Grayson College

By: David Minor

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Grayson College operated for twenty-five years at Whitewright in southeastern Grayson County. The building that housed the college originally was the home of the community's public school, which began operating in 1880. Five years later H. L. Piner and James F. Anderson purchased the property, intending to establish a college-level institution at the site. Two years later the men secured a charter to open Grayson College, a coeducational institution. The privately-owned school qualified to receive state funds by offering primary and high school classes in addition to college work. This practice disappeared in the twentieth century, as the state educational system grew more insistent on separating the roles of secondary schools and colleges. Although Grayson College underwent four ownership changes between 1887 and 1894, the administrative changes did little to disrupt the college's progress. In 1893 the campus was enlarged, and a three-story housing building was added. Between 1900 and 1904 the college organized a military corps, and in the latter year enrollment peaked at 740. Unfortunately, that same year a fire destroyed most of the facilities, including the new building. The college was unable to recover, and finally, as financial support dissolved, Columbia closed for the last time in 1912. In the 1920s one Grayson College building was used as Whitewright High School. For years, students of the college held annual meetings there; one building became a museum. In 1963 the property was sold to Grayson County Junior College, which opened in 1965.

Ancestors and Descendants: Grayson County, Texas (Sherman, Texas: Grayson County Genealogical Society, 1980). Grayson County Frontier Village, History of Grayson County, Texas (2 vols., Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter, 1979, 1981). Aileen McMahon, A History of Grayson College (M.A. thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1940). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
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  • Defunct Colleges and Universities

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

David Minor, “Grayson College,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 13, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995