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The University Star

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The University Star

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The University Star


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Remembering Dr. Elvin Holt: The first Black tenured professor at TXST

Photo Courtesy of Linda Kelsey-Jones
Dr. Elvin Holt standing at a sign for a street named after him on the Round Rock campus, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 at Texas State University – Round Rock Campus.

In 1983, Elvin Holt became the first tenured Black professor in the English Department at TXST. Holt had previously served as assistant professor and associate professor at then Southwest Texas State University.

For the next 37 years, Holt went on to dedicate his work educating his students on realizing their true potential. He spread his knowledge on the heritage and impact of the African American community to the rest of San Marcos up until his passing on Sept. 18.

Former Chair of the English Department and Professor Dr. Daniel Lochman recalls the excitement amongst the department in welcoming Holt back to his alma mater.

“He had a long history as a student in Southwest Texas and going through the ranks to then becoming a full professor,” Lochman said. “We were looking forward to his developing courses and African American literature.”

African literature, African American literature, cultural studies, folklore and children stories surrounded Holt’s life work that he continued to share with passion.

“He was teaching courses during a period where African American writers are beginning to blossom in the world of publication and he had that very exciting element of being able to teach it,” Lochman said.

Lochman said Holt had dedication and willingness to speak on areas that were troubling and helped educate his students to carry out a tradition of excellence.

“He took his position very seriously, but he also did enjoy a good laugh now and then,” Lochman said. “[He was] a very tenacious person, so to that end, he was not always the easiest professor for students.”

Retired Director of Academic Development for the Honors College Diann McCabe was a former student of Holt’s during her time in graduate school.

“I took Dr. Holt’s class on Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston and it introduced me to those amazing writers,” McCabe said. “His teaching style and love for literature was something I really liked.”

Apart from being an active member of several university committees, Holt also participated with organizations spreading his knowledge on the history of the African American community.

“Everything with him was subtle, but powerful,” McCabe said.

Serving as president and longest board member at the Calaboose African American History Museum was one of his most recognizable participations.

“He was always there giving stories and he was a sort of quiet spokesperson for the rich heritage that was for that community,” McCabe said.

Librarian for the San Marcos Public Library, Deborah Carter, recalls Holt’s patience and continued support and participation in the library’s Black history programs throughout the years.

One of these programs “Remembering Hardge’s Hornets”, celebrated the Hardge’s Hornets Pony League baseball team which finished undefeated in the 1964 season.

Carter said it was Holt who brought them back together and did everything to make this program happen.

“He never said no, he would come up with these beautiful programs which had great turnout and were completely memorable,” Carter said. “He was a bridge for the Black community and the library program to rekindle their relationship.”

Holt’s legacy and continued support towards the San Marcos community is one that will continue to impact those who knew him and those who will go on to learn about him.

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