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CISCO JUNIOR COLLEGE
CISCO JUNIOR COLLEGE. Cisco Junior College, in the north part of Cisco, is on the site of three previous colleges. Britton Training School, established by O. C. Britton in 1909, was its first forerunner. A leading North Texas newspaper proclaimed Britton's school to be "situated . . . on the highest peak in Eastland County, above the mosquito line, one of the best places in the West for a school of this kind." Britton closed during World War I, and Randolph College, a four-year baccalaureate school supported by the First Christian Church, replaced it in 1923. In 1932 Randolph officials reorganized the school as Randolph Junior College, but it closed in 1934.
Legislation signed by Governor W. Lee O'Daniel on May 8, 1939, officially authorized the founding of Cisco Junior College. With a vacant campus available, the Cisco school board and superintendent Robert N. Cluck were able to organize the college in 1940 as a part of the Cisco Independent School District. Cluck served as the first president, while retaining his superintendency. Cisco High School principal O. L. Stamey acted as the new junior college's first dean and later (1947–54) as its first full-time president. The founders intended to benefit the people of Cisco and surrounding communities with both academic and vocational college-level courses.
The Cisco Chamber of Commerce raised funds to repair the Randolph Junior College property, acquired from Temple Trust Company in 1940 by Cisco Independent School District. Citizens contributed materially, and the junior college opened on September 10, 1940. Tuition, donations from the Cisco Chamber of Commerce, and funds from the National Youth Administration and the War Department financed initial operations. The first-year enrollment totaled 124. During World War II the college grew through its civilian pilot training and Cisco War Training School. The latter program trained female mechanics and was the first of its kind in the United States; it was supervised by the Texas State Board for Vocational Education. The G.I. Bill funded both academic and vocational training, thus causing enrollment to increase after the war, and the period from 1949 to 1956 put the college on a sound financial basis. In 1956 Cisco Junior College was separated administratively from Cisco Independent School District but retained the same tax district. A nine-member board of regents was to direct college operations thereafter.
From two buildings, one administrative classroom, and a dormitory on fifty acres of land in 1940, the Cisco Junior College plant expanded by 1984 to five dormitories, an administrative classroom building, a gymnasium, a science building, a student center, a library, two technical and vocational buildings, and a faculty office building. The campus had expanded to ninety-two acres. The college maintained a second campus at Abilene and offered associate degrees in arts, science, applied arts, and applied science. Certificates were awarded for successful completion of study in specialized vocational fields. Numerous student employment, loan, grant, and scholarship programs were available. The Veterans Administration and the Texas Rehabilitation Commission also offered assistance to qualified students. The college received money from state appropriations for approved courses, tuition and fees, and college district taxes. Gifts, donations, oil and gas royalties, and auxiliary-enterprises income made up the remainder of the school's support.
Cisco Junior College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities, the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges, the National Junior College Athletic Association, and other associations. It maintains a dramatic theater, the Roof Garden, and publishes a semiannual humanities journal, the Cross Timbers Review. The school continues to pursue its goal of providing low-cost, quality education to residents of the Western Cross Timbers and Rolling Plains regions of North Central Texas. For the 1992–93 regular session the college had sixty-six faculty members and 1,835 students. In the fall of 2001 enrollment was 2,686, including 2,022 at the Abilene campus. The faculty numbered sixty-seven in the spring of 2001. Roger C. Schustereit was president.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Robert N. Cluck, The Organization and Operation of the Cisco Junior College (M.Ed. thesis, Hardin-Simmons University, 1943). Dallas Morning News, July 30, 1910.
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Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.