Michael Sorrell Is Bringing Higher Education to the Students Who Need It Most
Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly
In 2007, at the age of 40, Michael Sorrell received a phone call asking if he would like to run Paul Quinn College. At the time, the historically black college in South Dallas seemed to be on its last legs. Fifteen buildings on campus were abandoned, and many of the school's 500 or so students were on their second or third try at college.
Undeterred, Sorrell visited with wealthy Dallas businessmen and philanthropic foundations to ask for help. To get enrollment back up, he visited low-income high schools, telling students that Paul Quinn cared more about their attitudes than their ACT scores. He came up with an employment program of sorts, offering students the opportunity to work part time on campus or at local corporations that agreed to partner with the school.