The origins of the earliest institutions of higher education on the Llano Estacado frontier
Parker, Mary E.
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Higher education on the Llano Estacado frontier appeared soon after the initial settlement of the region during the latter part of the nineteenth century. The purpose of this study is to explore the origins of the earliest colleges of the Llano Estacado frontier which were founded before 1900. Using traditional historical methods, the researcher consulted primary and secondary sources in archives, libraries, and museums and gathered data from maps, pictures, letters, contracts, tapes, interviews, and scripts of interviews. Materials used in this study were found in Amarillo, Canyon, Midland, Abilene, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Plainview, and numerous other small communities located in the Panhandle and on the South Plains in Texas. The results indicate that these institutions were remarkable in many ways. First, they were products of a frontier culture and reflected a grand scope and vision. Second, they required many human and fiscal resources. Finally, the people provided for their own needs in the absence of government action. This study shows that, if history serves as a model for the future, planning and policy decision making precedes development or expansion of colleges today. The institution-community relationship then becomes tantamount to success. The human initiative which brought about colleges on the frontier provides valuable insight to developing colleges today.