In 2012, Bill O'Neal was appointed Texas State Historian by Texas Governor Rick Perry. O'Neal is headquartered at Panola College, where he began teaching history in 1970. For more than 20 years, O'Neal conducted the state's first traveling Texas history class, a three-hour credit course which featured a 2,100 mile itinerary. In 2000 he was awarded a Piper Professorship, and in 2012 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wild West Historical Association. O'Neal has published almost 40 books, half about Texas history subjects, and in 2007 he was named best living non-fiction writer by True West Magazine. Panola is proud to call Bill O'Neal one of its own.
Panola College provides office space in the Monk Science Building for Texas State Historian Bill O'Neal. He is married to the lovely Karon O'Neal, Panola College math professor. O'Neal has four daughters, all of whom graduated from Panola College.