The College of Marshall (COM) was officially chartered on October 22, 1912. The new college was a tribute to the vision and resourcefulness of Rev. W.T. Tardy (Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Marshall), who worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to create an institution of higher learning in Marshall: “I thought about the college by day and dreamed about it by night,” he stated. With the State of Texas charter in hand and the affiliation with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in place, College of Marshall initiated construction of Marshall Hall on July 15, 1915.
Once the building was complete, the College was ready to open its doors to students, which it did on Monday morning, June 4, 1917. Within one year, in addition to Marshall Hall, two identical dormitories were constructed. One dorm housed sixty boys, while the other accommodated sixty girls. A single-story frame dining hall fed students three meals a day, including a dinner of “Muddy water, Chili, Grits,” and, of course,” toothpicks for the men.” The first classes were held in the summer term of 1917, and by fall term, the cluster of buildings on the hill of Marshall was crowded with 374 full-time and part-time students, who, in addition to classes, participated in numerous campus organizations and athletic programs, including football and baseball.
The story of the founding of the University is amazing and powerful. In his autobiography, dictated to his wife in the last weeks of his life, W. T. Tardy recounts how the idea came to be as well as the efforts of faithful people who worked tirelessly to ensure that the idea came to fruition.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:5
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