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William Jackson "W. J." Adkins
File:W. J. Adkins of Laredo Community College.jpg
Born (1907-02-28)February 28, 1907
Milford, Ellis County
Texas, USA
Died May 23, 1965(1965-05-23) (aged 58)
Austin, Texas
Place of burial Austin Memorial Park Cemetery in Austin

Temple, Bell County, Texas
Laredo, Webb County, Texas
Dallas, Texas

Austin, Texas
Alma mater

University of North Texas
Texas Tech University

University of Texas at Austin

Higher education administrator

Founding President, Laredo Junior College (1947-1960)
Spouse(s) Electa Johnita Morrison Adkins
Parents William Edward and Lola Clementine Cook Adkins

File:W. J. Adkins Building at Laredo Community College IMG 7359.JPG|225px|left|thumb|Renovated W. J. Adkins Building (English instruction) at Laredo Community College

William Jackson Adkins, known as W. J. Adkins or Jack Adkins (February 28, 1907 – May 23, 1965), was from 1947 to 1960 the founding president of Laredo Community College in Laredo, Texas. At the time the two-year institution located near the Rio Grande was known as Laredo Junior College,[1] an entity of the Laredo Independent School District.

Biography[edit | edit source]

A native of Milford in Ellis County near Dallas, Adkins was the second of ten children of William Edward Jackson (1878-1955) and the former Lola Clementine Cook (1888-1971), who outlived her son by six years.[2] Adkins lost his father and a brother, Lonnie Grady Adkins (1912-1955), within six weeks of each other.[3]

Adkins obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1930 from the University of North Texas in Denton, then known as North Texas State College. In 1938, he received a Master of Arts from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, then Texas Technological College. He completed further graduate studies through the University of Texas in the capital city of Austin. In his late thirties, Adkins fought in the anti-aircraft coast artillery from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. In 1944, he was sent to England and assigned to General George S. Patton, Jr.'s Third Army as a sergeant in the battalion message center.[4]

Adkins was a high school principal in Claude in Armstrong County, Panhandle in Carson County, and Borger in Hutchinson County, all in West Texas, and then dean of Temple Junior College in Temple in Bell County in Central Texas. In 1947, he left Temple to become the founding president of Laredo Community College, which began with fewer than one thousand students, many returning veterans of the war. After thirteen years, he handed over the presidency of the institutioni in 1960 to Ray A. Laird, who coincidentally was also born in a town called "Milford", in his case Milford, Illinois. Adkins was forty-seven days Laird's junior. In 1964, a master plan was authorized by President Laird to accommodate a college of at least 1,500 students. Under Laird, the institution became self-governing with its own taxing body and elected board of trustees. The enrollment was nearly four thousand students by the time that Laird retired as president at the age of sixty-seven,[5] and the leadership passed to the third president, Domingo Arechiga.[6] Campus buildings, all within close proximity to one another, are named for Adkins, Laird, and Arechiga.

Adkins was a president of the Laredo chapter of Rotary International.[4] Upon leaving Laredo Junior College, he lived in Dallas and then Austin, where he died at the age of fifty-eight in the spring of 1965.[7] His wife, the former Electa Johnita "Babe" Morrison (1904-1988) was born in Oskaloosa in Mahaska County in southeastern Iowa, and died at the age of eighty-three in Clinton in eastern Iowa. She is interred beside her husband at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Founding president
President of Laredo Community College
in Laredo, Texas

William Jackson "W. J." Adkins

Succeeded by
Ray A. Laird

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