TEMPLE, Texas (FOX 44) – The Temple College family is mourning the loss of one of its former presidents.

The College said Wednesday afternoon that Dr. Marvin R. Felder passed away. He served as president from 1973 until 1995.

“Dr. Marvin Felder served the students, faculty and staff of Temple College and the community with great enthusiasm for more than two decades. Today, we join with many others in remembrance of a man who devoted his career to education and helped establish Temple College as a cornerstone of education for the communities it serves today,” said Temple College President Dr. Christy Ponce.

“Dr. Felder led Temple College through an era of growth and change, establishing some of the College’s key programs, including the Associate Degree in Nursing and the Dental Hygiene programs, which continue as some of the College’s most competitive and renowned programs. We are thankful for Dr. Felder’s love of Temple College and his dedication to changing the lives of its students. His legacy endures,” Dr. Ponce said.

The College says Dr. Felder was chosen to be the then-president in July 1973. He succeeded Hubert M. Dawson, who served as president from 1959 until 1973. Dr. Felder was a native of El Campo, Texas, who held degrees from Wharton County Junior College and The University of Texas at Austin – including a doctorate in junior college administration. He held positions at Wharton County Junior College, El Centro College, University of Texas at Austin and McLennan Community College prior to assuming the presidency of Temple Junior College.

Temple College says that some key moments from Dr. Felder’s presidency include:

  • In 1973, the first students in the newly created vocational nursing and respiratory care programs began taking classes.
  • In 1974, the College offered classes in Cameron and Taylor for the first time.
  • In 1975, the Temple Junior College Leopardettes played in the first-ever National Junior College Athletic Association women’s basketball championship game. The game was played in Overland Park, Kansas, against the Northern Iowa Community College Lady Trojans. The Leopardettes won 59-58.
  • In 1976, the same year the nation was celebrating its bicentennial, Temple College celebrated its 50th anniversary with a large birthday party.
  • In 1978, the newly constructed vocational/technical and administration building was dedicated.
  • In 1981, the Board of Trustees approved an expansion plan that included the construction of a nursing building, remodeling the west campus gym, and expanding and remodeling the vocational/technical and administration building.
  • In 1982, the Temple Junior College Foundation was founded.
  • In 1986, voters approved the expansion of the Temple Junior College District to include areas of the city of Temple outside of Temple ISD’s boundaries.
  • Also, in 1986, the Board of Trustees approved a new pre-Associate Degree in Nursing program for students who wanted to pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing without first receiving a Licensed Vocational Nursing certificate.
  • In 1988, Larry Wilkerson, a Temple College alumnus, was appointed as the first African-American member of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Wilkerson continues to serve Temple College as a Board member.
  • Also, in 1988, the fine arts building was named in honor of Mary Alice Marshall, retired music director.
  • In 1993, 24 students enrolled in the newly created Associate Degree in Nursing program.
  • In 1994, the Board of Trustees began the process of gaining approval for a Dental Hygiene program. Later that year, local dentists discussed the need for dental hygienists at a Rotary Club meeting, laying the groundwork for Temple College’s dental hygiene program.
  • In 1995, the College received approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the creation of a Dental Hygiene program. In May, the first associate degrees in nursing were awarded to 23 students. The first graduating class had a 100% pass rate on their certification exams. Later in the year, an LVN to RN Bridging program is started for vocational nurses who want to become registered nurses.

“Dr. Felder was a visionary president and we will forever be grateful for his leadership and dedication to Temple College and the community,” Dr. Ponce said. “Our condolences to the Felder family. Thank you for sharing Dr. Felder with the Temple College family for over two decades.”