Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture
Jan. 13, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts (Bldg. 21)
The Thurston Group of Washington State
The name “Thurston Group” was first used in 1994 when Larry A. Jenkins, a bus driver from North Thurston Public Schools, and nine male students from the school district attended a Black Orientation Leadership Development (BOLD) Conference, at Washington State University. The name later evolved into The Thurston Group of Washington State (TTGWS).
Under the direction of Mr. Jenkins, the nine founding members of TTGWS, including African Americans and Native Americans, came together to support events and activities that have played a pivotal role in recruiting students throughout the Pacific Northwest to Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the United States. The organization is supported by all volunteers who meet with local school districts, parents, students, community organizations and chaperone local trips and national tours to HBCUs.
In 1996 TTGWS registered as a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization in Washington State. That year TTGWS also formed a dynamic partnership with South Puget Sound Community College. This partnership took on the monumental task of forming and sponsoring its own Students of Color College and University Recruiting Weekend.
From 1996 – 2013 TTGWS successfully recruited approximately 800 students to attend HBCUs and colleges and universities across Washington State. During that time over six million dollars in scholarships were offered to Pacific Northwest high school and second year community college students.
Over the past 23 years, TTGWS has developed relationships and partnerships that have benefited Pacific Northwest students from Vancouver, Canada, to Eugene, Oregon. TTGWS believes that in order to help our youth gain access to the best possible education, we must provide monetary assistance and promote a diverse and competitive education environment. With the help of many individuals and institutional partners, the Thurston Group of Washington State’s greatest success is in helping students of color move on to higher education with monies to support their dreams.
Sept. 17, 1940 - Dec. 19, 2020
Larry Alvin Jenkins was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 17,1940, to Kerney Julius Jenkins and Evelyn Davis Jenkins. His parents preceded him in death. Larry was of the Christian faith and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he graduated from Southern University Laboratory High School. He went on to attend Southern University for a few years and was united in matrimony to Alma Barthelemy on June 3, 1961. Their union was blessed with two daughters, Rachel and Larrie. In 1967 Larry moved his family to Chicago, Illinois where he earned a certificate in Building Construction and Supervision from Chicago Technical College. Larry later moved back to Louisiana, lived in Texas, and eventually settled in Lacey, Washington in 1986.