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Higher Education in Texas

Its Beginnings to 1970

Charles R. Matthews


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Higher Education in Texas is the first book to tell the history, defining events, and critical participants in the development of higher education in Texas from approximately 1838 to 1970. Charles Matthews, Chancellor Emeritus of the Texas State University System, begins the story with the land grant policies of the Spanish, Mexicans, Republic of Texas, and the State of Texas that led to the growth of Texas. Religious organizations supplied the first of many colleges, years before the Texas Legislature began to fund and support public colleges and universities.

Matthews devotes a chapter to the junior/community colleges and their impact on providing a low-cost education alternative for local students. These community colleges also played a major role in economic development in their communities. Further chapters explore the access and equity in educating women, African Americans, and Hispanics.

“This is a strong contribution to the scholarship on Texas higher education.”—Matthew Fuller, College of Education, Sam Houston State University

Praise For Higher Education in Texas: Its Beginnings to 1970

“Dr. Matthews has assembled a strong scholarly work. His tone and writing style are easy to follow and make for a very personal, engaging text. I have found it to be a strong contribution to the scholarship on Texas higher education.”—Matthew Fuller, College of Education, Sam Houston State University
“This is well researched, presents an honest picture (addresses issues of educational inequities), and is inclusive of all ethnicities and races. The text includes a nice mix of Texas history and higher education history, allowing the reader to place higher education events in a broader historical context.”—Hollis Lowery-Moore, Education, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
“Dr. Matthews states in chapter 5: ‘Understanding an institution’s particular history and constituency is critical for administrators in higher education.’ This book should serve as the beginning of this understanding for anyone interested in higher education administration. With the overviews of the Permanent University Fund and the origins of the different higher education institutional types, as well as the great bibliographies and notes with each chapter, it should be provided to all Texas legislators and their staffs for policy and appropriations.”—Dr. Michael D. McKinney, former Chancellor of the Texas A&M University system
“I have enormous respect for Chancellor Matthews’ knowledge of the intricacies of higher education.”—Kent R. Hance, former Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System
“Charles Matthews’ compelling history of the development of Texas higher education provides us not only historical context, but also documents the roles played by Texas’ governmental leadership, its vast land and petroleum resources, its population and the parochial and private sectors. Dr. Matthews’ chapters on access and equity and the current organizational structure of higher education detail key developments for anyone with current interest in or future plans including the study of Texas’ higher education.”—Roland Smith, Vice Chancellor for Finance, Texas State University System
“Dr. Matthews offers an incredibly comprehensive resource for understanding the historical perspective of Texas higher education, including perhaps the most extensive review available regarding Hispanics and higher education. The book is a must-read for aspiring college or university leaders as well as anyone seeking a well-informed foundation for higher education in Texas.  Matthews provides an engaging, useful, and important tool for navigating the vast historical landscape of Texas higher education.”—Stacey Edmonson, Dean, College of Education, Sam Houston State University

"Higher Education in Texas offers much worthwhile content . . . Matthews's book hits its stride in chapters recognizing the importance of land to higher education and the challenge of coordinating more than two hundred colleges and universities. . . . Matthews deftly explains the state's attempt to create a permanent endowment to pay for higher education, only to see its efficient and effective use impeded over the years."--Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"Details on funding, legislative battles, and religion involved in higher education fill a gap in the literature of higher education history. . . . This book could work well in undergraduate history courses, especially for students who plan to teach."--Journal of Southern History

University of North Texas Press, 9781574417166, 368pp.

Publication Date: March 16, 2018

About the Author

CHARLES R. MATTHEWS is Chancellor Emeritus of the Texas State University System, the oldest public university system in Texas. He was chancellor from 2005 until his retirement in 2010. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. He lives on his ranch in Hill County.