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Austin College
MottoNil nisi per aspera
Motto in English
Nothing but the fierce
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1849; 175 years ago (1849)
Religious affiliation
Academic affiliations
Oberlin Group
Annapolis Group
Endowment$155.4 million (2020)[1]
PresidentSteven O'Day
Administrative staff
Students1,223 (2019)[2]
Location, ,
United States
CampusSuburban, 70 acres (28 ha)
ColorsCrimson & Gold[3]
NicknameKangaroos, The Fighting 'Roos
Sporting affiliations
MascotKaty the Kangaroo
Administrative building

Austin College is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and located in Sherman, Texas.[4]

About 1,300 students are enrolled at the college.[5] Students are required to live on campus for the first three years of their education in order to foster a close-knit and community oriented campus lifestyle. Austin College actively promotes study abroad programs; 70% of graduates have at least one international study experience during college, and about 82% of students are involved in research.[6] The college cultivates close interaction between students and professors via a 13:1[7] student to faculty ratio and an average class size of fewer than 25 students.[8]

Chartered in November 1849, Austin College remains the oldest institution of higher education in Texas to be operating under its original charter and name as recognized by the State Historical Survey Committee.[4] The college was profiled in all three editions of Colleges That Change Lives.


Old Main

The college was founded on October 13, 1849, in Huntsville, Texas, by the Hampden–Sydney[9] and Princeton-educated missionary Daniel Baker. Signed by Texas Governor George Wood, the charter of Austin College was modeled after those of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.[10]

Baker named the school for the Texas historical figure Stephen F. Austin; the original land was donated by the Austin family. Two other important figures in Texas history, Sam Houston and Anson Jones,[4] served on the board of trustees.

Austin College's founding president was Irish-born Presbyterian minister Samuel McKinney, who served as the school's president a second time from 1862 to 1871.[11] Under the tenure of the fourth president of Austin College, Samuel Magoffin Luckett,[12] Austin College had several yellow fever epidemics and complications related to the Civil War. The college relocated to Sherman in 1878.

On January 21 of 1913, Old Main was set ablaze and burnt to the ground in a matter of hours. During the fire, the senior class called the student body together and they committed, in writing, to stand by the college after the fire. The faculty also committed to continue college work the next day. The event galvanized the community.[13])) Following the fire, the citizens of Sherman raised $50,000 to help the college rebuild.

The college has boasted such guests as Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone Sr., Madame Schumann-Heink, William Howard Taft, and George H.W. Bush.

In 1994, Oscar Page joined the community as its 14th president. Under his tenure, 1994–2009, Page increased the school's endowment by nearly 80%, due in large part to his dedicated fundraising efforts as evidenced by the success of the "Campaign for the New Era;" a total of $120 million were raised and the campaign was heralded as the largest fundraiser in Austin College's history. Page orchestrated the construction of Jordan Family Language House, Jerry E. Apple Stadium, the Robert J. and Mary Wright Campus Center, the Robert M. and Joyce A. Johnson 'Roo Suites, and the Betsy Dennis Forster Art Studio Complex; as well as the renovation of the David E. and Cassie L. Temple Center for Teaching and Learning at Thompson House and of Wortham Center, and creation of the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson Technology Center, the Margaret Binkley Collins and William W. Collins, Jr., Alumni Center, and the College Green in Honor of John D. and Sara Bernice Moseley and Distinguished Faculty.[12]

Marjorie Hass joined the campus in 2009 as both its first female and Jewish president. Under her leadership, the college saw the construction of the IDEA Center and two new housing complexes. The IDEA Center is a 103,000 square ft. facility which includes multi-disciplinary and multi-purpose classrooms, laboratories, lecture halls and the largest telescope in the region found in Adams Observatory. It is a LEED Gold certified facility.[14]


Academic rankings
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[15]117
Washington Monthly[16]116
THE / WSJ[18]255

Listed in the U.S. News & World Report "Guide to the 331 Most Interesting Colleges", Austin College is ranked #117 on the 2019 list of National Liberal Arts Colleges. Austin College was ranked 79th in 2016. President O'Day took office in 2017, and Austin College slipped to 117th in 2020, the lowest ranking National Liberal Arts College in Texas.[19]


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 has a music program,[20] and supports the Austin College A Cappella Choir and the Sherman Symphony Orchestra[21] made up of students and local musicians, and assorted smaller musical ensembles.


Austin College joined the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) on July 1, 2006, replacing Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Austin College was previously a member of the American Southwest Conference (ASC), Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and Texas Conference. In 2017, the Austin College football team joined the Southern Athletic Association in football, while remaining a member of the SCAC across all other sports.[22]


In 2007, the first year of participating in the SCAC, the Austin College baseball team won the conference tournament, beating Millsaps College 9–7 in the finals. The Roos finished the season with a win–loss record of 22–25. The tournament win was the first ever conference championship for the Roos and the first time the program had ever been in the Regional tournament.[23] Carl Iwasaki was the head coach for the Roos from 2005 until 2010. He won two coach of the year awards, the first in 2006 while the Roos were still in the ASC and the second, coming in 2007 after the Roos had joined the SCAC. Coach Iwasaki was replaced by James Rise for the 2011 season who coached for four seasons. Under Rise, the Roos went 11–24 in 2011, 8–29 in 2012, 12–29 in 2013, and 6–33 in 2014.[24]




  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Archived from the original on February 21, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ "U. S. News". Archived from the original on 2019-02-25. Retrieved 2019-02-25.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-07-07.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c Austin College Archived 2015-06-08 at the Wayback Machine, Austin College History.
  5. ^ Austin College Archived June 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Austin College Life.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2014-08-28.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Indicator". Archived from the original on 2022-07-31. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  8. ^ Austin College Archived 2013-08-18 at the Wayback Machine, Austin College Faculty.
  9. ^ "An Army of Good Men". The Record. Hampden–Sydney College. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  10. ^ "History". November 2009. Archived from the original on 2015-06-08. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  11. ^ Williams, Amelia W. (June 15, 2010). "MCKINNEY, SAMUEL". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Past Presidents". 22 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  13. ^ "Lost Buildings of Austin College 1". Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  14. ^ "IDEA Center". November 2009. Archived from the original on 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  15. ^ "Best Colleges 2024: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  16. ^ "2023 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  17. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2023". Forbes. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  18. ^ "Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2022". The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  19. ^ "Austin College". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  20. ^ "music program". November 2009. Archived from the original on 2022-07-31. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  21. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2022-04-11. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  22. ^ "Austin College Football to Join SAA as Affiliate Member". 18 November 2015. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Austin College Magazine" (PDF). June 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-28. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  24. ^ "SCAC". Archived from the original on 2015-11-28. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  25. ^ Clayton, Lawrence. "Adams, Ramon (1889-1976)". Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Retrieved July 25, 2023.
  26. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (March 29, 1997). "From Religious Childhood To Reins of a U.F.O. Cult". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 16, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  27. ^ "Texas House of Representatives". Texas House of Representatives.
  28. ^ 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 BooksArchived July 31, 2022, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas: Containing Biographical Sketches of the Representative Public, and Many Early Settled Families. Chicago: F. A. Battey & Company. 1889. pp. 795–96 – via University of North Texas Libraries.

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