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Alumnus Rev. Zan W. Holmes, Jr. Returns for the Charter Day Convocation

(AUSTIN, Texas) 10.16.14 — Renowned pastor, theologian, author, and teacher, Rev. Zan W. Holmes, Jr., will bring the keynote address during Huston-Tillotson University’s Charter Day Convocation on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, at 10 a.m. on the campus in the King-Seabrook Chapel. 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—will be honored during the Charter Day celebration that also signifies the 139th year anniversary of the institution.

Charter Day represents the official celebration of the Trustees’ signing of the State of Texas Charter of Incorporation that established Huston-Tillotson College (now 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 a history dating back to 1875. The University remains affiliated with both denominations and has an enrollment of 1,031 students, the highest enrollment since the 1952 merger reflecting 15 years of consecutive enrollment increases.

Dr. Larry L. Earvin, entering his 15th and retirement year as President and Chief Executive Officer, has guided the University through several initiatives including, the launch of a master’s degree in educational leadership with the principal certification and the fast-growing Adult Degree Program; renovated residence halls; accredited Department of Business Administration within the School of Business and Technology (SBT) by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP); the rigorous review by the Texas Education Agency of the Educator Preparation Program (EPP) that yielded outstanding results; the renovation of the Downs-Jones Library; the construction of a Communication Center, and upgrades to the Mary E. Branch Gymnasium.

Holmes, a 1956 graduate, earned two graduate degrees from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, Texas. He was an adjunct professor of preaching at SMU for 24 years. He is also pastor emeritus of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church in Dallas, where he served for 28 years.  Known as much for his community activism as his preaching and teaching, Holmes was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from 1968 to 1972, while he also served as The United Methodist Church District Superintendent.  He is the author of several books and is widely known for his role as narrator and host of the well known Disciple I Bible Study video series produced by Abingdon Press.  In 1991, then Governor Ann Richards appointed him to be the first African American to serve on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, a position he held from 1991 to 1997.  Finally, he is recognized by the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama, as one of the civil rights movement’s “Invisible Giants.”

The Charter Day program profiles top ranking seniors, features the concert choir under the direction of Dr. Gloria Quinlan, and showcases the elite combo under the direction of Dr. Javier Stuppard.           

Charter Day Convocation is free and open to the public.  Huston-Tillotson University        is located at 900 Chicon Street with parking on Chalmers Avenue. For more information call 512.505.3073.