For the first time in 40 years, Paul Quinn College has built a new building on campus as it undergoes a major facelift.
The college's president, Michael Sorrell, said they wanted to take advantage of the time students were learning virtually and decided to complete several major construction projects.
“This is just part of the grand vision we have for ourselves and for this community," Sorrell said during a tour inside the new Trammell S. Crow Living and Learning Center.
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The residence hall is 30,000 square feet and can house up to around 150 students. There is also 10,000 square feet of classroom and office space.
Next door is the Health and Wellness Center which can hold around 1,000 people. It includes a basketball court, gym and dance studio.
The school has also repaved the roads on campus, added the mile-long "Quinnite Trail" and renovated registrar and business offices.
Construction crews are expected to continue to work on the projects through the summer.
They will also add two new schools for students Pre-K-12. Dallas ISD will open the Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III Global Academy at the Zale Library in August. KIPP Oak Cliff Academy is renovating the White Science Building and will relocate high school students there in January 2022.
“We’ve created a pathway for everyone in that family to improve their stature of life," Sorrell said. "If you give an 'A' education but continue to send them home to an 'F' life, what really have you done and what message have you sent to that child’s family?"
He said they want to include families and give them the opportunity to take classes and improve their educational background as well.
Alumnus Kenneth Johnson said so much has changed since his time on campus 11 years ago.
"Man I’m putting my chest out. The sense of pride of being here and being able to say I’m a Quinnite. Being from where they didn’t have anything until now, who wouldn’t want to be a Quinnite?" said Johnson.
Student Cameron Powell said the improvements only reinforce what he’s always known. This was more than just a celebration of new buildings and academics. It was an acknowledgment of just how far the college has come. The mission, determination, and brave new leadership are what carried Paul Quinn College through challenging times – from its accreditation being jeopardy years ago, to the vibrant, thriving campus it is today.
"Paul Quinn is a small school, but we produce great people," said Powell. "People should be prepared to know that students who graduate from Paul Quinn College are a forced to be reckoned with. And even though this is a small institution, we definitely rival the big ones."
New Partnerships and Educational Programs
The makeover isn't all cosmetic. Sorrell said the school added more staff, new partnerships and new programs.
They are working with the Dallas Mavericks to provide the Mavs Major, which is a degree program focused on leadership, innovation, sports management, technology, entrepreneurship and networking. Sorrell wouldn't say who, but that the adjunct professors are executive staff members from the Mavericks.
One of the partnerships includes Lowe's Home Improvement Center, which offers the Lowe's Retail Management Major. It prepares students for upper-level retail management.
The campus has also partnered with T.D. Jakes and Jakes Divinity School to offer the Bishop T.D. Jakes Executive MBA Program at Paul Quinn College, which is expected to roll out in about two years.
There is also now an honors college, a banking and finance major, along with expanded adult upskilling programs.
“We wanted people to understand that the need of the community must always supersede the wants of the individual and none of us can be great unless we’re all striving towards greatness," Sorrell said.
The school's motto is "We Over Me" and it's plastered in bold purple lettering on the new building for all to see from the road.
“I’m able to see my school grow, I’m able to see my school continue to be better for the next generation," said Paul Quinn registrar Marquita Mitchell, an alum of the school. “I am proud of my school, I’m proud to be a part of it and watch Paul Quinn continue to grow and be a pillar in this community.”
Paull Quinn College is an HBCU in southern Dallas. It serves students of all races and socio-economic levels.
Tuesday at 4 p.m. the college will host free COVID-19 vaccinations along with food, tours, music and a performance from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
A schedule of events is below.
- 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
- 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM Block Party & Campus Open House
- 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM Food Trucks
- 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Bishop 5 + 1 Reunion Revival
- 7:15 PM - 7:35 PM DSO Young Musicians
- 7:45 PM - 8:00 PM Gospel Choir
- 8:00 PM - 8:15 PM Welcome Remarks
- 8:15 PM - 9:00 PM Dallas Symphony Orchestra