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Austin College: Wikis


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Austin College
Motto Learning, Leadership, Lasting Values
Established 1849
Type Private
Endowment $144 million
President Marjorie Hass
Staff 104
Undergraduates 1,291
Postgraduates 29
Location Sherman, Texas, USA
Campus Suburban, 70 acres
(City of Sherman, Grayson County, Texas)
Religious Affiliation Presbyterian Church USA
Mascot Kangaroo

Austin College is a private liberal arts college affiliated by covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and located in Sherman, Texas, an hour north of Dallas.

The undergraduate student body of Austin College (typically referred to as "AC" by students and faculty) is limited to about 1,350. Most students are required to live on campus for the first three years in an attempt to create a close-knit community. Austin College actively promotes various study abroad programs; 70% of students study abroad during their four years at the college. The college states that it attempts to foster close interaction between students and professors via a 15:1 student to faculty ratio and an average class size of less than 25 students. The college has no teaching assistants, so regular faculty teach all levels of coursework.

Chartered in November 1849, it is the oldest college in Texas under original charter and name as recognized by the State Historical Survey Committee.



The college was founded on October 13, 1849 in Huntsville, Texas by Princeton-educated missionary Dr. Daniel Baker.

The college moved to Sherman in 1876 and became co-educational in 1918, merging in 1930 with the all female Texas Presbyterian College.

Baker named the school after Texas historical figure Stephen F. Austin and his sister Emily, who deeded 1,500 acres (6 km²) of land to the college. Another important figure in Texas history, Sam Houston, served on the original board of trustees for the school, and the former site in Huntsville later became today's Sam Houston State University.


Dr. Marjorie Hass became the 15th president of Austin College on July 1, 2009. She previously served as provost of Muhlenberg College. Dr. Hass succeeded Dr. Oscar Page, who /110908dnmetaustincollege.191b87ae1.html Austin College trustees name Marjorie Hass as school's next president], Dallas Morning News, 2008-11-08, retrieved 2008-11-08</ref>


U.S. News & World Report Guide to the 331 Most Interesting Colleges. Austin College is also ninth on the U.S. News 2006 list for "most students studying abroad." It is a member of the International 50, a group of the top colleges in the nation for international focus.


Austin College offers about 35 majors and pre-professional programs for study, and students can also create a specialized major to match their academic interests. The college is known for its nationally recognized five-year Master of Arts in Teaching program, its pre-medical, international studies, and pre-law programs, which draw many students to the campus. The school also has a music program, and is home to the Austin College A Cappella Choir and the Sherman Symphony Orchestra made up of students and local musicians, and assorted smaller musical ensembles. It also sponsors the Posey Center of Excellence in Leadership, the Center for Environmental Studies[1], and the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies [2], three specialized programs that give students numerous research and internship opportunities. The school also has active programs in over 40 academic disciplines. The school's student newspaper, the Austin College Observer, is a bi-monthly publication.



The Communication/Inquiry class is one of a number of classes and program that the school believes sets it apart from other private universities. Communication/Inquiry, or "C/I" as it is abbreviated, is a seminar course taken by freshmen during the fall of their entry year. The professor becomes a mentor for the students in the class over the next four years. Students choose the topic of their C/I soon after matriculating. It serves as the initial course in the undergraduate core curriculum. Each section of C/I is meant to emphasize the enhancement of many core academic skills, among them general writing, oral communication, computer technology, and library usage, as well as intellectual inquiry and critical thinking. As with most Austin College classes, the classes are never more than 25 people, and usually less. Freshmen are encouraged to use the class as an opportunity to make friends. On the opening weekend, students participate in activities and games with their C/I group. Course topics, which are generally aligned with specialty of the instructors, have in the past included an analysis of children's literature, a studio art class where the participants create sculptures on campus, and a study of how food and culture have intertwined throughout history. C/I professors and topics rotate every year.[3]

Heritage of Western Culture

Heritage of Western Culture, known on campus as "Heritage" or "HWC", was the Austin College core curriculum. Starting in the Fall of 2007, "Heritage" ceased to exist. The purpose of the Heritage classes was to tie together various liberal arts disciplines into an overview of the development of western culture.

January Term

January Term is Austin College's mini-semester, a three-week course taught every January. Students are required to take three Jan-terms during their time at AC, and many use the semester to either take a class in a different area than their regular studies, intensify their study in their designated field, or travel abroad on one of the many travel Jan-terms. Off-campus Jan-terms are an opportunity for those who cannot study abroad during the normal school year to do so. Destinations rotate from year to year, and past and current locations include Scotland, England, France, Spain, Greece, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Japan, India, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Egypt, West Africa, Hawaii, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. There are also a number of domestic travel locations, such as Ghost Ranch in New Mexico (where students can take landscape photography, creative writing, pottery, and silversmithing), Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and New York City.

Courses are taught on-campus as well. A longstanding policy requires freshmen to spend their first Jan-term on-campus, although some instructors allow exceptions. Many students can only afford only one off-campus Jan-term over the course of their Austin College career, and take the rest on campus. Topics have included bird-watching, a writing class on utopian literature, an analysis of contemporary comic books, the philosophy of mythological archetypes, medical QiGong, as well as wine making and beer brewing, instructed by chemistry faculty.

Jordan Family Language House

Completed in 1998, the Jordan Family Language House is both a residence hall and a place of study for German, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese language and culture. The hall is divided into four sections, one for each language. Each section functions independently, with the number of students varying from Spanish (the largest) to Japanese (the smallest, with a capacity for eight). Students are encouraged to speak in their language of study when in the house.

A native speaker, always coming from abroad, resides in each section to assist students in their study of the language. The native speaker also holds intermediate and advanced conversation classes for the students. The Jordan House contains a multimedia language laboratory.

Students who live in the house are enrolled in a half-credit course, in addition to another course in the language or literature. Course requirements include meeting several times a week for language table, weekly house meetings with skits, games, and other presentations in the target language, and a variety of other culturally appropriate activities. [4]

Model United Nations

Austin College has participated in Model United Nations around the country since 1983. Model UN conferences simulate the workings of the United Nations, with delegates assuming the current positions of the countries they represent.

The purpose of the program is to gain skills in leadership, verbal and written communication, teamwork, decision-making, and research. At the National Model U.N. Conference in New York City, the AC program has earned more than 20 top rankings for Outstanding Delegation. AC has also attended conferences in Chicago, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Russia, and China.[5]

Posey Leadership Institute

The Austin College Posey Leadership Institute is intended to instruct student leaders in leadership and service. Each fall, 15 entering freshmen and up to five sophomores are selected to participate, based on demonstrated leadership ability and potential. Participants receive a scholarship of around $11,000 a year.

Participating students complete special courses beyond their normal academic workload. These include a freshman introductory leadership course, an internship on leadership in action, a Jan-term course, a second-year course on national and international leadership, and a senior conference on advanced leadership studies.[6]

Study Abroad

AC has a strong emphasis on international learning opportunity. 73% of students in a recent graduating class had studied abroad.


Athletics logo

Austin College participates in NCAA Division III athletics. Kangaroo varsity teams include football, men and women's soccer, volleyball, men and women's basketball, swimming and diving, tennis, baseball and softball, which was added for the 2006-2007 season. More than 225 student-athletics participate in varsity intercollegiate athletics each year. In 2004-2005, 28 students were recognized with all-conference athletic honors and 61 students received all-conference academic honors.

Austin College also has a Lacrosse team, which is run as a club sport.

Austin College joined the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference on July 1, 2006, replacing Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Austin College was previously a member of the American Southwest Conference.

Austin College also has a student-run dance team named the Aussies.

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "From Religious Childhood To Reins of a U.F.O. Cult". New York Times. 1997-03-29. Retrieved 2008-05-08.  
  2. ^ List of Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients, retrieved 2008-05-19
  3. ^ Stowers, Carlton, and Carroll Pickett, Within These Walls: Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain, ISBN 978-0312287177, St. Martin's Press, 2002, Google Books
  4. ^ At the Death House Door official web site, retrieved 2008-05-19
  5. ^ From out of Texas to Everywhere! The Presbyterian Sun, August 2006, retrieved 2008-05-19

External links

Coordinates: 33°38′49.22″N 96°35′50.16″W / 33.6470056°N 96.5972667°W / 33.6470056; -96.5972667


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