Tyler Junior College sophomore Donte Wilkerson has always been a man on a mission.
In 2017, he graduated from John Tyler High School a year early because he couldn’t wait to get to college.
In his final semester as a TJC Presidential Honors student, Wilkerson racked up 22 credit hours and maintained high grades, all while participating in TJC’s Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Las Mascaras Speech and Drama Club, plus holding down three part-time, off-campus jobs.
Wilkerson, who graduated with an Associate of Arts degree from TJC on Friday, recently learned that his hard work has paid off in a big way: He has earned a full-ride, transfer scholarship to attend Baylor University in the fall.
Since 1989, TJC and Baylor have had an agreement in which one TJC Presidential Honors graduate per year can transfer to Baylor on a full, two-year scholarship.
Even before he applied to TJC’s Baylor Bound program, his sights were set on the prestigious university.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “Baylor has always been a big deal to me. It has so much history, and it’s the oldest university in Texas. The first time I walked onto the campus, I felt at home there.”
Historically, TJC students have made successful transitions to Baylor.
David Funk, director of the TJC Presidential Honors Program, said, “According to what has been reported back to us from Baylor, retention, engagement and completion are much higher proportionally for our transfer students than the true freshmen.
“Baylor is a great fit for Donte. He is well equipped to succeed, and Baylor will offer him a wide spectrum of experiences.”
At TJC, Wilkerson majored in general studies; but at Baylor, he will narrow his focus to political philosophy, with future plans for law school and a possible career in politics.
“I really owe it to my TJC professors for their support,” he said. “David McClendon is a political science professor who really opened my eyes to what I want to do with my life. And David Funk really gets involved with students and makes everyone feel welcome. If you ever have a situation, you can ask him anything and he will make things happen that you didn’t think were possible.”
He continued, “Every teacher here has been really friendly. They’re all mentors and they haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a student. That’s what I felt at Baylor when I visited there, and it’s what I’m looking forward to when I get there next fall.”
For more information on TJC’s Baylor Bound program, go to TJC.edu/BaylorBound.