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Hardin–Simmons University

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Type  Private
President  Eric Bruntmyer, J.D.
Undergraduate tuition and fees  25,830 USD (2016)
Phone  +1 325-670-1000
Mascot  Cowgirl, Cowboy
Established  1891
Students  2,435
Acceptance rate  56.8% (2014)
Endowment  150 million USD
Colors  Purple, Gold
Hardin–Simmons University

Motto  An Education Enlightened by Faith
Affiliation  Baptist General Convention of Texas
Address  2200 Hickory St, Abilene, TX 79601, USA
Notable alumni  Stedman Graham, Fess Parker, Dan Blocker, Bulldog Turner, Victor G Carrillo
Similar  McMurry University, Howard Payne University, University of Mary Hardin–Baylor, Abilene Christian University, East Texas Baptist University

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. 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. 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.


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.

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, during which time the football team won three conference championships.

HSU athletics now plays in the American Southwest Conference, and as of November 2016 had won 75 conference titles, the most of any school.

Hardin–Simmons is a Division 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).

Awards / distinctions


  • U.S. News & World Report Regional Universities West Ranking: #33
  • Princeton Review Best Western Colleges
  • Military Friendly Schools
  • 2015

  • U.S. News & World Report Regional Universities West Ranking: #35
  • 2014

  • U.S. News & World Report Regional Universities West Ranking:
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Great Colleges to Work For
  • Military Friendly Schools for
  • 2013

  • U.S. News & World Report Regional Universities West Ranking:
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Great Colleges to Work For
  • Military Friendly Schools
  • Princeton Review Best Western Colleges
  • 2012

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Great Colleges to Work For
  • Military Friendly Schools
  • Princeton Review Best Western Colleges
  • Abilene Reporter-News Readers' Choice Award
  • 2011

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Great Colleges to Work For
  • Military Friendly Schools
  • 2010

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Great Colleges to Work For
  • Military Friendly Schools
  • Princeton Review Best Western Colleges
  • 2009

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Great Colleges to Work For
  • 2007

  • U.S. News & World Report America's Best Colleges
  • Princeton Review Best Western Colleges
  • 2006

  • U.S. News & World Report America's Best Colleges
  • Princeton Review Best Western Colleges
  • 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 Texan college football program from any division.

    Notable alumni

  • Naim Ateek — Palestinian theologian
  • John Leland Atwood — former chief engineer for North American Aviation, instrumental in the production of the P-51 Mustang and B-25 Mitchell
  • Owen J. Baggett - American pilot famous for shooting down an aircraft with his pistol.
  • Pat Batten — former NFL football player
  • Earl Bennett — former NFL football player
  • Dan Blocker — played the role of 'Hoss' on the 1960s American TV show Bonanza
  • Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson — poker legend
  • Victor G. Carrillo — outgoing member of the Railroad Commission of Texas, former Taylor County judge
  • Harvey Catchings — former NBA basketball player
  • Matt Chandler – pastor of Village Church and president of Acts 29 Network
  • Gene Cockrell — American football player
  • Don Collier — western film and television actor
  • Roy Crane — cartoonist (Wash Tubbs, Captain Easy)
  • Jack Graham — pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Stedman Graham — businessman and speaker
  • Jeff Iorg — president of the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Jack T. Martin — American collegiate basketball player/coach, former Brevast Brigadier General Texas Air National Guard
  • W. Francis McBeth — composer
  • Shawn Edamura — Nobel Peace Prize Winner
  • Bob McChesney — American football player
  • Mildred Paxton Moody – journalist, preservationist, and First Lady of Texas, 1927–1931
  • Fess Parker — portrayed Davy Crockett in the Davy Crockett miniseries on Walt Disney's ABC miniseries and Daniel Boone on NBC's Daniel Boone
  • Leighton Paige Patterson — former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and current president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Rupert N. Richardson — president of Hardin–Simmons from 1943–1953
  • Harold Stephens — professional football player
  • Clyde "Bulldog" Turner — member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Will Wagner — head football coach at Angelo State University
  • George E. "Buddy" West — former Texas state representative
  • Willis Whitfield — inventor of the cleanroom
  • Phil Wilson — former Secretary of State of Texas
  • C. V. Wood — entrepreneur who relocated London Bridge to Lake Havasu, Arizona
  • Notable faculty

  • B. W. Aston, historian
  • Rupert N. Richardson, historian
  • References

    Hardin–Simmons University Wikipedia