9 Famed 19th Century Universities in Texas

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Tony Maples Photography


Texas became a state in December 1845, the same year one of our famous universities was founded. In fact, 9 Texas schools for higher learning began in the 19th Century and made their mark before 1900. Almost 100 private universities were founded in Texas between 1837 and 1900, but only about 20 remain in present day. Here’s a bit of trivia: the birth of Baylor University, a private university, came before Texas joined the Union. Chartered on February 1, 1845, ten months before statehood, Baylor hits the charts as number one as we count down the oldest schools.

The experts from Studocu claim that almost 100 private universities were founded in Texas between 1837 and 1900, but only about 20 remain in present day. Here’s a bit of trivia: the birth of Baylor University, a private university, came before Texas joined the Union.

1. Baylor University

baylor university imagePhoto: mapio.net

Baylor University is the oldest University in Texas. Those Baylor Bears began with a modest start by Baptists in Independence, Texas. Independence is 12 miles northeast of Brenham in Texas Bluebonnet country. Baylor moved to Waco in 1885 and established a presence near the Brazos River. Baylor remains a private Christian institution with more than 16,000 students currently enrolled. Baylor Law School was launched in 1949 and became the first law school in Texas. As a member of the Big 12 Conference, Baylor has accumulated 96 conference titles. Sic ‘em Bears!

2. Texas Christian University (TCU)

texas christian universtiy Flicker

Photo: Facebook/TCU-Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University (TCU) comes in at number two. TCU, founded in 1873, is also a private school. The Disciples of Christ are associated with the university but the university isn’t governed by this religious group. You’ll find over 10,000 students enrolled on the campus in Fort Worth, Texas. The Baylor Baptists and TCU Churches of Christ created their private schools prior to public education. Those TCU Horned Frogs can play a mean game of football.

3. Texas A&M

Texas A & MPhoto: Wikipedia

Texas A&M began in 1876 and earns the reputation as the state’s first public institution for advanced education. Located in College Station, more than 58,000 students are registered. That number makes this university the largest enrolled population in a Texas university, and one of the largest student populations in the United States. The endowment fund places in the top ten in the nation. The Aggie Spirit is hard to beat.

4. St. Edwards University

St Edwards UNiversityPhoto: Facebook/St. Edwards Universtiy

The fourth oldest school in Texas was founded by Catholics in 1877 and it’s located in Austin, Texas. St. Edwards is a small, private university with slightly more than 4,000 students enrolled. St. Edwards is known as a good place for veterans who wish to earn a degree. Topper the goat is their mascot and their colors are blue and gold.

5. Sam Houston State University

Sam Houton State from DouglasPhoto courtesy of Darby Douglas

With more than 20,000 students, Sam Houston State University holds the fifth position among the oldest Texas universities, following private establishments. Founded in 1879, the beautiful campus is located in Huntsville, Texas. Sam Houston State began with the idea to train teachers. Those Bearcats named their mascot Sammy.

6. University of the Incarnate Word

university of the Incarnate WordPhoto: Facebook/University of the Incarnate Word

Another Catholic institution, University of the Incarnate Word is located in on 154 acres in the Texas Hill Country, San Antonio. This school hits the charts at number six, and more than 9,000 students are enrolled. The university is co-educational and only about 39% of the enrolled student body are Catholic.

7. University of Texas

University of TexasPhoto: University of Texas

Alas and Woe! Those Longhorns come in at number seven, but to their credit, they are the jewel of the Texas University System. Talk about large, this campus has over 50,000 students and is bigger than many Texas cities. The campus houses the LBJ library and boy do they have sports history! The Longhorns have won four NCAA Division 1 National football championships and they hold more titles in sports than any other school in the Big 12 Conference. Hook ‘em Horns!

8. The University of North Texas

University of North Texas.jpg 2Photo: Facebook/Universtiy of North Texas

This school is known as North Texas’ Mean and Green and is another public university. Located in Denton, it hails as number eight as we count down the oldest schools in Texas. The student population is almost 38,000. This school was established with 70 pupils and started out as a teacher’s college. Their eagle mascot goes by the name of Scrappy. Don’t you love it?

9. Texas State University

Texas Sstate UniversityPhoto: Facebook/Texas State Universtiy

You’ll find Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. The enrolled population is about 38,000. A famous Texan graduated from this school and became president. Did you guess Lyndon Baines Johnson? You’d be correct if you did. They’re famous for forensics research. TSU’s forensic facility is the largest anywhere in the world. Their mascot is Boko, a Bobcat. Bobcats may be small, but they’re known for courage and ferocity.

Is your university among the nine? Which one of these is your favorite?


Texas State Historical Association