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ODESSA COLLEGE

ODESSA COLLEGE. Odessa College, in Odessa, grew out of an educational effort of 1938. On September 1 of that year the Ector County Independent School District board of trustees called a bond election for a junior college. On August 29, 1946, Odessa Junior College District was established. The superintendent of the Ector County Public Schools, Murry H. Fly, also served as president of Odessa College. The first year the college was open, classes were conducted in Odessa High School after school; enrollment was 184. Voters passed a $200,000 bond issue on May 15, 1948, for the construction of a permanent building for Odessa College. The structure was completed on a five-acre plot in the summer of 1949. This building was known as the Science Building and was later renamed Baskin Hall. In the same summer Odessa College District was separated from the school district, received its own board of trustees, and chose Fly as president of the college.

The Globe of the Great Southwest, an authentic replica of the English Shakespearean theater, was built on the OC campus in 1958. The campus had grown to fifteen buildings on a thirty-five-acre plot by 1960. In 1969 Odessa College and Midland College merged into the Permian Junior College System, but in 1972 the system was dissolved. Between the fall and spring semesters of the 1970–71 school year, Odessa College began its Mid-Winter Session, a ten-day minisemester during which students can take three-hour courses. The short semester was the first of its kind conducted by a Texas college. Odessa College athletic teams hold thirty-nine national titles. The programs include teams in women's basketball, track, rodeo, and tennis. Men's teams compete in baseball, basketball, golf, rodeo, tennis, track, and other sports.

The Odessa College campus comprises twenty-five buildings on eighty acres at North Grant and West University. In 1997 a West Texas businessman donated one of the largest equine facilities in the nation, in Gardendale. The 120-acre Odessa College Rodeo and Agriculture Graham Center provides training for the college rodeo team and agriculture majors. In the fall of 1999 the college had a faculty of 269 and an enrollment of 4,778 students. The college is fully accredited by major agencies, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The president in 2001 was Vance W. Gipson.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Gayle Noll, 25 Year History of Odessa College, 1946–1971 (Odessa: Odessa College, 1971). Odessa American, July 4, November 14, 1971, December 22, 1972, September 21, 1986. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Permian Junior College). Donald W. Whisenhunt, The Encyclopedia of Texas Colleges and Universities (Austin: Eakin, 1986).

Bobbie Jean Klepper

Citation

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

Bobbie Jean Klepper, "ODESSA COLLEGE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kco01), accessed April 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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