When Weatherford College first opened in 1869, it would be another seven years before folks could call each other with the good news because Alexander Graham Bell did not invent the telephone until 1876.
This year the school is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a year-long series of events. It’s an opportunity for people to take a moment to see the impact that WC has had on this community as a whole, as well as individuals, noted Katie Edwards, the school’s director of creative and graphic services, and also the coordinator of the sesquicentennial celebration.
“The fact that this community has valued education for 150 years is a testament to its character. I hope community members, current students, alumni, and faculty and staff can enjoy this year’s celebrations of Weatherford College’s legacy knowing they are a part of it,” Edwards said.
When the cornerstone was laid for the college in 1869, the nation was just four years removed from the Civil War, and the railroad wouldn’t arrive in Weatherford for another 11 years.
“Weatherford College has a colorful and inspiring history. It’s amazing to think of all this college has endured over 150 years and the thousands of lives it has changed. We are very proud of this rich history,” said Brent Baker, vice president of institutional advancement.
Baker also served as the school’s interim president from June 2017 to May 2018 before Dr. Tod Farmer was hired as the 18th president in WC history.
WC’s list of notable alumni includes:
▪ Former U.S. Speaker of the House Jim Wright.
▪ Cy Young Award-winning pitcher and 2016 world series champion pitcher Jake Arrieta (with the Chicago Cubs).
▪ 2018 World Series champion pitcher Ryan Brasier (Boston Red Sox).
▪ ”American Idol” third-place finisher (Season 3) Casey James.
▪ Former WC Coyotes basketball player and longtime Oprah Winfrey boyfriend Stedman Graham.
▪ Leta Andrews, all-time winningest high school basketball coach (1,416 victories).
▪ Former NBA player Harvey Catchings (174-85 with Philadelphia, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Los Angeles Clippers).
What started in the building known as the Phoenix Masonic Lodge is now a college with an all-time high enrollment of more than 6,400 students. They also have satellite campuses in Granbury, Mineral Wells and Wise County (between Decatur and Bridgeport).
“This year is about celebrating all of those before us who have worked to keep this institution alive, growing and improving so it can meet the needs of this community,” Edwards said. “It’s about honoring those students who put their trust in us, and the faculty and staff who protected that trust. It is to honor the community members who believed in the value of education in their community.
“I have been looking forward to preparing for WC’s 150th anniversary celebration for the past 10 years, and it has been exciting and overwhelming in equal turn. It has been an amazing experience to work with members of the community, alumni, faculty and staff across WC’s campuses to celebrate and mark this once-in-a-lifetime event.”
Schedule of events to commemorate Weatherford College’s 150th anniversary year (all events at the college, 225 College Park Dr., unless otherwise noted)
Feb. 16: WC’s Basketball & Family Day, 2 p.m., Betty Jo Crumm Graber Athletic Center. An afternoon of basketball, ice cream, memories and fun.
Feb. 28-March 1: Interdisciplinary Academic Conference, 2-6 p.m. A look to 21st Century and academia.
March 19: Duo Azul, 7 p.m., Marjorie Black Alkek Fine Arts Center. Piano concert featuring Amy Gustafson and WC artist residence, Hyeyoung Song.
March 23: Coyote Family Picnic, noon WC Williams Ballpark (in the event of rain, March 30). The community is invited to the ballpark to enjoy family activities, eat some food and cheer on the baseball team.
April 12: Alumni Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.
April 27: Inaugural Weatherford College Piano Competition, 9 a.m., Alkek Fine Arts Center.
May 16: Taste of Parker County, 5-8 p.m., Heritage Park, Santa Fe Drive.
May 31: WC campus summer event, 7 p.m., details TBA.
June 7: The Lone Star Guitar Festival and Competition, 1-4 p.m., Alkek Fine Arts Center.
Aug. 27: Fall WC Birthday Party, 11 a.m.-noon, Weatherford College Library. Includes cake and giveaways.
Oct. 5-6: Pioneer Week, 7 p.m. Saturday-11 p.m. Sunday, location TBA. Activities will include a beard growing contest, pioneer costume contest, obstacle course and a chuckwagon cookout.
Oct. 31: Safe Halloween, 7 p.m., campus parking lots.
Nov. 2: WC Rodeo, noon, Sheriff’s Posse Grounds, 2251 Mineral Wells Highway.
Nov. 16: 26th annual Coyote Chase Race & Family Picnic, 9 a.m. A 5K/1-mile run/walk to benefit WC student scholarships, followed by a picnic lunch on campus.