NAVARRO COLLEGE. Navarro Junior College, in
authorized in July 1946 by a vote of Navarro County citizens. A steering
committee composed of county educators secured the Air Activities of Texas
property six miles south of Corsicana to serve as the campus. Classes began on
September 16, 1946, with 238 students and fifteen faculty members. Ray L. Waller
served as the first president. A modest but consistent growth in enrollment made
the acquisition of a larger permanent campus necessary. In a 1949 bond election
Navarro County voters approved the purchase of a sixty-four-acre tract of land
three miles west of Corsicana on State Highway 31. The college moved there in
1951. It was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in
1954. Upon Waller's death in 1956, Ben Jones was named the second president of
the college. By 1965 enrollment had grown to 1,184, and the campus included an
administration-library-auditorium building, a hall of science, a gymnasium, a
cafeteria, four dormitories, and a shop building. The following year two
additional dormitories, a new technical-vocational building, a library, and a
women's physical-education facility were constructed. A student union building
was added in 1970. Jones retired in 1973, and Lary Reed became interim
president. On March 1, 1974, Kenneth Walker was named the third president of the
college. During that year the college added new technical-education programs. In
keeping with the new role, the official name Navarro College was adopted.
Between 1974 and 1985 enrollment increased to nearly 3,000
students. Additional land was purchased or donated, and major buildings were
built: fine arts, health occupations, gymnasium-physical education, and six
residential facilities. Major renovations included the academic-administration
building, auditorium, and student union. Off-campus centers were established in
Ennis, Mexia, and Waxahachie in 1983, and the college constructed and began
operating a television station for educational and public service programming in
1984. Accreditation was reaffirmed in 1985, and that same year legislation was
introduced to enable Navarro College to become the first four-year locally
controlled community college to offer baccalaureate degrees. Although the bill
failed to pass, efforts continued to achieve this goal. In 1985 the college
library held 38,000 books, bound periodicals, and government documents. The R.
S. Reading collection of Indian artifacts is also housed in the library. Navarro
College offers work leading to associate degrees in most basic academic and
technical fields and offers transfer programs to other colleges and
universities. Adult-education programs and short courses are also offered.
Navarro College had 165 faculty members and 2,828 students for the 1992-93
regular term, plus 5,500 in continuing education.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Alva Taylor, History and Photographs of
Corsicana and Navarro County (Corsicana, Texas, 1959; rev. ed., Navarro
County History and Photographs, Corsicana, 1962).
Tommy W. Stringer
"NAVARRO COLLEGE." The Handbook of Texas Online.