On Sunday, December 7, 1941, COM students were startled—like other Americans—by the accounts of a Japanese aerial assault on Pearl Harbor. The United States was at war. Each year, more and more male teachers and students enlisted or were drafted. Men from COM served in every branch of the U.S. Armed forces, and by the end of the war, eighteen COM students and one faculty member were killed in the line of duty. Those who remained on campus engaged in a variety of activities to further the war effort. Students and faculty alike took First Aid courses, prepared surgical dressings, and served troop trains at the nearby railroad station.
Anticipating an explosive growth once the war ended, COM president Harvey Daniel Bruce secured permission from the BGCT to elevate COM to four-year status, and in 1944 East Texas Baptist College was born, offering Bachelor degrees in Arts, Science, and Music. In 1945 ETBC awarded eight baccalaureate degrees, and in 1946 it was admitted to the Association of Texas Colleges. By the spring of 1947 enrollment had reached an all-time high, 702 students, necessitating additional buildings and dormitories. Between 1947 and 1949, ETBC built Merle Bruce Hall, Scarborough Memorial Chapel, McCann Dining Hall, the President’s home, and a small apartment building for married students.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:5
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