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On September 11, 1933, thirty-six students enrolled in the first classes held at Poteau Junior College (later Carl Albert State College). The institution provided post-secondary education to students in Le Flore County and the surrounding area. In the institution's early years school bus service was provided to the college students. Six faculty members taught English, French, chemistry, mathematics, history, and home economics. Beginning in September 1934 the college offered second-year courses. Classes were held in the Poteau High School from 1933 until February 12, 1968, when a newly constructed classroom building was opened on a separate campus.

The public, two-year college closed during World War II but reopened when veterans returned and used the G.I. Bill to gain a higher education. Sixty students graduated from Poteau Junior College in May 1948. In the early 1950s Poteau Junior College was renamed Poteau Community College. In 1971 the institution became Carl Albert Junior College, named in honor of Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives Carl Albert of Oklahoma. Two years later House Bill 1049 authorized junior community colleges to become state colleges, and thus the school became Carl Albert State College (CASC). During the 1970s and 1980s the campus expanded with the addition of a fine arts complex, technical-occupational complex, fitness center, and two dormitories. In the mid-1990s a business center and a new student union were built.

At the turn of the twenty-first century Joe E. White served as president of CASC. The institution had an enrollment of approximately two thousand. In 1994 a branch facility was completed in Sallisaw (Sequoyah County). CASC worked with Northeastern State University and the University of Oklahoma to provide bachelor's degrees to local students.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Education,Higher Oklahoma Poteau," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Poteau (Oklahoma) News, 20 July and 14 September 1933. Poteau (Oklahoma) Valley Times, 15 February 1968.

Linda D. Wilson

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