Abilene in Taylor County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Organized as Abilene Baptist College by cattlemen, preachers, and Sweetwater Baptist Association in 1891.
Named for New York pastor James B. Simmons, after he donated funds for completing the first building, which housed the president, classes and women students during school’s early years. Men lived in nearby barn-like structure “Valhalla.”
Noted early presidents were the missionary-editor, O.C. Pope; Oscar Henry Cooper, renowned educator; and Jefferson Davis Sandefer, in whose term (1909-1940) the school made extensive growth.
Approximately 44,000 students have been enrolled, and 10,000 degrees conferred. Ex-students enter business and the professions, including medicine, law, teaching, engineering; ministers and lay workers served in hundreds of pulpits and on all continents. Students come from many states and foreign countries.
Athletic teams are “Cowboys”; the “Cowboy” band, famous nationally, has played in 45 states and on 3 continents.
Renamed Simmons University, 1925; and Hardin-Simmons in 1934, after generous benefactions by John G. and Mary Hardin. Since 1940, guided by the Baptist General Convention
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1967
The Rev. W.C. Friley 1892-1894
Dr. George O. Thatcher 1894-1898
Dr. O.C. Pope 1898-1901
The Rev. C.R. Hairfield 1901-1902
Dr. Oscar H. Cooper 1902-1909
Dr. Jefferson D. Sandefer 1909-1940
Dr. Lucian Q. Cambell, interim 1940-1940
Dr. William R. White 1940-1943
Dr. Rupert N. Richardson 1943-1953
Dr. Evan Allard Reiff 1953-1962
Dr. George L. Graham, interim 1962-1963
Dr. James H. Landes 1963-1966
Dr. Elwin L. Skiles 1966-1977
Dr. Jesse C. Fletcher 1977-1991
Dr. Lanny Hall 1991-2001
Dr. W. Craig Turner 2001-2008
Dr. Lanny Hall 2009-
Erected 1967 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 2373.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Education. A significant historical year for this entry is 1891.
Location. 32° 28.581′ N, 99° 44.092′ W. Marker is in Abilene, Texas, in Taylor County. Marker can be reached from Hickory Street north of Ambler Avenue. Marker is located on the campus of Hardin-Simmons University Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2341 Hickory St, Abilene TX 79601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Hardin-Simmons Bell (within shouting distance of this marker); Hardin-Simmons University Campus Triangle (within shouting distance of this marker); Albert G. Maroscher Memoriam (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Babe Shaw Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Hardin-Simmons University Student Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); William G. and Shirley Swenson Home (approx. 0.6 miles away); Site of Old Headquarters of the Hashknife Ranch (approx. 0.8 miles away); Morgan Jones (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Abilene.
Also see . . . Hardin-Simmons University. From the Texas State Historical Association’s “Handbook of Texas Online”. (Submitted on August 12, 2015.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 12, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 387 times since then and 36 times this year. Last updated on December 7, 2022, by Dave W of Co, Colorado. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 12, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. 6. submitted on December 7, 2022, by Dave W of Co, Colorado. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.