TVCC Cardinal LbNA # 33745 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Aug 3 2007|
Henderson County Junior College was founded by a group of Athens civic leaders, headed by J. P. Pickens and Orval Pirtle, and public school administrators in late 1945 and early 1946. The creation of Henderson County Junior College was formally approved by voters in the election of May 4, 1946. Pirtle was chosen as president. He hired twelve faculty members from across the county. The first registration was conducted in temporary facilities at Athens High School on June 3, 1946, and three days later classes began there with 256 students enrolled in the summer and 311 in the fall.
The Athens school board donated classrooms for the summer, but Henderson County Junior College needed its own campus by fall. The trustees leased Fair Park from the city, bought the Cotton Palace at Fair Park from the public schools, and remodeled the former gym into classrooms. HCJC was built out of war surplus—fourteen buildings, equipment, and furniture. A theater from Camp Howze was converted into an 800-seat auditorium, and former barracks became classrooms, the library, and the cafeteria. Pirtle scavenged well, and bank overdrafts and the GI Bill kept HCJC running. He also built broad area support, sending buses to twenty-eight communities and stressing that high school graduates and veterans needed some college credits when applying for jobs. Pirtle served as president from 1946 to 1971
In 1947 1,000 students attended HCJC (two-thirds were veterans taking vocational training, who used up their benefits); enrollment declined in the 1950s. In 1962 HCJC had 500 students and a twenty-member faculty. Both had doubled by 1966. Capital projects such as dormitories also doubled the number of buildings. The Board of Trustees provided Henderson County Junior College with its own facilities at the present location of the Henderson County Campus on June 24, 1946. The College moved to its new campus for the beginning of the fall semester, 1946.
Henderson County Junior College began its development into a multi-campus institution with the initiation of an off-campus instructional program at the Texas Department of Corrections, Coffield Unit, in the spring of 1969. Course offerings were subsequently expanded to the following correctional units: Beto I, Beto II, and the Michael Unit. The Anderson County Campus in Palestine was established in 1972, the Kaufman County Campus was established in Terrell in 1973, and in May of 1983, a new Health Science Center complex was completed in Kaufman for the purpose of providing various health occupation programs.
As a result of the continued regional expansion of the College, the Board of Trustees authorized and approved a name change from Henderson County Junior college to Trinity Valley Community College in September, 1986.
Directions to the Box:
On the North side of the Henderson County Courthouse square in Athens, turn south on Prairieville and drive 0.9 miles. You will pass the Athens City Cemetery, Kiwanis Park, and Trinity Valley Community College. Just past Campus Drive is the Athens Fire Department. After you pass the Fire Department, turn right into Central Park. Drive up the hill and park in the parking lot facing the playground and pavillion. Walk past the pavillion towards the creek. Cross the wooden bridge. At the end of the bridge stop and face left. You will see a cluster of trees close to the creek bank. Walk over to the cluster of trees. Find the two trees in this cluster that are closest together. The TVCC Cardinal is perched in a hollow nest at the base of the tree nearest the creek.
Please replace and recover as found!