Hardin–Simmons University

Hardin–Simmons University
Motto An Education Enlightened by Faith
Type Private
Established 1891
Affiliation Baptist General Convention of Texas
Endowment US$87.1 million[1]
President Eric Bruntmyer, J.D.
Students 2,435
Undergraduates 1,997
Postgraduates 438
Location Abilene, Texas, United States
Campus Urban, 209 acres (0.85 km2)
Colors Purple and Gold         
Athletics NCAA Division III American Southwest Conference
Mascot Cowboy / Cowgirl
Website hsutx.edu

Hardin–Simmons University (HSU) is a private Baptist university located in Abilene, Texas, United States.


Hardin–Simmons University was founded as Abilene Baptist College in 1891 by the Sweetwater Baptist Association and a group of cattlemen and pastors who sought to bring Christian higher education to the Southwest. The purpose of the school would be "to lead students to Christ, teach them of Christ, and train them for Christ." The original land was donated to the university by rancher C.W. Merchant. It was the first school of higher education established west of Fort Worth. The school was renamed Simmons College in 1892 in honor of an early contributor, James B. Simmons. By 1907 it claimed an enrollment of 524 and a staff of 49.[2] In 1925, it became Simmons University. It was renamed Hardin–Simmons University in 1934 in honor of Mary and John G. Hardin, who were also major contributors.[3] The University has been associated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas since 1941.

West Texas Historical Association

The West Texas Historical Association, which met for 22 years on the Hardin–Simmons campus, was chartered on April 19, 1924, at the Taylor County Courthouse in Abilene. Royston Campbell Crane, Sr., an attorney from Sweetwater, the seat of Nolan County, first proposed establishment of the association. He was the son of William Carey Crane, an historian who had served as a president of Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco. Six Abilene residents were also influential in the formation of the group: Rupert N. Richardson, later president of Hardin–Simmons; William Curry Holden, then of Methodist-affiliated McMurry College and later first president of the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock; L. G. Kennamer of Abilene Christian University, a Church of Christ institution; and J. M. Radford, Laura J. D. Scarborough, and B. E. Glammery. Other strong supporters of the movement included James W. Hunt and Jefferson D. Sandefer, then the presidents of McMurry and Hardin–Simmons (then called Simmons College). From the original 24 members, the organization grew in 60 years to nearly 400, including 127 libraries. The original officers were Crane, president; Richardson, secretary, and Scarborough, treasurer. In 1929, the association received a 50-year charter of incorporation from the state. In 1998, after B. W. Aston, historian at Hardin–Simmons, left the position of WTHA executive director, the association moved to Texas Tech and became integral to the Southwest Collection.[4]


HSU is a fully accredited university and offers six undergraduate degrees with 70 majors, and seven graduate degrees with 18 programs. Pre-professional programs include dentistry, engineering, medicine, law, pharmacology, physical therapy, and seminary. HSU offers courses in geography, Greek, Hebrew, humanities, and physical sciences, as well. The university offers a doctorate in physical therapy, the first in Texas which is open to private citizens, as well as Doctor of Education, Doctor of Ministry and a Doctor of Science degrees.[5]

HSU students come from diverse backgrounds and a variety of Christian denominations. With an approximate enrollment of 2,500 students, the student-to-teacher ratio is 14:1.

Mission statement

HSU is a community dedicated to providing excellence in education enlightened by Christian faith and values.

Campus life

HSU's Student Activities host an event on campus almost every week of the semester, including concerts, movie nights, dances, game nights, pool parties, SMORES cookouts, volleyball tournaments, and much more. The basement of the Student Center is a place for students to hang out and relax. It is complete with giant flat-screen TVs, cutting-edge gaming systems, bowling, pool, and ping-pong, all which can be used for free.

Hardin–Simmons offers numerous opportunities to get involved: All-School SING, Campus Recreations, Greek Life, Six White Horses, Student Congress, Student Activities, International Club, International Student Fellowship, The Brand, The Bronco, intramurals and recreation sports, various academic clubs, the World Famous Cowboy Band, Spurs Dance Team, and HSU Cheerleaders.

Several opportunities also exist for students to minister to each other and to the extended Christian community at HSU. Chapel services are held weekly for the entire student body. Neighborhood outreach programs are also available in which students can participate. Baptist Student Ministries (BSM) offers free noon lunches for students every Wednesday. The BSM provides possibilities for students to get involved in Bible study groups and go on mission trips, in addition to hosting concerts and other campus events.


Hardin–Simmons was a member of the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association from 1941 to 1961. The football team won three conference championships.

HSU athletics now plays in the American Southwest Conference and as of Nov. 2016 HSU has won 75 American Southwest Conference title the most of any school. [6]

Hardin–Simmons is a D-III school and offers 18 varsity sports for men and women, including: football, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer (men/women), tennis (men/women), basketball (men/women), cross country (men/women), track (men/women), and golf (men/women).


Years Name Notes
1892–1894 The Rev. W. C. Friley
1894–1898 Dr. George O. Thatcher
1898–1901 Dr. O. C. Pope
1901–1902 The Rev. C. R. Hairfield
1902–1909 Dr. Oscar Henry Cooper
1909–1940 Dr. Jefferson Davis Sandefer, Sr.
1940 Dr. Lucian Q. Campbell (acting president)
1940–1943 Dr. William R. White
1943–1953 Dr. Rupert N. Richardson Wrote the personal reflection, Famous Are Thy Halls: Hardin–Simmons University As I Have Known It (1964)
1953–1962 Dr. Evan Allard Reiff
1962–1963 Dr. George L. Graham (interim)
1963–1966 Dr. James H. Landes
1966–1977 Dr. Elwin L. Skiles
1977–1991 Dr. Jesse C. Fletcher
1991–2001 Dr. Lanny Hall
2001–2008 Dr. W. Craig Turner
2009–2016 Dr. Lanny Hall
2016– Eric Bruntmyer J.D.

Awards / distinctions










For the first 15 years that HSU restarted its football program (1990–2005), the Hardin–Simmons Cowboy football team holds the distinction of having the best winning percentage (77.4%) of any Texas college football program from any division.[7]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

Campus gallery


  1. As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  2. Directory of Abilene, Texas, 1907–08. Fort Worth, Texas: The Fort Worth Directory Company. 1907. p. viii. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  3. Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Hardin-Simmons University" (accessed January 8, 2007).
  4. "Ernest Wallace, "West Texas Historical Association"". tshaonline.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-30. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  5. "Graduate Programs". hsutx.edu. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  6. http://www.ascsports.org/documents/2014/2/5/ASC_Chart_of_Champions_Dec._2013.pdf
  7. McFarland, John (29 August 2005). "HSU Boasts Best Team in Texas". Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  8. "Hardin-Simmons University". Soylent Communications. Retrieved 24 August 2010.

External links

Coordinates: 32°28′37″N 99°44′02″W / 32.477°N 99.734°W / 32.477; -99.734

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