Bill O’Neal to speak to History Club


Bill O'Neal will return to the classroom Tuesday, Nov. 7 to discuss "The Life of Sam Houston."

The Panola College History Club will host Bill O’Neal as guest lecturer at 10:50 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7 in Miller 1111. O’Neal’s topic is “The Life of Sam Houston.”

The classroom holds about 50 people, so it will be first-come, first-serve for those not enrolled in this class, according to Bill Offer, history professor.

The History Department has planned to host “An Evening with Bill O’Neal” next spring, on Tuesday, March 27, in the Q.M. Martin Auditorium as part of Panola’s 70th anniversary celebration. It was a snowy day in January 1948 when Panola College first began offering college classes.

O’Neal,  the Texas State Historian, works from an office on the Panola College campus. As State Historian, O’Neal serves as an ambassador for Texas history. During his first two-year term, he traveled 40,000 miles, providing programs at events throughout the Lone Star State. In August 2013 O’Neal was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Texas A&M – Commerce. That same month a new dormitory at Panola College was named “Bill O’Neal Hall.” While teaching at Panola, he was awarded a prestigious Piper Professorship from the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

O’Neal has written 44 non-fiction books, along with 300 articles and book reviews. In 2012, the Wild West History Association gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2007, True West Magazine named him  “Best Living Nonfiction Writer of the Year.”

O’Neal serves as President of the West Texas Historical Association and is a member of the Texas State Historical Association and the Western Writers of America. He is a past president and fellow of the East Texas Historical Association.