Texas Southmost College
Texas Southmost College was established in 1926 under the name of The Junior College of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and admitted its first class on September 21 of that year. The school was originally a subsidiary of the local school district in Brownsville. It has been located in Brownsville since its inception; from 1928 to 1948 it was housed with the Brownsville High School and Elementary Schools on Palm Boulevard between Washington Street and Jefferson Street. Despite hard times during the Great Depression the college continued to maintain nominal levels of enrollment. The name of the college changed in 1931 to Brownsville Junior College then again to Texas Southmost College in 1950. During World War II due to wartime mobilization enrollment dwindled, with the number of graduates halved from 1943–1945. A major improvement came in 1948 when the city of Brownsville acquired the lands formerly comprising the decommissioned army base known as Fort Brown, which had been closed in 1946. By 1948, when the college had an enrollment of around 1,250 students, their own campus, and a generous budget, talks had started within the school district about creating a separate district for the college. It was decided that the new district would cover southern Cameron County. In 1950, on the silver anniversary of the college, the Brownsville Independent School District handed over the deed to the college over to the newly formed Southmost Union Junior College District.
The Texas Southmost College athletics program flourished in the 1950s: the school had football, basketball, boxing and track teams and many of these teams won accolades for their performance. Unfortunately, in the mid- to late-1960s the TSC athletic program experienced a great decline and many competitive programs did not survive into the 70's. In the 1960s, despite the declining competitive situation of the sports programs, the college gained the Rancho Del Cielo research center, located 300 miles south of Brownsville, in Mexico. This few acre research center has abundant plant life and rain forest climatic conditions. In 1973 Texas Southmost College began offering its first bachelor's degree programs and graduate courses in cooperation with Pan American University (later known as University of Texas–Pan American and located in Edinburg, Texas). This was the origin of the entity known as Pan American University at Brownsville, which worked independently from Texas Southmost College. In the late 1980s Pan American University created a partnership with the University of Texas System and the entity in Brownsville became known as The University of Texas–Pan American at Brownsville. Texas Southmost College and The University of Texas–Pan American at Brownsville combined their educational functions as The University of Texas at Brownsville on September 1, 1991. This created the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. After 1991 UTB/TSC continued to grow, eventually boasting over 10,000 students. On November 2, 2004, voters in the Texas Southmost College district voted yes to a $68-million bond package so the college could do a number of building projects.
End of educational partnership with the University of Texas at Brownsville
On November 10, 2010, the University of Texas System Board of Regents voted to end the University of Texas at Brownsville's educational partnership with Texas Southmost College as it stood. On February 17, 2011, the TSC Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to separate from UTB. UT–Brownsville and Texas–Pan American have subsequently merged to form the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley.
Texas Southmost College presidents
- Lily F. Tercero 2011–present
- Juliet V. García 1986–2011
- Robert Phillips 1985–1986
- Albert Besteiro 1977–1985
- Arnulfo Oliveira 1971–1977
- William Walton 1970–1971
- Quentin Bogart 1968–1970
- C. J. Garland 1953–1968
- John Barron 1950–1953(*)
Note: All college presidents before 1950 were also BISD superintendents
Brownsville Junior College presidents
- John Barron 1945–1950
- Ben Brite 1941–1945
- E. C. Dodd 1934–1941
- G. W. Gotke 1931–1934(**)
Junior College of the Lower Rio Grande Valley presidents
- G. W. Gotke 1928–1931
- Thomas J. Yoe 1926–1928
(*) John Barron was simultaneously superintendent of the BISD and president of TSC from 1950–1953.
(**) Gotke's double entry was put to denote the college name change in 1931.
- Chilton, Carl Jr. (2001) "The First 70 Years: A History of Higher Education in Brownsville"
- The Brownsville Herald (2011) "TSC taps Tercero: Trustees to negotiate contract for new president"
- The Brownsville Herald (2010) "UT Board of Regents votes to terminate UTB/TSC partnership"
- The Brownsville Herald (2011) "TSC Trustees vote 4-3 to split with UTB"