Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute was chartered in 1877, with Rev. William E. Brooks serving as the first president of the institute. Rev. John Kershaw was inaugurated as president in 1885, until Rev. Henry L. Hubbell took over the following year. Hubbell served for three years, during which full four-year college courses were instituted, until Rev. William A. Brown became president in 1889.
During the Institute's early years, a music hall, Allen Hall, and a women's dormitory were constructed in 1881. Another womenâs dormitory, Beard Hall, was built in the 1890s. Presidents during the 1890s and early 1900s included: Rev. Winfield S. Goss (1894), who was followed by Rev. Marshall R. Gaines; Rev. Arthur W. Partsch (1905); and Dr. Isaac Merritt Agard (1907). The school became newly chartered as Tillotson College in 1909, and was recognized as a junior college by the Texas State Department of Education in 1925.
A chemistry building, Evans Industrial Building was constructed in 1912, followed by an administration building in 1915. Rev. Francis Wayland Fletcher became president in the 1910s and served until J. T. Hodges became the first African American president of the college in 1924. March E. Branch became the first female president in 1930.
The school was upgraded as a senior college and the high school was discontinued in 1931. It was approved as a Class "B" college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (SACSA) in 1933. The first Greek letter organization established a chapter at the school during the early 1930s, and the school received its first pastor in 1935.Â The decade also saw Tillotson admitted to membership in the American Association of Colleges, the foundation of a football team, and the establishment of a college coop. The Home Management House was erected in 1936, and a men's dormitory was built the following year.
Tillotson received an "A" rating by the SACSA in 1943. Mary E. Branch died, and was replaced by William H. Jones. In 1944, the American Missionary Association first formally considered the merger of Sam Huston College, operated by the Methodist Church, and Tillotson. The merger occurred in 1952, and Matthew S. Davage became president of the combined institution. Dr. Robert F. Harrington, former President of Sam Huston College, became the Vice President of Public Relations, and William H. Jones, former President of Tillotson College, was made the Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction. Davage retired in 1955 and was replaced by John J. Seabrook, who served through 1958.
The name of the institution was changed from Huston-Tillotson College to Huston-Tillotson University in 2005.
American Missionary Association archives 1969 addendum
Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:
The papers of Matthew S. Davage contains sermons, addresses, reports, clippings, pamphlets, honors and a single letter from Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. A report for 1950-1951 for the Department of Higher Education for Negroes of the Methodist Church when Davage headed that department is present. Several of the speeches are on African Americans, the Methodist Church, race relations, and one on Abraham Lincoln.