The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC students-turned-teachers share memories of when college was new, more involved

By Vijoleta Nikolic/reporter

With the largest opening day enrollment of any community college at that time, TCC (then Tarrant County Junior College) opened its doors on South Campus for fall 1967.

Today, TCC is the seventh largest college in Texas. According to three professors, Tony Giardino, David Clinkscale and Joy Thetford, who used to be students, with the exception of just a few things, the school has really changed.

Perhaps the main reason TCC was an obvious choice for many students was its relative affordability. When TCC first opened, one credit hour cost $4.

“When it went to $6, I complained to everyone about what I thought to be an outrageous 50 percent increase,” said Giardino, South government assistant professor. “In 1981, you could attend 12 hours AND buy your books for $100 or so.”

Life has changed for students, Giardino said.

“Financially, younger students have it harder today. In the early 1980s, no one had cell phone and cable bills, and, as a matter of fact, no one was required to have car insurance. Energy [gas and utilities] were very cheap,” he said. “Consequently, none of the people I knew ever even thought about student loans. Today, many people graduate from college with what amounts to a mortgage.”

Another change that has been drastic is the lack of “campus life” nowadays, said Thetford, a NE physical education professor.

“When I went to school on Fridays, we would stay at school until they ran us out. We felt the college experience,” she said. “I remember we were the Vikings, and we even had our own school colors. School was fun. Today, students go to class and can’t wait to go home whether it’s because they have to go work or have other plans outside of school.”

Clinkscale, South history/government associate professor, pointed out the demographics of the student body are also very different.

“Today, the people that are going to school are much older than when I went to school,” he said.

The level of involvement from students has decreased as well, Clinkscale said.

“On top of my classes, I participated in clubs, and I was very involved in the campus newspaper,” he said.

At that time, every campus had its own paper, Clinkscale said.

Some things have changed very little, such as graduation requirements, curriculum and basic courses offered. But Clinkscale said many classes taught when he attended aren’t available any longer, such as anthropology, ecological studies and specialized ethnic classes. The school also no longer offers competitive intercollegiate sports teams such as volleyball and basketball.

Some of Clinkscale’s most memorable times attending TCC were the excitement of being part of a new class at a new college.

And he remembers the mud.

“Since none of the landscaping was done, when it rained, we had to walk through the mud to get to our classes,” he said.

The college offered Clinkscale more than academics.

“My experience at TCC was an enriching kind of experience,” he said.

For a few years, no classes were offered 10-10:50 a.m. That time served as an activity period, where students who were involved in clubs and school activities could have meetings.

Thetford said her most memorable times at TCC were enrolling for NE Campus, but since it was not finished on time, students had to attend classes on South Campus.

“When the campus was finally finished, we were so happy to go to school there even though the gym was not yet done,” she said. “We had to go to Bedford Boys Ranch, and I remember participating in activities such as archery and gymnastics.”

Giardino relished the whole community college experience.

“Even the most fertile imagination is incapable of grasping the lifelong opportunities that come with a college education,” he said.

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