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HARVIN, EDWIN LAWRENCE

HARVIN, EDWIN LAWRENCE (1898–1981). Edwin Lawrence Harvin, college president and historian, was born in Kennard, Texas, on March 27, 1898, one of five children of Richard and Florence Harvin. The family moved to Sutherland Springs, Texas, where Harvin attended San Marcos Baptist Academy. He studied agriculture at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (later Texas A&M University) and history at Baylor University, from which latter institution he earned a B.A. in 1921. That year Harvin began his teaching career at San Marcos Baptist Academy. In 1923 he married Mary D. Brown, a teacher and the daughter of the president of the academy. In 1926 Harvin was appointed dean of men at the academy and earned an M.A. in history from the University of Texas. In 1927 he left the academy to teach history at Texarkana Junior College.

In 1938 Harvin became dean of the three-year-old Del Mar Junior College, part of the Corpus Christi Independent School District. The superintendent of the school district also served as president of the junior college, which was housed in a small stucco-framed building at the rear of Wynn Seale Junior High School. Del Mar enrolled 188 students that year. Harvin sought to strengthen the credibility and stature of the junior college by acquiring a separate building for the junior college. In 1942 Del Mar Junior College moved to its present location. A dusty dirt road to its new doorsteps did not dampen Harvin's enthusiasm. When janitors tired of cleaning the dusty building and quit, Harvin rolled up his sleeves and scrubbed floors, walls, and toilets for the good of education and the community. For his pioneering work in junior college education, Harvin received an honorary LL.D. from Baylor University in 1949.

Harvin served as president of Del Mar Junior College from 1946 to 1961. In 1949 the college won its autonomy from the Corpus Christi Independent School District. Following World War II Harvin realized the thousands of returning veterans needed immediate, short-term training for a burgeoning job market. To meet these growing needs, he expanded the college's adult and vocational program and the evening school. Harvin still pushed for more educational programs. "A junior college," he declared, "serves the high school graduate who desires two years of academic education leading to a degree .... also the community college serves those individuals who by age and lack of training do not fall in this category. We offer this second group anything from elementary school courses to specialized job training.... "

An innovator and leader in adult education, Harvin initiated "trade extension" classes, where trade and industrial workers could learn more about their jobs, increase their productivity, and assure more opportunities for advancement. A citizenship class for aliens was established. Nurses' training programs were begun. An Adult Probationers Night School was established for first offenders on probation. On August 31, 1961, Harvin resigned as president of Del Mar Community College to return to the classroom as a professor of American history. By the time of his retirement in 1968 the college had an enrollment of 2,400 students on two campuses valued at more than $5 million.

Harvin involved himself and the junior college with the Chamber of Commerce. He held offices in the Masonic Lodge and the Lions and Rotary clubs in Corpus Christi. He served as president of the Texas Junior College Association, director of the Southern Association of Junior Colleges, and director of the American Association of Junior Colleges. Harvin was a member of the American Association of School Administrators, the Association of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappa, and the Texas State Teachers Association. He led Del Mar Junior College to prominence as one of the nation's quality community colleges. In 1966, to honor Harvin's commitment to education, the student union building at Del Mar College was named for him. Harvin died on Sunday, August 23, 1981, at Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi after a short illness.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Corpus Christi Caller-Times, February 5, 1966. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, Del Mar College.

Mary Lou Hawkins

Citation

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

Mary Lou Hawkins, "HARVIN, EDWIN LAWRENCE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhaxf), accessed July 30, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.