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Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Celebrated HT’s 137th Anniversary

“History is our defining moment, and I call on you to cherish it.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

(AUSTIN, Texas) — The most influential and forceful voice in Washington, D.C., Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, rendered the keynote address during Huston-Tillotson University’s Charter Day Convocation held Friday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. on the campus in King-Seabrook Chapel. The commemoration of two higher education institutions—Tillotson College, founded by what is now the United Church of Christ, and Samuel Huston College, founded by The United Methodist Church—were honored during the Charter Day celebration that included pre- and post- events.

Charter Day represents the official designated celebration of the Trustees’ signing of the State of Texas Charter of Incorporation that established Huston-Tillotson College (now known as Huston-Tillotson University). The 1952 merger created one of the largest black Protestant church-related colleges in the country at that time. HT, an historically black institution, has the proud distinction of being Austin’s first institution of higher education with roots dating back to 1875. The University remains a private, church-affiliated institution that is currently home to nearly 1,000 students of varying ethnic, racial and religious heritage with the majority being African American.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee has served for 18 years and is in the midst of her ninth term as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston. She has served on various committees, including Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Judiciary, and currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.  She was chairwoman of that same committee during the 110th and 111th Congress, advocating for support of enhanced technology, better intelligence, increased airplane cargo inspections, increased security for railroads, and implementation of the 9/11 Commission report.  She is also a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee where she is a leader on Bullying Prevention.  As a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, she serves as First Vice Chair, Chair of the Energy Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Redistricting Task Force for the 112th Congress.  She also represents the Congressional Black Caucus on immigration reform issues. 

Congresswoman Jackson Lee earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in political science from Yale University, followed by a jurisprudence degree from the University of Virginia Law School. 

The Charter Day program profiled top ranking seniors, featured the concert choir under the direction of Gloria Quinlan, and showcased the jazz combo under the direction of Javier Stuppard.

The week of activities will close on Sunday, Oct. 28 with worship at St. Mary Baptist Church, 1202 Pecan Street West where alumnus Rev. Richard Coaxum is the pastor.  Service begins at 11 a.m.

Pictured are HT President Larry L. Earvin, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, HT Concert Choir Director Gloria Quinlan, and the concert choir members.