Tyler Junior College is a starting point for many students, but some can’t seem to get enough.
Many teachers and faculty members at TJC are also alumni.
Dennis Mayfield is an instructor in the biology department. He graduated from TJC in the class of 1974, was involved in the rodeo club and was vice president of Phi Theta Kappa.
“I lived in a small town outside of Tyler. My school was very small,” Mayfield said. “TJC was an excellent transition stage for me.”
After graduating from TJC, Mayfield transferred to Texas A&M University. While working towards his bachelor’s degree at A&M, he received a phone call from one of his former professors about a job.
“In the winter of 1976, my former teacher Judith Pilgrim called me and said they had an opening for a lab teacher. I had worked as a student assistant for the biology department so I knew all of the teachers, so I went for the job,” Mayfield said.
He interviewed over spring break and came to work at TJC as soon as he graduated from summer school.
“I’ve worked at TJC for the past 33 years. I’ve never had another full-time job except for this one, and I’ve never considered another job because I enjoy it,” said Mayfield.
Jan Adams is the director of Academic Advising. She graduated in the Class of 1990 at the age of 34.
It was an adult workshop that first brought her to the TJC campus.
“I had three children and no college,” Adams said. “I went to an adult workshop given by Vickie Geisel. I read that I could succeed in college and decided to go back to school”
She went to both TJC and The University of Texas at Tyler at the same time and graduated from both on the same day.
Her last year of school, she interned with Fred Peters until she noticed there was a position open in the admissions department at TJC. She received the job and began working with veteran students and then got a promotion to move into support services where she now works as director of academic advising.
“Going back to college changed my life. TJC felt like home,” she said.
Adams is now reaching out to help students who never thought they could finish college.
Ashleigh Lewis is the coordinator of the First Year Experience.
She graduated in the Class of 2001, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and an Apache Belle.
“I toured the TJC campus and loved it,” Lewis said. “I was even questioning if I wanted to dance anymore. Then I went to the Belle’s Spring Show. It was then that I knew what I wanted to do.”
After graduating from TJC, she went to UT-Tyler where she majored in journalism before deciding on public relations.
Lewis went to a job fair at TJC and turned in her resume. A few days later he called back and told her she had the job.
“I’ve loved it here, and I’m very glad that I’ve gotten to come back on as staff.”