South Texas College Celebrates Its First
25 Years

Starr County Campus groundbreaking

Starr County Campus Groundbreaking

As a young teen, current STC Trustee Rose Benavidez recalls traveling with her father, the late Manuel Benavidez, across Starr County looking for support for what was then known as South Texas Community College (STCC).

Her father had just been appointed as a trustee for the college, and in the summer of 1995, public acceptance for STCC had snowballed, capitulating in an election that saw voters approve three propositions that were essential for the college.

“When I was a kid driving around with my father I remember they were having classes in laundromats or they were allowed by school districts to have classes in old libraries,” Benavidez said. “I can recall my very first experience with the college was when I was maybe 15 years old. But far beyond the brick and mortar is the impact and the change in the people of our community.”

In June 1993, then Texas Gov. Ann Richards signed legislation creating South Texas Community College, converting the former Texas State Technical College campus in McAllen into a locally governed community college serving Hidalgo and Starr Counties. 

“I had the passion, the commitment and the tenacity to say ‘by God, we’re going to do this,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A Reed. “When you look at the level of poverty in the Valley and the number of individuals who haven’t even had an opportunity to finish high school, much less go to college, it becomes clear there is no end to the work that needs to be done in the Valley.” 

STCC opened its doors September 1993, and classes began with 1,058 students. Since that time, STC has seen steady growth in its student enrollment starting with 1,058 students in 1993 to more than 34,000 students by fall 2017.

STC offers more than 120 degree and certificate program options including associate degrees in art, science, technology and allied health fields. The college also offers 18 online associate degrees and certificate options through South Texas College Online enabling students to earn their degrees without even setting foot on campus.

“To see friends, family and ex-students come through our programs and to see them graduate has been a very satisfying experience,” said trustee Dr. Alejo Salinas. “To hear the feedback from those who have come here, and how full of pride they are with their education, that’s a very rewarding experience for me. It provides me with plenty of reason for wanting to be a part of this college.”

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