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Tom SewellTom Sewell is another of Sam Houston's success stories! He has gained prestige in the community college world and has aided thousands of individuals with their educational endeavors. Through innovative programs at San Jacinto College, he has worked closely with the community, with industry, and with educational entities to aid students in securing the appropriate education.

For the past 31 years Tom has been with San Jacinto College. Upon his graduation from Sam Houston in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science degree, he was a physical education instructor and head basketball coach for the Pasadena ISD. He received his Master of Education from SHSTC in 1960 and began his career with San Jacinto in July, 1961 as Athletic Director and Basketball Coach. He progressed through the ranks: in 1965, he was named Dean of Men at San Jacinto College; in 1970, Administrative Dean; in 1974, Vice President of Administrative Affairs; (in 1975 he received his Doctorate in Education from the University of Houston); in 1981, Vice Chancellor; and in 1983 was named Chancellor of the San Jacinto College District, a position he currently holds.

As Chancellor, Tom has encouraged innovative programs for the community college program, receiving high praise from the public and college officials."Always holding to a central vision that education must be accessible and responsive to community needs," Tom maintained that tuition should be low and education "viable and convenient." Toward this goal, he instituted an arrangement for "shift workers" to attend day or night classes as well as comprehensive weekend and television curriculums. He also led to the implementation of telephone registration; SJC was the first college in Texas to commit fully to such a system. His innovations also include an "inverted degree program," whereby students enroll for a four-year technical/vocational program and earn their degrees in a host of areas including aviation, automotive technology, interior design, nursing, cosmetology, and many others; after completing the required courses at San Jac, students may continue on to a four-year college and complete their required academic courses.

Other innovative programs include the "Partnership Programs" with national and international corporations, in which persons are trained on campus in specialized programs for such corporations as Ford, Toyota, General Motors, Continental Airlines, and Eastern Airlines. Dr. Sewell, aware of community needs, devised programs which are unique for any educational institution: a multi-million dollar, one-of-a-kind high tech instrumentation lab which simulates actual oil and chemical refining processes used along the Houston Ship Channel; a one-of-a-kind waste water treatment program which trains water inspectors and treatment technicians; health services programs which train individuals in several appropriate areas in conjunction with the Houston Medical Center complex; many programs benefiting the upper Texas Gulf Coast, such as fire protection technology, quality assurance technology, industrial safety, industrial machine technology, underwater welding, and truck driving.

Tom and his wife to Adelia live in Deer Park. They have five children and six grandchildren. He is recognized as a positive influence in the community college world. His innovative programs, his sincere belief in the total worth of the student, his practical knowledge of the human mind and spirit, and his constant concern for the betterment of all facets of our society have made him unique. He is certainly a distinguished alumnus from Sam Houston.

As profiled at October 30, 1992 Distinguished Alumni Banquet


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