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Celebrating 100 Years of Hope – Schreiner University’s History

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Nestled amid the scenic beauty of the Texas Hill Country, Schreiner University in Kerrville has a rich history that spans nearly a century. The institution’s journey from its humble beginnings to its current status as a respected university reflects the resilience, vision, and commitment to education that has defined its evolution.

Founding and Early Years:

In 1923, Schreiner Institute, as it was initially known, was established by the Presbyterian Church. The institution was named in honor of Captain Charles Schreiner, a prominent Texas figure who played a key role in the development of the region. Captain Shreiner built strong roots in Kerrville by building out a livestock, retail and banking empire and his tenacity and drive made him a strong symbol of Texas determination. 

The other key founder of the university is the Presbytery of Western Texas. The Presbyterian Church had for decades wanted to bring quality education to the Hill Country; their plans for opening up a school in the region go back as early as 1906.

The Presbytery of Western Texas and Captain Charles Shreiner finally made their shared vision for growth for the Hill Country come to fruition in 1923.

The founders envisioned a place where students could receive a well-rounded education grounded in the principles of faith, community, and academic rigor.

Three buildings were built for the university’s founding: the Weir Academic Building, Dickey Hall, a dormitory and a home for the school’s headmaster. 

The Weir Academic Building remains to this day as the university’s administrative building, still seeing students grace its door 100 years after its initial construction. Dickey Hall similarly remains and dedicates its first floor to peer-to-peer tutoring and the university’s writing center. 

Over the last 100 years, Schreiner University has continued to adapt to changing educational needs and has grown into a thriving campus with a diverse student body.

Transformation and Growth:

The rest of the 20th century marked a significant period of transformation for Schreiner Institute. 

In 1932, Schreiner became a coeducational institute, allowing women access to higher education. 

In 1957, the institution became Schreiner College, reflecting its broader academic focus. During this time, the campus expanded, new academic programs were introduced, and the commitment to providing a comprehensive education gained prominence.

In 1971, Schreiner took the next step in its journey by discontinuing military training and becoming a fully co-ed higher learning facility. Military excellence is still a huge part of the fabric of Schreiner University and the legacy of military training continues on in Greystone Preparatory School. And by 1973, Schreiner honed in its focus on college curriculum and phased out the high school that was once on campus. 

The Transition to Schreiner University:

The 21st century brought about another milestone in the institution’s history. In 2001, Schreiner College officially became Schreiner University, a name that better encapsulated its diverse academic offerings and commitment to academic excellence. The university’s academic programs continued to grow, emphasizing a holistic liberal arts education that prepares students for a rapidly changing world.

Academic Excellence and Innovation:

Throughout its history, Schreiner University has remained dedicated to academic excellence. The university’s faculty, known for their expertise and commitment to student success, have played a crucial role in shaping the institution’s reputation for providing a high-quality education.

Schreiner University’s commitment to innovation is evident in its evolving curriculum, which includes a range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines. 

In 2022, Schreiner University unveiled a program designed to help students focus on an often overlooked but vital industry: rural banking. The new rural banking program is designed for accounting, finance and computer science majors as well as other relevant majors to not only receive important information about the banking and finance industry but to also gain internships at local regional banks and credit unions. These strategic partnerships are an excellent opportunity not just for the students but for the community, ensuring that these necessary financial institutions are staffed with some of the brightest minds coming out of the university. 

Schreiner University’s pursuit of academic excellence and innovation has spurred new programs and initiatives that strive to enrich not just the students of the university but the local community. This year, Schreiner University unveiled a new Aviation program in conjunction with the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport. The Aviation Studies program aims to empower students looking to take their education to new heights with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates in both private and commercial flight. 

Another recent addition to the university’s programming is a new academic program focusing on Agriculture and Natural Resource Management. The program aims to help students find careers within the growing agricultural industry including natural resource management, fish habitats, wildlife, soil and rangeland. The program, which is set to start accepting students in 2024, celebrated its founding by planting a vineyard. The vineyard, part of the Agriculture and Natural Resource Management program, is tied to the Hill Country’s known reputation for grape growing and wine production. 

The university’s emphasis on experiential learning, research opportunities, and community engagement further enhances the educational experience for students, preparing them for meaningful and impactful careers.

Campus Development and Community Engagement:

The physical transformation of the campus has been a consistent theme in Schreiner University’s history. Modern facilities, such as the Trull Academic Center and the Cailloux Campus Activity Center, showcase the university’s commitment to providing a state-of-the-art learning environment. These facilities not only support academic endeavors but also contribute to a vibrant campus life.

Beyond academic pursuits, Schreiner University places a strong emphasis on community engagement. The university has forged strong ties with the Kerrville community, participating in local initiatives, service projects, and cultural events. This commitment to community involvement reflects the institution’s belief in instilling a sense of responsibility and civic duty in its students.

As Schreiner University continues to evolve and thrive, its storied history remains a testament to the enduring values of education, community, and adaptability. From its beginnings as Schreiner Institute to its current status as a comprehensive liberal arts university, Schreiner has embraced change while staying true to its commitment to shaping well-rounded individuals prepared for the challenges of the future. The journey of Schreiner University is not just a history lesson; it is an ongoing narrative of growth, resilience, and the pursuit of academic excellence in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.

In honor of Schreiner University’s 100-year anniversary, Enter with Hope: Schreiner at 100, a commemorative coffee table book was published. This beautiful hardcover book has over 200 pages of beautiful photos of the journey of Schreiner University from its inception in 1923 to the flourishing and diverse college campus that Schreiner University is today. The book can be purchased locally at Schreiner Outfitters in the Callioux Campus Activity Center on Schreiner University’s campus or online.