LEGENDARY: Inman, Tomlin named first ‘Legends of TJC’ honorees

Nov 07, 2017 by

During its 90th anniversary year, Tyler Junior College created the Legends of TJC, a new program honoring its most notable living alumni.

“We have such a rich history of tradition,” TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said. “What better way to celebrate our 90th anniversary than by creating a new tradition recognizing our successful alumni?

“TJC provides a great foundation for our graduates to be successful in whatever field they choose, and we were proud to salute Admiral Bobby R. Inman as our
first honoree.”

During a special day of events, the main lecture classroom in Jenkins Hall – TJC’s oldest and most iconic building – was named in Inman’s honor.

Legends of TJC honorees to be recognized in the coming months include NBA standout Jimmy Butler, Oscar-winning lyricist Will Jennings and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Chris Tomlin.

Admiral Bobby R. Inman

Admiral Bobby R. Inman

From TJC to an exemplary military career

Admiral Bobby R. Inman was among the first group of students who rode a school bus from Mineola to attend classes at TJC.

As a student at TJC, he was inducted into the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society on April 19, 1947, at age 16. TJC’s Alpha Omicron chapter was chartered in November 1930 and is the 10th oldest continuously active chapter in Phi Theta Kappa. Inman was named a Phi Theta Kappa International Distinguished Alumnus at the 1984 National Convention. 

After graduating from TJC in 1948, he transferred to UT Austin and graduated in 1950, then joined the U.S. Navy. He attended the National War College in 1972.

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford appointed him as the youngest three-star admiral in peacetime history to be vice director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Later, President Jimmy Carter appointed him director of the National Security Agency.

His final assignment as a naval officer came from President Ronald Reagan, who named him deputy director of Central Intelligence. He retired from the Navy and began his civilian career in July 1982.

In 1984, he was asked by Secretary of State George Shultz to chair a committee on security threats to U.S. embassies around the world. Inman agreed, as the assignment would be non-partisan and the committee’s recommendations were used to create embassies built to their specifications.

He is a trustee of the American Assembly and the California Institute of Technology. He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Inman currently serves as the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin

Tomlin to be named next
TJC ‘Legend’ on Oct. 26

Grammy-winning recording artist and
TJC alumnus Chris Tomlin will be the second Legends of TJC recipient.

He will be honored in a special ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in Jean Browne Theatre on the TJC main campus. Tomlin described his TJC experience in a newspaper column a few years ago:

“My scholarship counselor at TJC, Mary Beal, was such an influence on me. She was assigned to me and that was probably
a scary job because I was coming into her office about every week with a new idea for what I wanted to become.

I thought at one time I would be a physical therapist; I thought I might be a counselor; I thought I might be a doctor. When I first came to TJC, in fact, I started out in the medical career path.

But some amazing things happened to me during those two years at TJC. I met some incredible people who really took the time to listen to me, to be patient with my indecisive nature and to encourage me.

I remember a speech class with Jacque Shackelford my first year. I’d never had a speech class like that and it was very interesting and it encouraged me to hone my communication skills.

So, Jacque and M’Liss Hindman, another speech and theatre teacher, encouraged me to join the forensics team, and I did. We traveled across the country, performing in forensics meets with bigger schools and with students from all over the U.S. It was a great experience for me and I think I improved with every trip. We won several awards and we just had a blast being together.

It was during that time that I really think I started to form my identity. I went to California for the first time and it was a little unbelievable, this country boy from Grand Saline, Texas – a couple thousand people and a salt mine – and I’m competing in this meet in California.”

Tomlin went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University
in 1994.

In 2005, he won his first Dove Award for excellence in Christian music when his Arriving album was named Praise and Worship Album of the Year.

In 2006, he won five Dove awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. He also received the TJC Alumni Association’s Valuable Young Alumnus Award in 2006.

In 2007, he was again named Male Vocalist of the Year in addition to awards for Artist of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year and Worship Song of the Year. In all, Tomlin and his band have won 16 Dove awards.

Tomlin and his band moved from
Austin to Atlanta in 2008, to start a new church with Passion Conferences speaker Louie Giglio.

In 2012, he won a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Christian Album for his recording, “And If Our God Is For Us.”

Tomlin maintains an active touring and recording schedule. His parents, Connie and Donna Tomlin, still reside in his hometown of Grand Saline.


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Features, Summer 2017

About the author

Elise Mullinix is Tyler Junior College's Editorial Manager. She can be reached at 903-510-2370 or at emul2@tjc.edu.