John Tarleton’s dream to create an institution of higher education for students of modest means today is reality. Tarleton State University offers an affordable, quality education and boasts graduates whose accomplishments would make its founder proud.

This monthly column, by an anonymous university author, looks at the school’s progress, issues of our time, achievements and challenges through the eyes of John Tarleton—a dreamer’s point of view.

When Lonn Reisman interviewed for Tarleton athletic director 25 years ago, he believed that superior sports and top-notch education programs go hand in hand.

He was right then. Still is today.

Thanks to Lonn’s vision and forward thinking, Tarleton boasts one of the strongest athletic programs in the NCAA, and one of the largest and most robust support groups — the Texan Club — in Division II.

Not only does the Texan Club undergird the university’s sports programs, it funds up to 10 scholarships annually along with tutors and mentors to ensure the academic success of all student-athletes.

In concert with Tarleton’s commitment to transform today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders, club members are passionate about helping Texans and TexAnns succeed in more places than on the field, court, course or track.

Thanks to the Texan Club, student-athletes now have their own study space on the Stephenville campus, aptly called the Tarleton Athletics Academic Success Center. 

 The Texan Stars and Texan Cheer, as well as athletic performance and sports medicine programs, benefit from funds raised by the club.

When the Stars and cheer squad head to national competitions, Texan Club lends a hand. The club also chipped in for renovations to athletic offices and the Texan Iron Weight Room in Wisdom Gym, providing a state-of-the-art training facility for student-athletes.

Texan Club membership was limited to individuals when Lonn took over as Tarleton’s athletic director in the early ’90s. Today, the organization boasts 108 individual and 182 corporate members under the leadership of the Texan Club Board of Directors, comprised of 25 visionary Erath County business and community leaders. Many are alumni who continue to bleed purple long after graduation.

Membership is open to anyone who loves Tarleton athletics. Just call 254-968-9178.

You will find several giving levels, including “Champions” — individuals who donate $2,500 or more. Each tier comes with its own set of benefits.

Texan Club members hold a number of activities throughout the year, everything from monthly luncheons with special speakers to pre-event get-togethers under the David Tomlinson Purple and White Pavilion next to Memorial Stadium. The biggest fundraiser — the First Financial Bank Plowboys Shootout — is set for June 22 at Squaw Creek Golf Course in Willow Park.

For the past 27 years, golfers have bogeyed and birdied to benefit the Tarleton Athletics Scholarship Fund. Find out more at www.tarletonsports.com/plowboyshootout.

No matter how you look at it, the Texan Club provides a strong foundation for the success of Tarleton’s student-athletes. At the heart of the university’s athletics program lies a commitment to help Texans and TexAnns develop a sense of teamwork, sportsmanship, competitiveness, collegiate loyalty and character.

To live out the school’s six core values — tradition, integrity, civility, leadership, excellence and service.

To excel athletically and academically.

It’s a winning partnership.