Several Weatherford College facilities received new names Thursday during the Board of Trustees meeting, including the old Allied Health Building which will soon bear the name of 1st Lt. Jack L. Knight. Knight is believed to be the only WC graduate to receive the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military award, given for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.
Board Chairman Frank Martin presented the request to his fellow trustees as he relayed some of Knight’s history.
A 1938 WC graduate, Knight was honored posthumously for his brave actions during World War II as a member of the U.S. Army, 124th Cavalry Regiment.
On Feb. 2, 1945, near LoiKang, Burma, Knight destroyed two Japanese pill boxes while protecting his troops from heavy concentrations of artillery and small-arms fire. His brother, Curtis, was hit during the assault, and Knight ordered his men to see to his brother’s aid while he continued to take out enemies. Although unable to see after being blinded by explosions, he rallied his platoon and continued forward in the assault on the remaining pillboxes. Knight was fatally wounded during the battle. The sight of the battle has since been named “Knight’s Hill.”
At age 27 he was buried in Cool, and four months later, his father accepted Knight’s Medal of Honor.
“I think it would greatly behoove our community and college to name this building after Jack Knight,” Martin said.
His fellow board members agreed and voted for the name change for the facility, which is being renovated to include WC’s Testing Center, Police Academy and a lecture hall. A ceremony is in the works for the college’s Veteran’s Day celebration in November.
The board also approved the naming of several rooms on campus after long-time supporters of the college. At the recommendation of Brent Baker, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, the board named:
- The lecture hall in the Don Allen Health Science Building the “Dr. Sumant and Sheela Kumar Lecture Hall,” two supporters who have contributed more than $80,000 to support WC scholarships.
- The respiratory therapy classroom the “Gail Wright Respiratory Therapy Classroom.” Wright has given more than $35,000 since 2002 to support scholarships for WC’s Respiratory Therapy program.
- The library/academic research center at the Wise County campus the “Roy and Jeannine Eaton Library and Research Center.” The Decatur couple has contributed more than $50,000 since 2003 to support scholarships for WC Wise County students.
In other business, the board:
- Heard an update on renovation work in the Business Building and in the old Allied Health Building. The projects have an Aug. 15 completion date.
- Approved sealed bids for medical equipment and supplies for the 2014-15 year totaling $39,424 to six vendors.
- Approved a tax abatement policy and reaffirmed their previous vote to provide a 50 percent tax abatement for five years to KEG1, a warehouse company currently building a facility on BB Fielder Road near Bethel Road.
- Listened to a report on the 2014-15 budget which is still in the refining stage.
In his president’s report, WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton:
- Reported an increase in Summer I enrollment and contact hours, as compared to 2013.
- Recognized Scott Williams for being named Faculty Member of the Year.
- Recognized Lela Morris and the Testing Center staff for earning the National College Testing Association Test Center Certification.
- Recognized Tejay Antone for being selected in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft, the highest draft pick in the history of WC baseball.
- Recognized the WC softball team for their third place finish at the Region 5-North Tournament.
- Recognized three WC baseball players named to the All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Team: Trooper Reynolds, first team recognition; Tejay Antone and Scotland Church, second team recognition.
The board will not meet in July. Their next meeting is 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.