The Fire of Adversity
Extreme adversity is like an intense fire that can either destroy you or purify you into an even better version of yourself. The difference in outcome is largely determined by the attitude with which we face adversity. Adversity is the undesired yet powerful force that often makes or breaks both individuals and teams. National champion college football coach Nick Saban stated, “One thing about championship teams is that they’re resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity.”
Adversity has a strange way of reaching down to the deepest fibers of our being and revealing our true character. Some crumble under the pressure, while others somehow manage to rise up and muster the strength to overcome. The Roman poet Horace stated, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” Adversity demands strength. It forces us to change…to become stronger than we ever thought possible.
Both our individual and collective capacity to overcome adversity is not static. The more hardships that we overcome, the better equipped we become to conquer future challenges. Bestselling leadership author Stephen Covey wrote, “Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”
Weatherford College is no stranger to adversity. In the words of the late local historian Jon Vandergriff, WC had its “humble beginnings on the extreme frontier of north central Texas.” The cornerstone laying ceremony of the Old Main Weatherford campus on July 5, 1869, was delayed due to an encounter with Native Americans. A tornado struck Weatherford in 1886, which slowed the progress of the institution. Meanwhile, in 1889, a fire destroyed Granbury College. President David Switzer, an ancestor of current WC trustee Doug Dowd, moved his faculty from Granbury to Weatherford College and WC classes resumed on September 2, 1889.
During the 20th century, the college faced many financial challenges. The World War I and World War II eras brought on both budgetary challenges and student shortages. In 1949, the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce came to the financial rescue of WC, and the voters of Parker County officially created Weatherford College of the Parker County Junior College District. Despite winning both conference and state championships, the WC football program was discontinued following the 1950 season due to finances. The late 1960s also brought financial challenges as WC relocated from Old Main to her current location on the hill.
Weatherford College has faced much adversity and will undoubtedly face future adversity. However, I am fully confident that this noble institution will not only overcome that adversity but will thrive! Our college community carries the resilient spirit of those who went before us. Collectively, we will overcome future obstacles and do an even better job of preparing our students to become productive members of society. The fire of adversity has well equipped us to do just that.
Tod Allen Farmer
President, Weatherford College