University description (as per official university website)
SWCID was established by the Board of Trustees of the Howard County Junior College District (HCJCD) on November 6, 1979, following completion of a feasibility study conducted by Howard College with the financial support of the Texas Education Agency. The study indicated a significant need for a post-secondary institution to provide higher education and career training for the deaf. The first classes at SWCID were offered in 1980; and on May 14, 1981, the Governor of Texas signed into law the bill (Chapter 131, VTCA, Education Code) which established SWCID as a state-supported institution within the Howard County Junior College District.
History of SWCID
Thanks to Dr. Douglas J.N. Burke, the first Executive Director of SWCID, we celebrated over 25 years of accomplishment during this special weekend. Beginning almost two years prior to the official dedication of SWCID, Dr. Burke had a dream to establish a self-contained postsecondary program for Deaf students who may not have been or were not prepared to enroll at Gallaudet College or the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
Dr. Burke, the Regional Superintendent for the West Texas Panhandle-Regional Day School programs for the Deaf in Texas, received word from Mr. Keith Dial, Director of Special Education in Odessa and Director of the Odessa-Midland Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, that one of the parents, Mr. Fred Maddux, had a deaf son in his elementary school. Mr. Maddux wondered if the recently-closed Webb Air Force Base acilities could be used by Odessa for a vocational program for their students. For several reasons the facilities were not used for the high school program in Odessa. It was also determined that a regional or statewide vocational program would not be created for these acilities.
After some consideration, Dr. Burke began thinking about alternative uses for the Webb Air Force Base facilities. Dr. Burke considered setting up a college program under the supervision of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). TEA pulled together diagrams of the air base campus and facilities. At this same time the Federal Bureau of Prisons was also contemplating taking over the air base facilities. Dr. Burke then proceeded to contact Big Spring leaders to see if they would communicate with Congressman Charles Stenholm about the need for a college for the deaf.
Congressman Charles Stenholm, Dr. Burke, Mr. Maddux and several other Big Spring officials met. Following the meeting, Congressman Stenholm was in full agreement of using the Webb Air Force base facilities as a college for the deaf. Congressman Stenholm returned to Washington, D.C. and was able to halt the prisonís efforts to take over the base facilities.