History

In 1841, 35 delegates to the Union Baptist Association meeting accepted the suggestion of Reverend William Milton Tryon and District Judge R.E.B. Baylor to establish a Baptist university in Texas.

Baylor University - Old Main

The Texas Baptist Education Society then petitioned the Congress of the Republic of Texas to charter a Baptist university in the fall of 1844. Republic President Anson Jones signed the Act of Congress on Feb. 1, 1845, officially establishing Baylor University. Reverend James Huckins, the first Baptist missionary to Texas, was Baylor's first full-time fundraiser and the third founding father of the university. Although these three men are credited as being the founders of Baylor University, there are many others who worked to see our university established in Texas.

After the University was chartered on February 1, 1845, four communities made bids to be the location: Travis, Huntsville, Shannon's Prairie and Independence. Independence was selected, and classes for preparatory students began in May 1846 with college courses offered the following June. In 1886, Baylor and Waco University consolidated to form Baylor University at Waco.

From humble beginnings in Independence, Texas, the campus has grown to approximately 1,000 acres in Waco, Texas, annually educating more than 15,000 men and women to pursue their individual life callings.

These are exciting times in the life of the University - a period in which our institution is striving to remain both a relevant institution of higher learning for the coming years and to continue to fulfill our original mission laid down by our founders: to be a Christian University "fully susceptible of enlargement and development to meet the needs of all ages to come." In a world where faith is often the casualty of a serious pursuit of academic achievement, Baylor is a special place.

The ability and willingness of Baylor to adapt and change to achieve continual progress can be traced throughout its history. It has endured and survived hardships, from financial difficulties, to the Great Depression, to world wars. It made a historic and critical decision to move from Independence to Waco, its current home. It divested its medical and dental schools at a time when that proved to be the most prudent decision for the success of each program. It even had the foresight and fortitude to change its very charter to insulate the institution from denominational struggles.

Had Baylor and its leaders throughout history not faced these decisions and challenges with foresight and a commitment to progress, it would not be the leading university that it is today. The University's Pro Futurisvision will continue to help Baylor adapt and grow with the world around it, while ever strengthening its original mission and heritage.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies Baylor as a research university with "high research activity." Baylor has an international reputation for educational excellence built upon the faculty's commitment to teaching, scholarship and interdisciplinary research that produces outstanding graduates.

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked liberal arts institution. Our rank of alumni include missionaries and pastors, heads of Fortune 500 companies, governors of Texas and professional athletes. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in the state.