Graphic Design Students Win Competition Honoring African-American Alumna and Professor Allene Jones

On Wednesday, February 28, members of the TCU community gathered in Smith Hall to celebrate the work of 10 students who competed in a design competition, sponsored by Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies and Women & Gender Studies. The competition honored Ms. Allene Jones, who, in 1962 became one of the first three black undergraduates—all of whom were women—admitted to TCU. Upon receiving her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from UCLA, Ms. Jones returned to Harris College of Nursing in 1968 to become the first black professor at TCU.

Earlier this semester, students were given the opportunity to design a poster commemorating Ms. Jones and honoring her accomplishments. 10 students submitted entries. The winning designer was Jessica Dawson, a senior graphic design major, who received a $150 prize. The runner-up was Anika Carlson, a senior graphic design major, who received a prize of $50.

Winning Poster by Jessica Dawson

Runner-Up Poster by Anika Carlson


Dawson described what her participation in this competition meant to her, as an African American woman: “Learning about Allene Jones was empowering to me both as a woman and as an African American. I didn’t know her before beginning this project and once I heard her story, I immediately felt a responsibility to commemorate her and her accomplishments.” She went on to describe how she incorporated details about Ms. Jones into the concept of her design:

“Because the poster is meant to inform viewers who, like me, may not have known of Allene Jones, I chose to make her history a prominent element in the design. Most style and color choices came from researching graphic design of the 1960s, during which time Jones attended and graduated TCU. Graphic designer Saul Bass’ works greatly inspired the cut-out block style which I used to organize information on the poster. I used a cross-hatching illustration style on the portrait, making her look like a wood-cut illustration, but mostly to reference the presidential portraits on dollar bills. I felt the style was an effective way to memorialize her and imply the impact of her legacy.”

Students were given access to a portfolio of archival materials about Ms. Jones in order to complete their designs. The competition was judged by CRES and WGST affiliates Dr. Zoranna Jones (Harris College), Dr. Francyne Huckaby (College of Education), Roxana Aguirre (Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services) and Ebony Rose (Student Development Services). Dr. Zoranna Jones announced the winner and runner-up, noting how impressed the judges were with all of the designs, and naming Dawson’s as particularly inspiring. All of the designs will be displayed in the Brown-Lupton University Union later this semester.

Left to right: Anika Carlson (runner-up), Jessica Dawson (winner), Dr. Zoranna Jones (competition judge, Harris College)

Left to right: Anika Carlson (runner-up), Jessica Dawson (winner), Dr. Zoranna Jones (competition judge, Harris College)


In addition to naming the winner of this contest, the reception kicked off a two-part inaugural series called “An Intersectional Celebration of Black History Month and Women’s History.” The program included remembrances of Ms. Jones and other perspectives on black women’s history at TCU. The design competition and the reception were part of a larger project to research, document, and disseminate histories or race, gender and sexuality at TCU, sponsored by CRES and WGST.


–Sarah Campbell, WGST Undergraduate Intern