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Southeast Campus Anniversary

Southeast Campus Anniversary

Celebrating 20 Years


For Bill Coppola, president of the Southeast Campus, the motto, “The Spirit of Southeast” infuses all they do.

“It is truly the spirit of all employees and students that you find on the campus that is entirely different than our sister campuses,” he said.

While TCC bought the 123-acre tract in southeast Tarrant County in 1987, construction could not begin until Texas State Highway 360 was partially completed.

“When we went to the groundbreaking it was raw, ragged farm land at the end of a developed road,” said Gwendolyn Morrison, TCC trustee since 1976.

After years of waiting by the community, the campus opened in 1996 with just under 4,000 students taught by 44 full-time faculty. “We were received by the community immediately because we were, and are, their community college,” said the first Southeast campus president, Judith Carrier. By 2011, the campus served 10,000 students on campus and in dual credit courses at nine area high schools. In 2014, TCC opened a collegiate high school on the campus.

As Southeast grew, the ragged farmland surrounding it changed too. The campus spurred economic growth through commercial and residential developments and new K-12 schools, according to Morrison.

By 2016, 140 full-time faculty served 11,000 students on the campus and an additional 3,500 at 11 area high schools.

That rapid growth in its short 20 years has made it difficult for the facilities to keep up with enrollment. But that’s where the Southeast spirit filters through all that they do.

“The ‘close proximity’ of our living space has created a sense of one, or you might call it bonding that permeates our campus,” Coppola said. “No matter what your role or responsibility on the campus, everyone pitches in and makes initiatives successful.”

From its beginning, that spirit has welcomed students to the campus in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

“Preparing students for a gratifying and ultimately successful collegiate experience must begin with that first step onto the campus and then continue throughout their academic career, not only with us, but also as they pursue completion of a bachelor degree,” Coppola said.

The campus works with local school districts and The University of Texas at Arlington to create a seamless pathway for students to earn a college degree. The economic development in the area, particularly in the culinary, hospitality and entertainment sectors, offers numerous training and employment opportunities. And the campus offers the only certified dietetics program in the state.

“As our surrounding cities evolve and grow, the Southeast campus must continue to be a partner to support the transformational change that is occurring,” Coppola said. “The role of the community college is becoming even more diverse and we must have the leaders available with the skills necessary to meet these demands.”

The Southeast spirit can be found in its outreach with the various ethnic chambers of commerce and the open invitation for such events as a performance by the North Central Texas Ballet or a speech by former President George W. Bush when he was the state’s governor. It also led it to start a sustainability initiative with a community garden, farmer’s market, recycling program, bee hives and monarch butterfly way stops.

“It is our belief that these will continue to strengthen the relationships with our surrounding communities, make our employees feel more productive and energized, and continue our commitment to overall success,” Coppola said.