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Fort Worth renames Business Assistance Center after TXWES alumnus Dee Jennings

05.05.2023 | By: Texas Wesleyan University
Curtains fall off the Dee Jennings Business Assistance Center sign to show new name

Texas Wesleyan University alumnus Devoyd “Dee” Jennings ’71 was recently honored with the renaming of the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center to the Devoyd Jennings Business Assistance Center. This renaming is a tribute to the legacy of Dee Jennings, who was a visionary local leader and a passionate advocate for Fort Worth’s Black neighborhoods and Black-owned businesses. 

Dee Jennings was born in Los Angeles in 1947 and grew up in the Butler Place public housing community in Fort Worth. He graduated from I.M. Terrell High School and went on to attend Tarrant County College and Texas Wesleyan University, graduating with a degree in marketing. 

Jennings’ impact on the Fort Worth community was significant. He started his career with TXU as a community affairs specialist and was the first Black lobbyist for Texas Electric. He served on the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Wesleyan University Board, the North Texas Commission and the Texas Association of African American Chambers. He also served as chairman of the NTTA’s Business Diversity Advisory Committee and was an advocate for Fort Worth’s Black neighborhoods and Black-owned businesses.  

He was even honored by the city of Fort Worth with a proclamation for Devoyd Jennings Day in both 1992 and 2005.  

“Dee Jennings is the perfect namesake for the Business Assistance Center,” said Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick G. Slabach. “He spent his life helping individuals and businesses grow. Texas Wesleyan University is particularly proud that our alum and former Board of Trustees member is being honored in this important way. Dee Jennings is a great example of the Smaller. Smarter. Texas Wesleyan education.” 

The Fort Worth Business Assistance Center was originally the James E. Guinn School, one of the first African American schools in Fort Worth. The school closed in 1980 after 63 years of service, and the campus became the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center in 1995. This center has been instrumental in providing resources and support to local businesses.  

The renaming of the center was celebrated with a ceremony that was attended by many local leaders and members of the community. During the ceremony, speakers shared stories and memories of Dee Jennings and his impact on the Fort Worth community.  
The renaming in honor of Dee Jennings is a fitting tribute to his lifelong dedication to Fort Worth and its business community. 

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