Texas Southern University

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Texas Southern University
Texas Southern University seal.png
Former names
Wiley College Extension (1925–1927)
Houston Colored Junior College (1927–1934)
Houston College for Negroes (1934–1947)
Texas State University for Negroes (1947–1951)
Motto "Excellence in Achievement"
Established March 7, 1927
Type Public HBCU]
President John Rudley
Provost Sunny E. Ohia
Administrative staff
Students 9,646
Location Houston, Texas, United States
29°43′20″N 95°21′40″W / 29.72222°N 95.36111°W / 29.72222; -95.36111Coordinates: 29°43′20″N 95°21′40″W / 29.72222°N 95.36111°W / 29.72222; -95.36111
Campus Urban, 150-acre (0.61 km2)
Colors Maroon and Gray
Athletics NCAA Division I FCSSWAC
Nickname Tigers
Website www.tsu.edu
TSU wordmark.png

Texas Southern University (shortened to Texas Southern or simply TSU) is a historically black university (HBCU) located in Houston, Texas, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[1]

The University was established in 1927 as the Houston Colored Junior College. It developed through its private college phase as the four-year Houston Colored College. On March 3, 1947, the state declared this to be the first state university in Houston; it was renamed Texas State University for Negroes. In 1951, the name changed to Texas Southern University.

Texas Southern University is one of the largest and most comprehensive HBCU in the nation. TSU is one of only four independent public universities in Texas (those not affiliated with any of Texas' six public university systems) and the only HBCU in Texas recognized as one of America's Top Colleges by Forbes magazine.[2] TSU is the leading producer of college degrees to African Americans and Hispanics in Texas and ranks fourth (4th) in the nation in doctoral and professional degrees conferred to African Americans.[3] The university is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


On March 7, 1927 the Houston Independent School District school board resolved to establish junior colleges for each race, as the state was racially segregated in all public facilities. The resolution created Houston Junior College (later became the University of Houston) and Houston Colored Junior College. The Houston Colored Junior College first held classes at Jack Yates High School during the evenings. It later changed its name to Houston College for Negroes.

In February 1946, Heman Marion Sweatt, an African-American man, applied to the University of Texas School of Law. He was denied admission because of race, and subsequently filed suit in Sweatt v. Painter (1950). The state had no law school for African Americans. Instead of granting Sweatt a writ of mandamus to attend the University of Texas, the trial court granted a continuance for six months to allow the state time to create a law school for blacks.

As a result, the state founded Texas Southern University under Senate Bill 140 by the Fiftieth Texas Legislature on March 3, 1947 as a state university to be located in Houston. Originally named Texas State University for Negroes, the school was established to serve African Americans in Texas and offer them fields of study comparable to those available to white Texans. The state took over the Houston Independent School District (HISD)-run Houston College for Negroes as a basis for the new university. At the time, Houston College moved to the present site (adjacent to the University of Houston), which was donated by Hugh Roy Cullen. It had one permanent building and an existing faculty and students. The new university was charged with teaching "pharmacy, dentistry, arts and sciences, journalism education, literature, law, medicine and other professional courses." The legislature stipulated that "these courses shall be equivalent to those offered at other institutions of this type supported by the State of Texas."

Given the differences in facilities and intangibles, such as the distance of the new school from Austin, the University of Texas School of Law, and other law students, the United States Supreme Court ruled the new facility did not satisfy "separate but equal" provisions. It ruled that African Americans must also be admitted to the University of Texas Law School at Austin. See Sweatt v. Painter (1950).[citation needed]

2012 NCAA sanctions[edit]

In October 2012, the NCAA found Texas Southern University guilty of massive violations in 13 sports over a seven-year period from 2005 to 2012. The most serious violations occurred within the football and men's basketball programs, involving academic fraud, illicit benefits given to student athletes, lying on the part of coaches, and lying to the NCAA about previously self-imposed sanctions.[4]

Prior to the NCAA's verdict, the school had taken numerous corrective measures—including the April 2011 firing of football coach Johnnie Cole (2010 SWAC Football Coach of the Year) and vacating every game that the Tiger football team had won from 2006 to 2010 - including the 2010 SWAC Championship, their first championship in 42 years.[5]

The NCAA banned TSU's football team from the 2013 and 2014 postseason.[6]


Texas Southern University

The University today has more than 45 buildings on a 150-acre (0.61 km2) urban campus in the middle of Houston's Third Ward. The campus is only three miles southeast of Downtown Houston and six miles east of Uptown Houston.

University Museum[edit]

Opened in 2000, the 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) exhibition space displays a variety of historical and contemporary art. The museum is the permanent home of the Web of Life, a twenty-six-foot mural masterpiece by John T. Biggers.[7]

Leonard H.O. Spearman Technology Building[edit]

In 2014, TSU unveiled a $31 million 108,000-square-foot, four-story structure named after the school's fifth president. In addition to having 35 state-of-the-art labs, the facility is home to a new Tier 1 University Transportation Center, the Center for Transportation Training and Research, and the new National Science Foundation Center for Research on Complex Networks. The departments of Engineering, Transportation Studies, Computer Science, Industrial Technology, Physics, and Aviation Science and Technology academic programs are housed in the building.[8] TSU is the only four-year state supported university in Texas to offer a Pilot Ground School course and the first HBCU to implement a Maritime Transportation degree program. [9][10]

Jesse H. Jones School of Business[edit]

Jesse H. Jones (JHJ) School of Business building is a three-story, 76,000 square-foot edifice completed in 1998 that accommodates approximately 1,600 students in undergraduate and graduate studies. The Jesse H. Jones School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)[11] and been named one of the "Best Business Schools" by the Princeton Review.[12] The Jesse H. Jones School of Business currently has bachelor's degree majors in Accounting, Finance, Management, Management Information Systems, and Marketing with master's degree majors in Masters of Business Administrarion (MBA), Masters in Management Information Systems, and Executive Masters of Business Administration (eMBA). In addition to the Princeton Review recognition, JHJ was recognized as one of the nation’s “Best Business Schools” by the U.S. News & World Report[13] and its eMBA program ranks fifth (5th) in the nation by Business MBA.[14]

College of Education[edit]

The College of Education building consists of The Department of Counseling, The Department of Curriculm and Instruction, The Department of Educational Administration & Foundations, and The Department of Health and Kinesiology. It is one of the most established colleges on campus with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 in undergraduate and graduate studies.[15] In 2014, the National Council on Teacher Quality ranked TSU's College of Education 56th in the nation for best secondary education programs and gave the college a "top-ranked" distinction.[16]

Barbara Jordan–Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs[edit]

An extensive set of curricular offerings is provided through the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, which offers courses in Administration of Justice (AJ), Political Science (POLS), Public Affairs (PA), Military Science (MSCI), and Urban Planning & Environmental Policy (UPEP) on the undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral level. The school sits in a 82,000-square-foot facility completed in 2008. Sociologist Robert D. Bullard currently is Dean of the school.[17]

School of Science and Technology[edit]

One of the newer facilities on the campus, this building is home to several scholastic programs, such as the Houston Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Program (H-LSAMP) and the Thomas Freeman Honors College. It also houses several research programs, such as the NASA University Research Center for Bio-Nanotechnology and Environmental Research (NASA URC C-BER), Maritime Transportation Studies and Research, as well as the STEM research program. The College of Science and Technology offers extensive research opportunities through various centers, partnerships and collaborations. TSU’s NASA University Research Center (C-BER) addresses important human health concerns related to manned exploration of space. Programs such as TSU’s NASA University Research Center (C-BER) and participation in The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Preparation Program (LSAMP) support undergraduate, graduate and faculty development while helping to increase the number of US citizens receiving degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.[18]

Spurgeon N. Gray Hall (COPHS)[edit]

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) have approximately 800 students and ranked 80th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. COPHS has the distinction of being one of the nation’s leading producers of minority health professionals. For the past half‑century, the College has produced nearly one‑third of the Black pharmacists practicing nationwide. TSU has also been a leading producer of Black medical technologists and respiratory therapists.[19]

Thurgood Marshall School of Law[edit]

The Thurgood Marshall School of Law (TMSL) is one of only four public law schools in Texas and ranks as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[20] TMSL is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and a member-school of The Association of American Law Schools (AALS).[21] Enrollment is at approximately 600 students.

Sterling Student Life Center[edit]

Centrally located on the Tiger Walk, the Ernest S. Sterling Student Life Center (SSLC) is the nucleus of campus life at TSU. It provides cultural, social, recreational, educational and religious programs and services for students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests, as it creates constructive leisure and educational activities. The Student Center is home to the TSU Bookstore, TSU Cheerleaders, Bowling Alley, Game Room, Student Government Association (SGA), University Program Council (UPC), Herald Newspaper, Tiger Yearbook, Cafeteria, Office of Campus Organizations, Student Activities administrative offices and Office of Events.[22]

Granville M. Sawyer Auditorium[edit]

Recently renovated, the Sawyer Auditorium is Texas Southern University’s historical landmark. Sawyer Auditorium features split level seating for up to 1,800 guests for hosting university sponsored events. It also has an adjacent drama playhouse.[23]

Newman Hall[edit]

Constructed in 1969 and recognized as an innovative landmark in campus design. Housing the Texas Southern University campus ministry, the building blends three activity areas. The worship, library and social functions all revolve around a central, sky-lit interior. Flexibility is achieved with moveable furniture and rolling barn doors. The plaza draws students inside through a welcoming, residential-scaled entry. Designed by, then, Houston architect Clovis Heimsath.

Tiger Walk[edit]

The Tiger Walk (affectionately named by alumni, students, and faculty/staff) is the maroon and gray paved central street on campus where most of TSU outdoor social activities are held and students lounge or socialize.

Residential facilities[edit]

The school has apartments and two residence halls.[24]

  • Lanier East Hall, for male students
  • Lanier West Hall, for female students
  • The Urban Academic Village (UAV), co-ed
  • $41.5 million Seven-Story Student Housing Complex, co-ed, slated for a Fall 2015 opening

Other housing options include:

  • Apartments with utilities included[25]
    • University Courtyard Apartments
    • Tierwester Oaks Apartments

Postal services[edit]

Athletic facilities[edit]

  • BBVA Compass Stadium - The $95 million brand new 22,000 seat stadium in East Downtown is the new permanent home of Tiger Football as of Fall 2012.
  • Health and Physical Education Arena (H&PE Arena) - An 8,100 seat athletic arena (largest arena in the SWAC). It is home to the annual graduation ceremonies, Tiger Basketball, Lady Tiger Basketball and Volleyball.
  • Alexander Durley Stadium - The 5,500 seat stadium is the home of TSU soccer games and the annual TSU Relays.
  • TSU Recreation and Wellness Center - A state-of-the-art multi-purpose athletic facility that features three full courts, an indoor track, swimming pool, weight room, exercise studios, lounge areas (equipped with Satellite TVs), study area, and a health conscious food court.[26]


University rankings
Forbes[27] 649
Washington Monthly[28] 201

Texas Southern University offers college courses in partnership with Lone Star College at its new campus in northwest Houston. And thanks to a new partnership with the City of Houston and Houston Public Library, Texas Southern will offer fine arts classes as well as theatre and dance performances in the historic Deluxe Theater in Houston’s Fifth Ward district which the city is currently renovating.

Texas Southern University/Houston Independent School District Charter Laboratory School

Texas Southern University currently comprises 11 schools and colleges along with several scholastic and research programs:

  • The Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs:[29] Mickey Leland Center, Barbara Jordan Institute, Emergency Management Program[30]
  • The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: RCMI Institute for Biomedical and Health Disparities Research, Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Center for Human Performance and Material Science, Center of Excellence in Health Disparities Research: Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
  • The Thurgood Marshall School of Law: Earl Carl Institute for Legal and Social Justice,Center for Legal Pedagogy, Institute for International and Immigration Law (IIIL), Center for Government
  • The College of Education
  • The College of Continuing Education
  • The College of Science and Technology: National Transportation Security Center of Excellence for Petro-Chemical Transportation (NTSCOE-P), Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR), TSU NASA University Research Center for Bionanotechnology and Environmental Research (TSU NASA C-BER), Innovative Transportation Research Institute (ITRI), Houston National Summer Transportation Institute (HNSTI), Research Center in Minority Institution (RCMI) Computational Core: Advanced Computational Simulation Center, Research Center in Minority Institution (RCMI) Computational Core: Data Analysis and Visualization Center, NASA C-BER Fellows Program, NASA C-BER Scholars Program, Houston Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (H-LSAMP) Program, Science & Engineering Summer Program, Science Technology and Enhancement Program (STEP), Maritime Transportation Management and Security Program
  • The Jesse H. Jones School of Business (AACSB accredited): Economic Development Center, Gerald B. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development, JPMorgan Chase Center for Financial Education, Kase Lawal Center for Global Trade
  • The Graduate School
  • The School of Communication: The Center for the Radio, Television and Print Media Professional Studies
  • The College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLAB): The Thomas F. Freeman Center for Forensic Excellence, The Confucius Institute (education partnership with China)
  • The Thomas F. Freeman Honors College[31] (formerly the Frederick Douglass Honors Program)


Texas Southern University's main library is the Robert J. Terry Library. The Brown Foundation re-invested in TSU with a two-year $1.2 million commitment to the Robert J. Terry (RJT) Library to improve its Urban Learning Center. The Urban Learning Center is an integral part of a new era of initiatives at Texas Southern and will provide critical support to the currently planned Academic Village. The new improvements will enhance the ability of the RJT Library to address the literary and academic needs of TSU students.

The Thurgood Marshall School of Law building also houses an extensive library.


As of 2012, the student body is 82% Black, 6% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 4% International, 3% White, and <1% Other. The top three state origins of U.S. students following Texas are California, Louisiana, and Georgia. And the top three country origins of international students are Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and China. The student body is 42% male and 58% female. The student-to-faculty ratio is 19 to 1.[32]

Student activities[edit]

TSU Alma Mater[33]

The air is filled as our voices ring
From earth to the heav’ns above.
With voices raised; we’re singing praise,
To the school we dearly love.
Hail, Hail, Hail! to Texas South-ern
Hail, to our dear Maroon and Gray
Undivided we will stand
By the greatest in the land,
T-S-U, T-S-U, we love you.
All roads lead to Texas South-ern,
Paved with light for one and all.
T-S-U’s a shining star
And we’re proud of what you are,
T-S-U, T-S-U, we love you.
Hail, Hail, Hail! To Texas South-ern
Hail to our Chiefs in reverence we sing.
In our hearts you’ll always stay
As you lead us on our way,
T-S-U, T-S-U, we love you.

Words and Music by C.A. Tolbert

Marching band[edit]

Texas Southern's marching band the Ocean of Soul has won numerous awards and performed at Super Bowls,[34] The Stellar Awards,[35] various parades, NBA and Houston Texans games. The 200+ member band has well-known alumni such as Grammy award-winning jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum. The Ocean of Soul is complemented by The Motion of The Ocean, a high-energy, innovative all-female dance team that has been featured on America's Best Dance Crew.


Main article: Texas Southern Tigers
Athletics logo

Texas Southern sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Championship Subdivision for football) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Texas Southern is part of the Western Division in SWAC divisional sports.

Men's varsity sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, and track and field. Women's varsity sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track and field, and volleyball.[36]

TSU's best known rivals are Prairie View A&M, Southern University, Jackson State and Grambling State.

Tiger and Lady Tiger basketball[edit]

Tiger football[edit]

KTSU 90.9 FM[edit]

Main article: KTSU

In addition to serving as a training unit for TSU students, the station was also established to serve the University at the program level as well as the community by presenting various types of TSU athletics, educational, cultural and social programs to a primarily listening area within a 10-mile (16 km) radius of the University. A 1973 survey indicated that radio was generally the preferred source of information of African Americans, particularly those with less than a high school education. By the late 1970s, the station had secured an ample audience and programming increased in scope. At the same time, the station increased its power range from 10 watts to 18,500 watts. According to the Arbitron Rating Service (ARS), KTSU has an audience of 244,700 listeners and is number one over all of Houston/Galveston stations for its Sunday format and its Friday format of Golden Oldies.[37]

Notable TSU alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability References
Michael Strahan 1993 Former NFL defensive end for the New York Giants, Super Bowl Champion, Pro Football Hall of Fame and Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee. Currently a football analyst on Fox NFL Sunday and co-host of Live! with Kelly and Michael and Good Morning America. [38]
Yolanda Adams 1983 American Grammy, Dove-award winning Gospel music singer, radio show host, actress, and former elementary school teacher. She has sold over 4.5 million albums since 1991 according to Soundscan [39]
Earnest Lee Ernie Holmes 1971 Former NFL defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, original member of the famed Steel Curtain defensive line, two-time Super Bowl Champion
Honorable Barbara Charline Jordan 1956 Congresswoman in the United States House of Representatives from Texas from 1973 to 1979 [40]
Mickey Leland 1970 Anti-poverty activist and later a congressman from the Texas 18th District and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus .[41]
Barbara Mallory Caraway 1978 Former Member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 110 (Dallas)
Dwaine Caraway Former Mayor Pro Tem of Dallas and current District 4 (Dallas) council member
Ruth McClendon African-American Democrat member of the Texas House of Representatives from San Antonio since 1996; former member of the San Antonio City Council and Mayor Pro Tem from 1993 to 1996; former juvenile probation officer [42]
Gilbert Pena 1996 2015 Hispanic Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 144 in Pasadena; graduated in Political Science at the age of forty-seven [43]
Kirk Whalum Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist
Rocky Williform American entrepreneur and founder of HipHopBlog.com, the microblogging network for hip-hop. The one-time New York investment banker also founded StreetCred, the social network for hip-hop culture, and is the creator of the Hip-Hop Emblem. In 2011 he was named one of the 100 most influential people in hip-hop culture. [44]
Kase Lukman Lawal 1976 Chairman and CEO of CAMAC International Corporation and chairman of Allied Energy Corporation in Houston, Texas, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, CAMAC HOLDINGS;[1] vice chairman, Port of Houston Authority Commission
Rodney Ellis 1975 Member of the Texas Senate, District 13 (Houston)
Harry E. Johnson Current President of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc [45]
Jarvis Johnson Member of the Houston City Council from the B District
Tony Wyllie Senior Vice President for the Washington Redskins. He has previously worked as an Assistant Director of Public Relations for the St. Louis Rams, the Director of Public Relations for the Tennessee Titans, and Vice President of Communications for the Houston Texans
Ron Reynolds Member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 27 since 2011; lawyer in Missouri City [46]
Senfronia Thompson Member of the Texas House of Representatives from the 141st district (Houston)
Lloyd C. A. Wells Sports photographer and civil rights activist on the behalf of black athletes
Robert Taylor Winner of gold medal in 4x100 m relay at the 1972 Summer Olympics, and was a member of gold medal winning 4x400 m relay team at the 1975 Pan American Games,.
Greg Briggs 1991 Former NFL defensive back
Ken Burrough 1970 Former NFL wide receiver
Joseph Anderson 2011 Current NFL wide receiver
Brett Maxie 1985 Former NFL defensive back and current NFL assistant coach
Lloyd Mumphord 1969 Former NFL defensive back
Julius Adams 1971 Former NFL defensive lineman
Arthur Cox Former NFL tight end
Donald Narcisse Former Canadian Football League wide receiver. CFL Hall of Fame inductee, 2010
Markus Howell Former CFL wide receiver and current CFL Assistant Coach [47]
Cortez Hankton 2002 Former NFL wide receiver and current assistant football coach at Dartmouth College [48]
Oliver Celestin 2002 Former NFL defensive back [49]
Warren Bone Former NFL player [50]
Belvin Perry 1977 Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orlando, Florida and was involved in the Casey Anthony trial. [51]
Ronald C. Green 1996 Current City Controller of Houston and a former member of the Houston City Council [52]
Jim Hines 1968 2 Gold medals at 1968 Olympics, First sprinter to officially break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters, and former NFL player [53]
Allen Lyday 1970 Former NFL defensive back


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  14. ^ Top 10 Best Online Executive MBA Programs 2013
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  19. ^ TSU Facts
  20. ^ Law School Diversity Programs | Top Law Schools | US News Graduate Schools
  21. ^ Thurgood Marshall School of Law Admitted into AALS
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  31. ^ Thomas F. Freeman Honors College
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  52. ^ "City of Houston > Office of the City Controller". houstontx.gov. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  53. ^ "USATF Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2012-08-03. 

External links[edit]