Texas Wesleyan University
Former names
Polytechnic College (1890–1914)
Texas Woman's College (1914–1934)
Texas Wesleyan College (1934–1989)
Motto Scientia Pietasque Vitalis (Latin)[1]
Motto in English
Knowledge and Vital Piety[1]
TypePrivate university
Established1890; 134 years ago (1890)[2]
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church[2]
Academic affiliations
Endowment$57.8 million (2020)[4]
PresidentDr. Emily W. Messer[5]
ProvostHector A. Qunitanilla[6]
Academic staff
CampusUrban, 75 acres (30 ha)
ColorsBlue & Gold
Sporting affiliations
MascotWillie and Wilma the Rams

Texas Wesleyan University is a private Methodist university in Fort Worth, Texas. It was founded in 1890 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The main campus is located in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood of Fort Worth. Its mascot is the ram.


Postcard of Texas Woman's College, 1913
The Administration Building at Texas Wesleyan University

Texas Wesleyan University was founded as Polytechnic College by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1890. A committee under the direction of Bishop Joseph S. Key explored locations for a campus and settled on a site east of Fort Worth donated by area pioneers A.S. Hall, W.D. Hall, and George Tandy. The school held its first classes in September 1891 with 111 students. In 1902, H.A. Boaz assumed the presidency and managed a period of moderate growth. He hoped to develop Polytechnic College into a new university for Southern Methodism.

When Dallas was selected by Methodist Church leaders as the site for Southern Methodist University, the Polytechnic campus was designated the "woman's college for Southern Methodism", eventually becoming Texas Woman's College in 1914, attracting young women from around Texas and the Southwest. However, when faced with dwindling resources during the Great Depression, the college's trustees voted to close the school in 1931. A merger with the financially secure Texas Wesleyan Academy in Austin saved the college from failure and resulted in the formation of Texas Wesleyan College in 1934. Men were readmitted the same year, returning the institution to a coeducational status.[2]

The university added graduate programs in education in the 1970s and in nurse anesthesia in the 1980s. After contemplating a relocation of the campus to a west Fort Worth site, Texas Wesleyan renewed its commitment to its historic Polytechnic Heights Neighborhood location by building the Eunice and James L. West Library in October 1988.[8] Recognizing the growth in programs, trustees changed the name of the institution to Texas Wesleyan University in January 1989.[2]

To add flexibility in the scheduling of courses and to recognize the special needs of adult learners, the university added the C.E. Hyde Weekend/Evening Program in 1994. The university established a campus in downtown Fort Worth in 1997 with the relocation of the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, which was established in 1992 following the acquisition of the former Dallas/Fort Worth School of Law. TWU School of Law was subsequently sold to Texas A&M University for $73 million in 2013.

In 2015, Texas Wesleyan completed the Rosedale Renaissance project under the direction of university president Frederick G. Slabach. The $5.7 million project revitalized both the Texas Wesleyan campus and the surrounding Polytechnic Heights neighborhood, and included the construction of the Canafax Clock Tower, the United Methodist Church Central Texas Conference Service Center, and the renovation of the Polytechnic Firehouse.[9]

On July 1, 2023, Texas Wesleyan welcomed Dr. Emily W. Messer as the new University President.[10] Dr. Messer is the first female president in Texas Wesleyan school history.


Texas Wesleyan is located on a 75-acre campus in the Polytechnic Heights Neighborhood in east Fort Worth. The campus sits 140 feet above the Trinity River and is one of the highest points in the city of Fort Worth.[11] The university employed engineering and architecture firm Freese and Nichols Inc. to develop a master plan for its campus in 2011 that works with major street improvements for the Rosedale area surrounding the campus.[12]

Key places

Polytechnic College President H.A. Boaz built the Oneal-Sells Administration Building administration building in 1902 and oversaw its renovation and enlargement in 1909. The building was constructed in 1902-1903 of rock acquired from a quarry in Dublin, Texas. A red overhead sign bearing the university's name was added during the 1938–1939 school year. The building was remodeled again from 1963 to 1966. Cora Maud Oneal and Murray Case Sells, for whom the building is named, financed the renovation. The overhead sign was removed during that renovation in 1963. The building became a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1966.[13]

Sanguinet & Staats, a firm noted for building many sites on the National Register of Historic Places, built Dan Waggoner Hall in 1917. The building was primarily used as a dormitory until the late 1970s, when a renovation converted the building into use for offices. After a renovation in 1999, it now houses the offices of the School of Education and classrooms.[13]

The Eunice and James L. West Library was built in 1988 and funded by a gift of Tandy Corporation stock from Eunice and James L. West of Fort Worth. West and his wife, Eunice, gave $16 million in stock to several Texas colleges, $12 million of which came to Texas Wesleyan for construction of the library. The library sits at the front of the campus mall and is a focal point looking from the entrance of campus.[13]

The Polytechnic United Methodist Church was built in 1951-1952 by Wyatt C. Hedrick and is designed in the collegiate gothic style. Hedrick developed a master plan for the college in 1949 and the church wanted its building to fit into the planned design of the campus. The college was allowed to use classrooms in the building during the week. In 2005, the second and third floors were renovated for faculty offices and classrooms. Known as “Poly Church,” it houses the School of Arts and Letters and the university chaplain.[13]


U.S. News & World Report ranked Texas Wesleyan in the #1 tier of regional universities in 2013, 2012 and 2011.[14]

Texas Wesleyan places an emphasis on the development of critical thinking skills, and the university's strategic plan requires faculty to develop measurable critical thinking, analytical reasoning and creative problem-solving skills in students based on academic proficiency and assessment metrics.[15]

More than 70 percent of Texas Wesleyan's classes have fewer than 20 students, and the university's average student-to-teacher ratio is 15:1.[14]

Texas Wesleyan has over 30 areas of undergraduate study, and Honors and Pre-Professional Programs. The university offers graduate programs in business, education, counseling and nurse anesthesia. [16]

University academics are divided into four schools:

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Texas Wesleyan.

Throughout its history, the university has remained closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The university maintains special relationships with several United Methodist congregations, and some trustees are representatives of the United Methodist Church. In keeping with Methodist tradition, the university welcomes individuals of all faiths and is thoroughly ecumenical in its practices.[18]

Student body

U.S. News & World Report considers Texas Wesleyan's admissions to be “selective.”[14]

Undergraduate enrollment is 1,977 and graduate enrollment is 689 students.[when?] 57 percent of the student body is female and 43 percent is male. 54 percent of the student body identify as “minority.”[19]

In 2023, 99 percent of entering undergraduates received some form of financial aid. The average amount of aid offered to each student is $23,833.[19]

Undergraduate students make up 74 percent of total student enrollment. The average age of a first-time freshman student at Texas Wesleyan is 19. The average age of a transfer student is 26. 83 percent of Texas Wesleyan students are Texas residents.[19]

Student life

Student newspaper

The Rambler is a student-run newspaper, which provides interested students with a hands-on learning experience by simulating a real-world newspaper environment. The Rambler also offers a public forum for the dissemination of news and opinion of interest and relevance to the Wesleyan community.[20]

Student organizations and intramurals

Student Life Office administers various student organizations and academic groups. Texas Wesleyan University Student Life-Student Organizations Intramurals include cheerleading, competitive dance, disc golf, flag football, Volleyball, and 3-3 basketball.

Greek life

Wesleyan is home to seven Greeks on campus 2 fraternity and 3 sororities:


The Texas Wesleyan athletic teams are called the Rams. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) since the 2013–14 academic year. The Rams previously competed in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) from 2001–02 to 2012–13; and in the Heartland Conference of the NCAA Division II ranks from 1999–2000 to 2000–01.

Texas Wesleyan competes in 19 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading, dance and table tennis. Former sports included men's & women's tennis.

The Athletic Department also supports junior varsity opportunities in baseball, men and women's basketball, and men's soccer. Three full-time athletic trainers as well as a strong athletic training education program assist the athletic department. Athletic trainers provide service during team practices and game activities.[22]


The Texas Wesleyan athletic department has been competing in intercollegiate sports for over a century. The Rams boast 157 All-Americans, 59 Academic All-Americans, and six NAIA Hall of Famers. Here is a look at some of the highlights the Rams have enjoyed since 1908:

Football: The Texas Wesleyan football team won two conference titles in their eight seasons in the 1930s. The program was disbanded in 1941 at the advent of World War II.[23] The program was revived and started playing in the 2017 season.[24] Marjorie Herrera Lewis coached defensive backs in 2017, making her the only female college football coach at any level that year.[25][26]

Baseball: Texas Wesleyan baseball has amassed over 1,300 victories since 1967 and has had 40 players drafted by major league teams. Jeff Moronko also saw time in the majors with the Cleveland Indians.

Men's basketball: Texas Wesleyan has competed in men's basketball since the 1935–36 season, with a two-year hiatus during World War II.

Women's basketball: Texas Wesleyan has competed in women's basketball since the 1970–71 season.

Men's golf: Texas Wesleyan has competed in men's golf since 1940.

Women's golf: Texas Wesleyan has competed in women's golf since the 2012–13 season.

Men's soccer: Texas Wesleyan has competed in men's soccer since 1988.

Women's soccer: Texas Wesleyan has competed in women's soccer since 1998.

Softball: Texas Wesleyan has competed in softball since 1978.

Table tennis: Texas Wesleyan Table Tennis is one of the most dominant programs in college athletics.

Volleyball: Texas Wesleyan has competed in volleyball since 1978.

The Texas Wesleyan athletics program has also enjoyed success in other sports that are now defunct:[28]

Community outreach

Texas Wesleyan University's outreach efforts have been focused on the immediate area surrounding the main campus. An appropriation request proposal was submitted by the university for the 2009 fiscal year to the U.S. representative Michael C. Burgess of the 26th District for a project entitled “Rosedale Avenue Redevelopment Initiative”. In this proposal the university requests funding for a “…comprehensive revitalization plan that includes commercial and residential development, with park-like open spaces.” [29]

The university donated land and help arrange for the construction of a new Boys and Girls Club on Rosedale Street, directly across from the campus. Opened in March 2002, this facility provides activities for area youth, and offers opportunities for Wesleyan students to mentor and tutor local youngsters. The university also offers a Speak Up Scholarship, which is designed for area students with a B or better average who graduate from both the William James Middle School and Poly High School, both located in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood. Students are given financial assistance in the form of scholarships or loans to attend Texas Wesleyan. Critics have pointed out that not enough students and school advisors are aware of the Speak Up Scholarship, however the program has helped five to ten students a year for the last few years, with ten being awarded the scholarship in 2004.[30]

The commitment to the community has faltered during the university's history. In 1981, concerns mounted in regards to the economic decline in the Polytechnic area. Sociologist Dr. Sarah Horsfall's 2005 research article about the Inner City of Fort Worth explains; “The trustees, urged by the then-President, voted to relocate the campus and purchased land in the northwest of Fort Worth. Community organizers and the Methodist Church opposed the move and worked to keep Texas Wesleyan where it was” . By 1985, the plan was abandoned as impractical. Instead, the university administrators (and a new university president) renewed their dedication and commitment to the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood.[31]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b Sherwood, Louis (21 October 2011). "The Story of Wesleyan's Seal". Magazine. Texas Wesleyan University Office of Marketing & Communications. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Texas Wesleyan University. "History". txwes.edu. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  3. ^ NAICU – Member Directory Archived 2015-11-09 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ 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. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  5. ^ "Emily W. Messer". Web Article. Texas Wesleyan University Office of the President. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  6. ^ "Office of the Provost". Web Page. Texas Wesleyan Office of the provost. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d "Enrollment Trends". Online Publication. Texas Wesleyan University Institutional Research. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  8. ^ Minor, David. "Texas Wesleyan University". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  9. ^ "Rosedale Renaissance brings vibrancy to Southeast Fort Worth". Texas Wesleyan University News. Fort Worth, TX: Texas Wesleyan University. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2023-10-06.
  10. ^ "Dr. Emily Messer elected as Texas Wesleyan's 21st President". Texas Wesleyan University News. Fort Worth, TX: Texas Wesleyan University. 2023-06-21. Retrieved 2023-10-06.
  11. ^ "History". Web Page. Texas Wesleyan University Office of the President. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Curb appeal: Texas Wesleyan paves the way for campus redo". Article. Fort Worth Business Press. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d Sherwood, Louis (Spring 2010). "The Story Behind the Bricks and Mortar". Wesleyan Magazine.
  14. ^ a b c "Best Colleges: Texas Wesleyan University". Newsmagazine. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  15. ^ "2020 Strategic Plan: A Foundation for Excellence". University Strategic Plan. Texas Wesleyan University Office of the President. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Texas Wesleyan University Majors & Degrees". Web site. Texas Wesleyan University Office of Admissions. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  17. ^ "University Quick Facts". Booklet. Texas Wesleyan University Office of Institutional Research. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  18. ^ "History". Web page. Texas Wesleyan University Office of the President. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  19. ^ a b c "IPEDS Data - Texas Wesleyan University". Online Publication. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  20. ^ Texas Wesleyan University. "Student Life-Rambler". Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  21. ^ "Lambda Kappa Kappa". Archived from the original on April 7, 2017.
  22. ^ "The Official Site of Texas Wesleyan University Rams Athletics". ramsports.net.
  23. ^ Prisbell, Eric (August 2, 2016). "At Texas Wesleyan, a football revival 75 years in the making". USA Today. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  24. ^ "Texas Wesleyan Football". ramsports.net. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  25. ^ Mauch, Rick (November 24, 2017). "Toughing it out: Texas Wesleyan female football coach takes the field". fortworthbusiness.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  26. ^ Claybourn, David (June 10, 2019). "Sports Views: Marjorie Herrera Lewis is a pioneer in Texas football". Herald-Banner. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  27. ^ "Table Tennis: National Championships by Year". Texas Wesleyan University. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  28. ^ "Rams' Sports History". Texas Wesleyan University. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  29. ^ Congressman Michael C. Burgess (14 June 2007). "Rosedale Avenue Redevelopment Initiative". Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  30. ^ Horsfall, Sara (2005). "A Portrait Of Change In Inner City Fort Worth". Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development. The Institute, Inc. 34 (2/3): 26 (151–176. JSTOR 40553481. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  31. ^ Sara Horsfall, ed. (2002). "History of Polytechnic College". A Neighborhood Portrait: Polytechnic Heights of Inner City Fort Worth. Sunbelt Eakin Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-1571687081.

32°43′59″N 97°16′48″W / 32.733°N 97.280°W / 32.733; -97.280