Dr. Gerald Burson
Fourth President (1989 – 1998)
In 1989, Dr. Gerald E. Burson became the fourth president of Navarro College. He was also the first Navarro College President to be formally inaugurated in a ceremony as a chief executive of the college.
Born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, Dr. Burson graduated from Wentworth Military Academy with a private pilot’s license. He received his B.A. in Speech and Theater; M.S. in Secondary Education and Ed.D. in Higher Education and Administration from Oklahoma State University. Before joining the faculty at Northern Oklahoma College, he was a B-47 pilot with the Strategic Air Command. Following 27 years at Northern Oklahoma College, he accepted the presidency at Navarro College.
At the beginning of his tenure at Navarro, Dr. Burson was faced with the student body changing in its makeup as well as increases in numbers. Fall enrollment for 1989 was slightly above 2,600 students and three years later, enrollment surpassed 3,200 students. Additional and expanded facilities were needed to alleviate the crowded conditions. The Board of Trustees approved a proposal to renovate and expand the East Wing of the Albritton Administration Building to provide additional classrooms and office space.
During Dr. Burson’s administration, he focused on vocational and technical training programs. One of those programs was the John Deere Ag Tech. The John Deere Corporation supplied state-of-the-art equipment which allowed students to have a “hands-on” experience in the classroom. His vision also included establishing a permanent campus in Waxahachie, and the construction of the Cook Education Center, which houses a planetarium and the Pearce Museum. In 1996 Dr. Burson was named recipient of the Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award representing the Western region of the American Association of Community College. Other honors and awards include serving as president of the Texas Junior College Presidents Association, chairman of the 21 member North Texas Community College Consortia, and a member of the Southern Association Accreditation Corps. He retired in 1998.