The Beacon – June 2020

By Yaw Labang
Thursday, June 11, 2020

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To view The Beacon in a PDF format, click here.

To view The Beacon in a text format, see below.

Message from the Texas College Family

Dear Alumni, Students, and Friends of Texas College:

We pray this correspondence finds you well and in good health as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities across the globe. Throughout these past few unprecedented months, please know that you and your family have been at the forefront of our prayers. Amid these unique times, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff remains of the utmost importance while we resolutely maintain our commitment to provide unmatched education to our learners.

Though this period may seem uncertain, one thing is not–Texas College’s resilience. This is not the first pandemic in the College’s 126-year history; rest assured that we will prevail and so will you. Now, more than ever, we wish you the best as you navigate these new norms. Texas College will continue to pray for you and your loved ones in all areas of life—physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and financially. Please stay safe!


Dr. Dwight J. Fennell and the Texas College Family

Texas College Class of 2020

Texas College is pleased to announce the Class of 2020. Congratulations to all 137 graduates on this milestone achievement!

To view Dr. Fennell's message to the graduates of 2020 and the listing of the Class of 2020, please click here.

Dr. Fennell Appointed to Serve on U.S. Department of Education Advisory Board

Dr. Dwight J. Fennell, President, has recently been appointed to serve as a member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board (HBCUCFAB), a board established by the U.S. Department of Education. The HBCUCFAB provides advice and counsel to the Secretary of Education and the Designated Bonding Authority as to the most effective and efficient means of implementing construction financing on HBCU campuses. Additionally, the HBCUCFAB advises Congress regarding the program's implementation progress.

Texas College Receives $2.3 Million in CARES Act Funding 

Texas College has received $2.3 million in restricted funding from the CARES Act to assist students with financial hardships, as well as to develop an institutional technology platform. As part of the CARES Act funding, the Emergency Grant Aid Relief Fund will assist students that have experienced financial hardships due to the disruption of the College’s operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, a portion of the funding will be used for the development of a technology platform to best accommodate students during the temporary modality transition to online course delivery.

Texas College Receives $2.6 Million in Minority Serving Institution Funding

Texas College has received $2.6 million in Minority Serving Institution (MSI) grant funding from the U.S. government to defray unforeseen institutional expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MSI funds are slated to assist with lost revenue, technology costs associated with the transition to distance education, as well as faculty and staff training.

Texas College Receives $500,000 Grant to Renovate D.R. Glass Library

Texas College has recently been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Historic Preservation Fund for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant program, funded and administered by the National Park Service within the Department of Interior. This funding is slated for the renovation of the D.R. Glass Library, a historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As one of 18 institutions awarded, Texas College was the only institution in Texas to receive this grant.

 The D.R. Glass Library’s renovation includes:

  • Upgraded and handicap accessible restrooms.
  • State of the art lighting, electrical wiring, internet capabilities and accessibility.
  • An elevator.
  • A new roof.

The D.R. Glass renovation project is scheduled to begin this summer.

Texas College Receives Grant to Establish Humanities Collection

The HBCU Library Alliance in Atlanta, Georgia has approved a subgrant award for Texas College’s D.R. Glass Library to establish a special humanities collection. The subgrant, totaling $12,000, was approved by a seven-member advisory committee and aims to support special collection initiatives, documenting cultural heritage materials, increasing accessibility of special collection items, and promoting the humanities significance of irreplaceable cultural heritage artifacts. Officially titled Building Capacity for Humanities Special Collections at HBCUs, the subgrant is part of a larger $365,000 grant funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

With the awarded funds, Texas College plans to establish a special records and history collection of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. Given the College’s founding in 1894 by CME ministers and their continued embodiment of CME principles, Texas College’s collection will focus on items that portray the CME’s impact on the community, students, and scholars.

Texas College Gives Back

In partnership with the American Honda Motor Company, Inc., Texas College has provided financial gifts to two organizations that both hold a longstanding relationship with the College–People Attempting to Help (PATH) and the Salvation Army. These gifts, both in the amount of $500, aim to provide assistance with COVID-19 relief.

The Passing of Bishop Cunningham

It is with regret that the College announces the passing of Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham on June 2, 2020. Bishop Cunningham devotedly served as the 53rd Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, presiding respectively over the Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh CME Districts. In addition to Bishop Cunningham's tremendous service to the CME Church, he was also a champion for Texas College, diligently serving as Chairman for the Texas College Board of Trustees, as well as a faculty member for the College.

Texas College Updates Mission Statement

To best prepare students for success following graduation, Texas College has updated their mission statement to afford the most comprehensive learning experience. Please see below for the updated mission statement.


Texas College is a Historically Black College founded in 1894, by a group of CME ministers. Our mission continues to embody the principles of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The College shall prepare students with competencies in critical and creative thinking related to the knowledge, skills, and abilities as defined in areas of study. Additionally, the College shall provide an environment to inspire intellectual, spiritual, ethical, moral, and social development, which empowers graduates to engage in life-long learning, leadership, and service.

Mission restated and approved by members of the Board of Trustees on October 24, 2019.

Minimal Practices to Guard Against COVID-19

COVID-19 Campus Safety Guidelines:

  • Wear a face covering in all public spaces.
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Avoid in-person meetings.

For a downloadable version, please click here.

Letter from the Editor


I am pleased to introduce myself as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Texas College. In this role, I direct all marketing and communication efforts for the College, oversee Alumni Affairs, as well as serve as editor for the Texas College Beacon newsletter and the Texas College INSIDER magazine.

It's important that you know who I am—a proud Texas College alumnus, Class of 2013. During my tenure as a Texas College student, I was captain of the football team, Student Government Association President, as well as graduated Suma Cum Laude and received the Valedictorian Award. Professionally, I have served Texas College as a football coach, admission counselor and recruiter, director of admission, and coordinator of public relations. Moreover, as an alumnus, I received the 2018 UNCF Young Alumnus Award, as well as served as the Texas College National Alumni Association (TCNAA) Vice President for Fundraising and the TCNAA Tyler Chapter Vice President for Budget.

I am excited and beyond blessed to begin this venture as we continue to advance Texas College to the forefront of higher education in not only this region, but across the state, throughout the nation, and on a global scale. For over 126 years, Texas College has given the people light to find their way; I fully intend to help carry on this legacy. As we continue to grow and enhance the College to best serve our students, I aim to keep you informed of everything great occurring on campus.

I am here to serve Texas College, and I am here to serve you. Therefore, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or even just for a quick conversation. I truly look forward to connecting with each and every one of you. And remember, it’s a great day to be a Steer!


Jake Martin

Chief Marketing & Communications Officer

(903) 593-8311, ext. 2327

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