Office Of The President
For more than a century, hundreds of students have arrived at Huston-Tillotson University to begin their journey toward the goal and rewards of a college education. Many, but fewer than in earlier days, are first generation college students. For now 140 years, dedicated professors have challenged eager HT students to see in themselves the talent and potential for success. Since 1875, the sons and daughters of HT have made a dramatic difference in the quality of life for the communities and people they touch.
First generation students are often faced with academic challenges. These students are often easily intimidated and overwhelmed when faced with new academic demands.
Huston-Tillotson provides diverse students a proven environment for academic success. In the fall of 2011, the ethnicity of the student body was 69% African American, 19% Hispanic, 6% Anglo, 3% International, and less than 1% multiracial. The University provides access to an affordable higher education. Ninety-four percent of HT’s undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid.
True to its roots, Huston-Tillotson embraces the responsibility of intellectually challenging well prepared students while offering the less prepared an opportunity to reach their full potential. This sweeping commitment leads us to recruit across the spectrum of ability. If that young person has the aptitude to succeed, we want to be a vehicle for their success.
Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D.
- Harvard University, Cambridge Institute for Educational Management, Certificate
- Emory University, Doctor of Philosophy
- Georgia State University, Master of Science
- Clark College, Bachelor of Arts
Recent Honors And Awards
- National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Award in Education (2006)
- Christian A. Johnson Educational Leadership Program
- Links of Austin Award for Leadership in International Affairs (2003)
- Texan of the Year in Higher Education (2002)
- President, Huston-Tillotson University, Austin (2000 to present)
- Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, Clark Atlanta University (1993-2000)
- Associate Provost and Acting Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, Clark Atlanta University (1992-1993)
- Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Clark Atlanta University (1989-1990)
- Dean of the College, Clark Atlanta University (1988-1989)
- Interim Dean of Faculty and Instruction, Clark College (1987-1988)
- Chair, Department of Social Science, and tenured professor of political science, Clark College (1981-1987)
- Associate Director, Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy, Clark College (1981-1984)
- Assistant Director, Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy, Clark College (1975-1981)
- Assistant Director, Atlanta Housing Policy Study, City of Atlanta and Clark College (1973-1975)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Chair (2013)
- Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Board of Directors
- The Long Center for the Performing Arts
- Executive Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc. (NAICU)
- Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc. (ICUT)
- Council for Higher Education of the United Church of Christ
- Amistad Research Center (New Orleans)
- Capital Area United Way
- National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (Washington, D.C.)
- Texas Association for Developing Colleges (Dallas)
- Texas Campus Compact
- United Negro College Fund (Fairfax, VA)
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
- Austin Area Research Organization
- Commission on Black Colleges of The United Methodist Church (Chair)
- Gamma Gamma Boulé, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
- Philosophical Society of Texas
- University Senate of The United Methodist Church
- Wesley United Methodist Church
Board Of Directors
- Austin Area Urban League
- Council of Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc. (Treasurer)
- Alpha Phi Alpha Building Foundation
- Greenlights for Nonprofit Success (Austin)
- Literacy Volunteers of America – Metropolitan Atlanta
- Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Butler Street YMCA, Atlanta, Board of Managers
- Clark College Trustees
- Gammon Theological Seminary, Board of Visitors
- American Council on Education
- Executive Council of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
- 100 Black Men of America
- American Academy of Political science
- American Educational Research Association
- Atlanta Consortium for Urban Research and Evaluation
- National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
- Faculty Resource Network (New York University), University Liaison
- Leadership Alliance (Brown University)
- Project Kaleidoscope (Washington, D.C.), Senior Advisor
Articles And Editorials
- Austin American-Statesman, Feb. 20, 2015
- Austin American-Statesman, January 31, 2014
- Tribeza magazine, August 2004, “Perspective”
- Austin American-Statesman, February 2004, Black History Month Editorial
Austin American-Statesman Editorials
Why a black university today, you ask? Let me tell you why
January 31, 2014
By Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D.
A forbearer of today’s Huston-Tillotson University began educating freed slaves and their sons and daughters on Bluebonnet Hill in East Austin. Now in our 139th year, we are alive and well.
With God’s blessing, we will continue that mission for many years to come, with greater effectiveness, innovation and service to rapidly changing community needs.
Yet, we suddenly find our work threatened. First, 70 percent of our students receive federal aid, and now Congress is scrutinizing Pell Grants and other federal programs that benefit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This comes after “sequestration” of funds by Congress in 2012 put the squeeze on HBCUs. Huston-Tillotson is one of 105 HBCUs in our nation.
House Republicans have also declined to take up the president’s budget, which includes $228 million for HBCUs.
We are even hearing doubts from traditional supporters about whether a need remains for black colleges. “With major state universities and elite colleges aggressively pursuing minorities,” they ask, “what is the argument for a historically black institution?”
A new challenge comes from President Barack Obama, who has proposed a college rating system that by 2018 would dispense money based on a set of metrics measuring outcomes.
Believe me, at HT we are determined to become more effective. I have no goals higher than increasing our six-year graduation rate, which is unacceptably low at 25 percent; increasing retention; restraining debt that becomes such a burden to our students and their parents; and strengthening our courses in science, technology, engineering and math to further prepare our students for the workplace.
But context is important in the application of metrics. We do not target the top 10 percent of students. We open our arms and accept 90 percent of students who arrive with a high school diploma, and, therefore, our graduation rates will be lower and are hard to compare with those of elite universities.
Our endowment is a modest $10 million, a sliver of the $18.2 billion endowment of the University of Texas System as of February 2013.
Perhaps our modest financial predicament can be laid at our own doorstep. In the past we have not reached out as aggressively as we should to reach corporate and personal philanthropy in the Austin community, where more than 2,000 of our graduates live, work, pay taxes and raise their children.
But for those who suggest HBCUs are mere artifacts of a distant and racist past, a past now purified by law and good intentions, let me firmly disagree. The need for HBCUs has never been greater than it is today.
Yes, the leaders of major universities have done extraordinary work in making a place for high-achieving minority students. Yet, we know that access to these public institutions is increasingly at risk because of a U.S. Supreme Court that looks skeptically at affirmative action, and hints that its end will come.
We — Huston-Tillotson and our sister HBCUs — are a different force in our society.
At Huston-Tillotson, the minority student is at the center of the educational experience; he or she is not a student assigned to a special category, no matter how importantly that category is regarded and cultivated.
Majority institutions can be extraordinary opportunities for the top 10 percent of minority high school graduates, but they can be rugged places for minorities who work hard but are often first-generation college students coming from families where there is little home technology or other opportunities of affluence. Those students can feel isolated among more privileged students.
At Huston-Tillotson, we know we must change and adapt. We are not looking for a free ride from the taxpayer. We have opened our doors to all young people, and our student population now is 17 percent Hispanic. The black majority is at 77 percent, with the balance being white or of mixed race or foreign nationality.
We live in a time when a high school diploma no longer guarantees a job. Not even a bachelor’s degree assures employment. The jobless rate for blacks remains twice that of whites in an economy that struggles with job creation.
Now is not the time to weaken support for HBCUs, which could mean closing a key door of opportunity in our great American democracy. Now is the time to cast open these doors wider. That, I submit, is a challenge for all citizens who believe in protecting economic and social mobility in our nation.
Dr. Larry L. Earvin has been president and chief executive officer of Huston-Tillotson since 2000, and is the fifth person to lead the institution. Article published in the Austin American-Statesman.
Mental Partnership Will Help Both Institutions
February 20, 2105
Huston-Tillotson University and the University of Texas have grown up with Austin, and both have played vital roles in our city’s story.
Those roles have been different: HT is a historically black institution; while UT Austin is a public research university. But both have been essential — for the students who have learned there, the leaders these campuses have produced and the communities that have evolved alongside and along with us.
This week marks a new chapter in our intertwined story. On Tuesday, we launched a partnership dedicated to improving mental, physical and behavioral health across Austin, especially among underserved populations.
Huston-Tillotson University, the Dell Medical School at UT Austin, and Austin Travis County Integral Care will jointly create a team dedicated to producing combined training programs, research and new models of care — all with a goal of helping to make Austin a model healthy city and reduce disparities in access to care.
Huston-Tillotson and UT Austin also will jointly appoint a faculty member to manage what will be known as the Sandra Joy Anderson Community Health and Wellness Center, which will be located at Huston-Tillotson in East Austin, as well as the services it provides and the medical student training conducted there.
This project is unprecedented for each of our institutions. For Huston-Tillotson, it offers a unique chance to scale up health services that our community needs. And it marks a big step forward in the Dell Medical School’s efforts to help all Travis County residents get and stay healthy.
This collaboration will give HT and UT students more opportunities to learn and grow, and it will allow our universities to work with our community to develop new, culturally appropriate models of care. The Community Health and Wellness Center also will help relieve the strain on Travis County’s mental health resources, adding treatment options and services that residents and taxpayers need.
The center also will play an important role in the vital, inclusive health ecosystem that our institutions and other partners are working to create in Austin. Ultimately, it is envisioned to be a $35 million complex that will help address mental health disparities, increase health and wellness across our community, add to the number of African-American mental health physicians in Central Texas, and serve the medical needs of HT students and faculty.
And by helping to implement integrated models of behavioral and physical health care at Huston-Tillotson, the partnership will further the goals of the Dell Medical School in its partnership with Central Health — the Travis County health care district — to improve the delivery of care to uninsured and vulnerable residents across the county. Huston-Tillotson is working with CommUnity Care, which provides services at 25 locations across Travis County, to potentially provide primary care services at the Community Health and Wellness Center.
The center itself stands as a testament to the connection between our institutions. It will be named in honor of the late daughter of Huston-Tillotson alumna Ada Cecilia Collins Anderson, who attended Austin’s two predominantly black colleges, Samuel Huston and Tillotson, before they were merged. Anderson also received her master’s degree from UT Austin in 1965.
This partnership provides a powerful demonstration of why Travis County residents voted in 2012 to create a medical school at UT Austin and invest in our community’s health. It shows that partners such as Huston-Tillotson will be essential to achieving the goals and the vision that the public and so many institutions share.
We hope this effort will inspire many more such collaborations. In every sense, they make this community better.
Earvin has been president of Huston-Tillotson University since 2000. Johnston is inaugural Dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.
Federal College Ratings Won’t Work For Texas HBCUs
President Obama’s College Ratings
April 22, 2015
Larry L. Earvin, Haywood L. Strickland, Dwight Fennell and Lester Newman
We are the presidents of four Texas historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Wiley College in Marshall, Texas College in Tyler and Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins.
At a time when a college degree has become the minimum prerequisite for almost all of the best and fastest growing jobs and career paths, the degrees that our institutions award—a total of 8,718 in the quarter-century since 1986—make an important difference in the lives of those graduates and their families and communities.
The graduates we produce make an even bigger difference in a state like Texas that, according to the Lumina Foundation, lags behind the national average (39 percent) of college-educated adults by nearly 5 percentage points. The percentage of working-age Texans (ages 25-64) with at least an associate degree has increased by barely a percentage point over the last five years. Moreover, African-American students in Texas trail white students’ degree attainment by more than 15 percentage points.
The Texas economy and workforce need more college graduates. They need college-educated teachers, scientists, doctors and businesspeople to keep Texas prosperous and growing. They need more of the distinguished Americans who have earned their degrees from our institutions: men and women like Dr. James A. Harris, the Huston-Tillotson graduate and nuclear scientist who was a co-discoverer of two elements—Rutherfordium and Dubnium—that are now part of the periodic table of chemical elements; Wiley College graduate James Farmer, who was one of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders of the 1960s and 1970s, a group that included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis (both also HBCU graduates); Texas College graduate, civil rights advocate and philanthropist Billye Suber Aaron; and novelist and Jarvis Christian College graduate Michelle Stimpson.
We are concerned that the potential our institutions offer could be undermined by a rating system that the U.S. Department of Education wants to impose on the nation’s colleges and universities: scores based on graduation rates, loan repayment, salaries and career outcomes. Such a system is likely to hurt, not help, our institutions and diminish higher education access for the students who flourish at colleges like ours. Low-income students, students who are the first in their families to attend college and students who need to make up for an inadequate high school education may not perform at the same level as their counterparts from higher-income families, depressing the ratings of colleges like ours whose core mission is to serve just such students. Misleading ratings could even discourage these students from considering HBCUs.
Colleges and universities, including ours, should be accountable for the quality of higher education they deliver. Students and families can benefit greatly from getting meaningful information to help them make informed college choices.
But is the kind of simplistic, one-size-fits-all rating system the federal government seeks the right solution? Can a few oversimplified metrics capture the myriad factors that students weigh in picking a college that is the right fit for them; considering, for example, mission, campus culture, location and type of academic programs? Will a federal rating system make college more affordable? How will such a rating system avoid the efforts of competing colleges to game the system by admitting fewer at-risk students or inflating other metrics to artificially increase ratings—gaming that has been documented in the case of the US News & World Report ratings?
Our most serious objection to the rating system the federal Education Department wants is that it is a distraction from the hard work that needs to be done and from what students really need – more financial aid to defray the cost of college, more mentoring and support, and less red tape. Especially, students need the federal government to increase the purchasing power of Pell Grants, the primary federal student aid program for students at HBCUs and other low-income students, which now pay for the smallest share of the cost of college in the history of the program.
Since their founding more than 150 years ago, HBCUs have been dedicated to providing college educations to the nation’s most disadvantaged students. The federal Education Department should reward, not penalize, institutions like ours and other HBCUs which every day are lifting up thousands of students out of poverty and putting them on the path to the middle class. Tying well-intentioned, but ill-conceived, ratings to essential federal student aid could actually reduce the support that HBCUs and low-income students receive if they don’t select the college that the federal government rates as the appropriate choice.
That can’t be right.
Drs. Earvin, Strickland, Fennell and Newman are the presidents, respectively, of Huston-Tillotson University, Wiley College, Texas College and Jarvis Christian College
Click the link to the Austin American-Statesman article.
President Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D. Receives the SACSCOC Highest Award
(AUSTIN, Texas) 12.9.14 — Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D. was recently honored with the James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award, the highest award presented by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Earvin, who announced his retirement after 15 years of service as Huston-Tillotson University’s President and Chief Executive Officer, was recognized for his exceptional leadership and distinguished service in the higher education arena. His credentials surfaced from among the more than 800 SACSCOC member institutions.
During his HT term, Earvin placed the University in the national spotlight with his board and chair appointments, award-winning campus building renovations, enrollment increases, faculty recognitions, student initiatives, and Community Health and Wellness Center vision. He was elected chair of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees for 2013-2014 term, becoming the second African American to hold the top position. Earvin previously served on the Executive Council as vice chair, responsible for the interpretation of Commission policies and procedures. He was also elected to the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Board of Directors and the Amistad Research Center Board of Directors. Within The United Methodist Church, with which Huston-Tillotson University is affiliated, he serves as chair of the Commission on Black Colleges of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), chair of the Council of Presidents, a board member of the Committee on Planning and Implementation of the National Association of Schools and Colleges (NASCUMC), and as a member of the University Senate. He serves as a board member of Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators (EIIA), American Council on Education (ACE), the National Association for Equal Opportunities in Higher Education (NAFEO), the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Earvin’s HT retirement is June 30, 2015.
Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D.
President and CEO