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The Presidency of William M. Pearce, Jr.: A History of Texas Wesleyan College From 1968 to 1978

Description: For almost two hundred years, liberal arts colleges dominated the American system of higher education. The Wesleyan movement into education was a missionary movement to provide an education to those denied this privilege by the class prejudices of the eighteenth century. Founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Texas Wesleyan University (originally known as Polytechnic College) began in 1891 with 11 faculty members and 173 students. It has survived despite the hardships of The Depression, economic adversities, and a severe financial crisis in the 1980s. Today with 73 faculty and 1,550 students, Texas Wesleyan remains committed to its original mission that the goal of education is the development of each student to his or her greatest potential. William M. Pearce, born in the woman's dormitory of Seth Ward College in Plainview, Texas, resigned his position as executive vice-president of Texas Technological University to become the thirteenth president of Texas Wesleyan College in June 1968. Upon assuming office, Pearce realized the need to concentrate his efforts on those things in need of repair and improvement. There was no faculty organization, no tenure, no formal budget process, and Texas Wesleyan was lacking many other standards usually found in institutions of higher education. Following his grassroots philosophy, Pearce began making immediate changes. Pearce brought to the college widely used and accepted practices of college and university administration. Pearce's administrative style was autocratic yet contained a degree of participative management. His organizational structure provided avenues for faculty and student participation in college administration. His accomplishments during his 10-year administration, while not extraordinary, were necessary and added to the future health and success of Texas Wesleyan College. Without them the college would have remained in the dark ages of higher education. A reserved man, Pearce's experience, capabilities, straightforwardness, and quiet initiative were necessary for Texas ...
Date: May 1990
Creator: Taylor, Melodye Smith
Partner: UNT Libraries