Highlights of Newman Smith’s presidency (1955-1959)

Newman Smith Newman SmithNewman Smith became president of Temple Junior College and superintendent of Temple public schools after the resignation of S.P.Cowan. He had been the principal of Temple High School since 1949 and previously served as principal in Beaumont and Denison. Smith was educated at Tarleton State University, Texas A&I Kingsville and The University of Texas. Newman Smith was the last president who also held the position of Temple school superintendent.

Events during Smith’s presidency:


October 24: The Temple public school board passed a resolution creating the Temple Junior College District. The newly created district was within the existing boundaries of the Temple public school system and created a pathway for Temple Junior College to hold a bond election separate from the public school system asking for funds to build a new campus and a maintenance tax to fund the college.


January 24: Voters within the Temple Junior College District voted in favor (1,439 to 241) of a $300,000 bond to build a new junior college campus and also voted in favor (1,291 to 252) of a seven cents per $100 valuation maintenance tax to fund the college. The new campus was to be built on the former POW camp acquired by the Temple public schools in 1951, which the college was in danger of losing if it wasn’t utilized. The election followed a massive effort by the Temple Junior College Ex-Students Association who personally visited voters in the district in order to explain the benefits of a separate college campus.

May: On the 8th, Temple Junior College held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its new campus. The Scott & White School of Nursing ended its affiliation with the college.

June 11: A separate school board was created for the college.

Fall: The students of the college formed a student senate.

Original Building December: The new Temple Junior College campus is completed and accepted by the school board. The college moved in preparation for the spring semester of 1957.


January 2: Classes begin on Temple Junior College’s new campus.

April 27: Approximately 300 people, including former college presidents and faculty, attended the formal opening and dedication of the college’s new campus.

May 13: Temple Junior College ended its policy of segregation by offering a scholarship to the valedictorian of Bartlett Negro High School.

July: The first designated parking lot is paved on the college’s new campus. The new lot could only accommodate 94 vehicles, leaving many students, faculty and staff to park in unpaved areas.

Fall: Temple Junior College moves from a six-day class schedule to a five-day class schedule, eliminating Saturday classes. The college added track to its athletic program.


October: On the 16th, a science club was formed. This was the first time a science club had been active since 1928. On the 27th, the college dedicated landscaping on the new campus. The landscaping was funded through a partnership with the Temple Rotary Club.

December 8: The Temple School Board voted to relinquish control of the college, effective April 1959.


March 9: In preparation for the separation of Temple Junior College from the Temple public school system, a new board of regents was appointed for the college.

April 13: The college’s board of regents officially assumed control of the college at their first meeting.

April 23: The Temple school board voted to divest itself of Temple Junior College, officially separating the college from the public school system.