Texas Southern University: A “Communi-versity” on the Rise

TSU Announces Fall Enrollment of Nearly 11k Students

Texas Southern University’s (TSU) Homecoming Week has a theme of ‘Tiger Dynasty: 90 Years In, The Reign Continues’, because this year marks 90 years since TSU was founded and has since been a pillar in Houston’s Third Ward community during those years, establishing itself as one of the crown jewels in the Greater Houston area.

On the heels of TSU’s Homecoming Week, taking place from Saturday, October 7 through Saturday, October 14, the administration at TSU is excited to welcome alumni to “come back home” to the University they once called home to see what TSU has been up to, as well as showcase the exciting developments that have been taking place at the University that should make every TSU alumni feel proud to be a former student and appreciate the esteemed value their degree from TSU holds across the country.

TSU President Dr. Austin A. Lane, who quickly came on the scene as the 12th President of the University in June 2016, has made several key changes and additions to his administration, while also making it a point to reach out to students, staff, faculty, alumni, elected officials and members of the community to receive input to help him meet his top five priorities, which are:

  • Student Success
  • Academic Quality
  • Culture
  • Funding
  • Partnerships

Since that time, TSU has quickly re-defined itself as servant leadership, dedicated to the total well-being of this university and the success of every student, with each decision and subsequent action aimed at providing the optimum academic experience for the students.

Dr. Lane has been extremely proactive and aggressive concerning his top five priorities, particularly as it relates to student success at the University. He has sought to recruit some of the top thought leaders, business minds, researchers and educators to the University, while ramping up his efforts to recruit and retain more students.

Under Dr. Lane’s leadership, TSU faculty and staff, along with the alumni and current students, have even more to be excited about going into Homecoming Week, particularly after it was recently announced that TSU had a preliminary boost in enrollment for the fall 2017 semester.

More than 10,500 students have started class on TSU’s campus after a late opening to the academic session following Hurricane Harvey. The University welcomed 2,018 first-time freshmen in August, which is up 51% from 2016. All freshmen are taking a mandatory seminar course (FS 102) and are assigned to advisors who will use intrusive advising techniques to ensure that students stay on the pathway toward success and degree completion.

There was also a huge increase in first-time transfer students, which is up 31% from 2016. In addition to the new students, continuing students at TSU persisted at a 2% higher rate over this time last year.

“Our targeted recruiting campaign in some of the largest minority ISDs in the state, along with strategic partnerships with community colleges have contributed enormously to our incoming class and transfer enrollment,” said TSU President Dr. Austin A. Lane. “We are taking a holistic approach to support students from the moment they step on campus right through graduation.”

Texas Southern has focused its recruitment in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Beaumont, Port Arthur, and other cities in Texas. Continued transfer agreements with Houston Community College, Lone Star, San Jacinto and College of the Mainland have boosted the overall campaign and contributed greatly to incoming class and transfer enrollment.

TSU also credits retention efforts that helped to increase fall-to-spring persistence rates from 78% to 85%. Critical community partnerships, along with alumni chapter involvement in Texas and across the country, have contributed to the overall effort. TSU alumni helped to recruit, nurture and encourage students as they pursue and complete their education.

Dr. Lane has also been instrumental in helping drive the University to receive further recognition and resources to help recruit and retain students, having held the inaugural Maroon and Gray Affair, which was conceived by Dr. Lane and his wife, First Lady Loren Lane. The black-tie event, that had more than 1,110 people in attendance, was focused on raising much-needed money for student scholarships and programs, and raised in excess of $800,000 in scholarship money for deserving TSU students. A lot of that money has been used to help retain students who have needed a little help to get them through to the finish line of completing their degree.

He has also ramped up marketing of the university by implementing a strong billboard marketing campaign in the cities where they are seeking to recruit more students, by spreading the messages that “You Can’t Spell Houston without TSU” and “TSU: The Heart and Soul of Houston” to increase interest and awareness about the University.

It was also recently announced a few months ago that the Texas NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) formally designated Texas Southern as the official depository of records for the organization’s official archives. The collection, which will be housed in the University library’s Special Collections department, consists of minutes, newspaper clippings, legal documents, brochures, Freedom Banquet programs and photographs, along with digitized images from individual Texas NAACP branches. Individual branches and active NAACP members can also send their material to TSU to be placed on loan or permanently archived. The Texas NAACP archives will join the Barbara Jordan archives and the Mickey Leland Center as campus resources for research and scholarly activity.

Texas Southern offers a range of academic programs – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional – in aviation, business, communications, education, pharmacy and health sciences, engineering, science and technology, entertainment and law.

Dr. Lane touts that TSU graduates include 27% of all African American pharmacists and lawyers in Texas, more than other major universities in the state. He also highlights that a majority of the employees that work at the Texas Medical Center are TSU graduates.

At the end of the day, Dr. Lane states that he wants people to look at TSU as a “Communi-versity” not just a University, and he hopes that message resonates with everyone.

Again, Dr. Lane is calling on all TSU alumni to “come back home” and participate in all TSU Homecoming Week events and festivities with current TSU students.

There are a number of events scheduled for 2017 TSU Homecoming Week, including:

  • Saturday, Oct. 7 – Mr. & Miss TSU Coronation (Student Center Cafeteria)
  • Sunday, Oct. 8 – Homecoming Worship Services (Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church); Homecoming Brunch with Dr. Lane (Student Center Cafeteria); Homecoming Gospel Celebration (Sawyer Auditorium)
  • Monday, Oct. 9 – Homecoming Kick Off / Pep Rally (Tiger Walk – Durley Field); SGA President’s 3rd Annual Midnight Breakfast (The Student Center)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 10 – “Fashion Show” (Portico / Student Center); “Poetic Justice” Open Mic (Student Center Cafeteria)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11 – All Day Homecoming Decoration Judging (Campus); “Humpday” Student Appreciation (University Plaza); Old School/New School Game Night (Game Room); Comedy Show (H&PE)
  • Thursday, Oct. 12 – All Day Homecoming Decoration Judging (Campus); 16th Annual Tiger Paw Golf Classic (Hermann Park Golf Course); Alumni Welcome Reception (Student Center); Homecoming Street Festival (Sampson St.)
  • Friday, Oct. 13 – Alumni General Meeting (Tiger Room); Homecoming Yard Fest (University Plaza); Concert (University Plaza); Greek “Step Show” (Sawyer Auditorium); Over Night Tailgate Party (The Point)
  • Saturday, Oct. 14 – Tiger Tailgating Experience (Lot S1); Homecoming Parade (Houston’s Historic Third Ward); Homecoming Football Game @ BBVA Compass Stadium (Alabama State vs. Texas Southern)

For more information on Texas Southern University, please visit www.tsu.edu, and to find out more about TSU’s 2017 Homecoming Week of events, please visit www.tsuhomecoming2017.com.