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PERRY, LOUIS CLAUSIEL

Brian Hart

PERRY, LOUIS CLAUSIEL (1877–1926). Louis Clausiel Perry, college president, was born to Matthew Fulford and Louisa Hulitte (Brower) Perry on August 19, 1877, at Farmington, North Carolina. His paternal great-grandfather, Samuel Perry, settled in North Carolina before the American Revolution, was a member of the convention that signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and married a daughter of John Phifer, a signer of the Mecklenburg document. Perry received his A.B. degree from Rutherford (North Carolina) College in 1896 and his A.M. from the same institution in 1897. In 1904 Vanderbilt College awarded him both B.D. and B.S. degrees. He did research at the University of Chicago in 1905 and 1906 and in 1910 received his Ph.D. from the University of Oskaloosa. Perry's early professional career took him to various colleges across the United States. From 1897 through 1899 he served as president of Haynesville (North Carolina) College, an accomplishment which made him, at the age of twenty-two, the nation's youngest college president. He served as president of Columbia (Oregon) College, 1904–05; professor of social science at Hendrix (Arkansas) College, 1904–05; and president of Scarritt-Morrisville (Missouri) College, 1909–15. In 1915, after a visit from members of the Terrell Commercial Club who convinced him that their town had the facilities necessary for a private school and college, Perry moved to Terrell, Texas, where, on September 21, he established and became president of Texas Military College. He also held the chair of philosophy and oratory at the institution until his death.

Texas Military College, upon its founding, took over a number of buildings that had housed various private schools in Terrell since 1897. Perry formulated and implemented a unique educational program at the school. Under his "home group system" students coming from the same general geographical area were housed together and placed under the supervision of a resident professor. In this way the school gave "careful attention" to the "intellectual, physical, social, religious and moral development of each student." The institution offered instruction at three levels: junior school, which included grades three through seven; high school; and two years of junior college. Under Perry's guidance Texas Military College grew from a collection of frame buildings into a college of some fifteen mostly brick buildings with modern equipment and an enrollment of 150 by the late 1920s.

During his years in Terrell, Perry served as president of the Junior College Association of Texas and the Texas Junior College Athletic Association, and vice president of the American Association of Junior Colleges. He founded the Lions Club of Terrell, served as district governor of the Lions clubs in Texas, and as chairman of the board of governors of the Lions' international organization. Perry, additionally, was a thirty-second-degree Mason, a Methodist, and a member of the Terrell Chamber of Commerce. He married Minnie Elva Kenny on June 7, 1906, at Conway, Arkansas. The couple had one child, a daughter. Perry died in Terrell on November 2, 1926. His wife succeeded him as president of the school that he founded and directed it until its sale to the Southern Bible Institute in 1949.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Mabel Covington Keller, History of Kaufman County, Texas (M.A. thesis, North Texas State College, 1950). National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 22. Jack Stoltz, Terrell (San Antonio: Naylor, 1973).

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Brian Hart, "PERRY, LOUIS CLAUSIEL," accessed June 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe46.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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