A&M-Commerce Announces Decision to Change Name of Lake, Library

As expressed in our Strategic Plan, we embrace diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus. We strive to create an environment where every individual feels welcome, safe, respected and valued.

With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that on August 20, 2020, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved a philanthropic naming of the library and lake on the A&M-Commerce campus.

The library will be renamed Velma K. Waters Library. In 1964, Velma Waters was the first undergraduate African American student to enroll at East Texas State College (now A&M-Commerce). She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the university in 1968 and taught in Carthage, Texas. She passed away on January 10, 1999.

The lake will be renamed Charles S. Garvin Lake. Charles Garvin became the first African American to earn a degree at East Texas State University (now A&M-Commerce) when he received a master’s degree in elementary school administration on January 25, 1966. He went on to teach at Park public school in Pickton, Texas, before serving as principal of Ralph J. Bunche school in Royse City. Mr. Garvin passed away on June 30, 1993.

In their honor, a group of anonymous donors made a generous gift to support inclusion efforts at A&M-Commerce. This gift will be combined with other gifts to create an unrestricted library endowment. The spirit of this gift is to provide a voice to under-served student communities via multicultural programs.

Velma Waters and Charles Garvin paved the way for generations of exemplary students to enjoy the right to an inclusive education at A&M-Commerce. We are proud to celebrate their legacies through the newly named Velma K. Waters Library and Charles S. Garvin Lake.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no official ribbon cutting event has been scheduled at this time, but plans will be made when conditions allow.