Austin College

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Austin College
Austin College's New Modern Logo
Motto Nil nisi per aspera
Established 1849
Type Private liberal arts college
Religious affiliation Presbyterian Church USA
Endowment $124.8 million[1]
President Marjorie Hass
Admin. staff 104
Undergraduates 1,291
Postgraduates 29
Location Sherman, Texas, USA
Campus Suburban, 70 acres (28 ha)
Athletics NCAA Division IIISCAC
Nickname Kangaroos
Mascot Kangaroo[2]
Affiliations Oberlin Group
Annapolis Group
AC logo 2.jpg

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.[3]

The undergraduate student body of Austin College is limited to about 1,300.[4] 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 at some point during their academic study at Austin College.[5] 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.[6] 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.[3]


The college was founded on October 13, 1849, in Huntsville, Texas, by the Hampden-Sydney[7] and Princeton-educated missionary Dr. Daniel Baker.

The college moved to Sherman in 1876 and became co-educational in 1918, merging in 1929 with the all-female Texas Presbyterian College.

Baker named the school after the Texas historical figure Stephen F. Austin. Another important figure in Texas history, Sam Houston, served on the original board of trustees for the college, and the former site in Huntsville later became today's Sam Houston State University.

On September 20, 1973, the musician Jim Croce died in a plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on his way to perform the next night at Austin College. Six people died in the crash.

Administration Building


Dr. Marjorie Hass became the 15th president of Austin College on July 1, 2009. She was previously provost of Muhlenberg College. Hass succeeded Dr. Oscar Page.


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.[8] 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.



There are five residence halls on the Austin College campus. Baker Hall house only males, Caruth Hall houses only females, and Dean and Clyce Hall are co-ed.


Austin College offers about 35 majors and pre-professional programs for study, and students can also create a specialized major to match their academic interests. 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 and 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,[9] and the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies,[10] 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. Students are permitted to create a specialized major to match their academic interests. Austin College also offers pre-professional programs for law, medicine, dentistry, ministry, and engineering. For a complete list of majors and minors offered follow the link:


Communication/Inquiry (C/I) is a seminar course taken by freshmen during the fall of their entry year. The professor becomes a mentor for the students in the class over the next four years. 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.[11]

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 to 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.

Study abroad[edit]

Austin College has a strong emphasis on international learning opportunity. A 2009 report by Open Doors Online [12] showed that Austin College sent more than 80% of their students abroad at some point during their undergraduate education.

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.[13]

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.[14]


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 roos.'

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. ^ The Kangaroo Mascot
  3. ^ a b Austin College, Austin College History.
  4. ^ Austin College, Austin College Life.
  5. ^ Austin College, Austin College Study Abroad Program.
  6. ^ Austin College, Austin College Faculty.
  7. ^ "An Army of Good Men". The Record. Hampden-Sydney College. 
  8. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^ Fitzgerald, Wade (2010-01-15). "Library Exhibit Traces 20 Years of "Telling Our Stories" | Austin College". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  12. ^ "Iienetwork.Org". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  13. ^ [3][dead link]
  14. ^ [4][dead link]
  15. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (1997-03-29). "From Religious Childhood To Reins of a U.F.O. Cult". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  16. ^ List of Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients, retrieved 19 May 2008[dead link]
  17. ^ 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