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, 2005,  and again in 2015.

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 seven presidents: Mr. Ray Waller, the founding president served until his death in 1956; Dr. Ben W. Jones served from 1956 until 1973; Dr. Kenneth P. Walker served from 1974 until 1988; Dr. Gerald E. Burson served from 1989 until his retirement in January 1998; Dr. Richard Sanchez served from 1998 until his retirement in 2013; and Dr. Barbara Kavalier served from 2013 until 2016.  Dr. Richard Sanchez came out of retirement to serve as Interim Chancellor through August 2016 and is currently serving as District President.