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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South pays respects to chancellor – Students, faculty, staff share stories during memorial for Hadley

South+pays+respects+to+chancellor+-+Students%2C+faculty%2C+staff+share+stories+during+memorial+for+Hadley

By Samuel Medina III/ south news editor

Raw emotion, stories and unconditional love for Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley were shared in a more intimate memorial on South Campus Oct. 21.

Heather Shannon tears up sharing during South’s memorial for Hadley. Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
Heather Shannon tears up sharing during South’s memorial for Hadley.
Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

The memorial gave students, faculty and staff the opportunity to tell stories about the personal impact Hadley had on them. Both tears and laughs were shared, and a sense of community was created once more by the late chancellor.

Psychology assistant professor Tina Jenkins works with two programs that resulted from Hadley’s forward thinking, she said.

“How does one adequately encapsulate the significant impact that Chancellor Hadley had on so many people, on so many levels,” Jenkins said. “Her smile always lit up the room. Her mere presence immediately occupied the entire room as soon as she entered. She was truly a gift to all of us. Through all of us, her vision, dreams and legacy will live on.”

A sign-in book greeted attendees who came to pay their respects and share memories.
A sign-in book greeted attendees who came to pay their respects and share memories.

The South Cornerstone Fine Arts Appreciation students Carlos Mathurin, Adrianna Debora, Taylor Ray, Josh Lugo and Biannca Collette unveiled their piece of artwork in honor of the chancellor.

The artwork comprises six red and purple tires stacked like a pyramid at the base of a young crape myrtle tree. Personal notes and jewels hang on the limbs.

“The bottom we have more well-used tires, meaning she had to overcome obstacles such as being the first African-American and first female to become chancellor of the school,” Mathurin said. “Going up, we have better tires to represent the new journey she has embarked on now.”

Mathurin said the jewels represent the fruits of her labor, being the students, faculty and staff.

“The color purple is representative to pancreatic cancer, which is what took Hadley from us,” Ray said. “The purple on the tires represents the pain, suffering or obstacles that come our way. Hadley said that is what makes you, you.”

Friends, faculty and students release lanterns into the fountain in memory of the chancellor. Photos by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
Friends, faculty and students release lanterns into the fountain in memory of the chancellor.
Photos by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

The tree will be planted on South in Hadley’s memory. A purple ribbon will be placed around the tree in November to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. A plaque will also be placed in front of the tree in Hadley’s memory.

Lugo said the red on the tires represents passion.

“Her passion for the students, friends and faculty was second to none,” he said. “It also represents determination. If she was going to do something, she was going to get it done.”

Ray Franco, a former TCC student, came by South Campus to speak about the tremendous impact Hadley had not only on his life but also his family’s life.

“I was one of the first student leaders that graduated from her program, Upward Bound,” he said. “I wasn’t going to transfer to a university, and she found this out. She made a call and got me into the classes I needed. She even got me a scholarship in 2013.”

Hadley might not be here, but her spirit is in all of us, Franco said.

“She was a mentor of mine,” he said. “I am always thankful for her always inviting me to places, especially for her to open her house to my family. She even blessed my dad with a job over here at South Campus.”

Franco said when he received the news of Hadley’s passing, it was tragic for him and his family. He said they do not see Hadley only as the chancellor of TCC but as part of the family.

“She was always calling my dad asking if he’s still doing good,” he said. “She is always going to be engraved in my heart.”

South Campus president Peter Jordan shared some of his first memories with TCC and Hadley.

“I applied for this job, and it seemed like decades before I heard anything and then my phone rang at 10 o’clock at night asking if I was still interested in the position,” Jordan said. “This was the beginning of the love for Chancellor Hadley and everything she represented, including TCC. When I came on board, she made me feel so welcomed.”

The memorial ended with students, faculty and staff placing lanterns in the fountain as a tribute to Hadley’s memory.

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