McMurry University
Former names
McMurry College (1923–1990)
MottoCultivating Leadership Excellence and Virtue...
Every Student, Every Day.
TypePrivate university
EstablishedSeptember 20, 1923; 100 years ago (1923-09-20)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment$94.5 million (2019)[1]
PresidentSandra Harper[2]
Undergraduates2,556 (Fall 2022)[3]
Location, ,
United States
CampusUrban, 40 acres (.16 km²)
ColorsMaroon and White
MascotWar Hawks

McMurry University is a private Methodist university in Abilene, Texas, United States. It was founded in 1923 and named after William Fletcher McMurry.[4] The university offers forty-five majors in the fields of fine arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, education, business, and religion, and nine pre-professional programs, including nursing, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary, and law.

In the fall of 2023, the university enrolled 2,556 students.[3] Methodist students constitute 27 percent of the student population. Ninety five percent of students are Texan. Minority groups make up approximately one-fourth of the student body. In the freshman class, 98 percent of students receive some financial aid. Fifty-three percent of students live on campus, and 75 percent of students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity. McMurry boasts a student to faculty ratio of 13:1.[5]

91 percent of the faculty have earned a doctorate or other terminal degree in their field. McMurry is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[6]


The college was initially founded as McMurry College on September 20, 1923. The college was established through the efforts of Methodist minister James Winfred Hunt and the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Church, who initially voted to establish the school in 1920. After working with the city of Abilene to acquire the needed land, the charter of the school was ratified on November 21, 1921. Accreditation from the Texas Association of Colleges was received in 1926, the same year the school graduated its first class.

The college gained university status in 1990, becoming McMurry University.[7]

Indians mascot controversy

McMurry's sports teams originally used Indians as their mascot.[8] In late August 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) handed down a decision calling for the eighteen universities with Native American mascots to change their names or obtain a waiver from their representative tribe for the use of the mascot name. The McMurry Indians were part of this list. The Indians nickname was chosen as a tribute to the University's first president, J.W. Hunt, who grew up on an Indian reservation in the Indian Territory.

On May 18, 2006, the NCAA rejected McMurry's appeal to keep their nickname. The school chose to appeal the ruling, and indicated their intention to do so by the June 18, 2006, deadline. According to a press release, "the University’s appeal will be based on the arbitrariness of the NCAA’s decision-making process and the inconsistent results and messages that have come from the process." Other schools, such as Florida State University, made successful appeals by garnering the endorsement of Indian tribes. Although McMurry did not actively seek an endorsement, representatives from the Kaw, Kiowa, and Comanche tribes voiced their approval of McMurry's mascot.[9] In October 2006, McMurry's board of trustees decided that the university would no longer use any names for its athletic teams. Citing the school's 83-year history of honoring Native Americans, the school announced that in spite of no longer using names to designate athletic teams, the school traditions created to honor Native Americans would continue.[10] The school's stadium name was changed from Indian Stadium to Wilford Moore Stadium as of May 13, 2007. Wilford Moore was the most-winning coach in McMurry football history.[11]

On March 11, 2011, it was announced that McMurry University's athletic teams would be known as the War Hawks. The new mascot was chosen after a nearly year-long search to find a new mascot to replace the former Indian mascot. The war hawk is meant to represent pride, courage and fierce competition for McMurry's athletic teams.


This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (July 2024)
The McMurry University football team in action against the Texas A&M–Commerce Lions in 2014

McMurry's school colors are maroon and white. McMurry fields teams in 20 different intercollegiate sports. For the men, McMurry competes in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, esports, and indoor and outdoor track and field. For the women, McMurry competes in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, esports, indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball, in which they won the NCCAA national championship in 2012, and softball.

All teams played in the NCAA Division III American Southwest Conference until 2011. In July 2011, McMurry announced that it had been accepted as a candidate for NCAA Division II membership and joined the Heartland Conference in the fall of 2012. The Board of Regent voted in January 2014 to move back to Division III.[12][13] The McMurry football team joined the Lone Star Conference in 2014.[14]

McMurry University announced October 19, 2016, that the sport of softball would be added to its women's intercollegiate programs, beginning in 2018. The addition of softball would bring to 20 the number of sports sponsored by the War Hawks. Softball sponsorship in the ASC would grow to 13 teams and becomes the seventh conference championship sport to be supported at every member institution. Women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, and baseball are ASC sports sponsored by all ASC members. By conference rule and with full member sponsorship of softball, the ASC Softball Championship Tournament format would shift to eight-team double-elimination with the 2018 tournament.[15]

Walt Driggers Field

Walt Driggers Field is the home of the McMurry War Hawks collegiate baseball program. The field was designed and built by Anglea Sports Fields, which is headed by former Globe Life Park in Arlington superintendent Jim Anglea.[16] McMurry played its first game at Walt Driggers Field on February 12, 1997, with a 7–3 win against Wayland Baptist Pioneers. The school officially renamed the field before a home game against the Lubbock Christian Chaparrals shortly thereafter.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  2. ^ Bethal, Brian (August 12, 2013). "McMurry University names Sandra Harper as its first female president". Abilene Reporter News. Abilene, Texas. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "College Navigator - McMurry University". National Center for Education Statistics. 2024. Retrieved January 16, 2024.
  4. ^ Stephenson, Lane B. (1995). Texas College and University Handbook. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780890966778.
  5. ^ "Admission | McMurry University". Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "2014-2015 Catalog" (PDF). p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  7. ^ Downs, Faye. "McMurry University". Handbook of Texas. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  8. ^ "Denied Indian mascot, McMurry forgoes nickname". AP. October 16, 2006. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  9. ^ Russell, John H. "Alumni Update". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  10. ^ Russell, John H. "McMurry Board Announces Decision". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2006.
  11. ^ "McMurry renames football and track stadium to Wilford Moore Stadium". Retrieved May 13, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Robarts, Kyle (July 12, 2011). "NCAA accepts McMurry's application to transition to Division II". McMurry War Hawks. Abilene, Texas: McMurry University Sports Information Department. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
  13. ^ Beyer, Dave (February 10, 2012). "McM goes across town for 2012 football opener". Hal Mumme Official Website. Abilene, Texas: McMurry University Sports Information Department. Archived from the original on July 27, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  14. ^ LSC, LSC (July 30, 2013). "McMurry University added to LSC football lineup for 2014". Lone Star Conference News. Richardson, Texas: Lone Star Conference Website. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  15. ^ "McMurry Woman's Softball". October 19, 2016.
  16. ^ "Walt Driggers Field". Archived from the original on April 3, 2008.
  17. ^ "Dan Dodson Papers: NYU Special Collections Finding Aids". Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  18. ^ "Grant Teaff To Receive Stagg Award". Baylor Football. September 21, 2005. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  19. ^ "Early Years". The Weddington Center. Archived from the original on March 19, 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2006.

32°25′48″N 99°45′00″W / 32.430°N 99.750°W / 32.430; -99.750