The roots of Tillotson College date back to 1875 and build upon an earlier Freedmen's secondary school sponsored by the American Missionary Association of the Congregational churches. The first principal was a pioneer teacher, Miss Elizabeth Evans, later known as Mrs. Elizabeth Evans Garland. The acquisition of the first permanent site for the institution was made possible by gifts of $16,000 donated and raised by the Reverend George Jeffrey Tillotson, a Congregational minister from Wethersfield, Connecticut. He also selected the site atop Austin's second highest hill overlooking the Colorado River. Chartered in 1877 as Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute, the school opened for its first classes on January 17, 1881, following the completion of Allen Hall, "the first building in the State of Texas for the higher education of Negroes, and also the first of its kind west of the Mississippi." The first President was the Reverend William E. Brooks, former pastor of the Congregational Church of West Haven, Connecticut. In 1881, there were no public schools for colored people in the City of Austin. Many of Tillotson's first students had no prior formal education; however, the eager students, who numbered 100 by the end of the first year, knew that they were the 'elect' of the colored race. On June 2, 1909, a new charter was issued and the name of the school was changed to Tillotson College.

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Huston-Tillotson University
An independent, church-related, historically black institution. It is affiliated with The United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, and the United Negro College Fund.
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