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CELEBRATING NAVARRO COLLEGE'S 75TH ANNIVERSARY:

LOOKING BACK. MOVING FORWARD.

ONE MAN'S DREAM

A.A. Allison (July 24, 1873 - April 12, 1943), Corsicana businessman and chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Education Committee.

A.A. Allison proposed an idea of a "first class junior college" for Navarro County to the Corsicana Chamber of Commerce because he believed local high school graduates could benefit learning at home if a two-year college was available in their own backyards.

His proposal was approved in 1929 but the timing to establish the college couldn't come at a worse time. The whole country was experiencing the effects of the Stock Market Crash, the Great Depression, the outbreak of World War II, the Dust Bowl and other external circumstances.

Finally, plans to create a junior college was resurrected again but Mr. Allison died on April 12, 1943, three years before his dream became a reality.

NJC Board of Trustees (left to right): Curtis Patterson, Bruce McCormick, Lloyd Carraway, O.L. Albritton, L.B. Bonner, Ralph Brown, and J.W. Richards.

In an election held July 16, 1946, Navarro County voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of the Navarro Junior College (NJC) district and elected a seven-member board of trustees to govern the school.

On September 16, 1946, two months after the election, 238 students began taking classes at Navarro Junior College.

FIRST CAMPUS

The first campus was the site of the Air Activities of Texas, a World War II primary flight school located six miles south of Corsicana. Pictured right: Aerial view of the original "barracks" (Air Activities of Texas) taken during WWII combat training.

The campus was a white wooden structure situated on an open field.

BARRACKS BUNCH

A group of first ever students were called the "Barracks Bunch" because all their classes were taken in barracks on the original NJC site (which is now Corsicana Municipal Airport) between 1946 and 1951.

Approximately 80% of the first student body were returning veterans from World War II and only 44 women enrolled in Fall '46 semester.

1946 - 1956

RAY L. WALLER PRESIDENCY

The Board of Trustees of Navarro Junior College officially named Mr. Ray Lamont Waller as the institution's first president based on his experience and credentials. Prior to his appointment, he was superintendent of schools at Dawson (Dawson, Texas).

1940's

  • The institution's operating budget started with $52,500.
  • Tuition and fees were $65 per semester.
  • 238 NJC students were enrolled Fall 1946.
  • 13 students graduated on June 2, 1947: William E. Brown, Dwayne Bryson, Mary Ella Franks, Robert Jackson, Alfred Lord, Francine Nicholson, Eleanor Norton, Henry Ponder, Betty Ann Rawlinson, Charles Reed, Charles Skelton, Jimmie Ruth Thompson, and Sam Werner.
  • Ken Clark was the only coach for football, basketball, and track teams.
  • May 1947, NJC hosted the first Texas Junior College Championship Rodeo.
  • Band Director, C.E. Beene composed the school song "Hail, Navarro".
  • Cost to purchase property from IOOF (International Order of Odd Fellows) for the development of the new NJC campus was $14,176.26.
  • First yearbook, El Navarro - Volume I came out in 1947.
  • First publication of the College newspaper, "The Growl" was issued in 1948.
  • First College program - 17 students were enrolled in the (Auto) Mechanics school of Navarro Junior College which opened in October of 1947. The number of enrollment increased to 98 students in 1949.
  • In February 1949, student Campbell Woodman represented NJC for the State Golden Gloves Tournament (light-heavyweight) and won the regional tournament in Waco but lost in the first round of state finals in Fort Worth.
  • 39 students were enrolled in the Cabinet Making School in 1949.

1950 - 1956

  • The Corsicana campus moved to its new permanent home in Fall 1951 - only four buildings sat on the 47-acre lot.
  • Lee Smith became the Head Football Coach in 1951.
  • Dedication ceremony and open house was conducted on April 1, 1952 for the new campus on Highway 31.
  • December 6, 1954, NJC becomes fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
  • In 1954, Robert S. Reading donated an extensive collection of Indian artifacts related to Central Texas's prehistoric period to the College. It was housed on the second floor of the Administration building.
  • A Zorro Torro bulldog named Beauregard I became the first live mascot of NJC in 1955 (given by '48 Alumni Mr. Jimmy Morris).
  • 10th year anniversary: Enrollment was 526 students with 26 faculty members and three administrators.
  • Mr. Ray Waller died February 11, 1956 at the age of 51.

PHOTOGRAPHS CIRCA 1946 - 1956

1956 - 1973

DR. BEN JONES PRESIDENCY

A new era began when the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Ben Jones as Navarro Junior College's second president to succeed Mr. Waller. He previously worked as President of Northeast Mississippi Junior College in Booneville, MS.

1956 - 1959

  • September 16, 1956, Navarro College celebrates its 10th anniversary.
  • Fall 1959, student enrollment reached 579.

1960's

  • Fall 1960, student enrollment grew to 679.
  • Basketball team won the conference championship in 1960.
  • Desegregation with enrollment of five African-American students in Fall 1961.
  • NJC's first live mascot, Beauregard I, dies in 1961. A second bulldog named Tim-Bo (Timbo) began his tenure as the official mascot.
  • In 1961, Margaret Pannill, English instructor, became the first recipient of the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor award at Navarro.
  • In spring of 1963, first NJC band director, C.E. Beene passes away.
  • 1963 marked the opening of the new Frank Neal Drane Hall of Science.
  • Second NJC bulldog mascot, Timbo, dies in 1963 and in the same year, shortly after purchasing the third bulldog mascot named Empire, he was struck and killed by a car.
  • Accreditation was reaffirmed in 1964.
  • Fall 1965, student enrollment increased to 1,184.
  • A.L. Bain Technical Arts Building was completed in 1966.
  • September 16, 1966, Navarro College celebrates its 20th anniversary.
  • Gaston T. Gooch Learning Resource Center (Library), Louis Gibson Hall (women's gym), and Eady & Jones Residence Halls (dormitories) were completed in 1967.
  • In 1968, the fourth live mascot, a one-year old bulldog named Precious, joins the NJC family.

1970 - 1973

  • The first African-Americans to be selected as 1970 Mr. and Miss Navarro Junior College were Michael Heiskell and Shirley Wright (Black).
  • A student union building (later named Ray Waller Memorial Student Union Building) was added in 1970.
  • In 1971, Lucille Boyd, Spanish and French instructor, becomes the second Minnie Stevens Piper Professor recipient at Navarro.
  • Tennis coach, Herschel Stephens, was named Texas Junior College Coach of the Year in 1973.
  • After seventeen years, Dr. Ben Jones resigned as president of NJC on November 20, 1973.

PHOTOGRAPHS CIRCA 1956 - 1973

1974 - 1988

DR. KENNETH WALKER PRESIDENCY

On March 1, 1974, Dr. Kenneth P. Walker began his role as NJC's third president. Walker had served in various administrative roles at Central Texas College.

1974 - 1979

  • In 1974, the Board of Trustees approved an institution name change from Navarro Junior College to Navarro College.
  • Accreditation was reaffirmed in 1974.
  • 1975 - Women's basketball was added to the Athletics program.
  • Mid-1970's, Precious's tenure as the fourth official College mascot ends.
  • 1976 - Major renovations of the O. L. Albritton Academic-Administration Building is completed.
  • September 16, 1976, Navarro College celebrates its 30th anniversary.
  • 1977 - Dr. Walker was presented the Marie Y. Martin Professional Educator Award by the Association of Community College.
  • In 1978, Geraldine Johnston, English Professor, becomes the third Minnie Stevens Piper Professor recipient at Navarro.
  • The Robert Reading Collection of Indian artifacts gets moved to the Arrowhead Room, Gooch Library in 1979.

1980 - 1988

  • Late 1980's, the Board of Trustees held their regular monthly meetings in the Arrowhead Room.
  • Off-campus centers were established in Mexia and Waxahachie in 1983.
  • The Fine Arts Building opened in 1984 and is home to the music, theater, art, and speech programs.
  • 1984 - NCTV (original call sign K29AD, then K30DG in 1989), an on-campus low-power television station, went on air with educational and local interest programming.
  • 1984 - Women's basketball was disbanded.
  • Accreditation was reaffirmed in 1985.
  • 1985 - Legislation was introduced to enable Navarro College to become the first 4-year locally controlled community college to offer baccalaureate degrees but the bill failed to pass.
  • The Navarro College Library held 38,000 books, bound periodicals, and government documents in 1985.
  • 1986 - The K. and Ida Wolens Special Events Center (SEC) opens its 1,800 seat-facility and the Board of Trustees approved to demolish the Bulldog Gym, the last of the original Air Activities building.
  • In 1986, McAfee Daniel, Chairman of the Division of Communications and an English instructor, becomes the fourth Minnie Stevens Piper Professor recipient at Navarro.
  • September 16, 1986, Navarro College celebrates its 40th anniversary.
  • Roark Montgomery became the Head Golf Coach in 1988.
  • 1989, the football program wins its first official NJCAA national championship (Coca-Cola Mid-American Bowl, Tulsa, OK) against Ellsworth Community College (NC 41, ECC 17).
  • After 14 years, Dr. Kenneth Walker resigns as Navarro College President to accept presidency at Oklahoma City Community College.

PHOTOGRAPHS CIRCA 1974 - 1988

1989 - 1998

DR. GERALD BURSON PRESIDENCY

The Board of Trustees named Dr. Gerald Burson as the fourth president of Navarro College. He became the first NC president to be formally inaugurated in a ceremony as a Chief Executive of the College. Dr. Burson began his career in higher education teaching speech, drama and radio at Northern Oklahoma in 1961. He was also a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor.

1989

  • Beginning of Burson administration, student enrollment was 2,600.
  • In 1989, Wanda Gillen was elected to the Board of Trustees to become the first female to serve on the Board.
  • Dr. Richard Miller, instructor of psychology and sociology becomes Navarro's fifth Minnie Stevens Piper Professor in 1989.
  • In 1989, the newly constructed baseball field was named in honor of Perry D. "Peno" Graham.
  • The Navarro College Football team claims a NJCAA National Championship in 1989 with a perfect 11-0 season, defeating Ellsworth Community College of Iowa.

1990 - 1998

  • In 1990, the Navarro College Foundation began process that led to the construction of the Cook Arts, Science, and Technology Center (Cook Education Center).
  • Ellis County Center (Navarro College Waxahachie Campus) moved to its permanent location on John Arden Drive in 1991.
  • In 1991, Mr. and Mrs. Jon B. Holloway donated their department store building in Mexia to Navarro College which became known as the Navarro College Bi-Stone Center.
  • Fall 1992, classes were offered at the Bi-Stone Center (Navarro College Mexia Campus).
  • Women's Volleyball was added to the athletic program in 1993.
  • In 1994, Dr. Tommy Stringer, History instructor becomes Navarro's sixth Minnie Stevens Piper Professor.
  • February 1, 1995, the television station K30DG changed its call sign to KNAV-LP to reflect Navarro College's ownership.
  • Accreditation was reaffirmed in 1995.
  • In 1995, James Borkchum was the first African-American to serve on the Navarro Board of Trustees.
  • In Fall 1995, the Bi-Stone Center had 400 students and Ellis County Center had 900 students.
  • The John Deere Ag Tech program started in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Steve Thompson.
  • Spring 1996, Dr. Burson receives the Western Region Chief Executive Officer Award from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).
  • In 1996, Navarro College celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
  • The Cook Education Center, a new arts, science, and technology facility that housed the largest sixty-foot domed planetarium in Texas, opened in spring 1997.
  • Dr. Gerald Burson retired in 1998.

PHOTOGRAPHS CIRCA 1989 - 1998

1998 - 2013

DR. RICHARD SANCHEZ PRESIDENCY

The Board selected Dr. Richard Sanchez as Navarro College's fifth president. He served extensive faculty and administrative roles from California Polytechnic State University, Santa Barbara Community College, and College of the Sequoias.

1998 - 1999

  • Beginning of Sanchez administration, student enrollment was 3,600.
  • Golf coach Roark Montgomery is named athletic director in 1998.
  • Fall 1999 - Partnership is established with Texas A&M-Commerce to offer baccalaureate degrees on Corsicana Campus.
  • Women's Softball was added to the Athletics program in 1999.

2000 - 2013

  • Before the golf program was disbanded in 2002, under the direction of Roark Montgomery (Athletics Director), the program had five NJCAA Region XIV Championships and six top-ten finishes at the national tournament.
  • Women's Soccer was added to the Athletics program in 2002.
  • The Pearce Museum (a wing added to the Cook Education Center) opened its doors in 2003.
  • February 9, 2004 - Two Navarro College basketball players (Pa Sarr and Jason Trier) died in a traffic accident on a return trip home from a victory over Paris Junior College.
  • 2004 - the addition of a new wing at Mexia Campus.
  • Navarro College's KNAV-LP television station was sold in 2004.
  • Fall 2005 - The new Kenneth P. Walker Dining Hall was completed and named in honor of Navarro's fourth president.
  • Fall 2005 - The Clock Tower is dedicated to the Barracks Bunch, the first students who attended classes from 1946 to 1951.
  • In Spring 2006, the Board of Trustees named the new library facility on the Corsicana Campus, Richard M. Sanchez Library.
  • In 2006, the College purchased land adjacent to the Waxahachie Campus to provide additional space for expansion.
  • Dr. Lary Reed (Executive Vice President) was awarded Emeritus status in 2006.
  • Accreditation was reaffirmed in 2006.
  • In 2006, Head Baseball Coach, Skip Johnson resigns to accept a position with the University of Texas and was replaced by Whoa Dill.
  • Midlothian Campus opens for spring enrollment in 2006
  • After 30+ years, the tradition of a live mascot was revived after Navarro College administrators decided to bring it back. Beauregard V became the fifth bulldog to serve as the official mascot in 2006.
  • September 16, 2006 - College celebrates 60th Anniversary
  • Dr. Harold Nolte becomes the first Ellis County Campus President in 2007.
  • Fall 2007 - Community College Week named Navarro the nation's fastest-growing two-year college.
  • Waxahachie Campus's Building B was added in 2007 for an additional 20,000 square feet of classrooms and office space, as well as Building D for an additional 12,000 square feet.
  • Navarro College hosts its first Micronesian Festival in 2008.
  • Longtime Head Basketball Coach, Lewis Orr retires in 2008 after 32 years at Navarro. Johnny Estelle took his place and led the team to their first-ever appearance in the national tournament.
  • The Oil and Gas program began in 2008 with 30 students.
  • The Petroleum Technology program began offering Associate in Applied Science degree in Fall 2009.
  • 2009 - NC partnered with the Waxahachie ISD to establish a global high school.
  • Sheila Herod (Music) was awarded Emeritus status in 2009.
  • "College of Champions" - In 2010, Navarro College becomes the only NJCAA member to claim three national championships in one year (football, baseball, and cheerleading).
  • Fall 2011 - Student enrollment reaches 10,400; 3,200 students enrolled on the Waxahachie Campus.
  • Dr. Kenneth Martin becomes the second President of Ellis County Campuses in 2011 after Dr. Harold Nolte accepts a presidential position at Blinn College.
  • April 2012, a three multi-institution system is created in Midlothian: Navarro College, Tarleton State University, and Texas A&M University-Commerce.
  • 2012 - Baseball and Soccer fieldhouses were built.
  • NC's fifth live mascot, Beauregard V dies following a seizure at the home game against Hutchinson Community College during the football season of 2012. His nephew, Beauregard VI officially took over as the school's sixth mascot.
  • In 2013, the Pearce Museum opens its new permanent exhibit: Hunters and Gatherers of Blackland Prairie.
  • Head Basketball Coach Johnny Estelle resigns in 2013 to accept a position at the University of Houston and was replaced by Michael Landers.
  • 2013 - Construction of Waxahachie Campus's 21,000 square-foot classroom building (Building C) and 7,000 square-foot physical plant building is completed.
  • Dr. Sanchez retired on August 31, 2013.

1998 - 2013 PHOTOGRAPHS

2013 - 2016

DR. BARBARA KAVALIER PRESIDENCY

The Board of Trustees named Dr. Barbara Kavalier as Navarro’s sixth president at the start of 2013-2014 academic year. She came on board with 30 years of experience working in higher education administration.

2013 - 2016

  • Beginning of Kavalier administration, student enrollment was 10,257
  • In July 2014, the historic F-4D Phantom II fighter jet is dismantled and transported to its new home in Joe Kittinger Park (Orlando, Florida).
  • 2014 -Classes began in the Career & Technical Center (Fairfield), an eleven-acre tract near Fairfield High School.
  • 2014 - New building on the Mexia Campus opens.
  • 2014 - Older buildings on the Corsicana Campus received extensive renovations, including a remodeling of the entire Fine Arts Building and the Black Box Theater.
  • 2014 - Navarro College designates all campuses as smoke and tobacco-free.
  • 2014, Navarro College becomes the first community college in Texas to become a member of the American Honors Program.
  • In May 2015, the baseball and softball field house was named after a longtime Navarro College Board Trustee, Dr. James G. Price.
  • Accreditation was reaffirmed in 2016.
  • In 2016, Dr. Kavalier resigned to accept a president position at St. Charles Community College in Missouri.

2013 - 2016 PHOTOGRAPHS

2016 - 2018

DR. RICHARD SANCHEZ PRESIDENCY

Dr. Richard Sanchez came out of retirement to serve as Interim Chancellor through August of 2016 and served as District President through the end of August 2018.

2016 - 2018

  • Beginning of Sanchez administration, student enrollment was 9,230.
  • September 16, 2016 - College celebrates 70th Anniversary
  • November 9, 2017, the Navarro College Women's Soccer Complex was dedicated to the late Roark Montgomery III, who served as the Athletic Director for 24 years.
  • In 2018, Waxahachie Building C was renovated to house the Associate Degree of Nursing program and Licensed Vocational Nursing program.
  • In 2018, Ellis County President, Dr. Kenneth Martin retires after 43 years at Navarro College.
  • Dr. Richard Sanchez retired from Navarro College a second time in August 2018.

2016 - 2018 PHOTOGRAPHS

2018 - CURRENT

DR. KEVIN G. FEGAN PRESIDENCY

The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Kevin G. Fegan as the College's 8th District President. He brings 32 years of experience as a coach, educator, and public speaker at Northwood University.

2018 - 2019

  • Beginning of Feagn administration, student enrollment was 8,601.
  • November 3, 2018, Navarro College Athletics dedicates its new basketball court to former head basketball coach, Lewis Orr.
  • Dr. Richard Sanchez (District President) and Dr. Kenneth Martin (President of Ellis County Campuses) were awarded Emeritus status in 2018.
  • November 8, 2018, Beauregard VI passed away after a brief battle with cancer. He was the only live mascot that served under three NC presidents.
  • A ten pound, 8-week old bulldog pup named Beauregard VII, began his tenure on February 19, 2019 as the College's seventh official live mascot.
  • Bulldogs Forever Luncheon is established on April 4, 2019.
  • October 3, 2019, The Navarro College Board of Trustees dedicates the Department of Public Safety building in Mr. Lloyd D. Huffman's honor. Mr. Huffman served on the Board from 1993 until his death in 2018.
  • On November 14, 2019, Navarro College celebrates 20 years of partnership with Texas A&M University-Commerce.
  • Homer Gene Wasson (Board of Trustee Chairman) and Dr. Tommy Stringer (History) were awarded Emeritus status in 2019.
  • Volleyball wins its first National Championship in 2019.
  • The Bulldog Health Center was opened on the Corsicana Campus in Fall 2019.
  • 2019 - officially declared September 16th as Navarro College Day to be celebrated annually.
  • The first 10 Bulldog Hall of Fame inductees were recognized in October 2019: Monica Aldama, Brian Cole, Randall "Whoa" Dill, Brenda Duncan, Arthur "Skip" Johnson, Bob McElroy, Roark Montgomery, Lewis Orr, Herchel Stephens, and James David Stubbs.

2020 - Current

  • Netflix Cheer (TV docuseries about the Navarro College Cheer team) made it's debut in January 2020.
  • In March 2020, Navarro College's in-person courses transitioned to remote instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 9th, all campuses reopened with face mask & social distancing requirements.
  • ESPORTS added to the Athletics program in Fall 2020 and the classrooms in the Computer Science Building (Corsicana) were converted as the Navarro ESPORTS Complex.
  • The 1970 Mr. and Miss Navarro Junior College (Michael Heiskell and Shirley Wright) were honored during the Navarro College Day celebration on September 16, 2020. They were the first African-Americans to be selected as Mr. and Miss NJC.
  • April 2021, Texas House of Representatives passes House Bill 885 - allowing Navarro College to offer a baccalaureate degree program in Nursing.
  • May 13, 2021 - Commencement ceremonies for 2020 & 2021 graduates from all campuses were held at the Community National Bank & Trust Stadium in Corsicana.
  • July 19, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs House Bill 885.
  • September 16, 2021 - Navarro College's 75th Anniversary

2018 - PRESENT PHOTOGRAPHS