Successor of Granbury College By David Minor
Weatherford College, the oldest junior college in Texas, was founded by the Phoenix Lodge of the Masonic Order in Weatherford, which in 1869 received a charter to establish a Masonic Institute. Although construction began that year, classes were not held until two or three years later.
In 1884 the school’s name was changed to Cleveland College in honor of Grover Cleveland, the first Democratic president elected since the Civil War. Five years later the Central Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, moved Granbury College, which had originally opened in 1873 as a private elementary and high school and had been under the conference’s authority since 1880, to Weatherford and combined the two institutions as Weatherford College. (ed. note: Granbury College did not close until 1912)
President David S. Switzer guided the institution through the first decade under its new name. The average yearly enrollment was about 300, and the school offered classes from grade school through the senior year of college. Switzer left Weatherford in 1902 to establish his own college, and from 1903 to 1921 the school operated intermittently. It even served briefly as an academy.
In 1921 the institution was reorganized as a junior college. Under the leadership of President Fred G. Rand and Secretary Gus L. Ford, Weatherford Junior College was accredited by the Texas Association of Colleges and acquired a sound financial foundation through grants from the estates of J. R. Couts and Edward D. Farmer of Weatherford.
In 1944 Southwestern University took over operation of Weatherford as a branch institution, with the understanding that if Southwestern should discontinue the relationship, the college’s facilities would then be offered to the city of Weatherford or to Parker County for the purpose of operating a public junior college. In 1949 Southwestern transferred the college to the county, and the school officially became Weatherford College of the Parker County Junior College District.
In 1966 the college district purchased 90 acres and built a new campus in the southeastern part of the city. In 1975 the school added the Education Center facility at Mineral Wells, which comprised 90 acres of land and 17 buildings from the General Services Administration following the closing of Fort Wolters.
By the mid-1980s Weatherford College had extension centers in Bridgeport, Decatur, Granbury, and Jacksboro.
In November 1992 James T. Boyd was selected as president of Weatherford College. In 1992-93 Weatherford College had 105 faculty with 2,280 students in the regular term, 1,367 in the summer session, and 863 in continuing education.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gustavus Adolphus Holland, History of Parker County and the Double Log Cabin (Weatherford, Texas: Herald, 1931; rpt. 1937).
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