of Baylor University
University Student Handbook
In the early 1840s
Baptist pioneers in the republic of Texas organized an education
society for the purpose of establishing a university "to meet
the demand of all ages to come." Of the many leaders of
the Texas Baptist Education Society, the Rev. William M. Tryon and Judge
R.E.B. Baylor are credited as founders of what has become the
oldest university in Texas.
Tryon was a missionary
appointee of the American Baptist Home Mission Society headquartered
in New York, and Baylor was judge of the third judicial district and
a member of the Texas Supreme Court. Tryon had attended Mercer
Institute in Georgia and had pastored churches in Alabama prior to
moving to Texas in 1841.
Baylor, a native of
Kentucky, had been legislator in both Kentucky and Alabama and a
member of the U.S. Congress from 1829031. he became a
Christian in the summer of 1839 at the age of 46. Shortly
afterwards, he received his license to preach the gospel and
emigrated to Texas. He and Tryon conducted numerous revival
meetings across the Texas frontier, and both were leaders of the
Union Baptist Association, the first Baptist missionary organization
in the republic.
The idea to create an
institution of higher education had first been Tryon's and Baylor
was an avid proponent from the beginning. Both jointly
prepared the petition for a charter of a Baptist university and
submitted it to congress in December, 1844. The first name
suggested for the institution was San Jacinto University. This
was followed by a recommendation that it be called Milam University.
continued, the name Baylor was submitted and rapidly approved by
both houses, though Judge Baylor protested that he was not worthy of
such an honor. On February 1, 1845, Anson Jones, president of
the republic, affixed his signature, thus officially creating Baylor
Classes began in May,
1846, in a small wooden building on a hillside at Independence in
Washington County. The first president was the Rev. Henry Lee
Graves who was succeeded in 1851 by the Rev. Rufus C.
Burleson. During Burleson's ten-year tenure, the university
operated male and female departments, each housed on separate
campuses a mile or so apart. Burleson resigned in 1861 to
accept the presidency of the fledgling Waco Classical School which
soon changed its name to Waco University. He remained at the
helm of this school until 1886.
At Independence, the
Rev. George W. Baines, great-grandfather of the 36th President of
the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, guided the university
through the early years of the Civil War. The Rev. William
Carey Crane assumed the presidency in 1864. Two years later
the female department received a separate charter and became Baylor
As the Baptist
denomination spread across Texas, several new Baptist bodies were
created. Many of these groups established colleges and
academies which competed with Baylor for students and financial
support. Chief rival for denominational loyalty was Waco
University, although there were several other schools that operated
with varying degrees of success.
population shifts, as well as economic and sociological changes,
made the operation at Baylor increasingly difficult. Only by
the masterful leadership of Crane did the school continue to attract
students and remain solvent.
Agitation to unite
competing Baylor organizations and to establish one central
university increased in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Forces
desiring to make Baylor the single Texas Baptist institution
suffered and insurmountable loss with the death of Crane in
1885. He was succeeded by Rev. Reddin Andrews who held the
school together while the movement to unify the more than two dozen
Baptist organizations that had been designed to promote and support
specific educational and missionary causes came to fruition.
In 1886, with the
consolidation of the Baptist General Association and the Baptist
State Convention to form the Baptist General Convention of Texas,
Baylor and Waco universities unified to become Baylor University at
Waco. Baylor Female College moved to Belton and today is the
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Rufus Burleson was
named president of the consolidated schools. Within the next
few years the campus expanded to form a quadrangle bounded by the
F.L. Carroll Chapel and Library Building, Georgia Burleson Hall,
Main Building, and George W. Carroll Science Hall.
1897, Burleson became president emeritus; and in August 1899, O.H.
Cooper took over the leadership of the school.
and a half years later, he was succeeded by Samuel
Palmer Brooks, a Baylor and a Yale graduate, who led the
institution during the next three decades from its small provincial
status to nationwide acclaim as a true university.
Brooks' administration, the colleges of medicine, dentistry, and
pharmacy were established in Dallas; a Theological Seminary was
started; the School of Nursing became a diploma-granting program;
Baylor Hospital, now the Baylor University Medical Center and
headquarters of Baylor Health Care System, was created in Dallas;
the College of Arts and Sciences was organized; and the schools of
education, music, and business were formed. The School of Law,
which had existed earlier at Independence, was reestablished.
his death in 1931, Brooks' college roommate and former governor of
M. Neff, was inaugurated. He guided the institution
through the Depression and World War II, creating the graduate
school in 1947, during his last year in office.
White assumed the helm in 1948 and embarked upon a massive
building program, adding many classroom and dormitory facilities
during his thirteen-year administration.
V. McCall, then dean of the law school, took over the leadership
of the institution in 1961 and for two decades guided its growth and
Herbert H. Reynolds, who had served with McCall as executive
vice president for twelve years, was named president in June,
1981. During his administration, more than $180 million in
facilities were added; endowment grew from an approximate market
value of $80 million to more than $340 million; and net assets
surpassed $600 million. Dr. Reynolds served as chancellor from
June, 1995, to May, 2000, and became president emeritus on June 1,
On June 1,
1995, Dr. Robert
B. Sloan, Jr. assumed responsibilities as the twelfth president
of Baylor University. Prior to his being named president, Dr.
Sloan served the university as dean of the George W. Truett
Theological Seminary. Over the last five years, Baylor's
endowment has grown to more than $644 million, and the university's
net assets have increased to over one billion dollars.
growth and development of the faculty have remained a high priority,
and many new academic programs and extracurricular opportunities
have been created for the 13,000-member student body which comes
from all 50 states and about 70 foreign countries. The
university's some 85,000 alumni now live in 138 countries around the