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

Editorial-Hadley’s legacy lies with her students

Editorial-Hadley’s legacy lies with her students

When we asked people to describe who Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley was as a person, several words seemed to repeat themselves.
Passionate.
Driven.
Fighter.
Strong.

Hadley encompassed all of those and so much more during her 47 years at the college.

TCC has prided itself on having only four chancellors in the 50 years it has existed. Hadley had no small task when she became the school’s fourth chancellor in 2010, but she managed to break down two large barriers in the process: becoming the first

woman and first African-American chancellor in the college’s history.

She began at the college during a time when a woman teaching at the college level, much less a woman of color, was not a common occurrence. As noted by her peers, though, Hadley had no shortage of determination and purpose in everything that she did, especially when it involved students.

The resounding echo of Hadley’s legacy is her passion and care for the students on a level that they may not ever realize.

It is not an easy feat to have a graduation class nearly double in size in a five-year span or to have the average number of students enrolled in the college increase by 2,700 each year. Students of that number don’t enroll or complete a degree in a college that isn’t doing anything for them. Hadley worked to ensure that the best that TCC could offer was given to students to ensure their success.

Awarded more than $12 million in federal and state grants to help start student success initiatives, Hadley helped launch programs to expand classes for those whose lives don’t fit the typical Monday-through-Friday schedule. This included creating the first full Weekend College for students to have more Saturday classes and establishing relationships with the surrounding school districts to create early college high schools, which allows students to get their college associate degrees while still working for their high school diplomas.

But greater than the programs and numbers was Hadley’s genuine care for the well-being of students on an individual level.

Those who worked closely with her can recall her taking the time to stop and ask students how they were doing.

“She would start with asking them how their day was and what they were studying,” board president Louise Appleman said. “Then she’d ask them, ‘What can we do to make the school better?’ She was always dedicated to making the school better for students.”

During a board meeting in June, several students were in attendance for a presentation. The meetings are held in downtown Fort Worth, which is not an easy nor cheap place to find parking. Many were parked in the nearby parking garage, which can cost upward of $15. Before things got underway, Hadley asked if any of the students had to park in the garage. She then told them to take their tickets to one of the police officers that was there, so the school could pay for the ticket rather than the students. What struck the most about that interaction was the fact that she took time to recognize that students were present and knew that $15 wasn’t something many of them could afford to pay.

A school’s success is made by its students, and how the top behaves so shall the bottom. Hadley’s passion and involvement for the students has shaped this college into being one marked by great student success. It is no easy task, but in the five years she worked as our chancellor, she was able to tackle it head on and conquer it.

TCC will continue to thrive, largely due to the work and dedication that Chancellor Hadley put into it. We are greatly saddened by her loss but know her legacy will be one that won’t be forgotten.

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