Central Texas College in Waco was founded in 1902 as Central Texas Academy by Black Baptists to provide instruction from first grade to college. The academy became a college in 1907. Enrollment was small at the beginning but gradually peaked at almost 500 students. The first building was named Katy Ross Padgitt Hall, after a local White benefactor; an administration building was built in 1911. Students, recruited by visiting preachers in area churches, chose from a curriculum that included theological and teacher training, business, music, and a variety of trades, as well as academic courses in such fields as literature and drama. The all-Black faculty numbered as many as eleven; they included local physicians and ministers who served on a part-time basis. The school had an unofficial but close relationship with New Hope Baptist Church of Waco. Central Texas College was governed by a board of trustees that included local Black Baptist ministers. John W. Strong served as principal and then president from 1904 until 1928, when he moved to Chicago. After two other administrators served briefly, the school closed in 1931 due to financial difficulty. The campus site was obliterated by U.S. Highway 84 in the early 1950s.
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Dayton Kelley, ed., The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972).
Defunct Colleges and Universities
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Central Texas College,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 20, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 6, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: