University of Plano

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The University of Plano was a liberal arts college that existed in Plano, Texas from 1964 to 1977.

The school was founded in 1964 by Robert J. Morris, an attorney and former judge known as an anti-Communist.[1] Morris had served as chief counsel the United States Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. Morris had been the president of the University of Dallas from 1960 to 1962. Building on the difficulties faced by one of his children, Morris founded the school in 1964 with a focus on the education of mildly disabled college-age students using techniques from the Doman-Delacato Method, such as crawling and creeping, that were intended to stimulate brain development. He remained at the school until 1977 and it closed its doors shortly thereafter.[1][2]

Dr. Morris was committed to building a high-caliber, world-class, liberal arts university with a politically conservative posture. His concept and vision attracted highly distinguished professors and staff from around the country. Dr. Morris was also personally committed to students that had suffered injuries that impaired their physical articulation. Incorporated into the foundation of the University was the School of Neurological Organization (NO) focusing on the exceptional Doman-Delacato methodology. While the programs Dr. Glen Doman and Dr. Carl Delacto developed were ostensibly for treatment of those suffering with an autistic diagnosis, they and Dr. Morris were confident that this program would be instrumental in helping and aiding the recovery of those with mild brain or nervous system damage that resulted from accidental occurrences. Dr. Morris' ultimate goal was to both found a world-class university AND provide a unique environment where injured youths could be rehabilitated from their physical injuries while concurrently being otherwise able to participate in a superior curriculum of collegiate learning. Dr. Morris' ingenuity pre-dated the now-popular concept of main-streaming those with brain injuries.

Using $250,000 borrowed from Republic National Life of Dallas, he put a down payment on 680 acres (2.8 km2) of land in northwest Plano. With $600,000 raised from a bond issue, he persuaded the government of Malaysia to donate to the school the nation's pavilion from the 1964 New York World's Fair, with the pagoda becoming the main building of the university.[2]

The University of Plano received its charter from the State of Texas on May 8, 1964 as a private, coeducational, nondenominational institution. The school was originally called the University of Lebanon, changing its name effective September 4, 1964 to reflect its location . The university's first classes were held in space leased in Dallas in the fall of 1965.[3]

The school had no endowment to speak of, other than the land it had purchased. The school's finances depended on rising values for the land it had purchased, based on the assumption that the growth of the Dallas area would push residential development towards Plano and hopes that portions of the land could be rezoned for commercial use, both of which would drive up the value of the land. Property purchased by Morris for the University in 1964 for $1,800 an acre, sold in 1969 for $3,000 an acre, and could obtain as much as $6,300 an acre by 1971. 15 acres (61,000 m2) of the school's land was rezoned for a shopping center and an additional 4 acres (16,000 m2) was rezoned for small retail.[2]

Despite warnings offered as far back as 1967, the school developed a heavy reliance on land speculation to meet its expenses. With the end of the land boom in 1975, the school was unable to use land sales to fund its activities. The school ran short of funds in 1976, and despite ownership of 698 acres (2.82 km2) and twenty buildings, was forced to close in July 1976.[3]

Records from the former University are not complete and many are not available as they were held by Dr. Robert Morris for some time. The chain of custody is unclear and many graduates have been unable to recover records. An alumni site was available at Universityofplano.org. Though still registered as of June 2017,[4] the site only has a parking redirect link from GoDaddy.com.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hays, Constance L. "Robert J. Morris Is Dead at 82; Crusader Against Communists", The New York Times, January 2, 1997. Accessed November 27, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Merwin, John. "The Strange Case of Plano University", D Magazine, January 1975. Accessed November 29, 2008.
  3. ^ a b University of Plano, Handbook of Texas. Accessed November 29, 2008.
  4. ^ "WHOIS/IPWHOIS Lookup Results for universityofplano.org". www.dnsstuff.com (domain&&value=universityofplano.org). 28 October 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2017.