The origins of six two-year colleges founded in Texas in 1946



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


In 1946, six two-year colleges were founded and opened in Texas: Howard County Junior College in Big Spring, Wharton County Junior College in Wharton, Henderson County Junior College in Athens, Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, and Odessa Junior College in Odessa. This study on the origins of these institutions was guided by four research question: (1) What factors led to the founding of the institutions? (2) What commonality exists in the origins of the six institutions? (3) What unique circumstances distinguish the histories of these colleges from each other? (4) To what extent was the founding of these colleges influenced by national legislation, e.g., the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (G. I. Bill)?

This study concludes that the six colleges were the product primarily of two unrelated factors. The first was the lack of supervision of two-year colleges in Texas. In the 1940s, the two-year colleges were not regulated either as four-year colleges or public school systems. Thus, these institutions operated, to some degree, beyond the purview of state education agencies. In addition, the few statutes regarding the organization of new two-year colleges were generally overlooked by state authorities. Therefore, the founding of these institutions was almost entirely a local matter.

The second factor that contributed to the establishment of these colleges was the G. I. Bill. This national legislation did more than provide the means for millions of veterans to attend colleges throughout the nation. In the case of this study, it also provided the founding parties with the political reasons and financial resources to open these colleges in rather remote regions.