Donna and I are finishing our first year in Tyler and have never felt more welcome. This is an incredible area with an unsurpassed quality of life. Being part of Tyler Junior College is very special, and TJC’s proud 82-year legacy has given us some special advantages. The goodwill TJC enjoys throughout the region makes us proud to be associated with it.
Everywhere I go, I hear from people whose lives were forever changed and made better by TJC. It seems to me that some of the most successful leaders in this area have attended TJC and in many cases, so have their parents and their children. I continue to hear stories from people who are convinced they would not be who they are or where they are in life but for TJC. Many found themselves, their calling and even their spouses at our College. They report how TJC was there for them at a critical time and helped put them in a position to be successful in college and in their lives.
I am very proud to be part of an institution that has been so effective in creating a brighter future for East Texas and in doing so one student at a time. Decades after their studies at TJC our graduates share stories about the impact our teachers and staff members made on their lives and how these employees expressed their genuine care and concern for their well-being and future.
Great educators must be well prepared academically, but being a person of knowledge is not sufficient. Truly gifted educators are both knowing and caring individuals. They care about the success of their students and they know they are not successful unless our students are. I have never been at a college that does a better job of helping students be successful, whether their goal is to transfer to a senior college or secure a good job right away.
I have learned and seen that starting from TJC, you can go anywhere you want to in life. Our graduates have achieved great success as legislators, physicians, teachers, accountants, professional athletes, college and university leaders, academy award winners, and virtually any other profession that comes to mind. Many of the stories I hear from them are very moving and I so wanted other people to hear them, too. That is the reason for starting this series of stories.
We know that the future belongs to those who prepare for it. TJC has been the gateway to a brighter future for thousands of students, and it will be the pathway to future success for many thousands more. In reading about TJC’s Heroes and Friends, I hope you’ll discover that no matter where you want to go in life, TJC can help you reach your dreams.
In the weeks and months ahead, you will be able to see and read about people who I also consider my own heroes and friends. All have a story to tell about TJC and how it has been important to their lives. Moreover, their stories not only have formed the foundation of TJC’s proud past but have helped create its promising future. This year, TJC has broken all previous enrollment records and it is calling to future students, “Come grow along with me, the best is yet to be.”
- Dr. Mike Metke is President of TJC. He and his wife, Donna, moved back to Texas in December 2007.