 22,026 made TCJC the largest college or university in Tarrant County. A third bond election provided needed expansion. The budget exceeded $50 million in 1983. The College had its first tuition increase, from $4 a semester hour to $8. The big change was at the top when Dr. Joe Rushing retired as chancellor and C.A. Roberson was appointed.

May Owen Center Dedication


May Owens Center (MOC) dedication
Chancellor Joe B. Rushing prepares to present a commemorative TCJC seal to longtime board member Dr. May Owen during the dedication of the May Owen Center on April 19, 1983

The District’s administrative offices outgrew their leased space in the Electric Service Building in downtown Fort Worth, so in 1981 the board purchased parcels of land on either side of Throckmorton Street just to the north of Lancaster Avenue and built the 40,000-square-foot facility that has served the District administration ever since. On September 16, 1982, Trustee John Lamond moved that the building be named the May C. Owen Tarrant County Junior College District Center. Dr. Owen objected, saying it shouldn’t be named for a person and added, "And where’d you get Macy?" Lamond repeated his motion, only to be told by Owen that she didn’t have a middle initial. "Good, Dr. Owen," he responded. "You just saved us $5 on the sign."

TCJC's First Piper Professor


David Clinkscale
David Clinkscale, left, receives congratulations from Gary Smith

David Clinkscale was named one of the top 10 professors in Texas for 1984 by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation. Clinkscale, who was teaching government on Northwest Campus at the time, had been a member of the original TCJC student body in 1967. He was in the middle of a lecture when Northwest President Michael Saenz entered the classroom. "My first thought was, ‘Oh, golly, what’s happened,'" Clinkscale said. "Then he grabbed me and started pounding me on the back. Then it dawned on me that this must be the Piper. Of course, you can imagine how I felt. Needless to say, when I came back into the class I couldn’t quite bring my attention fully back to the role of the governor’s staff." Smith had become TCJC’s first Piper Professor in 1977. Other faculty honored include Duane Gage, David and Elise Price, Laura M. Wood, and Eduardo Aguilar.

TCJC Turns Twenty


A huge cake... or is it?
The 20th anniversary giant cake is not what it appears to be…

When the Tarrant County Junior College faculty and staff gathered on South Campus in August 1965 to celebrate the College’s 20th anniversary, they found a monster cake waiting for them. Actually, the "cake" was made up of square, flat boxes joined together, covered with icing (that, at least, was real), and decorated with flowers made from sugar. The real birthday cakes, enough to serve the crowd of more than 500, came later. Reflecting on the anniversary, Chancellor Joe B. Rushing wrote this for the August 1985 issue of Momentum: "It is easy to think of the past in terms of what we can see and touch, to remember campuses opened and buildings constructed. But the mortar that holds, and for 20 years has held TCJC together is people. Excellence cannot be achieved with good facilities alone; excellence can only be achieved with good people."

Dr. Rushing Retires


Dr. Rushing
Dr. Joe B. Rushing prepares for his final Commencement after 23 years as Chancellor

Dr. Joe B. Rushing told his Cabinet officers of his intention earlier in the spring, but waited until graduation to tell the College family. In his welcoming remarks, he spoke for a few minutes about the importance of graduation and then added, "And certainly, for me, this is a graduation of some importance because, you see, it will be my last one." As the audience sat in rapt silence, save for a few crying babies, Rushing spoke of his career and of "the rare opportunity to serve as a founding president of two community colleges a total of 28 years, one month, and 18 days, as of right now. Each day has been filled with rewarding experiences, and that’s the way I want it to end."

C. A. Roberson's First Commencement


C.A. Roberson congratulates a graduate
C.A. Roberson congratulates a graduate during his first Commencement as chancellor in May 1989

A veteran of 23 years at the College, most of them as executive vice chancellor, Roberson was named chancellor-elect on September 15, 1988, at the same Board of Trustees meeting during which Dr. Joe B. Rushing’s retirement as chancellor was accepted. Asked what the biggest difference would be in his assumption of the CEOs role in 1989 and Rushing’s in 1965, Roberson said, "Dr. Rushing’s job, and that of all of us back then, was to get the College off the ground, to see it through infancy… The task now is not simply to maintain, but to deal with continued growth and adapt to change. Nothing can stand still. We’re going to grow… We’re going to have new kinds of students and new kinds of programs."


TCJC came to Arlington with the opening of the Southeast Campus in 1996. Enrollment surged, but state funding failed to keep pace, and tuition and taxes increased. There was a new chancellor, with Dr. Leonardo de la Garza coming on board in 1997 to replace the retired C.A. Roberson. The most dramatic change was in our name itself as we became Tarrant County College in 1999.

Cornerstone Program Begins


Cornerstone graduates
Cornerstone students have always been marked at Commencement with distinctive stoles

Tarrant County Junior College never had an honors program, but Chancellor C.A. Roberson sought to change that by naming a four-person committee – Betty Clark, Linda Hines, Bill Lace, and Mike Matthews – to explore a way to make TCJC a "college of first choice" for more high-ability high school students. The result was Cornerstone, a humanities-based program that began offering classes and scholarships in fall 1991. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities helped develop the program, and another grant, this one from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, helped fund the $350 per semester scholarships. The program was reformatted in 2010 to broaden the base beyond the humanities curriculum. Cornerstone students, many of whom have gone on to receive lucrative full scholarships at area universities, have always been marked at Commencement with distinctive stoles. The pictured graduates are from the class of 2001.

Southeast Campus Construction


Construction of the Southeast campus
Construction moves forward on the new Southeast Campus, which opened in the fall of 1996

Tarrant County Junior College had pretty much left the southeast part of the county alone, but the need for a campus in the burgeoning Arlington-Mansfield area could no longer be ignored. The two cities’ combined population jumped from 94,311 in 1970 to 181,720 in 1990. A 123-acre tract was purchased in 1987, but construction had to wait on the partial completion of Texas 360 south of I-20. Finally, in 1992, voters passed a fourth bond election to fund the building of the campus, make additions to the other three campuses, and spend $3.1 million on a new computer system. The campus opened in fall 1996 with an enrollment of 3,993 students. It was designed for 5,000 students, but quickly exceeded that number. By 2000, Southeast was second in enrollment only to Northeast Campus.

C. A. Roberson Retires


Roberson retires magazine cover
C. A. Roberson retires after 30 years of service with TCJC

On August 31, 1996, after 30 years at Tarrant County Junior College and 45 years as a college administrator, C.A. Roberson retired as chancellor. He came to TCJC as director of finance in May 1966. He subsequently was vice president (later vice chancellor) for administration and executive vice chancellor before being named the College’s second chancellor in 1988. He was one of the country’s leading authorities on community college financing and in the 1970s was one of the chief architects of the state’s contact hour-based funding system. He was sometimes called the Abominable "No" Man, but his gruff exterior was a façade. "He is so soft-hearted," said his longtime administrative assistant Jean Stepp, "but he doesn’t want anyone to know that. He comes on pretty strong, but it doesn’t take people too long to figure him out."

Dr. De La Garza Appointed Chancellor


Dr. Leonardo de la Garza
Dr. Leonardo de la Garza, newly appointed Chancellor, offers congratulations to a student at Commencement

Board members looked not only beyond the College, but also beyond the state in choosing Dr. Leonardo de la Garza as Tarrant County Junior College’s third chancellor. De la Garza had been president of Santa Fe (NM) Community College prior to being picked over two other finalists at a special board meeting January 1997 on Northeast Campus. He might have been coming from New Mexico, but he was Texan through and through. A native of Beeville, he attended junior college there before earning a B.A. and M.A. at St. Edward’s University in Austin and his Ph.D. at UT-Austin. He began his education career at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, spent 10 years at Austin Community College, was executive vice president at Bee County College and then president of El Paso Community College before going to Santa Fe in 1993.

TCJC Becomes TCC


Staff members Beverly Davis, Lou Davenport, and Maria Olmos display clothing with the new initials

On February 18, 1999, only 19 of the more than 1,200 U.S. two-year colleges were still named "junior." The next day, there was one fewer, with the Board of Trustees voting to change the name of the institution to the Tarrant County College District. Thus, with a stroke of board President J. Ardis Bell’s pen, "TCJC" became "TCC." The board had discussed the change for some time, but was hesitant to buck tradition. But a survey of faculty, staff, and students showed that 71 percent wanted a name change. Founding board President Jenkins Garrett didn’t mind. Neither did former Chancellor Joe B. Rushing. Indeed, Rushing thought it was high time for the change. "I won’t ever quite forgive the guy who came up with that term ‘junior,’" he said.


The 2000s were dominated by the building of a fifth TCC campus in downtown Fort Worth. The initial, ambitious concept had to be curtailed, but the College was able to buy the RadioShack complex, most of which became the Trinity River Campus. Elsewhere, TCC was reaccredited for another 10 years and the first Facilities Master Plan was completed.

Fire Service Training Center Opens


Fire Service Training Center
TCC’s Fire Service Training Center was hailed as the most technologically advanced facility in the country

Motorists driving on Loop 820 past Northwest Campus during the pre-dawn hours of October 29, 2002, probably did a double-take. It looked as if a huge fire was raging on the northeast edge of the campus. Flames shot into the air. Television stations were there with news crews. But it was a demonstration instead of a disaster — a run-through for the cameras in advance of the opening ceremonies of the new Fire Service Training Center (FSTC). The FSTC, sitting on 23 acres, was hailed at the time as the most technologically advanced facility in the country. It features a live-fire disaster city replicating elements found in every community, including landscaped residential streets, homes, businesses, an apartment/hotel complex, warehouse, high-rise building, and a fire station. The facility also has a large pad for driver training, a swift-water rescue channel, and a 48,000 square-foot classroom building.

Plans for a Fifth Campus


Ambitious plans for a down-town campus
Designed by world-class architect Bing Thom of Vancouver, the plan featured educational complexes on both sides of the Trinity River

What started out as a brainstorming session about possibly expanding the May Owen Center eventually morphed into an ambitious plan for a fifth TCC campus in downtown Fort Worth. Designed by world-class architect Bing Thom of Vancouver, the plan featured educational complexes on both sides of the Trinity River connected by a pedestrian footbridge. The photo shows the model looking from north to south with part of the North Main Street Bridge and the Tarrant County Courthouse complex at the top right. The model was unveiled on October 29, 2004, and ground was broken on June 10, 2005. Unfortunately, clearance to build on the north side levee and to sink columns into the river could never be obtained, and the plan for the northern part of the campus was scrapped. The portion on the south bank of the river would eventually survive as Trinity River East Campus.

Secret Negotiations with RadioShack


Trinity River Campus
RadioShack headquarters in downtown Fort Worth

In late 2007, TCC officials did not know when, or even if, the College would get permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to build part of the proposed downtown Fort Worth campus on the levee north of the Trinity River or to build a bridge linking it with the south portion. Trustee Bobby McGee, who advocated exploring other possibilities, discovered that the German consortium that was leasing part of the RadioShack complex to the west of the proposed campus might be interested in selling it instead. Very delicate, very secret negotiations stretched into the next year but finally, on June 25, 2008, the board voted to authorize Chancellor Leonardo de la Garza to enter into agreements to buy the property. After about $80 million worth of remodeling, three of the five buildings opened in fall 2009 as the Trinity River Campus.

Stars of Tomorrow Announced


South Campus President Ernest Thomas, Wyatt High School students Cassandra Collier and Christina Kincade, and Vice Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley
South Campus President Ernest Thomas, Wyatt High School students Cassandra Collier and Christina Kincade, and Vice Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley

Starting in 2006, TCC was among landowners starting to reap benefits from the natural gas-rich Barnett Shale. Chancellor Leonardo de la Garza formulated a visionary concept that would dedicate present and future lease and royalty funds to an endowment that eventually might provide up to $4,000 in scholarships to every high school graduate in the county who met the criteria. The plan, Stars of Tomorrow, was announced in March 2008, and the first awards were made the following fall. Board President J. Ardis Bell called the announcement "one of the most important occasions in the history of TCC." Trustee Robyn Medina Winnett said, "Instead of wondering what today’s students could become, I can now look at them and see what they will become."

Trinity River Campus Opens


Trinity River Campus opens its doors
Tahita Fulkerson stands in the foreground; Bryan Stewart, Robert Muñoz, Angel Garcia, and Sharon Maxwell from left to right in the background

By early 2009, renovation of the portion of the RadioShack complex that was to become TCC Trinity River Campus progressed to the point where the first administrators could move in. President Tahita Fulkerson held many posts at the College, including faculty member, dean, and vice president. Other founding members of the campus include Vice President for Academic Affairs Bryan Stewart, Vice President for Continuing Education Robert Muñoz, Coordinator of Community Outreach Angel Garcia, and Executive Administrative Assistant Sharon Maxwell. The new campus opened its doors to students that fall with an initial enrollment of 3,717. By the fall of 2013, there were 8,849 students, many of them enrolled in the health professions programs housed in Trinity River East Campus, and still others as part of the early college high school made possible by a partnership with the Fort Worth ISD Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences.


The last years leading up to the Golden Jubilee year saw fundamental changes brought about by a new and inexorable drive for student success. With Erma Johnson Hadley as the prime mover, TCC plunged into a whirlwind of initiatives — Achieving the Dream, common course learning materials, and consolidation of alternative learning venues under the banner of TCC Connect.

Erma J. Hadley Appointed Chancellor


Erma J. Hadley appointed Chancellor
Board of Trustees President Louise Appleman congratulates Erma Johnson Hadley

Erma Johnson Hadley was named TCC’s fourth chancellor on March 10, 2010, after having served as interim chancellor since July 2009. A member of the original Northeast Campus faculty in 1968, Hadley held several administrative positions and at the time of her interim appointment was vice chancellor of administrative and community services. "I am so intrigued by what we do at Tarrant County College," she said shortly after becoming chancellor. "I am so enthusiastic about the number of people who really find their success within the College District — the number of people who come to us from all different points in their lives, never thinking they’d have the opportunity to go to college. It’s always the highlight of my year to watch students at graduation walk across the stage and see the exuberance on their faces."

Moonlight Symphony Performance


Night music at the TR campus
A moonlight performance by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at the Trinity River East Campus

What better way to showcase the new Tarrant County College Trinity River East Campus than with a moonlight performance by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The October 21, 2011, event, presented by the Tarrant County College Foundation, raised more than $123,000 for student scholarships and other Foundation projects. It was one of several annual signature events for the Foundation, which has also put on "An Evening with Bill Cosby," a concert by Larry Gatlin, a luncheon address by former President George W. Bush, and a 40th anniversary celebration honoring Dr. Joe Rushing and Jenkins Garrett, among others. TCC was slow to enter the arena of raising private funds, waiting until 1988 to establish the non-profit Friends of TCJC. That organization went dormant in the mid-1990s but was reconstituted as the TCC Foundation in 2001 and has grown in size to the point where it has over $20 million in managed assets.

TCC Gets a Mascot


Toro, the TCC mascot
Toro’s all over the place thanks to having a complete costume at each campus

One of the nice things about being the CEO is that you can make things happen. Erma Johnson Hadley had long wanted TCC to have a mascot and, after seeing how elementary school children were entranced with UT-Arlington’s Blaze, she promptly set the wheels in motion. After a year-long collaborative process that included surveys, focus groups, and questionnaires that netted input from more than 3,000 staff, students, alumni, and community members, Trailblazers was selected as the official nickname and Toro was to be the mascot. Just what Toro would look like required another process, getting the opinion of nearly 1,000 elementary school students. The net result made its debut at the 2011 Chancellor’s Employee Appreciation Breakfast. Now, Toro’s all over the place — student orientation, building dedications, visits to campus by public school students — thanks to having a complete costume at each campus.

Achieving the Dream


TCC Student Brandon Tucker's photo won the Achieving the Dream photo contest
Brandon Tucker’s photo illustration was named winner of a nationwide Achieving the Dream competition

In 2010, Tarrant County College became part of Achieving the Dream, an initiative begun in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations as a comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for student success in higher education. The organization seeks to create a "culture of evidence" in its more than 200 institutions, with fundamental academic decisions based on carefully collected and analyzed data. TCC’s data yielded two priorities – increasing student success through a comprehensive first-year experience program and increasing student success in developmental education and three "gateway," or initial college-level courses. In 2013, only three years after starting work on the priorities, TCC was named a Leader College on the strength of the achievements of Hispanic students in developmental math and developmental reading. Another honor came when TCC student Brandon Tucker’s photo illustration (pictured) was named winner of a nationwide Achieving the Dream competition.

Trinity River East Campus Opens


Trinity River East is an acclaimed building design
Trinity River East Campus opened in 2011 as both an educational and architectural marvel

After the TCC Board of Trustees agreed in 2008 to purchase the RadioShack complex to be the Trinity River Campus, there remained the question of what to do with the partially completed south portion of the original design. Options included restoring the bluff leading down to the river, selling the building, or completing the construction. The first was economically and ecologically unfeasible. The second, because the basic design was that of an educational facility, was likewise unlikely. The problem with the third was cost. An extra $103 million was needed to finish the project. In the end, the board voted to approve the expenditure, and Trinity River East Campus opened in 2011 as both an educational and architectural marvel. Two years later it was named one of "The Lone Star State's Top 13 Buildings to See in 2013" by international architecture blog Architizer.com.

50th Anniversary Video Retrospective

For our 50th Anniversary we take a look at how our college originated in Tarrant County and what the founders accomplished in order to establish our college in the community. We also hear from some of the voices in the community and take a look at what the future has to offer Tarrant County College.

50th Anniversary eBook

Read more about the first 50 years of TCC's history in our exclusive eBook, TCC: The First Half Century, written by retired TCC Vice Chancellor William W. Lace. Lace is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, who worked for the College for over 30 years. Book available in EPUB and MOBI formats.

Choose one of the formats above to download.