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Branch Elementary School
2040 W. Villa Maria Rd.
Bryan, TX 77807
 
Grades: K-4
Colors: Red and Blue
Mascot: Bear
School Namesake: Mary Elizabeth Branch
 
Mary Elizabeth Branch
1881-1944
 
Our school proudly bears the namesake of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Branch, the first African American
female to become President of a Texas College (Tillotson College - Austin, Texas).
 
Mary Elizabeth Branch was born in Virginia where she lived with her parents and six brothers and sisters. Branch's father, an ex-slave, and her mother encouraged reading and learning. They overcame many obstacles to educate their children. After graduating from college, Branch became a dedicated teacher. She moved to Texas in 1930 to serve as president of Tillotson College in Austin. She was the first African-American female president of a Texas college. During her fourteen years as president, Tillotson College attracted many new students, and the campus library acquired 19,000 new books. Branch also taught classes, created student job programs, and took a personal interest in the lives of the students. Mary Branch's leadership extended beyond Tillotson College. As president of the Austin Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), she sought equal rights for all Texans at a time when African-Americans could not attend the same schools as white children and could not vote in political primaries. The newly created United Negro College Fund grew through her efforts. Mary Branch is remembered as a dedicated and successful leader and educator. Our school is named in her honor.