Introducing Hardin-Simmons University

Mission Statement

The mission of Hardin-Simmons University is to be a community dedicated to providing excellence in education enlightened by Christian faith and values.

Hardin-Simmons University provides the opportunity for a quality education in a Christian environment for all qualified men and women. Hardin-Simmons, a Master’s (Comprehensive) University with a Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts, Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics, Kelley College of Business, College of Human Sciences and Educational Studies, College of Fine Arts, Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, and Logsdon School of Theology, and a Graduate School, is fully accredited and holds membership in good standing in the appropriate agencies as listed in this Catalog. Hardin-Simmons University offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, which can be attained after earning a bachelor’s degree. HSU was the first in the state to implement a DPT program and continues to be the only private school in Texas to offer this program. In the fall 2009, Hardin-Simmons University began offering a Doctor of Ministry (D Min) degree through the Logsdon Seminary in the Logsdon School of Theology. The Doctor of Ministry degree is an advanced program oriented toward ministry. The Irvin School of Education in the College of Human Sciences and Educational Studies began offering the Doctor of Education (Ed D) in leadership in fall 2012. Graduates have been singularly successful in being admitted to graduate and professional schools and have been readily employed in business, education, and professional fields.

Located in Abilene, Texas, Hardin-Simmons has contributed to the development of the West and helped establish a city and area where cultural, educational, and spiritual values are highly regarded. Two other church-related colleges in the city share with the University an interchange of courses, library facilities, and extracurricular activities. A city civic center, a library, a symphony orchestra, a community theatre, a county coliseum, a modern airport, and progressive leadership afford a most desirable environment in a metropolitan population of 133,000.

The climate and location make for generally ideal weather conditions. The city is situated on U.S. Interstate Highway 20, midway between Dallas and New Mexico.

Hardin-Simmons was founded in 1891 as Abilene Baptist College, renamed Simmons College in honor of the first major donor, Dr. James B. Simmons, a Baptist minister of New York City, and later named Hardin-Simmons University in recognition of gifts by Mr. and Mrs. John G. Hardin of Burkburnett, Texas. The University has become well established with a growing endowment and modern facilities.

The Elwin L. Skiles Social Sciences Building and the Caldwell Music Building are among the latest additions to the compact and beautiful campus, known as “The Forty Acres.”

Originally founded by the Sweetwater Baptist Association, the University has been affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas since 1941.

Throughout its history, Hardin-Simmons University has emphasized religious training and spiritual values; hundreds of preachers, missionaries, and directors of religious education and music are among the alumni. The foundation agreement reads in part that the school’s purpose shall be “To bring young men and women to Christ; to teach them of Christ; to train them for Christ.”

Statement of Purpose

Hardin-Simmons University, a church-related institution affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas: Fosters the intellectual development of students by providing an academically challenging undergraduate education based upon a liberal arts foundation, and advances scholarly growth by offering specialized graduate and professional degree programs.

Academic excellence continues as a priority at Hardin-Simmons University as it has for more than a century. The foundational curriculum involves students in a broad range of inquiry relating general studies with requirements of the chosen major. Graduate programs broaden the scope of learning in scientific and professional disciplines and encourage students to regard learning as a lifelong process. Small classes taught by experienced scholars give the opportunity for interactive learning. The institution’s commitment to excellence is best illustrated through the lives of graduates who traditionally have excelled in a wide variety of fields.

Affirms the relevance and importance of the Christian faith for life in the contemporary world by maintaining a clear identification with the loyalty to the Christian faith and functioning within the context of historic Baptist values and principles.

Founded in 1891 by a determined group of ministers, ranchers and merchants, Hardin-Simmons University established dual goals of developing the mind and nurturing the spiritual life of its students. That commitment to encourage growth in faith and knowledge has remained central. Believing academic excellence and Christian faith to be complementary, the University emphasizes the need for interaction between faith and reason.

Encourages individuals to lead lives of service through active involvement in intellectual, cultural and religious life, both on the campus and in the larger communities of Abilene and the world.

Although Western in tradition, the University takes pride in the cosmopolitan nature of its students, faculty and staff, and encourages the development of an international perspective. Through its leadership in providing intellectual, spiritual, cultural and social opportunities, the University serves as catalyst for the advancement and enrichment of its students and the community.


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. Campbell, acting President 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 2009-2016
Mr. Eric Bruntmyer 2016-Present