The Beacon - July 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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Fall 2020 Semester Update

President's Letter - Fall 2020 (PDF)

Dear Students, Alumni and Friends of Texas College,

Welcome to Fall term 2020! I am writing at this time to provide an update for Texas College regarding the unprecedented time in which we are experiencing. And, as this moment has proven difficult for many businesses and communities, I want to encourage us to continue to remain vigilant, strong, and sustain ourselves with the wisdom of God and practices that will keep us safe.

For Texas College, we have and continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that affects our community. It is from this foundation that decisions and plans are made. Our efforts are not to compete with other entities and how they respond, but rather give consideration to the needs of our students, faculty and staff and internally assess what is needed for a safe environment pursuant to the resources we have available to us. With this as the backdrop of our planning, a decision has been made to offer online instruction only for the fall term. A continuous review will take place to establish what needs to be done for the spring term. And, with this as our focus, it should also be noted that we will suspend fall sports with the interest in returning with our sports programs for spring term.

I am hopeful that the posture that is being taken is understood. I especially hope that it is understood that this position is needed when there is no vaccine, nor increase in remedies that may combat COVID-19. And, as we look at the increase in the number of infections and deaths around the world and in East Texas, we find these measures necessary. Our number one priority is the safety of our students, faculty, staff and constituents.

I thank you for your continued support of Texas College and ask for your continued prayers as we and many others in the higher education community move to keep those safe who are entrusted to us. We will continue to provide you with updates as they occur. Additionally, we will continue to pray for your safety and well-being.


Dwight J. Fennell


View the Fall 2020 Updates Online

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Student Laptops for Fall 2020

With the transition to online course delivery for the Fall 2020 semester, Texas College realizes that some students may not have the technology necessary to fulfill their course requirements. Therefore, to ensure student success this term, the College will be providing laptops to students in need of this essential technology. To learn more, please visit the Texas College website.

Learn More About Student Laptops for Fall 2020

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First Day of Class

The Fall 2020 semester will begin on Wednesday, August 12, 2020. To view the full Fall 2020 College Calendar, click here.

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LEGACY 2020 Update

Dear Friend of Texas College:

We pray that this correspondence finds you and your family well and safe. As you are aware, this has been a different year for all of us. Our "normal" routines have been changed and now we are figuring out what is the new "normal."

Therefore, after prayer and careful consideration, we have determined that it would be in the best interest of everyone to not reschedule LEGACY for this year. This was a difficult decision, but one that is necessary in light of the uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our community of friends.

We are very disappointed that we were not able to recognize the good works of the League of Women Voters and our LEGACY Scholars as planned. However, we have posted on our website a video that celebrates them as our honorees for 2020. You may view the video at:

As a donor to LEGACY 2020, we are prepared to make adjustments for your generous contribution. The options are: (1) refund your contribution; (2) invite you to the next LEGACY Scholarship Fundraiser that can be held safely (tentatively scheduled for March 12, 2021) at no charge; or (3) use your contribution for the purpose that it is intended, which is to assist students with their education by providing an academic scholarship. You may contact Mrs. Angelia Fennell at or by calling (903) 593-8311, ext. 2270, to let us know your preference. We appreciate all that you do for Texas College and we hope that you will consider the scholarship opportunity for our students in these unprecedented times.

Please keep Texas College in your prayers as we continue to make decisions for the well-being of our students, faculty and staff. We know that we will get through this with continued support from you. May God continue to bless and keep you healthy and safe; best wishes.


Dwight J. Fennell


View the LEGACY 2020 Update Online

The League of Women Voters
LEGACY Scholars (1)
LEGACY Scholars (2)

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Texas College Faculty Awarded Research Grant

Texas College has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program to begin research on campus utilizing molecular dynamics. Totaling an amount of $149,494, the project will be spearheaded by Professor of Biology and Physics Alexei Iakhiaev, PhD, who will serve as the principal investigator. Dr. Iakhiaev brings a wealth of value to the study with a multitude of publications and extensive experience as a biomedical researcher.

The grant is slated to study the protein Endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR), which is found on the inner surface of blood vessels. This specific protein of interest is involved in anticoagulant mechanisms that serve a vital role in maintaining blood flow and the prevention of blood clotting. Using molecular dynamics, a method that utilizes computer simulation for analyzing the physical movements of atoms and molecules, and homology modeling, which constructs an atomic-resolution model of the target protein from its amino acid sequence, the study will examine structural changes of EPCR at an atomic level. Throughout the study, Dr. Iakhiaev and a team of students aim to conduct EPCR structure based virtual screening of up to 1 million drug-like molecules and select those able to bind to EPCR. In collaboration with a laboratory led by Vijaya Lella (Rao), PhD, at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, the team will investigate how newly identified molecules will affect regulation of the EPCR functions in cells.

Dr. Iakhiaev’s receipt of this award also serves to increase the research capacity at Texas College across all disciplines. Dr. Iakhiaev anticipates this grant to serve as an initial project that will provide and enhance research experiences for undergraduate students in the sciences, as well as transcend to interdisciplinary research activities.

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Texas College Alumna Named ESSENCE Interim CEO

Class of 2005 Texas College Alumna Caroline A. Wanga has been named the interim Chief Executive Officer of ESSENCE Communications, Inc., which oversees the ESSENCE magazine, the ESSENCE Festival, and other affiliated ESSENCE enterprises. As a cultural catalyst, Wanga's appointment brings a proven track record of successful transformational leadership in the corporate world.

Wanga is an expert at cultivating a work environment that champions accountability, inclusivity, diversity, and innovation in the workplace. Employing the power of her Business Administration degree from Texas College, she has served in multiple executive roles such as the Chief Growth Officer for ESSENCE Ventures, as well as Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Target Corporations. Prior to her C-level duties, Wanga held several leadership roles in the non-profit sector.

Accompanying her stellar leadership in the corporate world, she has been named a Top Executive in Corporate Diversity by Black Enterprise, as well as one of Savoy’s Most Influential Women in Corporate America. In addition to her professional experiences, Wanga serves as a member on multiple boards and councils, including the Intersectionality, Culture, and Diversity Advisory Board for Twitter.

To read more about Texas College Alumna Caroline A. Wanga, click here.

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Dr. Fennell Serves as Panelist for AABHE

On Wednesday, June 17, Dr. Dwight J. Fennell joined three other panelists for an online lunch & learn titled The Impact of the COVID-19 Virus on College and University Finances. The session was hosted by The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE). This virtual event served as the third installment of the AABHE's Education & Engagement Series on The Impact of the Pandemic on Colleges and Universities Currently and Down the Road.

To view the virtual discussion, please click here.

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Enrolling Now for Fall 2020

Apply Online Now    Freshman Admission Requirements    Transfer Admission Requirements

Office of Admission Contact Information:

(903) 593-8311, ext. 2297