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Top Ranking Students Honored During Charter Day Convocation

 Huston-Tillotson University’s Top Ranking Students Honors During Charter Day Convocation
Rev. Zan W. Holmes, Jr. Offers an Inspiring Message

(AUSTIN, Texas) 11.3.14— Renowned pastor, theologian, author, and teacher Rev. Zan W. Holmes, Jr. returned to his alma mater, Huston-Tillotson University, in his usual eloquent, profound fashion to render the message during the Charter Day Convocation held in October.

Holmes, who brought the opening words during Dr. Larry L. Earvin’s inaugural program 15 years ago, set the tone for Earvin’s retirement year and final Charter Day Convocation as President and Chief Executive Officer. Weaving biblical scripture from Exodus 8:1, his personal journey, current events, and individual responsibility into his message, Holmes reminded the audience of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and HT friends that “there is no end to what we can do when we don’t care who gets the credit.”

HT’s 139th anniversary celebration also featured top ranking students by major as follows:  Biology, Lynn Georgia Nanjala, Kampala, Uganda; and Binta Sidibeh, Republic of Gambia, West Africa; Business Administration, Keisha N. Mack, Elgin, Texas; Rufaro Mukahadzi, Republic of Zimbabwe, South Africa; Tochukwu J. Nwozor, Federal Republic of Nigeria; and America Ramirez, Austin, Texas; Chemistry, Mariana Diaz-Moreno, Hutto, Texas; Sara Ashley Mackey, Nassau, Bahamas; Communication, Morghan J. Jones, Waco, Texas; Kiera S. Williams, Mesquite, Texas; Computer Information Systems, Queniqua Luckey, Fort Worth, Texas; Computer Science, Jyuno Daniels, Kyle, Texas; Abuchi Obiegbu, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Criminal Justice, Jermane D. Lloyd, Austin, Texas; Sandra G. Perez, Round Rock, Texas; Simone O.  Sawyer, Austin, Texas; and Khoryan Alexandria Strange, Mesquite, Texas;  Education, Natasha Higgins, Austin, Texas; and Nancy Janneth Mata, Austin Texas;  English, Stephanie M. Frausto, Austin, Texas; Sybil K. Hay, Austin, Texas; History, Derry Dydell, Jr., Pflugerville, Texas; and Brittany Raeyon White, Austin, Texas; Kinesiology, Tim Cooley, Hutto, Texas;
Angela E. Skaggs, Austin, Texas; and Ashlea M. Tolbert, Pflugerville, Texas; Mathematics, Igoboye Samuel Ned, Port Harcourt, Nigeria; and Raveen R. Robinson, Mesquite, Texas;  Music, Jalal T. Goggins, Austin, Texas; and Jessie J. Hardy, Houston, Texas; Political Science, Lafon T. Clark, Austin, Texas; David R. Payne, Austin, Texas; Psychology, Dominique T. Jones, Austin, Texas; and Allen Wright, Killeen, Texas;  Sociology,  Shaniqua R. Castille, Beaumont, Texas; and Kadiatu G. Jabbie, Houston, Texas.

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 with a tribute by Teresa G. Welborn, The United Methodist Church Austin District Superintendent.  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. Earvin has guided the University through several initiatives, including the recently 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, Allen- Frazier Residence Hall and Beard-Burrowes Residence Hall; the construction of a Communication Center; and the recently initiated renovation of the Mary E. Branch Gymnasium and auditorium locker rooms.

The Charter Day program featured the concert choir under the direction of Dr. Gloria Quinlan singing the Mark Hayes arrangement of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Rodgers and Hammerstein; and showcased the elite combo under the direction of Dr. Javier Stuppard performing an original instrumental piece with vocals titled, “Valerie Went Back to Being Superstitious”.

The 2014 program concluded with the grand reopening of the renovated Allen-Frazier and Beard-Burrowes residence halls, and tours of the 100-year old Anthony and Louise Viaer-Alumni Hall.