Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Tenure leaves legacy of valuing students
For the past 48 years, Thomas Marion O'Connor has served on the Victoria College Board of Trustees. After serving for more than half of the college's existence, O'Connor chose to step down from his trustee position on Sept, 19.
The O'Connor family has a long, influential history in the Victoria community and Thomas O'Connor's service with VC is another addition to that positive legacy. His involvement and leadership has helped guide Victoria College through almost five decades of growth and development to where it is today. Here are some of the major steps VC has taken during his time as a trustee: • In 1967, VC acquired its first Xerox machine.
• In 1968, VC bought an additional 10 acres and developed its first master plan for the campus.
• Fall of 1970 was VC's first time to offer law enforcement education.
• In 1971, the state coordinating board recommended that the legislature permit a senior institution to locate a branch at VC.
• In 1975, the new, 2-year nursing program received accreditation.
• In 1976, VC saw the first graduates of the EMS program.
• In 1976, VC purchased 19.1 acres adjacent to the campus, which expanded the campus to 80 acres.
• In 1980, the police academy got started.
• In 1990, the nursing program expanded by 60 percent.
• In 1992, VC completed the new student center and science building.
• In 1999, the $6 million revenue bond issue passed making possible the General Services Center and our Technology Center.
• In 2006, the $15.5 million bond issue passed for the new allied health building and the addition to the science building.
• In 2012, a $22 million bond issue was passed for the Emerging Technology Center.
During his time at VC, the student population has grown from 1,554 in 1966 to 4,400 in 2013, according to reports from VC. In addition, the Victoria College Foundation Endowment grew from $1 million in the early 1990s to almost $9 million in 2013.
We are glad to see this strong growth in the college's enrollment while O'Connor was serving on the college board, and we applaud him and all the other board members who have helped shape Victoria College into the strong academic institution it is today.
VC board chairman Ron Walker said: "When an issue was being discussed at Victoria College, you could always count on Mr. O'Connor to ask how it would affect the students. The next question would be whether the decision we were discussing would keep the college in a sound financial position. The board will do well to remember those questions."
This philosophy that places the students first followed by a strong financial foundation as the top priority of VC is exactly how a college should be run, and we thank O'Connor for always working to make sure VC functioned according to these principles.
Thank you, Mr. O'Connor, for your years of service to higher education in Victoria. Your work has helped VC become the strong institute of higher learning it is today.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.