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Stephenville City Council pumps the brakes on its decision to rename one of the city’s busiest streets after hearing from Dr. Hurley.

Updated: May 29

Dr. James Hurley, president of Tarleton State University, has asked the Stephenville City Council to reverse its decision to rename Harbin Drive to University Drive.


The Stephenville City Council’s unanimous decision to rename Harbin Drive to University Drive appears to have crashed and burned.

Now, a letter from Tarleton State University President Dr. James Hurley has the city council pumping its brakes on moving forward with the decision.

Beneath the Surface News received a copy of the letter Dr. Hurley sent Monday to members of the city council which asks to withdraw the university’s request to rename Harbin.

“When the university was approached a year or so ago about the potential change, we were told the Harbin family was supportive,” the letter states.

“After careful consideration and discussions, we do not believe this to be the case. In fact, the news appears to have shocked and disappointed members of the Harbin family.

“For close to 125 years, Tarleton State University has been a catalyst for educational access, student opportunity, and regional growth. Our relationship with the community of Stephenville and the heritage of the people who have helped shape it matter to us.”

Stephenville Mayor Doug Svien was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment, but a source said they expect the council will soon hold “additional discussions” on the matter.


When the story first broke, there was widespread public outrage on social media.

Dale Winston Harbin Sr was my grandfather. He did in fact have the house built on the corner of Harbin and (Frey). It once was a very beautiful place. It was one of the first houses on that street and he was the County Judge at that time," Shelly Harbin McMillian posted on Facebook.


“The street was indeed named after him. He died while still in office in 1961. My grandmother Lanelle Harbin finished his term making her the first female county judge in Erath County.

“My father, Dale Winston Harbin, Jr (Butch) grew up in Stephenville and went to Tarleton. They all three were active in and supported this community.


“They are all gone now but I can assure you that myself and my aunt are not in any way pleased about the name change.”


A petition to preserve the name of Harbin Drive now has more than 2,000 signatures.


Stay tuned.







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