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VICTORIA COLLEGE

VICTORIA COLLEGE. In 1925, when it was first established as Victoria Junior College, Victoria College was part of the public school system of Victoria, Texas. Classes were held from 1925 to 1949 in Patti Welder High School, to which a junior college annex was attached. A bond issue in 1948 provided for a separate campus on forty acres north of the city, and in the next year classes began under an independent board of trustees. The original facilities consisted of an administration building, which served multiple purposes of classroom instruction, a library, and administrative offices; a gymnasium; a student union building; home economics and industrial arts buildings; and an athletic dormitory. This plant underwent major expansion between 1958 and 1975, as a science building, a library, a technical building, a student union expansion, a gymnasium and field house, an auditorium and fine arts building, an allied health building, and a new, larger library were added to the campus, which had doubled in acreage. Efforts in 1968 to make the institution a four-year college were unsuccessful, but the University of Houston opened a branch campus at Victoria College in the fall of 1973. The leased-facility agreement between the university and the college continued in 1984, so that the college could provide degrees in limited fields of study. The faculty of Victoria College increased from twenty-one in 1949 to more than 100 in 1984. A faculty leave program encouraging doctoral studies helped to increase faculty holding terminal degrees from 5 percent in 1962 to 20 percent in 1984.

Victoria College serves eight South Texas counties. Graduates of the college have done exceedingly well pursuing educational goals at numerous degree-granting institutions, a result of a long tradition of emphasis on academic transfer courses and high achievement standards. Between 1949, when the student body numbered 383, and 1982, the college grew to a total of 2,669 students. In 1970 Victoria College dropped out of intercollegiate athletics after many years of participation in football, basketball, and track. In track, well-trained runners under the tutelage of Coach Eddie Shinn earned several national junior college championships. In the 1980s the old athletic dormitory served as classrooms and faculty offices for the English department. Preparation of degree-seeking students, two-year vocational training, and community-service special courses are the principal concern of Victoria College. Basic academic and vocational courses are conducted at off-campus sites in Port Lavaca, Cuero, Yoakum, and Hallettsville. The college auditorium serves as a performing arts facility for the Victoria Fine Arts Society and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. Lyceum speakers have included such notables as William F. Buckley, Jr., Admiral Hyman Rickover, and Senator Sam Irvin. University Interscholastic League competition for a large number of South Texas public schools has for many years been held at the college. A student newspaper and a pictorial magazine, the Kaleidoscope, are published regularly. Three presidents have served since the separation of the college from the school district: J. D. Moore (1949–74), Roland Bing (1974–89), and Jimmy Goodson (1989-). John W. Stormont, veteran Texas educator and college dean from 1949 to 1964, assembled the basic faculty, designed a curriculum, and established a permanent rationale for the college; a college lecture series on South Texas is named in his honor. Victoria College had 161 faculty and 3,411 students for the 1992–93 regular term, in addition to 1,494 students for the 1992 summer session and 389 continuing-education students. Recent construction on the campus includes a language building in 1991, a science building in 1992, and a college services and training building in 2001. In the fall of 1998 enrollment was 3,800 with a faculty of 202.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Roy Grimes, ed., 300 Years in Victoria County (Victoria, Texas: Victoria Advocate, 1968; rpt., Austin: Nortex, 1985). Victoria College, Self Study and Evaluation Report (Victoria, Texas, 1962).

Robert W. Shook

Citation

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

Robert W. Shook, "VICTORIA COLLEGE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kcv02), accessed October 24, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.