It’s impossible to know exactly what John Tarleton had in mind for the university bearing his name. His dream was to create an institution of higher education for students of modest means.
Today, that dream is a reality. Tarleton State University offers an affordable, high-quality education and boasts graduates whose accomplishments would leave its founder filled with pride.
This monthly column, by an anonymous university author, looks at the school’s progress, issues of our time, achievements and challenges through the eyes of John Tarleton—a dreamer’s point of view.
Tarleton leaders understand that a student body as culturally rich as the society that graduates someday will lead increases the value of a university education. That’s why they do everything possible to ensure and promote diversity.
The number of Hispanic students is up 23 percent, and Excelencia in Education recently identified Tarleton as an Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution.
That makes me proud.
Black student enrollment is up 7 percent, and almost 90 international students from 24 countries are Tarleton Texans.
Admission for all Tarleton students—freshmen, transfers and graduates—is based solely on scholarship. Applications ask about race and gender, but responses are completely optional. Answers don’t influence acceptance.
Tarleton’s growing diversity is due in large part to its strong reputation as a university that supports and empowers every student—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or age. It’s good news that travels fast.
Students like Lura Rylant and Ana Gutierrez-Perez had their sights set on big city universities but changed their minds when they caught wind of Tarleton’s commitment to diversity and cultural awareness. They can’t say enough good things about our warm yet structured feel, class size, and faculty, staff and community support.
Past president of Tarleton’s Student Government Association, Lura comes from a black-white-Native American background, and Ana was the association’s first Hispanic vice president (and Ms. TSU 2015). Both graduated in May.
Tarleton’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion constantly looks for ways to celebrate and honor diversity, embrace differences and support all students.
Because of programs like MENtal Freedom, criminal justice major Andre McQuitty Jr. will graduate this December. When he wanted to quit, his MENtal Freedom peers and advisors asked for one more semester.
MENtal Freedom encourages underrepresented males to improve their lives and the lives of others by getting a college degree.
The office promotes a range of activities—from speakers and events to cultural festivities—to create a true university family.
Students are encouraged to overcome obstacles, complete their higher education and become change agents as part of Black History Month. A diversity dialogue takes place each spring in honor of Women’s History Month, and Tarleton’s annual Hispanic Heritage Street Dance includes educational and interactive experiences that promote civility and inclusion.
Members of Tarleton’s International Student Organization and the Texan Embassy go out of their way to help students from places around the world feel at home, providing academic and social opportunities that support success and build cultural awareness.
When freshman Khadija Fraser, from the Bahamas, landed in Dallas, transportation to Stephenville was waiting. Neha Gulati, from India, is a fan of the university’s monthly International Coffee Break, where students and professors get to know each other.
Tarleton’s chapter of Kappa Delta Chi is one of the strongest Latina sororities in the country, and there’s the Academically High Achievers Mentoring Program for first-generation students.
Even new minor degree programs—Ethnic and Cultural Studies and Hispanic Studies—proclaim the extent to which Tarleton wants to be an open door.
While other universities celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold affirmative action in college admissions, we choose to celebrate our students—all of them!