The clouds parted, the sun appeared, and Tyler Junior College and Lindale officials stood together on Wednesday morning and cut the ribbon heralding the opening of TJC North.
TJC North provides Lindale and its surrounding communities with access to general education classes, nursing programs and the recently launched TJC Veterinary Technician Program.
An 8,500-square-foot facility located in The Cannery, Lindale’s new entertainment/retail/residential complex, TJC North is the result of a collaboration between TJC, leaders from the city and surrounding areas, community members and business and industry representatives.
Wednesday’s grand opening had a festival atmosphere, with TJC and Lindale leaders in attendance, Lindale High School band members and cheerleaders providing entertainment, and LHS culinary arts students providing refreshments they created.
Also present was a contingent of Lindale TJC Promise students, LHS freshmen who will graduate in 2020 and – through hard work and maintaining good grades – will receive up to two years of tuition and fees at TJC.
Dr. Juan E. Mejia, TJC provost and vice president of academic and student affairs, provided the opening welcome.
“TJC is a powerhouse institution, and East Texas has a magic about itself, and its people, for coming together to do great things,” Mejia said. “I recall the first meetings with the city of Lindale, and how passionate they were about coming together and being a force of change for their community.”
TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said, “We’ve long talked about being the largest single-campus college; but, in 2008, we met and thought about taking the college to the people. So, we came to Lindale and got the kind of welcome you’re seeing today. You were all in.
“Today, this is a major new step. Lindale stepped up in 2008 and has stepped up even more now, to provide the location and the incredible support you’re seeing.”
TJC Board President Ann W. Brookshire addressed the crowd on behalf of her fellow trustees.
“The board joins me in celebrating the power of education,” Brookshire said. “We all firmly believe that education is the best equalizer out there. Our board collectively supports this venture with the Lindale City Council, the Economic Development Council, and Lindale ISD as we move forward to educate our communities.”
Interim dean of TJC North is Dr. Cliff Boucher, longtime TJC biology professor and former chair of the life sciences and agriculture department.
Boucher himself is an alumnus of TJC and marveled at its growth from a campus of 2,200 when he was a student to today’s enrollment of more than 11,000.
“And now, as I move my focus to TJC North, my hope and my goal is to watch TJC North grow as well,” Boucher said.
“We will reach out to all of those communities in the north, and we will give those students a pathway to education and they will come right here to Lindale.”
Lindale Mayor Jeff Daugherty said, “Our council, myself and the mayors before me, have done great things to help us grow. We take great pride in our community, and we take great pride that TJC is a part of Lindale.”
Lindale ISD Board President Kelly Cox expressed his gratitude on behalf of the board; and Daniel Seguin, president of the TJC Student Senate President and vice president of TJC’s Alpha Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, addressed the Lindale students present and challenged them to take advantage of the opportunity for higher education and make a difference in the world.
Following the ceremony, attendees toured the facility, which includes a state-of-the-art animal surgical suite, complete with canine simulator; a nursing skills lab complete with human simulators; a treatment room; and general classroom space.
For more information on TJC North and its offerings, go to www.tjc.edu/TJCNorth.