Paris Junior College begins its 91st year of offering higher education and vocational training opportunities in Northeast Texas this fall. Through the years, it has opened campuses in Sulphur Springs and Greenville, in addition to the original Paris campus. This has given more people access to advanced education and training. Here is how and why PJC has a long history of success.
By Paul Bailey
PJC Public Information Services
Paris Junior College has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people in northeast Texas during its 91 years of service as an educational institution. PJC and North Central Texas CC (Gainesville) are the two oldest existing municipal junior colleges in Texas. Paris Junior College is the oldest 2-year college (opened in 1924) still operating under its same name and charter.
One of the reasons I have always enjoyed my work at PJC is because I like the excitement of seeing people become successful. That’s what Paris Junior College and its campuses in Greenville and Sulphur Springs do — they help make successful citizens out of ordinary people — and I get to tell the public about that.
Having been very familiar with Paris Junior College and its importance to the Northeast Texas area, it was a great privilege to go to work for the college in 1992 and to become the point person in telling folks about the college and helping it grow.
When Paris Junior College opened the PJC-Greenville Center campus for classes, it was important to me because I remember as a Greenville resident and a Herald Banner editor/reporter hearing discussions about the city not having an institution of higher education. The same was true when PJC opened the Sulphur Springs campus. I live there, and I can attest to the fact that the PJC-Sulphur Springs Center has opened doors for so many people. I think people in Hopkins and Hunt Counties deserve the academic and technical/vocational education opportunities made available through the Centers. They are convenient, affordable, and offer quality instruction.
The thing that makes it easy for me to promote Paris Junior College and its campuses in Greenville and Sulphur Springs is the fact that two-year colleges have an open door admissions policy that gives people of all walks of life an opportunity to pursue a college education and/or vocational training. People of all ages who never envisioned themselves going to college can walk through the door and into a classroom of opportunity.
Two-year colleges are the backbone of the educational system in America. We have 50 community/junior colleges in Texas, and well over 50 percent of all undergraduate students attending college today in Texas are enrolled in these 50 colleges.
Why do they choose a two-year college? I think it is because they can receive quality instruction and get more personal attention from instructors. Tuition costs are half that of a state university, courses are easily transferable, scholarships and financial aid are available, and the colleges are convenient to home.
I have great optimism about the future of community/junior colleges, and especially Paris Junior College and its campuses in Greenville and Sulphur Springs. Community Colleges have the educational products that people need and what is required to educate and train all Americans.