History of the College

In the spring of 1946, a group of local citizens met to form a steering committee for the purpose of establishing a junior college in Navarro County. In a general election held July 16, 1946, voters approved the creation of Navarro Junior College and authorized a county tax to help finance the institution. In that same election, voters chose a seven-member board of trustees to govern the college. The first students began classes in September, 1946. Most of the 238 members of that first student body were returning veterans from World War II taking advantage of assistance available under the newly enacted GI Bill. The first campus of Navarro College was the site of the Air Activities of Texas, a World War II primary flight school located six miles south of Corsicana.

In 1951, the campus was moved to its present location, a 47-acre tract west of downtown Corsicana on State Highway 31. The campus has expanded to 103 acres with 23 buildings. In 1954, Navarro was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The accreditation was reaffirmed in 1964, 1974, 1985, 1995, and again in 2005.

In 1974, the college broadened its philosophy and purpose to encompass the comprehensive community-based educational concept, adding occupational education programs and implementing new education concepts including individualized and self-paced instruction and the use of audio-tutorial instructional media. In keeping with the new educational role, the word “junior” was dropped from the institution’s name, and the official name Navarro College was adopted by the Board of Trustees. In an attempt to address the growing needs of its service area, which consists of Navarro, Ellis, Freestone, Limestone, and Leon counties, the college began offering courses in various locations in those areas in the early 1970s and eventually established two permanent centers, Navarro College South at Mexia and the Ellis County Center at Waxahachie. In January, 2006, a new campus in Midlothian opened to better serve students in that area.

Navarro College has had six presidents: Mr. Ray Waller, the founding president, served until his death in 1956. Dr. Ben W. Jones served from 1956 until 1973. In 1974, the Board named Dr. Kenneth P. Walker as president, and he served until 1988. Dr. Gerald E. Burson, joined the college in 1989, serving until his retirement in January 1998. Dr. Richard M. Sanchez, assumed the presidency in March 1998 and served until his retirement in August 2013. The Board named Dr. Barbara Kavalier as Navarro’s sixth president, and her administration began in September 2013.