Transferring from a community college to SMU is a cost-effective way to earn a prestigious bachelor’s degree.
A new scholarship for Tyler Junior College graduates will cover the full financial need for selected TJC students to attend the private university in Dallas.
Made possible by an endowment gift from Ann Warmack Brookshire and Brad Brookshire, SMU announced the new scholarship on Thursday, May 11, in the board room in White Administrative Services Center on the TJC central campus. The Brookshire Scholarship will provide scholarship funds for high-achieving students who enroll at SMU after completing an associate degree at TJC.
The Brookshire Scholarship will provide individual-specific levels of financial assistance toward educational expenses and will be “stackable” on top of other merit and need-based aid for which the student qualifies, covering up to the student’s full financial need as determined by SMU’s standard financial aid calculation.
“Students who transfer to SMU from community colleges have a proven record of success,” said SMU President Dr. R. Gerald Turner. “We are committed to making an SMU education available to more outstanding students, regardless of means, and this generous gift of a scholarship endowment from the Brookshires will open a wider path for TJC students.”
The Brookshire gift contributes to the University’s $1.5 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow, launched in September 2021. It was the announcement of the campaign goal to transform the lives of more high-achieving students through merit- and need-based scholarships – especially those students receiving Federal Pell Grants – that inspired SMU alumna and Tyler Junior College trustee Ann Brookshire to develop the scholarship with her husband, Brad Brookshire, an SMU alumnus and member of the SMU Board of Trustees.
“When they announced the capital campaign, it was to address transfer students, first-generation college students, and minority students — and we have all of those students at TJC,” Ann Brookshire said. “We have great students here. I told TJC’s president, Dr. Mejia, ‘We can do this!’ The potential for someone to further their education at SMU and have the benefit of being in Dallas — it was a no-brainer, in my opinion. It’s going to be a win-win, and my hope is that it will open the door for more great students to have a great opportunity down the road.”
Her advice for TJC students just learning about the scholarship? “Dream big. Work hard, do well for two years – and make this happen.”
TJC students are also eligible for other SMU merit scholarships already tailored for transfer students and automatically awarded to students who have completed 50 transferable hours with a minimum 3.50 GPA.
“The education and experiences that Ann and I received through what is now SMU’s Cox School of Business have been of huge benefit throughout our careers,” Brad Brookshire said. “We are so pleased to help open this door for TJC students.”
Tyler Junior College is one of the largest community colleges in Texas, with more than 12,000 enrolled students. The college offers more than 115 degree and certificate programs.
Twelve TJC students have transferred to SMU over the past five years, and administrators at both institutions hope this scholarship will increase those numbers, both through the Brookshire Scholarship and awareness of other SMU financial aid opportunities.
“It is truly my honor to work with both Ann and Brad Brookshire on big-scale initiatives that lead to a very strong East Texas,” said TJC President Juan E. Mejia. “The Brookshires truly care for others, and it shows in the way they invest their talents and resources. Regardless of how busy they are, they always make time to learn about the specific details of students and community members, so that they can identify ways to be of service.
“We are elated by the opportunity to strengthen our partnership with SMU,” Mejia said. “To Ann and Brad Brookshire, your amazing philanthropic care for this community is celebrated beyond East Texas. People know the work you do, and we are blessed to have you here in this community.”
The development of authentic partnerships is one of the pillars included in TJC’s strategic plan. Throughout its nearly 97-year history, TJC has collaborated with multiple universities and is proud to add nationally ranked SMU to that list, Mejia said.
Mejia continued, “There will be students who are going to tell this story, and this is going to establish a model for what a junior college and a world-class, private institution like SMU can do. Those students will go out and change the world, and we will all remember that it started at an event like this. It is truly a great day to be an Apache and a great day to be a Mustang.”
One student will be selected to receive the Brookshire Scholarship each fall, and that student will carry the scholarship for five semesters (2.5 academic years) or until graduation, whichever comes first. Preference will be given to a student majoring in the Cox School of Business and with significant demonstrated financial need, but it will not exclude other students from consideration or selection.
The Brookshire family’s roots run deep in Tyler and Dallas, connecting through both TJC and SMU. Brookshire Grocery Co. was founded in downtown Tyler in 1928 by Wood T. Brookshire and currently operates more than 180 stores throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas under the Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, FRESH by Brookshire’s and Spring Market brands.
Brad Brookshire is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Brookshire Grocery Company, headquartered in Tyler, representing the third generation of the Brookshire family to lead the company. Ann Brookshire, a certified public accountant, has worked at Henry & Peters, PC, in Tyler for over 35 years, focused on areas of fiduciary tax work.
Three generations of the Brookshire family also have attended and supported SMU for more than 50 years. Brad received a B.B.A. from SMU in 1976 and Ann received her B.B.A in 1977. Brad’s mother, two siblings and Brad and Ann’s three sons are all SMU alumni, as well, and Brad Brookshire received the 2021 Cox School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2015, the family of Ann and Brad Brookshire made a gift to SMU that named the Brookshire Family Indoor Tennis Pavilion.
SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and more than 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world. Building on its history of excellence, the University has launched SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow – a multiyear $1.5 billion campaign to empower students, to enrich teaching and research, and to enhance our campus and community.
Established in 1926, Tyler Junior College serves more than 12,000 students per semester. TJC offers more than 115 degree and certificate options, extensive customized training and adult continuing education. With our strong core values, rigorous academics, nationally ranked athletics, stellar fine and performing arts, and diverse student life, we are committed to providing various pathways for students to transfer to senior universities or gain the skills they need to go directly into the workforce.