A History Of TIJT
Published or Revised September 15, 2012
The forerunner of Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology dates to 1942 when Paris Junior College's Horology and Jewelry Departments were initiated under former PJC President J.R. McLemore. Originally established as a vocational rehabilitation center for the handicapped, qualified students were assisted by the Civilian Rehabilitation Department with tuition and room and board expenses. By 1946, the chief function of the department was training World War II veterans under the GI Bill of Rights.
Under the administration of PJC President Louis B. Williams — whose "Decade 70s" philosophy of "blue collar education" prompted him to emphasize the school's technical occupations division on an equal basis with the traditional academic curriculum — the jewelry department received a large grant from the Texas Education Agency. This grant enabled the department to expand its lapidary courses and develop a state-of-the-art gemology program.
Throughout its six-plus decades, TIJT's success has hinged on the dedication and knowledge of its leaders, instructors and advisors.
One such individual was Terrell Boyd, who operated a jewelry trade shop with his brother Merrell in Sulphur Springs, Texas, and went on to train and inspire young jewelers at TIJT for more than 26 years.
While still in high school, Terrell and his brother Merrell became interested in the jewelry business. They were encouraged by John N. Haynesworth, a jeweler from Sulphur Springs, to pursue the trade.
Terrell attended the Paris Junior College's jewelry program after returning from World War II. A decorated veteran, he was one of the first American soldiers to land on the beaches of Normandy. He became known as a dedicated teacher, the kind of teacher that comes along once in every generation, a teacher that industry leaders named one of the world's most accomplished instructors. In 1961 Boyd was honored by President Kennedy's Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped. In 1996, Mr. Boyd was inducted into the Hall of Honor at PJC.
Orlando Paddock — a 1941 graduate of the Gemological Institute of America; member of the American Gem Society and the British Gemmological Society; author of [i]Gemformation[/i], a primer in gemology, and coauthor of the textbook [i]Gemology for the Jeweler[/i] — acted first as advisor to the new gemology department, and joined the faculty in 1977. He was instrumental in developing the curriculum for the gemology courses.
In 1984 longtime jewelry instructor and program coordinator Waylan "Butch" Munday researched and initiated the precious metals program, offering jewelry technology students an opportunity to work in gold and platinum. In 2005, Mr. Munday developed and implemented the CAD/CAM jewelry design program.
Other notable, dedicated members of the faculty who have trained jewelers, gemologists and watchmakers over the years include:
- Edwin L. Keener, first instructor of the jewelry department, 1944
- Donald Nafus, watch instructor, 1970-84
- Paul M. Clayton, GG, director of the jewelry division, 1971-82
- Lt. Col. Hoyle Barr, GG, gemology and jewelry instructor, director of the jewelry department 1973-86
- Malcolm Heuser, GG, gemology instructor, 1974-89
- Robert Howell, watch and jewelry instructor, 1975-92
- Jerry Waters, jewelry instructor, 1976-2008
- C.R. Frazier, jewelry instructor, 1977-83
- Leo Polowy, jewelry instructor, 1979-84
- Richard Ward, jewelry instructor, 1979-98
- James Overstreet, GG, gemology instructor, 1980-85
- Elizabeth Brehmer, jewelry instructor - director, 1984-89
- Chari Bierlein, GG, FGA, gemology and jewelry instructor, 1986-98
- Teresa Shannon, director, 1998-2004
- Levi E Carroll, watch instructor, 1974-85
- Arthur Haas, jewelry instructor, 1974-75
- Orlie Eugene Carter, jewelry instructor, 1977-78
- Jean Laughlin, 1983-86
- Daniel Fackiner, jewelry instructor 1980-84
- Mark Loving casting instructor, 1981-89
- Dwight Tubb, watch instructor, 1984-89
- Gregg Todd, jewelry instructor, 1985-90
- Ron Blue, jewelry instructor, 1985-89
- Joan Goe-Cisneros, jewelry instructor, 1986-88
- Gordon Wanshura, jewelry instructor, 1986-88
Through the leadership of seven PJC presidents and a supportive board of regents, with the advice of industry experts and a dedicated faculty, the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology grew from a meager beginning in the basement of PJC's Administration Building to become a training facility known worldwide.