SOUTHWESTERN ASSEMBLIES OF GOD UNIVERSITY
SOUTHWESTERN ASSEMBLIES OF GOD UNIVERSITY. Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a coeducational, liberal arts institution owned and sponsored by the North Texas, South Texas, West Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma districts of the Assemblies of God Church. The school developed from the merger of three previously independent church-related institutions: Southwestern Bible Institute, established at Enid, Oklahoma, in 1927 as the Southwestern Bible School under the leadership of P. C. Nelson; Shield of Faith Bible School, established at Amarillo, Texas, in 1931; and Southern Bible College, established at Goose Creek, Texas, but later relocated to Houston. By 1941 these three schools, which functioned not as true colleges but as private elementary and high schools, had moved to Fort Worth, where they were united under the name Southwestern Bible Institute. Two years later the institution, which was owned and directed by the Texas District Council of the Assemblies of God, relocated to Waxahachie, Texas, its present home. During the 1944–45 term a junior college curriculum was added to the institution's course offerings. This new division quickly came to account for half of the school's enrollment. In 1946 the college upgraded its Bible institute to prepare a four-year undergraduate Bible program. In 1954 Southwestern Bible Institute was designated a regional Assemblies of God school and brought under the ownership and control of the seven previously mentioned regional districts of the church. Representatives of these districts approved the school's present name, which also was adopted in 1954. By 1963 the college apparently had ceased offering elementary and secondary courses and shifted its focus to junior college and ministerial and missionary education. Courses in the latter fields were conducted in the Southwestern College of the Bible. Five years later the junior college section was renamed Southwestern Junior College of the Assemblies of God. In 1987 the two divisions were reunited as Southwestern Assemblies of God College, which began offering four years of postsecondary education leading to the bachelor's degree in some fields. In 1994 the board of regents unanimously approved changing the school's name to Southwestern Assemblies of God University; the change took effect in 1996. The school occupied a seventy-acre tract in Waxahachie. Its physical plant included an administration building, which housed college offices, class rooms, laboratories, and a chapel; in addition to a library, a student center, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, and three dormitories. The university also maintained a baseball field and an apartment complex for married students. The university emphasizes general education and ministerial and missionary training and offers professional, pre-professional, and vocational courses. It awards bachelor of arts, bachelor of sciences, bachelor of career arts, associate of arts, master of arts/sciences, and master of education degrees. In 1990 it employed nineteen fulltime and fifteen adjunct faculty members. The college had 35 faculty and 761 students for the 1992–93 regular term, plus 187 for the 1992 summer session; by 1998 enrollment had climbed to 1,622 for the fall semester, with a faculty of fifty-eight. College divisions include arts and sciences, Bible and church ministries, and education and professional studies, plus the school of graduate studies. The school is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southwestern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges, and the Texas Education Agency. Kermit S. Bridges was president in 2001.