The Thomas Jay Harris Institute for Hispanic and International Communication was established in 2006. Dr. Jerry Hudson, former Dean of the College of Media & Communication, raised donor funds that were matched by the university. Dr. Kenton T. Wilkinson became the Institute's first director in 2006. Since then, faculty and students affiliated with the Institute have pursued teaching, research and community engagement activities focused on Hispanic-oriented and international communication. Those efforts received a substantial boost in 2013 when the Institute received a gift from the estate of Thomas Jay Harris, a former editor of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, who advocated international and cross-cultural education.