Bill Pace Cogdell
In 1992, retired Midland businessman Bill P. Cogdell helped fulfill the college's dream of establishing a presence in South Midland by donating buildings on Florida Street to house what would become the Midland College Cogdell Learning Center. The remodeled buildings are now home to the college's Business and Economic Development Center, English as a Second Language classes, GED classes, Welfare to Work programs, a multi-use computer lab and several Continuing Education computer classes, and Cogdell's Community Liaison who assists students with the financial aid and college planning process.
Born on December 25, 1915 in Abilene, Texas, Bill Cogdell moved to Los Angeles in 1929. He started his business career selling papers on the L.A. streets during the Great Depression. He joined the CCC when he turned 19, where he worked in the Angeles & Santa Barbara national forests. Later he worked at Midway Island just prior to WWII.
He was transferred to Christmas Island on December 8, 1941, to build an air base and during the assignment took up arms against the Japanese. He eventually returned to the United States and joined the U.S. Navy. he sailed with the 5th Fleet as an Electricians Mate 1st Class and participated in the battle of Iwo Jima. During WWII he served on the USS Iowa, the USS Canberra, (which was later torpedoed off Formosa), and USS Vicksburg. Mr. Cogdell was Honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in September 1945.
Mr. Cogdell's experience in the Navy convinced him that he would prefer to be self-employed. So he entered the construction business in California. In 1969, he returned to Texas and purchased a house in Midland where he resided until his death in 1997. In 1976 he bought an office complex where he operated a finance company for several years. The office complex is now known as the Midland College Cogdell Learning Center.
Mr. Cogdell continued to be an important contributor to Midland College and the Midland community. Since the initial donation, which established a Midland College presence in south Midland, Mr. Cogdell continued to donate properties and funds to Midland College, the Midland Police Department, and the archives of the City of Midland.