Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 61
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By 1980, before Priest retired as chancellor,
the DCCCD boasted El Centro College in
downtown Dallas plus six satellite colleges scattered
about the county within easy driving distance
of every potential student: Eastfield
(Mesquite), Mountain View (Oak Cliff),
Richland (Richardson), CedarValley (Lancaster),
Northlake (Irving), and Brookhaven (Farmers
Branch). Enrollment in credit courses surpassed
43,000. The community college met a genuine
need in Dallas County, attracting the non-traditional
student and developing valuable human
resources. Bill Priest had fulfilled his promise to
Dallas by creating a national educational model.
What might have become a paean to Dr.
Priest and his successes is leavened by the
author's willingness to confront criticisms of his
administration. Priest's forceful management
style and blunt honesty sometimes ruffled feathers,
and his bent to innovation and risk-taking
led to a few costly errors (like the ill-fated windmill
at Brookhaven). According to Priest, an
absence of failure meant one was not trying
enough new ideas. Some called Priest autocratic,
a view he did not discourage since, he said, it
got results. In the end, even his detractors
admired Priest's accomplishments.
Dallas was fortunate to have such a man of
vision and integrity. He takes his place as one of
the important figures in the city's history. Under
the direction of his successors, the Dallas County
Community College District continues to open
the doors of education to thousands of students
each year. It provides a skilled labor force to area
businesses and enriches the personal lives of
countless Dallas County residents. Kathleen
Whitson preserves, through her well-written
biography of Bill J. Priest, a significant record of
local educational history. *
- Susanne Starling
WWW.OL DRED. ORG
OLD RED MUSEUM
OF DALLAS COUNTY
HISTORY & CULTURE
- A NEW GENERATION
OF PEOPLE OF VISION.
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004, periodical, 2004; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35092/m1/63/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.