The Tyler Junior College Alumni association gives three awards to outstanding alumni every year during homecoming week.
The awards honor graduates who have distinguished themselves in their professions, businesses or vocations.
Darren Kindred is a 1992 graduate of the TJC tennis tech program and received the Valuable Young Alumni award. According to Betty Briggs, director of alumni relations, this award honors a former student of integrity and stature for distinguished achievement in a profession, life and work.
“It is a surprising honor,” Kindred said on receiving the award. “It is neat to receive this since I am a native of Tyler.”
Kindred now is a director of tennis at Bucks County Racquet Club in Washington Crossing, Pa.
“What I enjoyed at TJC was the community service I did and the fact it continued on after I had graduated,” said Kindred.
The most prestigious award given by TJC alumni is the Distinguished Alumni Award. It recognizes a former student who has brought honor to the college by professional achievement and distinctive contributions to society, Briggs said.
The recipient this year Dr. Kenneth Ragsdale who graduated from TJC in 1939.
“I can’t imagine any honor that I would cherish more than any honor from TJC,” said Ragsdale. “I prize this award very, very highly because TJC marked a major turning point in my academic career.”
Ragsdale went on to the University of Texas at Austin, received a number of degrees, and said he had many fond memories of TJC.
“In late September1937, we were in English class my teacher Miss Bradenburg came in and asked who Mr. Ragsdale was because this paper was written wonderfully.”
Ragsdale dedicated his 1998 book, “Big Bend Country: Land of the Unexpected” to Miss Bradenburg.
“Being in her class was a big turning point in my life… I was very moved by her,” Ragsdale said.
Another award that the association gives away is the Apache Spirit Award. According to Briggs, it recognizes any person or group who has shown spirit and motivation through the contribution of time and energy to a program that measurably benefits TJC. This year’s recipient is Nancy Lunceford, graduate of the class of 1955.
“I am extremely honored,” said Lunceford.
She has been on the alumni board for over 14 years.
“I would like the membership to increase so that we are able to give away more scholarships to students,” said Lunceford.
“My favorite memory at TJC was meeting my husband David who was captain of the football team,” said Lunceford. They have been married since 1955 and reside in Tyler.
All three of the alumni award recipients can agree that being honored is special and that TJC was a wonderful time in their lives.
“I am deeply deeply indebted to TJC,” said Ragsdale.