Paul Quinn Alumni share stories with students touring former campus

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-14 18:54:36-04

The Summer Enrichment Program at J.H. Hines Elementary in Waco is giving students the chance to learn more about Waco's rich history.

Today, they stopped by the former site of Paul Quinn College, the oldest African American liberal arts college in the state.

Ashley Thornton organized the event and brought in local Paul Quinn alumni to help bring the tour to life.

"We want to tell them a little bit about what college is about, tell them a little bit about the significance of the oldest black college in Texas and just educate them about what's right here in their own neighborhood right across the street from where they've been going to school," Thornton said.

Bess Carpenter-Dunner was one of six alumni who shared their memories and answered the children's questions.

"I love this place. I love this campus. I come as much as I can," Carpenter-Dunner said. "I'm always excited to talk about Paul Quinn and express what it meant to Waco."

Carpenter-Dunner graduated from Paul Quinn College in 1977. She still thinks fondly of her time in school.

"My husband and I both went here. I made lifelong friends here," Carpenter-Dunner said. "Pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is one of the best decisions that I made."

Paul Quinn College relocated to Dallas in 1990 after being in Waco for more than 100 years. The former site is now the home to Rapoport Academy. 

While the majority of buildings on campus remain the same, the names have changed along with what they're used for.

"Our gymnasium is now the YMCA. The Grant Hall building is part of their cafeteria and that was a ladies dormitory," Carpenter-Dunner said.

The original mural of the Paul Quinn mascot is still preserved inside the Rapoport Academy administration building.

"Had it not been for Paul Quinn, a lot of us don't know where we'd be," Carpenter-Dunner said. "I'll always be proud of my school."

The Summer Enrichment Program runs throughout June. Students will also tour places like McLane Stadium, the Waco Wetlands and Cameron Park.

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