TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) - Texarkana College is giving back to a generous alumnus who helped the school in a time of need.
Four years ago, Texarkana College was facing some severe financial problems, with a $3.5 million dollar budget shortfall. They made deep cuts to conserve cash, including slashing the school's athletic programs.
That was before former and now famous student Ross Perot pitched in with a multi-million dollar commitment to help bring the college back. On Friday, the college thanked him and dedicated a museum in his name.
"It is because of Mr. Perot's belief and vision for Texarkana College that we were able to stay the course," board Chairman Kyle Davis told the crowd gathered for the official opening of the H. Ross Perot Leadership Museum.
"My mother and father would be very proud of Texarkana," Perot said at the event. "I am sure they are looking down from heaven."
The Texas billionaire is a Texarkana native and attended Texarkana College in 1947 before going to the Naval Academy.
In 2012, Perot committed to give the college $1 million a year for 5 years with the stipulation the Texarkana institution match the donation. Friday's dedication marked the challenge being met, with $5 million coming from Perot.
"He believed in us. He believed in you," Davis said. "Mr. Perot always has believed in Texarkana College."
Leaders say it was Perot's donations that moved Bowie County voters to pass a tax increase to support the college. They say it also encouraged other private donors to help with the school's money troubles.
"I am honored to congratulate you and compliment you on what you have done and continue to do. Thank you for making this college better every day," Perot said.
Although much financial progress has been made at the college, President James Russell said more work is still needed.
"Texarkana College is far from being fixed, but we are still open and we are better, and we are so appreciative of Mr. Perot for making this great day happen."
In comments that were met by applause, Perot said, "One thing that I am certainly sure of is that things will never go still here. You will be moving moving moving at all times."
The Perot Leadership Museum is located inside the Palmer Library on the college campus.