Texas Southmost College was initially created in 1926 as The Junior College of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In 1931, the college name was changed to the Brownsville Junior College and then to Texas Southmost College in 1949.
Originally created as an extension of the local independent school district in Brownsville, Texas, its first classes were held in the fall of 1926 in the local high school building. In 1927, the school district issued bonds for the construction of a new building to house the high school and the junior college. Fort Brown, the first military post established by the U.S. Government in Texas, was closed by the Army in 1944. After extensive efforts to acquire this property, a formal dedication ceremony was held on July 22, 1948, to commemorate the approval and transfer of the Fort Brown deed to the Brownsville Junior College.
On October 25, 1949, the Cameron County Commissioners Court voted to call an election to create the Southmost Union Junior College District. Voters approved the creation of the new district as well as a Board of Trustees at an election held on November 15, 1949. A naming contest was held to rename the institution and a $25 award was given to Seferino Rodriguez, a student fromm Rio Hondo, for submitting the winning entry: Texas Southmost College. The Texas Southmost College athletics program flourished in the 1950's: the school had football, basketball, boxing and track teams and many of these teams won accolades for their performance. Unfortunately, in the mid to late 60's the TSC athletic program experienced a great decline and many competitive programs did not survive into the 70's.
In the 1960's, the college gained the Rancho Del Cielo research center, located 300 miles south of Brownsville, in Mexico. This few acre research center is the northernmost tropical cloud forest of the Western Hemisphere, containing abundant plant life and rainforest life conditions.
In 1973, Texas Southmost College offered space on its campus to establish a four-year extension program in Brownsville with Pan American University (now The University of Texas–Pan American in Edinburg, Texas). The entity, which was named Pan American University–Brownsville began classes in fall 1973 and became a separate entity in 1977.
In the late 1980s, Pan American University created a partnership with The University of Texas System and its institution in Brownsville became known as The University of Texas Pan American at Brownsville.
On September 1, 1991, Texas Southmost College and The University of Texas-Pan American at Brownsville combined their educational functions with The University of Texas at Brownsville. This entity was created as an upper-division university by the Texas Legislature in May 1991 and was authorized to enter into a partnership agreement with Texas Southmost College. This resulted in the creation of The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College Partnership.
The Southmost Union Junior College District continued to be governed by a seven-member board elected at large from the ad valorem taxing district of the college. The Partnership and The University of Texas at Brownsville, however, were governed by the nine-member Board of Regents of the UT System.
On November 2, 2004, voters in the Texas Southmost College taxing district approved a $68 million dollar bond package for building projects, including the Arts Center.
On February 17, 2011, the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees approved a motion to become an autonomous institution. Efforts began to develop a model and create legislation. Legislation was passed providing for the dissolution of the existing partnership agreement, ending on or before August 31, 2015, to the extent necessary to ensure accreditation.
A new president was hired in October 2011. Texas Southmost College, which will continue to work collaboratively with The University of Texas at Brownsville to provide excellent higher education opportunities, is in the process of reestablishing itself as an independent, fully, comprehensive public community college. The many tasks to be undertaken during the transition include accreditation, strategic planning, program review, organizational design, implementation, and launch.