Jarvis Christian College
Former names
Jarvis Institute[1]
TypePrivate, HBCU
Established1912; 109 years ago (1912)
Religious affiliation
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
PresidentDr. Lester Newman
PR 7631, Hwy 80 E
, , ,
32°35′21″N 95°10′47″W / 32.589192°N 95.179823°W / 32.589192; -95.179823Coordinates: 32°35′21″N 95°10′47″W / 32.589192°N 95.179823°W / 32.589192; -95.179823
Campus1,000 acres
ColorsBlue and Gold    
J. N. Ervin Religion and Culture Center at Jarvis Christian College; James Nelson Ervin was the first JCC president, with service from 1914 to 1938. The culture center was built after his tenure as president.
J. N. Ervin Religion and Culture Center at Jarvis Christian College; James Nelson Ervin was the first JCC president, with service from 1914 to 1938. The culture center was built after his tenure as president.

Jarvis Christian College (JCC) is a Christian historically black college in Wood County, Texas. It was founded in 1912.[2]


Although formal instructional programs at Jarvis began on January 13, 1913, with an enrollment of twelve students, all in the elementary grades, the school began as early as 1904, when the Negro Disciples of Christ of Texas began to plan for a school for black youth. Major James Jarvis and his wife Ida Van Zandt Jarvis donated land upon which the school could be built; the family deeded 456 acres (185 ha) to the Christian Women's Board of Missions on the condition it be maintained as a school for blacks.[1][3] Jarvis opened its doors as Jarvis Christian Institute, modeled after the Southern Christian Institute located west of Jackson in Edwards, Mississippi.[4]

Jarvis is the only historically black college which remains of the twelve founded by the Disciples of Christ Church.[5]

Jarvis' first students were educated in the remains of an old logging camp and later in a cabin which became the school's first multi-purpose building.[6]


Thomas Buchanan Frost came to the school as superintendent in 1912. Mr. Charles Albert Berry joined him as the principal. In 1914, James Nelson Ervin became the first president of Jarvis and served in that capacity until 1938. During the first year of Ervin's tenure, high school classes were added to the curriculum. It became one of the few places at the time at which blacks in East Texas could complete a high school education. Some college work was offered as early as 1916.[7]

The executive committee of the National Women's Board voted in May 1915, to appropriate US$1,000 (equivalent to $25,582 in 2020) for a sawmill that was purchased and installed on campus. The sawmill was operated from the 1920s through the 1940s by male students in the summer. They cut wood for structures on campus and to fire furnaces and stoves used during winter months around campus. Most of the buildings on the Jarvis Campus built during the 1920s-1940s were made with wood from this mill. Most of those buildings burned.[6]


In 1927, junior college courses were integrated into the curriculum. In 1928, the school incorporated as a college.[4]


Senior College course offerings were introduced at Jarvis in 1937. The Emma Smith Building, used to house administration offices, was built in 1936 and is the only campus structure surviving from the Ervin presidency.[4]

In 1938, Peter Clarence Washington began his tenure as the second president of Jarvis Christian College. High school work was eliminated from the curriculum the same year.

In 1939, the state of Texas granted a formal charter to Jarvis Christian College.[4]


Dr. John B. Eubanks became Executive vice President of Jarvis in 1949 and is credited with introducing the general education program and helping the school earn recognition from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. This recognition came in 1950.[4]


Eubanks became the third President of Jarvis Christian College in 1951. In 1953 Dr. Cleo Walter Blackburn became college president.[4]


Blackburn ensured an affiliation between Jarvis and Texas Christian University in 1964 that was renewed twice and terminated in 1976. In 1964, Agro-Industrial offerings were eliminated from the curriculum. The Olin Library and Communication Center was opened to students in 1965. In 1966, Dr. Perpener became the fifth president of Jarvis and the first alumni appointed to the office. In 1966, Jarvis was granted membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Jarvis is affiliated with the Texas Association of Developing Colleges, a six-college consortium of historically Black colleges the next year. In 1969, the Charles A. Meyer Science and Mathematics Center opened.[4]


Four additional residence halls were opened on campus in the 1970s.[4]


In May 2017, it was announced that Jarvis Christian College will open a satellite campus in Dallas at the Southwest Center Mall beginning August 2017. Courses available are in criminal justice, business management, religion, data analytics, and cybersecurity.[8]


Jarvis Christian teams, nicknamed athletically as the Bulldogs, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). Men's sports include Golf, Basketball, Baseball, Track/Field, Bowling, Soccer and Cross Country; While women's sports include Track/Field, Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Bowling and Cross Country. Jarvis Christian has appeared in the NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament three times: 2003, 2008, and 2009.

Music Department

Jarvis Christian College’s Music Department has Concert, Marching, Jazz, Male Choir, Female Choir, and Varsity Choir. The Marching Band program was established in 2015 as the Jarvis Christian College Marching Band. The Wind Ensemble has several concerts a year and have been invited to several premier places to play. Under the direction of Professor Thomas Perry and Professor Denver Satterwhite, the Marching band and Jazz Band has performed around a number local, state, regional and national venues. The department recently added a Bachelors of Music Education degree. [9]

East Texas Natural History Collection

Jarvis houses a regional collection of biological specimens in its 10,000 square foot Frost Hall. The collections are concentrated on the herbarium and entomology collections, but also houses minor holdings in other natural history areas of study and historical materials that are related to natural history or land use history.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b Gilbreath, David W. (9 November 2020) [1952]. "Jarvis, James Jones (1831–1914)". Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on 2 September 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021. He helped establish Jarvis Institute, which later became Jarvis Christian College, by donating a grant of land he owned in Wood County.
  2. ^ "NAIA Championship History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2009.
  3. ^ "JCC Facts | Jarvis Christian College". Jarvis Christian College. Retrieved 26 November 2016. In turn, Mrs. Jarvis worked to persuade her husband, Major James Jones Jarvis, to donate land upon which a school could be built. In 1910, Major and Mrs. Jarvis deeded 456 acres of land near Hawkins, Texas, to the Christian Woman’s Board of Missions on the condition that it "keep up and maintain a school for the elevation and education of the Negro race… in which school there shall be efficient religious and industrial training." Inherent in the spirit of the donation was the idea that the land would be used to educate "head, heart, and hand" and to produce "useful citizens and earnest Christians."
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Jarvis Christian College Student Handbook 2014-2015" (PDF). Jarvis Christian College. Jarvis Christian College. September 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-05. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  5. ^ Jenkins, Rachel (16 September 2020) [1976]. "Jarvis Christian College". Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on 2 September 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021. It was originally known as Jarvis Christian Institute, and ever since the school's founding in 1912 it has been affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
  6. ^ a b National Register of Historic Places Registration Form and National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet for the Florence Robinson House. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. As an attachment to e-mail correspondence with Jeff Joeckle, Archivist, National Register of Historic Places, 11:52 a.m. November 30, 2016. [Document was received by e-mail correspondence as this file has not yet been digitized by the National Park Service for placement on the asset page in the NRHP database. The page is here, and the document will eventually be digitized and placed on this page by NPS: http://npgallery.nps.gov/nrhp/AssetDetail?assetID=a8b16fcf-fbf0-45d0-affd-04da804fe80e
  7. ^ "Jarvis Christian College Student Handbook, 2014-15" (PDF). Jarvis Christian College. Jarvis Christian College. September 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-05. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  8. ^ Cook, Rod (5 May 2017). "Jarvis Christian College to Open a Satellite Campus in Dallas". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. eISSN 2326-6023. ISSN 1077-3711. Archived from the original on 5 May 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2021. Lester C. Newman, president of Jarvis Christian College, stated that "it is our goal to expand educational opportunities for adult learners interested in completing their college degree. I am honored that Jarvis Christian College has become part of the Dallas community."
  9. ^ "Music at Jarvis". www.jarvis.edu.
  10. ^ Thurber, Jon (23 January 2009). "David 'Fathead' Newman dies at 75; jazz saxophonist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 September 2021. He went off to Jarvis Christian College on a music and theology scholarship but quit school after three years and began playing professionally, mostly jazz and blues, with a number of musicians, including Buster Smith, Lloyd Glenn, Lowell Fulson and T-Bone Walker.