First Coed School in Texas
Savoy Male and Female College was probably the first collegiate coeducational school in Texas to admit men and women to the same classes on the same academic standards.
Founded in 1876 at Savoy, the school was chartered in 1880 by Robert R. Halsell, president. Lewis Holland. vice-president and James L. German, Thomas Chenoweth and James Paxton, trustees. By 1885 the college was conferring B.S. and A.B. degrees. The A.B. degree required four years each of Latin, Greek and mathematics with courses in physiology, physics, chemistry, rhetoric and elocution. By 1887-1888 enrollment was 66 with 102 and 133 pupils in the primary and preparatory departments. During the same years 44 Indian students, one of collegiate rank, came from across the Red River with federal funds for tuition.
Academic and social standards were strict with social contact between men and women students rigidly forbidden except on carefully chaperoned occasions. Extracurricular interests produced a dramatic club, debates and three literary societies, one of which published monthly “The Platonian Messenger”, a combination literary magazine-newspaper.
The college building burned in 1890 and the school was not reestablished. Its founder is commemorated by the Halsell Memorial Gymnasium built for the Savoy public school through the Works Progress Administration funds in 1937. The Savoy College Ex-Students Association, organized in 1937 with 128 members has held annual reunions.
- Fannin County Folk and Fact, 1977, page 63 ↩