Bill Jason Priest, Community College Pioneer by Kathleen Krebbs Whitson

By Kathleen Krebbs Whitson

There are few issues which are only American. On that brief record are baseball and the two-year neighborhood university. invoice Jason Priest possessed ability and acumen for either. the higher a part of his lifestyles was once spent constructing and defining the junior collage into the excellent neighborhood university. His contributions earned him a prestigious position within the annals of upper schooling, yet his character used to be now not one in every of a stereotypical stodgy educator, neither is the tale of his lifestyles a dry read.

After operating his means via collage, Priest performed specialist baseball prior to serving in Naval Intelligence in the course of international battle II. His various reports contributed to shaping his management type, frequently categorized as autocratic and infrequently truculent in conservative convictions. a similar relentless force that introduced him feedback additionally introduced him luck and compliment. Forthright honesty and risk-taking decision mixed with imaginative and prescient caused many confident results.

Priest’s occupation in better schooling begun with the two-year university procedure in California ahead of he used to be lured to Texas in 1965 to move the Dallas County Junior collage District. Over the subsequent fifteen years Priest remodeled the junior collage application into the Dallas County group university District (DCCCD) and equipped it as much as seven schools. He played significant roles within the evolution of nursing schooling, the founding of a telecommunications middle for the creation of televised classes, the supply and reputation of vocational schooling, and in better breadth in noncredit classes. After his retirement in 1981, he endured to function Chancellor Emeritus till 2003.

Drawing from information in addition to from various interviews with Priest and his own affiliates, Kathleen Krebbs Whitson offers the lifetime of a huge in Texas schooling and divulges his lasting impression upon the group university movement.

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7 The opening of Richland College just six years later would prove that to be an unwarranted fear. 8 Armed with this data, the DISD board chair, Robert Gilmore, announced intentions to move forward with the building of an integrated junior college that would offer a variety of educational courses, but once again the issue of a city college versus a county college surfaced. The DISD served residents of the city of Dallas only. Its tax base was also drawn from the city and did not allow for support of a college that would serve the entire county.

On one occasion, the instructor arrived for the broadcast inebriated. The television station manager telephoned Priest and asked him what he should do about the situation. Priest replied that he could not remember the part of his graduate courses that explained how to handle the matter. The man’s condition was not discernable to the viewing audience and the class was broadcast as usual. Priest kept the idea of televised education alive and mentally filed for future use, with refinements. He would have such an opportunity in Dallas.

He was struck with sorrow, apprehension, and empathy knowing that just days before, his countrymen used the most formidable weapon on earth on their city and within five minutes annihilated one-hundred-and-thirty-thousand people and destroyed ninety percent of the city. At the same time, Priest was 18 • Chapter Two filled with pride in being an American and knowing that by his country’s action, many more lives had been saved. In President Harry Truman’s radio address to the American public just sixteen hours after the bombing of Hiroshima, he explained, “The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor.

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