"Lone Star Historian 2" is a blog about the travels and activities of the State Historian of Texas during his second year. Bill O'Neal was appointed to a two-year term by Gov. Rick Perry on August 22, 2012, at an impressive ceremony in the State Capitol. Bill is headquartered at Panola College (www.panola.edu) in Carthage, where he has taught since 1970. For more than 20 years Bill conducted the state's first Traveling Texas History class, a three-hour credit course which featured a 2,100-mile itinerary. In 2000 he was awarded a Piper Professorship, and in 2012 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wild West Historical Association. Bill has published over 40 books, almost half about Texas history subjects, and in 2007 he was named Best Living Non-Fiction Writer by True West Magazine. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by his alma mater, Texas A&M University - Commerce.
|Dr. Powell addressing the crowd|
On Wednesday morning, May 7, it was my deep pleasure to attend a groundbreaking ceremony on the campus of Panola College. Panola County Junior College opened in Carthage in January 1948 in temporary buildings. Later in the year a $400,000 bond issue was approved to construct an administration building and a gymnasium. Through the general fund and grants other buildings were erected in later years, but 65 years passed without another bond issue. At last, in 2013, Panola President Gregory Powell and members of the Board of Trustees campaigned effectively for a $35 million bond issue, which passed by a virtually unprecedented 84 percent vote. Two major buildings will be constructed simultaneously, after which existing buildings will be renovated. Wednesday morning Dr. Powell spoke to a large crowd, after which he and board members donned hard hats and, armed with spades, broke ground to enthusiastic applause. Refreshments were served and there was excited conversation. In my case, excitement was triggered because I have been affiliated with the college for 44 years, and this is our first bond issue during my tenure.
|History Club of East Texas|
|Woods Methodist Church|
|John Ben Williams, accompanied by wife Mary,|
provides special music.
|Larry McNeill receiving Certificate of Appreciation|