HistoryHouston Baptist College was created by action of the Baptist General Convention of Texas on November 15, 1960, culminating many years of work and study. The aim of our founders was to establish a Christian college of the highest order in the city of Houston that stressed quality of life as well as quality of learning.
In 1952, the Union Baptist Association authorized a committee to study the possibility of locating a Baptist college in Houston. With the assistance and encouragement of the Education Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the committee conducted a survey in 1955. Acting upon information obtained with the endorsement of the Education Commission, the Association approved the concept of establishing a new college. In 1956, the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas agreed to support such a college when the College Committee of Union Baptist Association had succeeded in acquiring both (1) a satisfactory site for a campus of at least one hundred acres, and (2) a minimum corpus of at least three million dollars. Of this sum, one and a half million dollars would constitute a nucleus endowment fund; one and a half million dollars would be designated for a physical plant. The Union Baptist Association accepted these conditions and endorsed the requirements set up by the state Baptist convention.
In 1957, a Houston land developer, Frank Sharp, offered to sell Union Baptist Association 390 acres in southwest Houston for the construction of a college. The Board of Governors of Rice University agreed to lend most of the money needed with the land as collateral. To complete the funding, twenty-five businessmen, since called "founders," pledged to be responsible for $10,000 each. Therefore, by 1958, a campus site of 196 acres was acquired in southwest Houston, and in 1960, the initial financial goal of repaying the loan was reached as a result of a campaign among the churches.
In 1960, the Baptist General Convention of Texas elected the first Board of Trustees. On November 15, 1960, the board approved and signed the college charter. The next day, this charter was ratified and recorded with the Secretary of State in Austin. The way was then cleared to select administrative officers, develop a suitable physical plant and design an appropriate academic program. Dr. W. H. Hinton began service as the first President of the college on July 1, 1962.
The college opened in September 1963 with a freshman class of 193 students, a cluster of new buildings and thirty faculty. When classes began, only the Brown Academic Quadrangle and the campus dormitories were completed. A new class was added each year until the college attained a four-year program in 1966-67. By then, the full-time faculty had grown to fifty-four members, serving an enrollment of approximately 900 undergraduate students.
In 1973, Houston Baptist College officially became Houston Baptist University. And in 1977, the first master’s degree program, the Master of Business Administration, was offered.
HBU has grown into a thriving community of faith and scholarship since its founding more than 50 years ago. And today, HBU has more than 2,500 students and offers in excess of 40 majors through its six colleges, including the Honors College added in 2008. The campus now holds 27 buildings, including three residence colleges, the Husky Village apartments and three museums.
Retired University professor Dr. Marilyn McAdams Sibley authored a history of the early years of the founding of the University, To Benefit a University: The Union Baptist Association College Property Committee, 1958-1975. A more complete history of the University covering the period from its chartering in 1960 to its fiftieth anniversary, An Act of Providence, was written by Dr. Don Looser, Vice President Emeritus, and published in 2011.