Some mighty big boots to fill
Dr. Lary Reed retires from Navarro College
This year, Navarro College enters its 60th academic year. It will do so without
the presence of Dr. Lary Reed on staff for the first time since 1962, a span of
44 years of service to a Navarro County institution.
One might consider Reed a Navarro County institution himself. The
‘57 Kerens High School graduate has spent his entire adult life in service
to the college and the county, a contribution that will be remembered and
honored for decades to come.
“I grew up in Kerens and worked for my dad, he was in heavy construction, we
moved houses, had a service station, a welding shop, so I grew up in that
environment. I never really thought about going to college,” Reed said.
“But when I was a senior in high school, dad got into the hay hauling business,”
Reed explained. “I hated that! I hated that hayfield!”
“So I said ‘Dad, I think I might want to go to college’,” he laughed.
That was in 1957. Reed graduated from Navarro in 1959, and went on to East Texas
State and graduated from there in 1961.
“I think that that brings home the fact that if Navarro College hadn’t been
close to me, I never would have went to college,” Reed said.
“And I just think that’s the case for so many young people in the area today. If
we were not here and available, they might not go to college,” Reed added.
Reed’s rise through the ranks at Navarro College began in 1962, teaching
industrial education. In 1967, he was named director of technical arts
education, then dean of technical arts. Reed became assistant vice-president in
1972 under then college president Dr. Ben Jones.
Reed has served as interim president three times at Navarro College, leading the
college during the transition between four presidents; Dr. Jones, Dr. Kenneth
Walker, Dr. Gerald Burson, and current president Dr. Richard Sanchez.
Reed became assistant to the president under Dr. Walker, and through a
succession of new leaders and changes at Navarro moved through the positions of
dean of the college, executive dean, vice-president of instruction, and his
present post of executive-vice president.
The years and experiences of day-to-day life at the college have brought
exciting times and tragic times, as the life of any institution will. Reed has
memories of both.
“I think I’m most proud of the fact that I am a graduate of Navarro College. I’m
very proud of that,” Reed said.
He also pointed to the college’s recently completed building and expansion
programs as a source of pride in the institution.
“It’s because I know that it was done to serve people, to serve students and
faculty. Every time a building was completed I was proud,” Reed added.
Navarro’s re-accreditation in 1995, and its recent re-accreditation this year
are due at least in part to Reed and his efforts and knowledge of the college.
“In 1995 we got a perfect score. We received no recommendations. There are very
few colleges that have achieved that. That was very special. For those in the
education field that’s pretty important,” Reed said.
As most involved in any way with Navarro College would remember, Reed said the
saddest time in his career was the 2004 tragedy that struck the basketball team,
when Bulldog players Jason Trier and Pa Sarr were killed in a van accident near
“That was a terrible, terrible time in the history of Navarro College. That was
pretty bad,” Reed said.
The growth of Navarro College over the years that Reed has been witness to also
stands out in his mind.
“I guess when I came here, we had maybe 500 students. We were small. We’ll hit
7,000 this year,” Reed said.
The timing of Reed’s decision to retire from Navarro College was easy, he said.
“We just finished the building program, the re-accreditation process is
completed and I’m 67 years old,” Reed said with a smile. “The time is right.”
Retirement will not likely slow Reed down much. He plans to remain involved in
several projects including the recently launched “Habitat for Humanity” building
program, and more time for family.
“And, Sue wants to travel,” he said with a smile.
“I’ve pretty well focused on the college my whole career. It’s time to focus on
the family,” Reed added.
Dr. Lary Reed’s final day at the college is Thursday, but he will be a part of
Navarro College as long as their is a Navarro College in Corsicana, and that is
likely to be a long, long time.
Bob Belcher may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].