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COM History

The history of the College of the Mainland.

COM History

Access information about the history of the College of the Mainland, including an overview, timelines by decade and specific documents such as COM catalogs, student handbooks, employee newsletters and more.

Presidents @ COM

Click to go to Presidents @ COM The Presidents of College of the Mainland with brief biographies, accomplishments and photos.


COM Catalogs

All past COM catalogs are available online. In addition to use for academic purposes, the catalogs can be used to learn about the history of the College. Access catalogs from the 1960's, 1970's & 1980's or from the 1990's, 2000's & 2010's. 

Go to COM Catalogs.

COM Student Newspapers

College of the Mainland's award winning student newspaper 1968-2004.

At times named InterCOM, Mainland Comet, Trailblazers or the The Gander, COM students covered the news and events of the College of the Mainland from 1968-2004. Today the student newspapers are the best single source for the history of the college. 

Go to COM Student Newspapers

COM History Photos

Go to COM History Photos to see images of College of the Mainland in the past.

Go to photos

Contact Us

The COM History Room is located in room 124 on the first floor of the Library. Viewing of items in the collection must be arranged by appointment. Please contact Tillie Henson at (409) 933-8205 or email

Let Us Know!

We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to help us identify events or individuals in our photos. Just make sure to include the URL (web address) of the photo when sending information. Please contact Tillie Henson at (409) 933-8205 or email


Artist, Author, Instructor and VP for Instruction

Click to see full sizeFrom artist, to instructor, to Vice President for Instruction at College of the Mainland, Dr. James Templer has led a life committed to education. Originally from Uvalde, Texas, Dr. Templer came to College of the Mainland (COM) in 1976 with a master of fine arts degree and was hired as a COM art professor. He taught at COM until January 2000 when he was given the opportunity to become Vice President for Instruction at COM. Templer served as a faculty member in Fine Arts for 23 years.

Over the years at COM, he was: Acting Chairman of Arts; Vice President/Dean of Instruction; Advisor for the Coastal Fine Arts Association; Art Club Advisor. Templer originally retired in August, 2010, but was asked to come back in 2016. He will retire again at the end of May 2019 but will continue to work through June 2019 helping the new VPI to transition and to work on the SACSCOC 5th Year report.

Dr. Templer attended several universities for his college degrees including Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, University of Texas at El Paso and East Texas State, University in Commerce, where he received both his bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts degrees. Dr. Templer attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where he received his doctorate in medical humanities and arts and visual studies. 

Artist & Author

Cover ArtTempler grew up in Uvalde, where “there was no art education and art was thought of as an avocation. At that time the most acceptable form of professional art was commercial art,” he adds.

"When I graduated from Uvalde High School in 1964, the only exposure I’d had to art was through Life magazines and books. In spite of having no formal art background entering college as a pre-dental major, and spending three years in the army, I somehow managed to make art my career. "

Templer has exhibited his work at North Part art Festival, Dallas; SPAR National Art Exhibit, Shreveport, Louisiana; New Orleans Artists National Biennial, New Orleans.  His work has also been on display in Houston, Galveston, and Southwest Texas State University at San Marcos. The New Orleans Museum of Fine Arts owns one of Templer’s originals.

~ some portions excerpted from James Templer, Intercom, March 1980

Dr. Templer is also the author of the novel, Virion, a thriller set on the Texas Gulf Coast. Dr. Templer spoke at the College about the writing experience followed by a book signing during National Library Week. He also kindly donated a copy of Virion to the library, where it is available for checkout. The event was very popular and required a second session to meet demand. A brief clip of Dr. Templer’s presentation is available online


Click to see fool size imageJames Templer was hired as art instructor at COM in 1976 and became tenured faculty in 1981. After Templer’s arrival at COM in 1976, the art program grew. “We now have a variety of classes, and more students-both serious students and those who study art for the fun of it. I’d love to see COM become a Fine Arts Center. That’s one of my dreams,” states James Templer, Fine Arts Instructor.

“Some students may consider me a “hard” instructor because I push professionalism. I take art seriously – it’s my life.  I expect my students to take art seriously-whether it’s a vocation or an avocational goal.” Templer adds.

~ some portions excerpted from James Templer, Intercom, March 1980

Vice President for Instruction

Click for larger imageIn January 2000, Templer was selected as Vice President for Instruction at COM. He made the switch from professor to dean because he “recognized a tremendous need for leadership” on campus.

The duties of the vice president/dean of Instruction are “to coordinate all of the instruction areas, (such as) academics, faculty teams, the library and media services,” Templer said. Instruction is divided into: academic, which includes all transfer courses; workforce education; and continuing education including non-credit courses, training for job, skill upgrading or personal pleasure. 

Templer manages all areas of curriculum so that they meet state legal requirements. As vice president, Dr. Templer has played a significant role in the assessment process, the plan to establish a college site in League City, and other organizational changes he believed would benefit the college. When asked in 2000, Templer said that his vision for COM included:

  • A well-established COM site in League City;
  • The incorporation of Galveston County into a county community colleges district;
  • An increase in the number of students to at least 8,000 to 10,000 in the next ten years;
  • New buildings at COM, including an Emergency Technology Center, a Continuing Education Building, a new Math/Science Building and an Art Complex Building;
  • A distance education plan that would reach out to all people in the county anytime, a “teach anywhere anytime” concept, Templer said.

~ some portions excerpted from Two deans fill position vacant since ’98, Intercom, February 2000

Top Accomplishments as VP for Instruction

  • Started the Professional Development Academy with the help of Don Bass
  • Lobbied for opening the North County Learning Center and found the site (along with Trustee Ralph Holme)
  • Hired our first Distance Education Director and started the DE program
  • Started our dual credit program
  • Started the Instructional Leadership Council
  • Implemented first adjunct faculty orientation process
  • Convinced the faculty to start the Faculty Senate
  • Worked with deans to begin the 90% rule to open more course sections, which helped increase enrollment (Spring 2017)
  • Organized the Corequisite Math and English programs (Spring 2018)
  • Worked with Drs. Stanfield, Kimbark, Boone, and Sewell to kick off our Guided Pathways
  • Wrote the Academic Master Plan (Spring 2018)
  • Created the centralized tutoring center with Dr. Sewell (Fall 2018)

You can see more photos in our Dr. James Templer album, all COM History Photos, or more about COM History.

More Stories from COM History