Tarleton State, MCC celebrate innovative 20-year partnership

TSU Newsroom

WACO — It started as a revolutionary idea: Ask the best state-supported universities in Texas to provide their programs right on the campus of a community college so students could earn an associate and subsequent degrees close to home. Make the degrees affordable and the entire experience exceptional.

Students, faculty and staff of Tarleton State University-Waco celebrate the university's 20-year partnership as the largest member of McLennan Community College's University Center.

McLennan Community College’s transformative concept included an invite in 2001 for Tarleton State University to become the second of five partner institutions known as MCC’s University Center in Waco. This week, Tarleton and MCC celebrated 20 years of shared space in the Michaelis Academic Center and the forward thinking that makes it possible.

“We’ve been breaking down barriers and taking giant steps in educational opportunity since our founding in 1899,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “We’re honored to be part of McLennan’s University Center. Together we’re making university degrees possible for students who otherwise might not have the chance.”

Recalling early discussions between former McLennan and Tarleton presidents, current MCC President Johnette McKown said the institutions were unwavering in their quest to bring state-supported, four-years-and-beyond education to Central Texas.

“It was an act of faith for Dr. (Dennis) McCabe and his (Tarleton) team,” she said. “From the beginning, Tarleton has invested resources in our community to provide opportunity for our citizens. Over the past two decades, with the continued leadership of Dr. (Dominic) Dottavio and now Dr. Hurley, our partnership has flourished. The future is bright as both institutions move forward for the success of our students.”

Two decades ago Tarleton’s enrollment at MCC’s University’s Center was less than three dozen. Today it’s 1,000, with 4,400 graduates over the 20-year collaboration.

Tarleton offers more than 30 undergraduate and graduate programs in Waco, including a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies. Seamless degree paths make it easy to begin at MCC and then transfer to Tarleton to complete the bachelor’s, saving dollars and class hours.

“When companies consider a move to Central Texas, they ask about the education of the area’s workforce as well as opportunities available to the employees and families who relocate,” said state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson (District 56). “MCC, its University Center and Tarleton are a great solution.”

Although Anderson could not attend today’s celebration, his District Director, Elaine Slaughter, presented both schools a state resolution applauding their commitment to provide Central Texas students with the knowledge and skills necessary for rewarding careers.

Calling Central Texas a national model for economic growth, Waco Mayor Dillon Meek said Tarleton and MCC’s strategic partnership complements the city’s commitment to prosperity for all Waco residents.

“Higher education institutions and municipalities nationwide are catching on to the power of town and gown, combining knowledge and resources to bring about permanent good,” he said. “Tarleton, MCC and Waco have been doing it successfully for 20 years.”

A proclamation from the city of Waco declared today “Tarleton State University-Waco 20th Anniversary Day.”

“Our partnership with MCC enables us both to accomplish more than we could alone,” Dr. Hurley said. “We’re turning Central Texas into a hub for educational excellence.”

Tarleton’s partnership with MCC includes dual admission at both schools, reverse transfer of coursework, a financial aid consortium and scholarship opportunities. Classes are offered days and evenings, on select weekends and online. Discover more at tarleton.edu/waco, or call 254-299-8322.