Invisible Struggles of Homelessness in Higher Education

Amarillo College’s Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC) serves as a safe space for students affected by poverty, about 15% of their student population. At one point, however, the program was barely utilized and the issue of poverty was an uncomfortable conversation in the meeting rooms.

In the season 1 finale, Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, President of Amarillo College, walks us through his journey of discovery. How, if ignored, the homeless would continue to be invisible, their struggles would be hidden, and their chance at an education would be lost. Nationally recognized for his work around poverty initiatives, we break down how he scaled the ARC initiative for real impact, changing the way Amarillo College serves their students. From his reflection on a homelessness simulation to the candid conversations with students, Dr. Lowery-Hart’s passion and perspective will inspire you to step up and help those in need.

About Dr. Lowery-Hart

By unanimous consent of the Board of Regents on Aug. 26, 2014, Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart became president of Amarillo College.

Lowery-Hart served the previous four years as Amarillo College’s vice president of academic affairs. In becoming president, he succeeded Dr. Paul Matney, who retired in the summer of 2014.

Lowery-Hart joined the AC administration in 2010 following a dozen years as a member of the faculty and administration at West Texas A&M University, an alma mater where he had risen to associate provost for academic affairs. A product of Slaton, Texas, Lowery-Hart completed his bachelor’s degree in speech communication at WTAMU in 1991. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in communication studies in 1993 from Texas Tech University and a doctoral degree in gender and diversity in communication in 1996 at Ohio University. He returned to WTAMU professionally in 1998 and worked his way up from assistant professor of speech communication to director of forensics, executive director of first-year experience, associate vice president for academic affairs and, finally, associate provost in 2007. Three years later he emerged from a national search as the best candidate to mastermind academic programs at Amarillo College. In just four years as vice president of academic affairs at AC, Lowery-Hart spearheaded or helped facilitate a number of important initiatives that led to his being named the 2014 recipient of the National Academic Leader of the Year Award by the National Council of Instructional Administrators.

However, the extent of Lowery-Hart’s academic leadership extends well beyond Amarillo College—from his presidency of the Panhandle Twenty/20 consortium for the Top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle, to his past chairmanship of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee. He also was elected to chair the executive committee for Amarillo’s $1.5 million Partners for Postsecondary Success (Gates Grant). He and his wife, Tara, have three children.




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