Paul Quinn College Celebrates Improvements

Leaders cite progress on financial, academic challenges

Paul Quinn College is celebrating Black History Month by showing off its improvements on academic and financial problems. 

The historically black college was founded by a small group of preachers back in 1872 to help teach newly freed slaves. The school later relocated from Austin to Waco and then eventually moved to Dallas.  The college invited neighbors and the media to see changes on campus and what is planned for the future.

Giving a tour of the campus, honors student Tayler Henly said she is pleased with her choice to attend Paul Quinn.  

"Everything is changing, everything is becoming something that it was not before," Henley said.

Signs of financial improvement include a renovated cafeteria with murals representing people such as Barack Obama, who students hope to emulate. 

"We have dedicated ourselves to not talking about a bunch of great things, but doing a bunch of great things," said Michael Sorrell, who became the Paul Quinn College president in 2007.  

When he arrived, Sorrell imposed a business-casual dress code for students. 

"They like looking good," Sorrell said. "It affects their academic performance and the way they feel about themselves." 

The school is pushing hard to boost academics to end accreditation probation and Sorrell said the effort has attracted a new crop of honors students to the small college.

Paul Quinn recently opened a new fitness center, which will soon be open to campus neighbors as well as students and alumni.

Sorrell said Paul Quinn has a mission to reverse health problems that have plagued the community, like diabetes and heart disease.  The college is also partnering with Habitat for Humanity to improve the neighborhood, Sorrell said.

"We like the people in this community," he said. "We're going to bring them a better place to reside."

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