It was a day of celebration on the Hilltop. Hundreds of people gathered at Weatherford Colleges’ - (WC) Historic Plaza, the site of the school’s iconic bell and arch, to honor two of WC’s most dedicated and generous supporters - Roy and Jeanne Grogan.
The area was recently re-named in honor of the Grogans by the WC Board of Trustees, a designation celebrated during a ceremony on Thursday, followed by a Veterans Day celebration a short time later at the Ed Kramer Veterans Flag Plaza.
“I can’t imagine two more gracious people to honor,” Dr. Kevin Eaton, president of Weatherford College said of the Grogans. “You both have been so supportive of Weatherford College throughout the years.”
Eaton told how Roy was instrumental in establishing Project Opportunity, a separate foundation which has paid for hundreds of Weatherford High School graduates to attend Weatherford College.
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“Roy was actually chairman of Project Opportunity for many years,” Eaton said. “And the Grogans have given more than $100,000 to the WC Foundation, personally.”
Eaton then gave a short biography of Grogan and his family’s history, and how they came to Parker County in 1861, eight years before the college was established.
In lieu of the Veterans Day ceremony to follow, Eaton told of Grogan’s military and work history.
“Roy actually wanted to join the Naval Air Corps in 1943, after he graduated from high school, but was unable to because he wasn’t old enough,” Eaton said. “So after attending the University of Texas in Arlington and Weatherford College, he turned 18 and went straight to the recruitment office and joined.”
While in the service Grogan was trained to be a gunner.
“They started a new program with the B-29 bombers - this was in the middle of WWII - where gunners were trained to shoot down Kamikaze pilots who were attacking our fleet in the Pacific,” Eaton said. “Roy was one of the first to be trained for the program but just before he could put his training into action, America dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.”
When Grogan finished his service he came back to Weatherford College where he graduated and decided he wanted to attend Harvard.
“He was accepted,” Eaton told those attending. “The only problem was he was placed on a wait list for a year. Those who were attending Harvard prior to the war had the first right of return.”
Grogan then found himself visiting Duke University with some professors he had befriended at Weatherford College.
“So Roy decided to apply at Duke Law School and three years later graduated,” Eaton said.
Again Grogan returned to Weatherford and was about to begin a law practice when the Korean War broke out. Concerned, as a reservist that he might be called into active duty, he traveled to Grand Prairie to speak with a commander about the possibility.
“He was told, ‘no one on God’s green earth can tell you what to do,’” Eaton said. “But, if I were you I wouldn’t buy any damn law books anytime soon.”
Upon the advice he’d received, that same day, Grogan went on to Dallas and applied to be a FBI agent. Thirty days later he was in Washington D.C. in a FBI training class.
Grogan eventually did open a law practice in Weatherford. He also married his wife Jeanne and have celebrated their 65th anniversary.
“This is a special day for us,” Grogan said.
“I want to tell you from the bottom of our hearts, thank you,” she said. “Roy is the most generous person of integrity I’ve ever known in my life. The people that know him will tell you the same thing.”