75 Years of Serving Students of Navarro County and Surrounding Areas – Part 7

From Staff Reports

By: Tom Lucas (PRESS RELEASE)

This is the seventh and final article in a series written in preparation for Navarro College’s 75th anniversary. There is a full slate of special events and activities beginning this Thursday, Sept. 16 with the Bulldogs Unite Ceremony and culminating with The 75th Anniversary Gala on May 21, 2022. (Please see the Schedule of Events on the NC webpage at NavarroCollege.edu for details regarding the “Bulldogs Unite” kick off for the 75th Anniversary of Navarro College.) This year of celebration has been given the tag-line “Looking Back, Moving Forward”.

Following Dr. Sanchez’s announcement of his intention to retire, the Board of Trustees launched a nationwide search for a new president. Once again, a screening committee comprised of College personnel across all campuses and community members was utilized. Dr. Barbara Kavalier was chosen to become Navarro’s sixth president and its first female chief executive.

Dr. Kavalier, a native of Dallas, held degrees from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Austin. She had held various positions of responsibility at community colleges in Texas and in the northwestern part of the United States. Immediately prior to her arrival at Navarro, Dr. Kavalier had served as president of San Jose Community College in California.

When she accepted the presidency at Navarro, Dr. Kavalier was faced with the need to upgrade technology. Rapidly changing needs and risings costs had prevented such a plan previously. To facilitate such an upgrade, the College partnered with Campus Works, a company designed to strengthen technological infrastructure and implement software and hardware improvements in compliance with NC’s recently developed Master Technology Plan. The changes were designed not only to enhance the College’s internal operations, but academic programs, especially in on-line course offerings.

In 2016, Dr. Kavalier resigned to accept a president position at St. Charles Community College in Missouri.

Dr. Richard Sanchez was asked to return as Navarro’s president. It was a temporary assignment until another selection could be made to replace Kavalier.

As had been the process in the past, the Board of Trustees put together a panel of interviewers made up of College personnel and local citizens. Nearly three years later, in February, 2018, the announcement was made that Dr. Kevin Fegan was the Board’s choice. Dr. Fegan’s undergraduate is from Northwood University, his post-grad degree from Central Michigan and his doctorate from Wayne State University in Detroit. Dr. Fegan came to Navarro from Northwood University in Midland, MI and Cedar Hill, TX where he served as Vice President Education/Corporate Programming and Texas Officer.

In a recent interview, Dr. Fegan was asked about his thoughts regarding Navarro College then, during the selection process, and now, some three years later. His reply, was a line from the movie “Jerry McGuire”. He said, “You had me at hello!” He was impressed with the College and its history and with the people he met. Still, Dr. Fegan had and has a vision for Navarro. His desire is for Navarro’s vision to be unlimited. For Navarro College to provide higher education with national recognition, empowering individuals through student life.

Fegan went on to talk about a conversation he had with the late Lloyd Huffman, who at the time was the president of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Huffman was explaining that one goal that seemed to elude the College was the ability to offer a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN). It seemed the door was always closed when the subject was mentioned in Austin or anywhere that could make a difference.

However, in September, 2021, after many meetings, phone calls, trips to Austin and all the “stuff” that goes with dealing with government, the four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) was approved through the Texas Legislature. Dr. Fegan is quick to add that this doesn’t mean there be more four-year programs at Navarro anytime soon. He wants the Nursing program to have all the attention it requires to measure up to the standards Navarro has had since its inception.

Finally, Dr. Fegan reminded his audience that the first word in the title “Community College” is Community and that there must be value for every member of the community for the vision to be complete. Sounds much like A. A. Allison’s idea of “making higher education available to as many students as possible through a two-year college”.

Happy 75th Anniversary Navarro College! May the vision continue!

Acknowledgement and special thanks is given to Dr. Tommy Stringer whose book, WE ARE NAVARRO! A history of Navarro College was used in the preparation of this article.

 If you are or if you know the whereabouts of a former Mr. or Miss NJC or other homecoming royalty OR if you have NJC memorabilia you are willing to lend to the college for display, please contact the college at marketing@navarrocollege.edu or you may call Michelle Smith at 903-875-7337.

Please be sure to support those that support us here at the NCG and check out our advertisers:
Goin’ Postal | CANA Girl Speaks Podcast | Warehouse Living Arts Center | Salvation Army | Phillip R. Taft PsyD. & Associates PLLC | Immaculate Conception Catholic Church | Moe Law Offices PLLC 

Categories: Community, History