Paul Quinn College

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Paul Quinn College
Motto WE Over Me
Type Private, HBCU
Established 1872
Affiliation African Methodist Episcopal Church
President Michael J. Sorrell, Esq.[1]
Students 450[2]
Location Dallas, Texas,
United States

32°40′38″N 96°45′18″W / 32.677097°N 96.754935°W / 32.677097; -96.754935Coordinates: 32°40′38″N 96°45′18″W / 32.677097°N 96.754935°W / 32.677097; -96.754935
Colors Purple, Black, and Gold

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

Red River Athletic Conference
Nickname Tigers
Affiliations Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

Paul Quinn College (abbreviated as PQC) is a private, liberal arts, historically black college (HBCU) located on 144 acres just south of downtown Dallas, Texas, United States. The college is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME).

Paul Quinn College is the oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi River and the nation's first urban work college.[3]

Paul Quinn is also home to the WE over ME Farm, which was created through a partnership with PepsiCo to bring healthy food to the food desert of Dallas.[4]


PQC entrance sign

The college was founded in 1872 in Austin, Texas by a small group of African Methodist Episcopal preachers at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church. Originally, the college was called the Connectional High School and Institute. The school’s original purpose was to educate freedmen and their children.

In 1877, the College moved from Austin to Waco, and was renamed Waco College. Classes were held in a modest one-building trade school; freedmen were taught the skills of blacksmithing, carpentry, tanning, and saddle work, common occupations for the area, especially in the increasingly segregated state. This was the model established by the Tuskegee Institute.

Presidents of Paul Quinn College
1872 – 1876 Bishop John M. Brown
1876 – 1880 Bishop Richard Harvey Cain
1880 – 1883 H.T. Kealing
1883 – 1891 I.M. Burgan
1891 – 1892 N.A. Banks
1904 – 1908 W.I. Laws
1908 – 1911 D.A. Butler
1911 – 1914 I.M. Burgan
1914 – 1924 J.K. Williams
1924 – 1926 J.F. Williams
1926 – 1928 N.A. Banks
1928 – 1932 Dean Mohr
1932 – 1939 A.S. Jackson
1939 – 1942 J.W. Yancy II
1942 – 1943 George Davis
1943 – 1946 George Singleton
1946 – 1951 Nanie Bell Aycock
1951 – 1953 Sherman L. Green, Jr.
1953 – 1956 Frank R. Veal
1956 – 1962 John H. Adams
1962 – 1969 L.H. McCloney
1969 – 1976 Stanley E. Rutland
1976 – 1978 Reuben D. Manning
1979 – 1981 William D. Watley
1981 – 1982 L.H. McCloney
1982 – 1984 Norman W. Handy
1984 – 1992 Warren W. Morgan
1992 – 1992 Winston D. Powers
1992 – 2001 Lee E. Monroe
2002 – 2005 Dwight J. Fennell
2006 – 2007 John Waddell
2007 – Present Michael J. Sorrell, Esq.[5]

Later, under the direction of Bishop William Paul Quinn (1788–1873), A.M.E. districts were developed throughout the South and tasked with raising funds to improve the College. During this period, more than twenty acres of additional land was purchased and the curriculum was expanded to include the classical subjects of Latin, mathematics, music, theology, English, plus vocational skills in carpentry, sewing, and household, kitchen, and dining room work. In May 1881, the College was chartered by the State of Texas and changed its name to Paul Quinn College to commemorate the contributions of Bishop William Paul Quinn.

Expansion and improvements[edit]

The campus was expanded, with new buildings constructed with capital raised from interested patrons. In 1950, the College began significant physical expansion. A campus church, student union building, gymnasium and administration building were erected between 1950 and 1954. Two new dormitories, a modern two-story classroom building, a fully equipped science department, and a new library were added to the campus.

In spring of 1954, the Waco Chamber of Commerce successfully completed a campaign which raised $100,000 for a new women’s dormitory to replace one destroyed by fire. Bishop O.L. Sherman was assigned to supervise the work of the A.M.E. Church in Texas in 1962. His first official act was to have the Charter of the College changed so that trustees could be elected without regard to race, creed, or color. Because of this significant innovation, new leaders from Central Texas were added to the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Stanley E. Rutland became President of the College in 1969. Under his leadership, the physical plant of the College continued to improve. Among the changes were the addition of a new gymnasium, the renovation of historic Johnson Hall, and the development of the Ethnic Cultural Center. Under Dr. Rutland, the College received accreditation in 1972 with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for the first time.[6]

Move to Dallas[edit]

The College relocated to southeast Dallas, Texas in 1990. It acquired the former campus of Bishop College from African-American businessman Comer J. Cottrell.[7] During the first semester in its new home, the College boasted an enrollment of 1,020 students and became the only HBCU in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In 2006, Board of Trustees member Peggy Sterling and her employer, American Airlines, secured the services of global management-consulting firm the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to analyze the operations and performance of the College. BCG’s work ultimately provided the Institution with a blueprint that eventually became the College’s Strategic Plan from 2007-2012.

New direction[edit]

In September 2007, Michael J. Sorrell, Esq., a former member of the Board of Trustees, was selected as president, after having served as the interim president since March of that year. Sorrell quickly established an aggressive agenda designed to transform the school into one of America’s great small colleges.[8]

Since his arrival, the college has raised academic standards and embarked on an ambitious revitalization of the campus, which has included spending over $4 million in capital improvements. It has reduced institutional debt by 40 percent and resolved all previous issues with the audit findings.

Sorrell instituted a "business casual" dress code on campus in order to prepare students for work life after college.[9] His next set of plans for the college call for an increased commitment to recruitment and retention.[10]

In 2009, the College's accreditation was challenged by SACS, based on problems with institutional effectiveness and financial stability.[11] Following a lawsuit, a judge issued an injunction which reinstated accreditation prior to hearing of the lawsuit.[12]

Since that time, Sorrell has continued improvements: the College produced over $2 million in budget surpluses in fiscal 2009, 2010, and 2011; achieved unqualified audits for 2009 and 2010; invested more than $4 million in infrastructure improvements without adding any debt; and formed a groundbreaking partnership with PepsiCo to convert an unused football stadium into a fully operational urban farm.[13][14][15]

In 2011, the college received membership into the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)accrediting agency.[16]

Paul Quinn's leadership has an ambitious plan in place to grow enrollment back to 2,000 students by 2020.[17]

Paul Quinn's Hispanic student population has grown steadily in recent years, making up at least 12% of the student body.[18]

As of 2016, Paul Quinn is one of only eight work colleges in the nation and the first to be in an urban environment.[19]

In 2016, Paul Quinn implemented the African-American Leadership Institute. President Sorrell stated the institute is Paul Quinn's attempt to address economic development, educational, public policy, and leadership development in the North Texas African-American community.[20]

Campus life[edit]

The WE over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College[edit]

The WE over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College, formerly called the Food for Good Farm at Paul Quinn College, began as an answer to the food desert conditions in the Southern sector of Dallas.[21][22][23][24][25][25] In 2008, college president Michael Sorrell, who had shuttered the school's football program shortly after taking office in 2007, talked with a real estate investor about devoting a tract of land to community farming. Although the idea of using the former football field was initially a joke by Sorrell, it soon became reality.[26]

The reconstruction of the football field into a 100-yard farm that produces spinach, herbs, watermelon, potatoes, sweet potatoes, arugula, and other produce has produced partnerships with Yale University and other institutions for the continued study of the impact of urban farming.[27][28][29][30][31] The dedication of the farm was on May 10, 2010. The farm tithes 10 percent of the gross yield to the community.[32][32][33][34][35][36] Even before the farm was officially dedicated, it had picked up a major customer in Legends Hospitality,[26] a venue management firm partially owned by the Dallas Cowboys[37] that provides food services for the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.[26] Yahoo! Sports reported in 2013 that the farm will produce about 17,500 pounds of food for AT&T Stadium in the 2013 football season.[26]

In April 2011, the farm hosted its first major fundraising event. "A Community Cooks" featured 13 top local chefs cooking various dishes for the community. Will Allen, the keynote speaker, is a MacArthur Fellow and one of the foremost thinkers on urban farming. "A Community Cooks" is an annual event.[38][39][40][41][42][43][44]

Citing health concerns, in August 2012, Paul Quinn banned pork and pork products from campus.[45]

We Are Not Trash[edit]

The College ended 2011 locked in a battle with the city of Dallas over the McCommas Bluff Landfill, which is approximately 1.5 miles east of the campus. The city's decision to re-route all of Dallas' waste to the landfill, effectively transforming it into one of the largest landfills in the southwest, infuriated the student population. This anger was exacerbated by the fact the school is located in the middle of an area the United States Department of Agriculture has labeled a food desert.[46][47][48][49][50][51][52]

In June 2011, the students organized a town hall meeting and invited city officials to explain the efficacy of expanding the landfill.[53] More than 250 residents attended.[54] This was the largest town hall meeting in this city council district in more than 20 years. The town hall meeting eventually turned into "I AM NOT TRASH", two student-led demonstrations at the Dallas City Hall.[55] Despite the students efforts, the city council voted 8-7 to move forward with the plans to dump all the city's waste into the landfill without any prior study as to the effect of such a decision.[55][56]

In response, the Quinnite Nation mobilized into WE ARE NOT TRASH, a student-led, community-oriented effort to advocate for thoughtful, citizen-oriented policy-making from their elected leaders.[57] On Saturday, November 5, 2011, approximately 500 people marched alongside a group of civic leaders from south Dallas across one of the Trinity River bridges into Downtown Dallas.[58][59][60][61]

Trayvon Martin verdict[edit]

On March 23, 2012, hundreds of community members joined Paul Quinn students to protest the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman on February 26 of the same year.[62][63]

August 6, 2013, Vice-President of Content with HBCU Buzz Inc., Robert K. Hoggard wrote, "Incensed by the legal protections that led to Zimmerman’s acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin, Paul Quinn College, a historically black college in Southern Dallas, is offering the new $7,500 Scholarship for Social Justice to a student who shows potential to bring about change in the community and in the justice system." [64]


Paul Quinn teams, nicknamed the Tigers, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). Men's sports include Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer and Track & Field. Women's sports also include Volleyball, Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer and Track & Field.

Paul Quinn teams have won 18 Conference Championships since 1983. The Men's Basketball team won two National Championships in the early 1990s.[65] The Men's Track & Field team won two Regional Red River Men's Track & Field Conference Championships, in 2006 and 2007.[65]

Paul Quinn's Football and Marching Band programs ended in 2007 due to budget cuts.[66]

Student organizations[edit]

Student organizations on campus include the Student Government Association, class organizations, the Vocal Ensemble, and the PQC Spirit Team. Furthermore, students can be initiated into honor societies, such as Phi Delta Kappa and Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, as well as National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities. PQC also offers Multicultural Greek Council organizations.

Organization Chapter Founding Year
Alpha Phi Alpha Iota Kappa 1906
Alpha Kappa Alpha Theta Theta 1908
Kappa Alpha Psi Lambda Lambda 1911
Omega Psi Phi Zeta Eta 1911
Delta Sigma Theta Lambda Nu 1913
Phi Beta Sigma Gamma Kappa 1914
Zeta Phi Beta Tau Beta 1920
Sigma Gamma Rho Gamma Iota 1922
Delta Alpha Omega Beta 2001
Delta Alpha Sigma Gamma 2004

Dress code[edit]

Since the 2007 academic year, the College has embraced a strict "business casual" dress code. Students are not allowed to wear jeans, flip flops, gym shoes, pajama bottoms, sweatsuits, or shirts without collars outside the dormitories.[67][68]


A building on campus

The John Hurst Adams Administrative Building, formerly Price-Branch Classroom Building, contains the presidential suite administrative offices and classrooms. In the fall of 2011, two fully interactive technology classrooms were built on the second level of the building. These classrooms have state of the art video conferencing capability.

The Isabel and Comer Cottrell Student Union Building, also known as the SUB, was completed in 1970. The SUB includes the cafe, the Tiger's Den, the student lounge, and the student workout facility. In the fall of 2012, the institution will convert the student workout facility into the Quinnite Retention Center, a 24-hour study facility that will aide in the College's efforts to improve retention rates. The space that was formerly the campus bookstore will now be a state of the art gym facility that students, staff, and faculty can use. The Grand Lounge is the campus' primary meeting space. It is also where the weekly Chapel services are held.

The Richard Allen Chapel, formerly Carr P. Collins Chapel, completed in 1970, is currently under renovation. The lawn of the Chapel is the venue for the annual commencement exercises. Completed in 1970, it serves as the religious education building.

The gymnasium was completed in 1961. In spring 2011, the gymnasium was outfitted with a new HVAC system.

Zale Library was completed in 1963. The library contains a 9x23 foot mural that was painted by artist Louis Freund in 1968. The mural depicts the progression and struggles of African-Americans in the pursuit of an education. In spring 2011, more than 900 volumes of legal publications were donated by Hunton & Williams, LLP to start the Paul Quinn College Law Library.

The school has one residence hall, the Lucy Hughes Hall, formerly Pearl C. Anderson hall. the dormitory for females opened in 1969 as a facility of Bishop College. It currently serves men and women. The other dormitory buildings were demolished in a 15-building demolition that began in 2010.[69] The campus is gated.

The campus is 91 miles (146 km) from Waco, 190 miles (310 km) from Austin, 230 miles (370 km) from Houston, and 520 miles (840 km) from New Orleans.[70]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Paul Quinn College was featured in the 2007 movie The Great Debaters starring Denzel Washington.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Connolly, Matt, "Bringing a College Back From the Brink, The Atlantic, September 19, 2016
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Paul Quinn College". Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  7. ^ [1], Texas State History Online
  8. ^ [2], Paul Quinn College Website
  9. ^ "Dressing Like the Big Man on Campus," Fox News. Accessed September 28, 2008.
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ "Paul Quinn Loses Accreditation". Inside Higher Ed. Jun 26, 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  12. ^ "Questions Regarding Status of Paul Quinn College" (PDF). Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. December 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  13. ^ "PepsiCo and Paul Quinn College Seed a New Enterprise with the Creation of an Urban Farm From a Football Field", Press Release, Fritolay.
  14. ^ Marybeth Gasman, "There's Something Good Happening in Texas", Chronicle of Higher Education, July 1, 2010
  15. ^ Archived 2012-07-01 at WebCite
  16. ^ "Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools: Institutions". Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  17. ^
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  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ The Dallas Morning News. July 14, 2011.
  22. ^ Fox News
  23. ^ Austin American-Statesman.
  24. ^ Connecticut Post.
  25. ^ a b The Columbus, IN Republic.
  26. ^ a b c d Adelson, Eric (October 31, 2013). "Saying no to football paid off for one small Texas college thanks in part to the Cowboys". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  27. ^ The Victoria Advocate.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-07-19. . Salt Lake City Deseret News.
  30. ^ Yale News.
  31. ^ Edible Communities.
  32. ^ a b Texas Farm Bureau.
  33. ^ AgriLife Today.
  34. ^ United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Blog.
  35. ^ KJDL 1420.
  36. ^ Dallas Observer.
  37. ^ "About Us". Legends Hospitality. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  38. ^ D Magazine:
  39. ^ Dallas Observer.
  40. ^ Dallas South News:
  41. ^ Dallas Morning News:
  42. ^ Dallas Observer:
  43. ^ Dallas Morning News:
  44. ^ The Dallas Morning News:
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  47. ^ NBCDFW:
  48. ^ Dallas Morning News:
  49. ^ KERA:
  50. ^ Dallas Morning News:
  51. ^ Dallas Morning News:
  52. ^ 24Wired.TV:
  53. ^ Dallas South News:
  54. ^
  55. ^ a b Dallas Observer:
  56. ^ Dallas Observer:
  57. ^ The Dallas Morning News:
  58. ^ The Dallas Morning News:
  59. ^ WFAA:
  60. ^ WFAA:
  61. ^ The Dallas Morning News:
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^ Robert K Hoggard. "Verdict in Trayvon Martin case inspires scholarship at Paul Quinn College". Washington DC: HBCU Buzz Inc. 
  65. ^ a b
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^ "Visit us." Paul Quinn College. Retrieved on February 16, 2012.
  71. ^ Chris Saunders on set at TV-13 in The Bahamas
  72. ^ "Korey Williams". Retrieved 17 April 2014. 

External links[edit]