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Handbook of Texas Online

Texas Colleges and Universities

Welcome to our latest Texas History Quiz! Our tenth quiz focuses on the unique history of Texas colleges and universities and their important role in the overall growth of Texas. Many of these universities have enjoyed histories as colorful as that of the state itself. We hope that you enjoy a journey through some lesser-known facts about these great Texas institutions.

We had an enthusiastic response to our ninth quiz, which focused on the history of the city of El Paso, with more than forty entries received. Congratulations to Mary Ludwig, whose entry was the first perfect score received, and to Carlo Barrientos, whose entry was chosen at random from among the other perfect entries. Congratulations also to Donna Anthony and her class at Port Neches Middle School, who submitted the highest-scoring entry from a school group; we are pleased to see participation from school groups continuing to rise. Each winner received a $50 gift certificate for TSHA publications or membership.

As in the past, this is an open-book quiz, in part to encourage active use of The Handbook of Texas Online, which has now received more than fifty million page views since it was launched. Using the Online Handbook, it is possible to search key words or names, or browse articles alphabetically. If you prefer, you may consult our printed New Handbook of Texas and Portable Handbook of Texas.

While some of the questions below are more difficult than others, all of the answers can be found in the Online Handbook.

The Questions

Question 1:

Foundations of Texas Education. The Texas Declaration of Independence focused in part on establishing a broad system of public education, which had not flourished during the Spanish or Mexican regimes. Although the school system was slow to emerge, due to other pressing issues, the second president of the Republic of Texas helped pass bills in 1839 and 1840 to establish and endow an education system. This included granting 17,712 acres of land to each county to help support county schools. Between Texas independence and statehood, the Texas Republic also granted charters to eight universities, seven colleges, ten academies, and four institutes, although many of these were preparatory schools or were never funded. Which of the following five Republic of Texas leaders led much of this effort, and therefore came to be known as the "Father of Education in Texas"?

"> Sam Houston
"> Mirabeau B. Lamar
"> Anson Jones
"> James Robinson
"> David Burnett

Question 2:

Baylor University. Baylor University is considered to be the oldest continually operating institution of higher learning in Texas, having been founded by the Baptist Church in 1845. During the nineteenth century, various church denominations were especially active in launching new institutions, including 21 by the Methodists, 10 by the Baptists, 8 by the Presbyterians, 4 by the Catholics, 3 by the Christian Church, and 2 each by the Episcopalians and Lutherans.

Baylor owes its founding to Robert E. B. Baylor, James Huckins, and William Tryon. The university was chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1845 and was opened in 1846 in Independence. Baylor University was merged with Waco University in 1886, and thereby was moved to Waco in 1887. One of the most active periods of growth for Baylor was from 1932 through 1947, at which time the university president was a former two-term Texas governor, a Baylor alumnus, and a former Baylor board president. Which of the following five Baylor presidents served during that period?

"> Henry Lee Graves
"> Rufus C. Burleson
"> Oscar Henry Cooper
"> Pat M. Neff
"> Drayton McLane

Question 3:

The University of Texas. The University of Texas at Austin was authorized in 1839 by the Congress of the Republic of Texas, although the first classes were not held until September 1883. During that interim period, several steps were required. After becoming a state, the Texas legislature made financial appropriations for the university in 1858, but the Civil War intervened. The Constitution of 1866 directed the legislature to put the university in operation at "an early date," and the Constitution of 1876 provided additional encouragement. Finally, an act in 1881 established a location in Austin and established the board of regents.

Ashbel Smith was chosen the first president of the board of the University of Texas. In November 1882, the cornerstone of the first building was laid, and Smith delivered the main address, saying prophetically, "Smite the rocks with the rod of knowledge, and fountains of unstinted wealth will gush forth." The Permanent University Fund was created by the Texas legislature, which ultimately included over two million acres of West Texas land.

In May 1923, about fifty years after Ashbel Smith’s academic pronouncement, oil and gas was discovered on university land--land that had previously been thought to have very little value. With the help of prolific oil and gas production and other investments, the Permanent University Fund is now over $7 billion, which in turn helps support UT’s statewide system and a central campus with over 50,000 students. A third of the fund also supports Texas A&M University, through a negotiated legislative compromise in 1931. What was the name of the first oil well drilled on the West Texas university land (the original drilling rig now sits on the university’s campus today)?

"> Spindletop
"> Corsicana
"> Santa Rita
"> Masterson
"> Powell

Question 4:

Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University in College Station is one of the oldest operating public institutions of higher education in Texas. Originally known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, it opened on October 4, 1876, with 106 students and a faculty of six. The school began as an all-male military institution. Women were officially admitted in 1963, and on an equal basis with men in 1971. The school now has almost 50,000 students.

By 1918, 49 percent of all living Texas A&M graduates were serving in World War I. About 20,000 current and former students served in World War II, including some 14,000 as officers and 29 in the rank of general. The university thus provided more officers for the armed forces than both of the then-existing military academies (West Point and Annapolis) combined.

Despite its charter as an agricultural and mechanical college, the A&M College of Texas taught no classes in agriculture during its formative years, but stressed classical studies, languages, literature, and applied mathematics. This led to strong protests from farmer groups, and the school began emphasizing both agriculture and engineering. At that time, the college was affiliated with the University of Texas, even though UT had not yet opened for classes.

The first president of the institution was a school superintendent from Mississippi who was recommended by Jefferson Davis. Which of the following five Texas A&M presidents was he?

"> Lawrence Ross
"> General James Earl Rudder
"> Ray M. Bowen
"> Thomas Otto Walton
"> Thomas S. Gathright

Question 5:

Southwestern University. Southwestern University, in Georgetown, was formed initially as "Texas University" by the five Methodist Episcopal Conferences of Texas at an educational convention in April 1870, through a merger of four earlier "root colleges": Rutersville College, Wesleyan College, McKenzie College, and Soule University. It was renamed Southwestern University in February 1875. Rutersville University was actually the first college chartered in Texas, in 1840.

In its first decades, Southwestern University played a central role in Methodist higher education and accreditation in Texas and initiated several expansions, which included one of the first medical schools in Texas, established in Dallas in 1903, and a school of fine arts.Three of the first five Rhodes Scholars from Texas were Southwestern University graduates.

One of Southwestern’s most distinguished professors was Robert Stewart Hyer, a noted physicist who transmitted a radio wave in Georgetown at nearly the same time as Guglielmo Marconi, the person most credited with the invention of "wireless telegraph" radio transmissions. Hyer was also a pioneer in X-ray technology and oilfield exploration technology.

Hyer served as the head regent of Southwestern beginning in 1897, at which time he attempted to move the school to Dallas, amid significant controversy. This led to the creation of what other noted Texas university?

"> Texas Christian University
"> Southern Methodist University
"> Texas Tech University
"> Rice University
"> Stephen F. Austin University

Question 6:

Rice University. One of the most prestigious universities in the United States is Rice University, which has focused on remaining small but establishing excellence in its relatively few areas of endeavor. Rice is a private, independent, coeducational university in Houston, opened in 1912 as the William Marsh Rice Institute.

The Rice Institute had one of the most unusual beginnings of any higher education institution. It was chartered in 1891 by former Houston merchant William Marsh Rice, who made a series of gifts to the institute, all payable after his death. When he died in 1900 in New York City, however, his probated will directed that his fortune should go to his lawyer. After an extensive investigation and sensational trial it was determined that Rice's butler, in conjunction with Rice’s lawyer, had chloroformed Rice to death in order to collect upon a forged will. Capt. James Addison Baker (a noted lawyer, and the great-grandfather of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III) uncovered the forgery and saved the endowment for the institute. Captain Baker served as the first chairman of the board of trustees of the Rice Institute.

At the time the university opened in 1912, the endowment stood at approximately $9 million, a sum that enabled all students to attend the university without paying tuition--a privilege that did not end until 1965. Rice University continues to have one of the highest levels of endowment per student, and thus a relatively low tuition.

When Rice opened, it searched globally for its first faculty. Its first president was a mathematics professor from Princeton, recommended by Woodrow Wilson, who was then president of Princeton. He opened the institute in 1912 and remained as president until 1946. The following are the first five presidents of Rice--who was the first to serve?

"> Norman Hackerman
"> William V. Houston
"> Kenneth S. Pitzer
"> Edgar Odell Lovett
"> George E. Rupp

Question 7:

Other Colleges and Universities. There are approximately forty independent colleges in Texas recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This number does not include several Bible colleges, seminaries, business schools, and other vocational proprietary institutions. A number of schools maintain ties to religious denominations. Abilene, for example, is home to three independent institutions that have religious ties: McMurry University, Hardin-Simmons University, and Abilene Christian University.

One of the larger private institutions in the state, which also has a religious heritage, was originally founded as Add-Ran College in 1873, named for Addison and Randolph Clark, who had started a private school in 1869. Which of the following universities emerged from this small school?

"> Texas Tech University
"> St. Mary’s University
"> St. Edward’s University
"> Texas Christian University
"> Trinity University

Question 8:

Teachers Colleges. Texas has placed significant focus on training teachers. Many of the major universities, including the University of Texas, have large education departments, although there have also been a number of prominent teachers’ colleges and universities. The Texas legislature enacted a statute in 1870 requiring children from six to eighteen years old to attend school, and that led to a series of "normal schools," most of which were renamed "teachers colleges." Many of those have since become more broadly based universities.

The following five colleges and universities have shown particular strength in the teaching field. Former President Lyndon B. Johnson, a native of Stonewall Texas, was a graduate of one of the five institutions below, where he was a history and social science major and active in campus politics. He earned his elementary teacher’s certificate in Cotulla and was briefly a principal and teacher at Cotulla, working with poor Hispanics, prior to entering politics. From which institution did LBJ graduate?

"> Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University-San Marcos)
"> Sam Houston State Teachers College (now Sam Houston State University)
"> West Texas State Teachers College (now West Texas A&M University)
"> North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas)
"> Sul Ross State Teachers College (now Sul Ross State University)

Question 9:

Texas Medical Schools. Although Texas was founded on the frontier, with little in the way of medical education or facilities, it has managed over the past 140 years to establish and nurture some of the finest medical schools in the country, including:

       Baylor College of Medicine in Houston
       University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
       University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
       University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

There was no medical school in Texas prior to or during the Civil War; the first was Galveston Medical College, organized in November 1865. In 1881, the legislature established a state university with a medical department in Galveston, but it was not funded and established until 1890. After the Galveston hurricane of 1900, the medical school received better funding and support.

The Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) is the only private medical school in the Southwest, although it does receive some funding from the Texas legislature. It was founded in Dallas in 1900, but relocated to Houston in 1943 and became the first institution to locate in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, in 1947. It is affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston as its primary teaching hospital.

The relationship of BCM with the Baptist Church Convention terminated in 1969. The president of the school from 1969 to 1979 was a noted heart surgeon who practices to this day, in his nineties, and who has been a major contributor to the school. Which of these five esteemed Texas doctors is that surgeon?

"> Dr. George R. Hermann
"> Dr. Denton Cooley
"> Dr. Michael Debakey
"> Dr. Arthur Carroll Scott
"> Dr. Raleigh R. White Jr.

Question 10:

Southwest Conference. The Southwest Conference (SWC) was a well-established athletic conference among Texas and other universities, founded in December 1918. It was originally known as the Southwest Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The original eight schools were Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Arkansas, Oklahoma University, Oklahoma A&M University (now Oklahoma State), Southwestern University, and Rice, which was admitted provisionally. By 1925 the name of the conference had been shortened to its present form, SMU (1918) and TCU (1923) had joined, and Southwestern, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma A&M had dropped out. The conference had seven members until 1958, when Texas Tech joined, then swelled to nine in 1972 with the admission of the University of Houston.

In 1940 the conference entered into an agreement with the Cotton Bowl that allowed the SWC champion to be the host team every year. The 1995 Cotton Bowl, however, marked the final year of this structure. Soon thereafter, the remaining eight teams joined other conferences, including the Big 12 and the Western Athletic Conference.

Since Oklahoma won the first football championship in 1915 with a perfect 10-0 record, the SWC has been the home of some of the best players in the country. Which of the following players earned the Heisman Trophy (the trophy awarded to the nation’s best football player) during their SWC career?

"> Doak Walker, Southern Methodist University
"> John David Crow, Texas A&M
"> Earl Campbell, University of Texas
"> Andre Ware, University of Houston
"> All of the above