Alumnus: Dr. Don T. Trahan, Jr. '08, '10

For Islander alumnus Dr. Don Trahan, Jr. '08, '10, life changed direction completely after attending Island Day at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

“I felt at home when I arrived in Corpus Christi,” the native North Texan said. “There was a vibe that came over me in general with the city. When I got to campus—in addition to the beauty, the school spirit, and the way faculty helped me engage with the curriculum—it was an amazing overall experience.”

As a high school student, Trahan had plans to become a professional R&B singer, and in 2004 following graduation, he enrolled at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. At MSU, Trahan thrived academically, but began to struggle with depression. Looking to change gears, Trahan signed up for Island Day in April 2006. It’s an experience he said set the foundation for the rest of his academic journey.

As an undergrad studying psychology, Trahan was eager to join activities on the Island campus. He was instrumental in the relocation of the Rho Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate historically African American Greek-lettered fraternity, from then-Texas A&I University to the Island University. As an Islander, Trahan was also involved in African American Cultural Society, Order of Omega, Golden Key Honour Society, and the Psychology Honor Society.

Trahan, who is now based in Washington, D.C., was invited back to campus in spring 2021 to serve as keynote speaker for the annual Black History Month kickoff luncheon. During his talk, he shared details about his higher education journey, which includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (both earned at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi); a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership: Community and Organizational Leadership concentration; and a doctoral degree in counseling from The University of New Mexico.

In addition, he defended his dissertation as a Doctor of Business Administration candidate at the University of Maryland Global Campus in early March and graduated several weeks later.

Trahan credits the support he received at A&M-Corpus Christi as being instrumental to his success.

“I know for a fact, and can say without question, that I would not be who I am today academically if it were not for me being a student at A&M-Corpus Christi,” Trahan said.

Today, Trahan is a global diversity practitioner and professional keynote speaker who has worked in the higher education, government, corporate, and nonprofit industries. He has expertise in many areas, including executive leadership development, executive coaching, strategic planning, evidence-based research, and diversity, equity, and inclusion infrastructure development and implementation.

I know for a fact, and can say without question, that I would not be who I am today academically if it were not for me being a student at A&M-Corpus Christi.

Dr. Don T. Trahan, Jr. '08, '10

Trahan said his opportunity to expand internationally came about in 2017 after he received an invitation to speak at the World Diversity & Inclusion Congress, held annually in Mumbai, India. “I’ve been on four different continents working with hundreds of organizations,” he said.

In addition, Trahan is a licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, approved clinic supervisor, and a professor at the University of Southern California. He is currently at work on his first book, “You Think You Know Me But You Have No Idea: Journey to Ph.D. and Beyond.” He plans to self-publish it in early 2022.

“A lot of people see the success or the ‘end result’ as I call it, but they don’t know the story of the journey that’s associated with the success—the tired moments and the sacrifice,” he said.

Through it all, Trahan has maintained a deep passion for music and is now stepping into the role of mentor as the manager of an emerging vocalist. “Once this young man graduates from college, we can aggressively work on endeavors to manage, mold, and advance his career, and I’m so excited,” Trahan said.

As a devoted Islander alumnus, Trahan has made it a priority to stay connected. He visited campus in 2015 and again in 2018 before returning for this spring’s event.

“As an alumnus, being able to share the experiences, being able to give examples, being able to sit and just serve as a role model of ‘Hey, I went to class in Bay Hall, I went to class in Center for Instruction, I was in the UC,’” he said, “those are things that students can connect with and they really do look at you and think, ‘Wow—if he can do these things, so can I.’”

With an educational resume that includes two doctoral degrees, Trahan has shown a lifelong commitment to learning. He plans to establish an endowed scholarship at TAMU-CC that will serve to thank the institution that spearheaded his career trajectory while creating educational opportunities for young people.

Higher education journey of Dr. Don Trahan, Jr.:  

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi)
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi)
  • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Community and Organizational Leadership Concentration (University of New Mexico)
  • Doctoral Degree in Counseling (University of New Mexico)
  • Doctoral Degree in Business Administration (University of Maryland)