Tyler Junior College was established in 1926 during the formative years of the junior college movement in Texas. This institution began as an extension of the Tyler public school system with school superintendent G.O. Clough serving as its first president.
World War II stimulated several new programs at the college, but the greatest growth came in the post-war years. In 1945, voters established a new independent junior college district governed by a locally elected ten-member board of trustees. After a successful bond election, noted Tyler architect Shirley Simons designed a campus plan, which included the reuse of several surplus buildings from nearby Camp Fannin and the first new college facility, later named Jenkins Hall. A curriculum expansion accompanied the growth in facilities to offer a broader range of coursework to the students.
Seventy-five years after its establishment, Tyler Junior College encompasses a 78-acre campus with 30 buildings and eight residence halls. The district includes Tyler and surrounding communities, allowing the college's significant impact to extend beyond city boundaries into the East Texas region. The growth and success of Tyler Junior College can be attributed to visionary leadership from the presidents and the boards of trustees, a dedicated faculty and generous citizenry.