Austin College

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Austin College
Austin College's New Modern Logo
Motto nil nisi per aspera
Established 1849
Type Private
Endowment US$124.8 million[1]
President Marjorie Hass
Admin. staff 104
Undergraduates 1,291
Postgraduates 29
Location Sherman, Texas, US
Campus Suburban, 70 acres (28 ha)
(City of Sherman, Grayson County, Texas)
Religious Affiliation Presbyterian Church USA
Mascot Kangaroo

Austin College is a private liberal arts college affiliated by covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church and located in Sherman, in the U.S. state of Texas, about 60 miles (about 100 km) north of Dallas.[2]

The undergraduate student body of Austin College is limited to about 1,300.[3] Most students are required to live on campus for the first three years in an attempt to create a close-knit community. Austin College actively promotes study abroad programs; 70% of students study abroad during their four years at the college.[4] The college states that it attempts to foster close interaction between students and professors via a 13:1 student to faculty ratio and an average class size of fewer than 25 students.[5] The college has no teaching assistants, so regular faculty teach all levels of coursework.

Chartered in November 1849 under original charter and name as recognized by the State Historical Survey Committee.[2]


Austin College was founded in 1849 by Dr. Daniel Baker, a Princeton-educated Presbyterian missionary, and was named after the Texas historical figure Stephen F. Austin.[6] In November 1849, the college was awarded a charter by Texas Governor George Wood, which is still in use today. During this time, two presidents of the Republic of Texas sat on the original board of trustees, Sam Houston and Anson Jones. The college was located in Huntsville, Texas and admitted its first class in the fall of 1850 but moved to Sherman in 1876 due to yellow fever epidemics, the Civil War, and difficult economic conditions. By 1918, Austin College became coeducational and in 1930 merged with Texas Presbyterian College, an all-female institution. By 1972, Austin College adopted an improved liberal arts educational program that still shapes much of the academic life and curriculum today.


In 2009, Austin College welcomed its first woman president, 15th in the history of the College, Dr. Marjorie Hass. She was previously provost of Muhlenberg College. Dr. Marjorie Hass continues the strong leadership of her predecessors in leading the College to aspirations of continued excellence and reputation. Dr. Hass succeeded Dr. Oscar Page, recently given an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the 2014 Commencement ceremony.

Why Austin College is Above the Rest[edit]

Listed in the U.S. News & World Report "Guide to the 331 Most Interesting Colleges", Austin College is also ninth on the U.S. News 2006 list of "most students studying abroad" and #82 on the 2013 list of National Liberal Arts Colleges.[7] It is a member of the International 50, a group of the top colleges in the USA for international focus. The school is named a Best Western College by The Princeton Review and is also included in The Princeton Review's Best 377 Colleges. Austin College is a member of the non-profit organization Colleges That Change Lives and one of the original 40 private colleges in the book, Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Feel About Colleges by Loren Pope.The college also ranks in the top ten for the "Most drinking" in any college.


Academic Buildings[edit]

Sherman Hall[edit]

Sherman Hall is the oldest building on the campus today. When the College’s original “Old Main” building was destroyed by fire in 1913, the citizens of Sherman donated $50,000 for the construction of Sherman Hall, which began in 1914. The three-story building contained 17,520 square feet and housed the College’s administrative offices, an auditorium-chapel, and a library. The stained glass windows on the second floor were dedicated to the memory of individuals who served as early trustees of the College. In 1965, the auditorium was named to honor Hoxie Thompson, 1901 graduate and long-time trustee and benefactor of the College. Currently, Sherman Hall houses offices for English, history, philosophy, and religious studies faculty and classrooms. Hoxie Thompson Auditorium remains, though now seats only 157 people compared to the 1,000 it could hold before its large balcony was closed and renovated into offices in the 1960s.

Hoxie Thompson[edit]

Hoxie Thompson Auditorium has welcomed some prestigious guests. In the 1920s, Magicians Houdini and Blackstone performed on its stage as did Metropolitan Opera singers Madame Schumann-Heink and Anna Case, as well as the National Orchestra of Mexico. In 1919, former president William Howard Taft who spoke there on the League of Nations. Much later, former president George H.W. Bush took the stage to speak to students as the 2002-2003 Chair of Excellence in International Leadership at Austin College.

George T. and Gladys H. Abell Library[edit]

The George T. and Gladys H. Abell Library center was opened in 1986, and is crucial for students at Austin College.[6] Abell library offers private study rooms, a whole floor dedicated as the quiet area, an extended study room that is available after hours to all students, along with printers, a copy machine, and multiple computers. The library also has over 200,000 volumes, more than 4,000 media items, and subscriptions to several thousand print and electronic periodicals to support the rigorous academic programs. There are even DVDs and books available for student leisure.

Why Is Austin College Distinctive?[8][edit]

  • All incoming freshmen take a Communication/Inquiry course, better known simply as their C/I.
  • Every student has a faculty mentor for their four years at Austin College
  • Student to faculty ratio is 12:1
  • Austin College graduates experience an 80 percent acceptance rate into medical schools and other health science programs (two-year average).
  • Within five years of graduation, 63 percent of graduates will enter professional or graduate school.
  • A four-week course is offered during January called Jan Term and all students are required to take three while at Austin College. For more information look under the 'Academics' section.
  • Each year, students contribute more than 16,000 community service hours locally and internationally.
  • More than 80 percent of students live on campus.
  • There are over 70 student organizations that offer new opportunities to students
  • Career exploration is offered to students through Career Services.
  • More than 36 percent of the student body represent ethnic and racial minorities.


Residence Halls[edit]

Austin College has four residence halls available to all students, although freshmen are required to live here their first year. Dean and Clyce hall are both co-ed dorms. Caruth Hall is all girls and Baker Hall is all boys. All dorms have community bathrooms, laundry facilities, a computer lab, and a community kitchen. The dorms also offer a limited number of single rooms with all remaining rooms made for two people. While living in the dorms, a meal plan is required for students but this does not mean you cannot still cook for yourselves.

The Bryan Apartments[edit]

The Bryan Apartments have two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, and full kitchen. The Bryan apartments are also fully furnished but you may still bring your own furniture if desired. The Bryan Apartments are majority one story but have a couple of two story apartments available. The laundry facilities for the Bryan Apartments are only found on the first floor of each complex. These are mainly offered to juniors but some sophomores may be permitted to live here.

The Johnson 'Roo Suites[edit]

Next to the Bryan Apartments are the Johnson ‘Roo Suites. The ‘Roo Suites have four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchenette, meaning there is no stove for cooking. Although this complex does have a common room where a full kitchen and study room is available to students. Laundry facilities can be found on each floor. The ‘Roo Suites were completed in the fall of 2003 and were the newest housing facilities until the Flats at Brockett Court and the Village on Grand were built in 2011.

The Flats at Brockett Court[edit]

The Flats at Brockett Court all have their own washer/dryer, living room, and kitchen with majority containing four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Although there are two bedrooms and one bathroom flats available. The Flats are also fully furnished. The Flats are primarily offered to juniors.

The Village on Grand[edit]

The Village on Grand, also known as the Cottages, is two story with two bedrooms on each floor, all with their own bathrooms, with a full kitchen including a pantry, their own washer/dryer, and living room downstairs. The Cottages are reserved for seniors first and whatever is not filled Juniors may apply for.

The Jordan Language House[edit]

The Jordan Language House is also available to students who speak certain languages, for information on this look under the header ‘Academics’ and use the link below.

For more information please visit this website:

Dining Services[edit]

The Dining Hall is located in the Wright Campus Center where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served although it remains open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Dining Hall is also called ‘The Caf’ by the majority of students on campus. The Dining Hall offers a variety of food including a salad bar The Pouch Club, also known as the Pub, offers a different menu but opens at 11:00 a.m. In the Pub, food like hamburgers, sandwiches, and pizza can be ordered. The Hopper Store is a store where snacks, microwavable meals, miscellaneous items, and Starbucks coffee can be purchased. The Hopper Store opens daily at 8:00 a.m. with different hours on the weekends. Of course there are local and chain restaurants in the surrounding area students can get to.

For more information please visit this website:


Austin College offers about 35 majors and pre-professional programs for study. The college is known for its nationally recognized five-year Master of Arts in Teaching program, its pre-medical, international studies, and pre-law programs, which draw many students to the campus. The college has a music program and supports the Austin College A Cappella Choir along with the Sherman Symphony Orchestra made up of students and local musicians, and assorted smaller musical ensembles. It sponsors the Posey Center of Excellence in Leadership, the Center for Environmental Studies, and the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies, three specialized programs that give students numerous research and internship opportunities. The school also has active programs in over 40 academic disciplines. The school's student newspaper, the Austin College Observer, is a bi-weekly publication.

Majors and Minors[edit]

There are multiple options made available to students at Austin College when deciding on a major and minor. The students can also create a specialized major to match their academic interests. Austin College also offers renowned pre-professional preparation for law, medicine, dentistry, the ministry, engineering, and other graduate programs. With the help of their faculty mentor, students can pick their major and minor while still reaching the requirements for professional schools.

For a complete list of majors and minors offered at Austin College please visit this website:

For information on the pre-professional options, please follow this link:


Communication/Inquiry (C/I) is a seminar course taken by freshmen during the fall of their entry year. The C/I course provides a foundation of skills for communication and critical thinking. The professor becomes a mentor for the students in the class over the next four years of their college experience. C/I serves as the initial course in the undergraduate core curriculum, meant to emphasize the enhancement of core academic skills. Course topics are generally aligned with specialty of the instructors. C/I professors and topics rotate every year.[9]

January Term[edit]

January Term is a three-week course taught every January. Students are required to take three Jan-terms during their time at Austin, and many use the semester to either take a class in an area different from their regular studies, intensify their study in their designated field, or travel abroad on one of the many travel Jan-terms. Off-campus Jan-terms are an opportunity for those who cannot study abroad during the normal school year to do so. International destinations rotate from year to year. There are also a number of domestic travel locations, such as Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, Washington D.C., Las Vegas and New York City.

Courses are taught on-campus as well. A longstanding policy requires freshmen to spend their first Jan-term on-campus, although some instructors allow exceptions.

Jordan Family Language House[edit]

Completed in 1998, the Jordan Family Language House is both a residence hall and a place of study for German, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese language and culture. The hall is divided into four sections, one for each language. Each section functions independently, with the number of students varying from Spanish (the largest) to Japanese (the smallest, with a capacity for eight). Students are encouraged to speak in their language of study when in the house.

A native speaker, always coming from abroad, resides in each section to assist students in their study of the language. The native speaker also holds intermediate and advanced conversation classes for the students. The Jordan House contains a multimedia language laboratory.

Students who live in the house are enrolled in a half-credit course, in addition to another course in the language or literature. Course requirements include meeting several times a week for language table, weekly house meetings with skits, games, and other presentations in the target language, and a variety of other culturally appropriate activities.[10]

Model United Nations[edit]

Austin College has participated in Model United Nations around the USA since 1983. Model UN conferences simulate the workings of the United Nations, with delegates assuming the current positions of the countries they represent.

The purpose of the program is to gain skills in leadership, verbal and written communication, teamwork, decision-making and research. At the National Model U.N. Conference in New York City, the Austin College program has earned more than 20 top rankings for Outstanding Delegation. Austin College has also attended conferences in Chicago, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Russia and China.

Posey Leadership Institute[edit]

The Austin College Posey Leadership Institute is intended to instruct student leaders in leadership and service. Each fall, 15 entering freshmen and up to five sophomores are selected to participate, based on demonstrated leadership ability and potential.

Participating students complete special courses beyond their normal academic workload. These include a freshman introductory leadership course, an internship on leadership in action, a Jan-term course, a second-year course on national and international leadership, and a senior conference on advanced leadership studies.

Study abroad[edit]

Austin College has a strong emphasis on international learning opportunity. A 2009 report by Open Doors Online [11] showed that Austin College sent more than 80% of their students abroad at some point during their undergraduate education.


Athletics logo

Austin College participates in NCAA Division III athletics. Previously, Austin College competed in NAIA Division II athletics. Austin College athletes do not receive athletic scholarships. The football team became known as the "Kangaroos" sometime during the 1914 to 1915 seasons. According to campus legend, the mascot name was derived from a kangaroo court of organized students that would paddle violators of college rules. Currently students refer to their sports teams as the 'fighting marsupials.'

Kangaroo varsity teams include American football, men and women's soccer, volleyball, men and women's basketball, swimming and diving, tennis, baseball and softball, which was added for the 2006-2007 season. More than 225 student athletics participate in varsity intercollegiate athletics each year. In 2004-2005, 28 students were recognized with all-conference athletic honors and 61 students received all-conference academic honors. Austin College also has a lacrosse team, which is run as a club sport.

Austin College joined the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference on July 1, 2006, replacing Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Austin College was previously a member of the American Southwest Conference, Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and Texas Conference.

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ As of February 14, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Austin College, Austin College History.
  3. ^ Austin College, Austin College Life.
  4. ^ Austin College, Austin College Study Abroad Program.
  5. ^ Austin College, Austin College Faculty.
  6. ^ a b Link text.
  7. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^
  9. ^ Fitzgerald, Wade (2010-01-15). "Library Exhibit Traces 20 Years of "Telling Our Stories" | Austin College". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "Iienetwork.Org". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (1997-03-29). "From Religious Childhood To Reins of a U.F.O. Cult". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  14. ^ List of Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients, retrieved 19 May 2008[dead link]
  15. ^ Stowers, Carlton, and Carroll Pickett, Within These Walls: Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain, ISBN 978-0-312-28717-7, St. Martin's Press, 2002, Google Books

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°38′49.22″N 96°35′50.16″W / 33.6470056°N 96.5972667°W / 33.6470056; -96.5972667