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History of Paris Junior College

Published or Revised September 17, 2012

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Paris Junior College’s new 39,000-square-foot Greenville Center campus opened to students for the fall 2008 semester.

Paris Junior College was established by the Paris Independent School District on June 16, 1924, in response to the community’s need for an institution of higher learning.

The Board of Education elected B.E. Masters, principal of Paris High School, as dean, and the college opened its original downtown campus in the high school building in September 1924 with seven faculty members and 91 students. Later, 39 extension students were added to the roll, for a total of 130 students the first year.

The college moved into its own facility, the old U.S. Post Office building, during the summer before starting its second year. The building was donated to the Paris Independent School District by the federal government. In 1931 the college became an independent unit of the school system, and J.R. McLemore became the first president.

In 1934 Paris Junior College became a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, and in 1937 the board voted to establish the Paris Junior College District, independent yet coterminous with the Paris Independent School District.

The campus was moved to its present site of 54 acres in 1940, and in 1949 the first board of regents was elected.

J.R. McLemore served as president until 1961. Charles Clark took over the duties until Frank Grimes became president in 1963. Louis B. Williams succeeded Grimes in 1967 and served until 1983 when he was named president emeritus. Dennis Michaelis followed Williams and served as president until 1988. Bobby R. Walters became president in 1988 and served until his retirement in 2003. Dr. Pamela Anglin was appointed president in 2003 and continues to serve PJC.

The college began adding new facilities at its campus in 1963, and a building program continued until 1978 during which time the J.R. McLemore Student Center, dormitories, Natural Sciences and Mathematics Center, applied science annexes, Aikin Center for Applied Sciences, Center for Musical Arts, Lifelong Learning Center, apartments, and the Mike Rheudasil Learning Center were built. Included in the Learning Center/Library is the Welma and A.M. Aikin Jr. Regional Archives, which contains the papers of the late Senator A.M. Aikin Jr., cosponsor of the Gilmer-Aikin Bill and member of the Texas legislature for 46 years.

In 1988 the Hunt Physical Education Center was completed to provide additional space for kinesiology instruction. It is also home to the PJC Dragons and Lady Dragons basketball teams and the Lady Dragons volleyball team. It includes classrooms and the Dragons Hall of Fame Room.

The college acquired and completely remodeled a building on the north side of Clarksville Street adjacent to the campus that has become the Bobby R. Walters Workforce Training Center. It houses the Health Occupations Programs, as well as the Social Science, Electronics, Electromechanical and Drafting Departments.

A new 39,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Greenville campus opened to students for the fall 2008 semester, offering general academic courses that lead to an associate’s degree in arts or sciences. The Greenville Center campus contains classrooms, a science lab, a computer lab, a library, a large meeting room that can also be used as a classroom, and administrative offices.

Construction of the South Campus Residence Hall at the main Paris campus was completed in 2011. Construction of a new math and science building on the Paris campus began in 2011 as part of a comprehensive building program meant to accommodate growth well into the 21st century.

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