Tyler Junior College was founded on Sept. 17, 1926, with a mission to improve the lives of East Texans by providing access to higher education close to home.
TJC was originally part of the Tyler Public Schools System, and Tyler Superintendent G.O. Clough was named its first president. J.M. Hodges served as dean of the new college, with nine faculty members and 93 students.
In a letter to TJC’s inaugural class in the 1926-27 academic year, Clough challenged the students to determine the spirit of the College:
“The spirit of an institution determines its worth and justifies its claim for support and existence,” Clough said. “What shall be the spirit of the Tyler Junior College? Shall it be truth, honor and integrity, or shall it be carelessness and indifference? Shall it be earnest, conscientious work, or shall it be any way to get credit?”
Today, TJC serves more than 12,000 students per semester and continue to embody the true sense of the term “community,” with a mission to champion student and community success by providing a caring, comprehensive experience through educational excellence, stellar service, innovative programming and authentic partnerships.
As its cornerstone, TJC has five core values: unity, caring, integrity, empowering and excellence.
Dr. Juan E. Mejia, TJC’s seventh president, said, “We truly stand on the shoulders of amazing leaders who dedicated their lives to the service of others, our great state and our beautiful country; and we can share countless stories that are very unique to us, because of the mutual values that we hold so dear!”
Mejia continued, “Because of our unity, we have the ability to leave a positive legacy, where others will tell our story for years to come.”
A few notable alumni who got their start at TJC include:
• Donna Bullock: stage and screen actress
• Jimmy Butler: NBA standout and gold medalist with the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team
• Bryan Hughes: State Senator
• Admiral Bobby Inman: former director of the NSA and deputy director of the CIA
• Will Jennings: Grammy and Academy Award-winning songwriter
• Sarah McClendon: journalist and longtime White House correspondent
• Chris Tomlin: Grammy-winning Christian musician and songwriter
• Shea Whigham: film and television actor
TJC offers more than 115 degree and certificate options, plus extensive customized training and adult and continuing education, and offers opportunities for students to transfer to senior universities or to gain the skills needed to go directly into the workforce.
The College has received legislative designation, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval, and accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges, as one of five Legacy Colleges in Texas to award up to five baccalaureate degrees.
TJC features a 145-acre main campus and multiple sites, rigorous academics, 62 national athletic championships, stellar fine and performing arts programs, modern residential facilities, and organizations and clubs that promote student diversity.
For more information, go to TJC.edu.