Texas Southmost College

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Texas Southmost College, in Brownsville, was formally opened as a junior college on September 28, 1926, to serve the need for higher education in the lower Rio Grande area. The college was originally known as Brownsville Junior College. On February 12, 1947, negotiations were initiated with the War Assets Administration for acquiring a college site and properties at Fort Brown, which had been deactivated after World War II. The first classes were held on the new campus in June 1948. In November 1949 the Southmost Union Junior College District was created, and the school was henceforth known as Texas Southmost College. Complete separation of the college from the public schools took place in December 1950. In addition to several buildings obtained from the War Assets Administration, the college district built the Pink Bollworm Research Center, Cleve Tandy Liberal Arts Building, and a gymnasium. The Civic Center, owned by the city, was situated on the campus and was used jointly by the city and the college. The administration and natural sciences were housed in the former hospital complex, later referred to as Gorgas Science Center, a historical landmark. Zachary Taylor Library, supported by the college, the city, and Cameron County, was housed in Fort Brown Memorial Center and administered by the college. Building plans on the forty-five-acre campus called for additions of a library and college center and an administration wing attached to the Tandy Building.

The college's objectives were to provide two years of college work for transfer to four-year institutions, two years of specialized work in business, professional, or technical education, part-time adult education, enrichment courses of general interest, and a center for cultural development. The college offered associate in arts and associate in business degrees, as well as certificates of completion. The institution held membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the American Association of Junior Colleges, and the Texas Association of Junior Colleges. Enrollment in 1950 was distributed between academic and vocational branches, with 810 and 635 students in each branch, respectively. The major portion of the 1950 academic enrollment consisted of veterans taking evening courses. By the 1964–65 term, the vocational branch had been dropped, and 765 students were enrolled in the academic branch. The 1967 enrollment was 1,185, and the faculty numbered forty-six. During a fifteen-year period, library holdings increased from 6,800 to 41,696, and to 55,000 by 1969. Arnulfo Oliveira was president in 1974, when enrollment totaled 3,226. In 1973 Texas Southmost College established a four-year extension program in Brownsville with Pan American University (now University of Texas–Pan American). The school was known as Pan American University–Brownsville, and classes began in fall 1973; it became a separate entity in 1977. In September 1991 Texas Southmost College entered into a partnership with the school, now known as the University of Texas at Brownsville. Enrollment at Texas Southmost College was 5,850 for the 1992–93 regular term and 2,300 for the summer session, and there were 861 students in continuing education. There were 155 faculty members. Enrollment at UTB–TSC was 10,271 in the fall of 2000, with a faculty of 449. The president was Juliet V. García.

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Texas Southmost College is part of or belongs to the following places:

Date of Founding Notes

Classes first held in 1926 as The Junior College of the Lower Rio Grande Valley; 1931 as Brownsville Junior College; current name, 1949


  • President, Dr. Jesús Roberto Rodriguez 2017–Present

Currently Exists


Place type

Texas Southmost College is classified as a College or University

External Websites

Fall Faculty Count, 2019 View more »


Fall Enrollment Count, 2022 View more »