Tarrant County College leaders this week recalled the legacy of C.A. Roberson, a former chancellor and advocate for community colleges in Texas who served TCC for 30 years.
Roberson, 88, was TCC’s second chancellor. He died Monday after a short illness. Friends and colleagues said they will remember him as a hardworking leader.
Roberson was named chancellor of TCC, formerly called Tarrant County Junior College District, in 1989, succeeding founding Chancellor Joe B. Rushing. Roberson served as vice president for business when the college was established in 1966.
Roberson retired from TCC on Aug. 31, 1996. An article about his career in the school publication said of him: “He was one of the country’s leading authorities on community college financing and in the 1970s was one of the chief architects of the state’s contact hour-based funding system. He was sometimes called the Abominable ‘No’ Man, but his gruff exterior was a facade.”
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“He is quite a legend in the community college world,” said Louise Appleman, president of the TCC board of trustees.
Roberson, she said, was quiet, resolute and an expert in finance. His role in establishing a funding formula for state-supported community colleges is highly touted, she said.
“His vision for the improvement of management of colleges made him iconic,” she said.
When Roberson became chancellor, Tarrant County College had one campus. Today, the college has 10 locations, including campuses and learning centers, and an enrollment of about 100,000 credit and noncredit students.
Roberson is among three key figures in TCC history, said Bill Lace, a retired TCC vice chancellor. The other two are Rushing and Jenkins Garrett, who drove the election in 1965 to get the college started and served as its first board president.
“His legacy was far beyond Tarrant County College because of his work at the state level,” Lace said.
Roberson was called the “Abominable ‘No’ Man” because he was fiscally conservative in how college funds were spent, Lace said, but he was highly regarded.
“He cared deeply about the students and the faculty and staff of TCC,” Lace said. “He always had our back.”
Roberson has a boulevard named in his honor in south Fort Worth near TCC’s South Campus. Survivors include his wife, Shirley Joyce Stevens, four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Roberson’s funeral is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth. His burial will be at Johnson’s Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens in San Angelo.