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The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, generally referred to as UMHB, is a Christian co-educational liberal arts institution of higher learning located in Belton, Texasmarker. Founded by the Republic of Texas in 1845 as "Baylor Female College," it has grown to approximately 2,700 students and awards degrees at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctorate levels. It is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

The university is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). UMHB's first doctoral program, leading to the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), officially began in June 2007 with twenty-one students in the inaugural class. The university's overall student/faculty ratio is 15:1.


UMHB's history dates to the time before Texas became a state. Its original charter was granted by the Republic of Texas (prior to statehood) in 1845 as the female division of Baylor College (present-day Baylor Universitymarker). Classes began in May, 1846, in a small wooden building on a hillside at Independencemarker in Washington County. The first class consisted of twenty-four male and female students While it was a coeducational institution, the classes were still separated by gender.

Baylor College’s coeducation lasted only until 1851 when it was divided into a Female Department and a Male Department. Each began occupying separate buildings approximately a mile apart at the Independence campus.

The changing demography of Texas and relocation of the local railroad made it increasingly difficult for college students to get transportation to Independence. Both colleges were relocated in 1886 to their permanent homes in Central Texas: the women's division relocated to Belton where operations continued as Baylor Female College; the men's division moved to Waco, merged with coeducational Waco University, and continued as Baylor University.

The Cottage Home System, the first work-study program for women in a college west of the Mississippi, was instituted on the new Belton campus in 1893 by Elli Moore Townsend, wife of the serving president. Its aim was to provide more affordable housing for women students who could not meet the expense of dormitories. The women students earned financial assistance by growing vegetables, raising livestock, and hand making crafts and quality clothing items. Initially the cottages were modest wood frame residences. In 1905, a permanent residence hall for the Cottage Home System was built by the residents themselves.

Beginning in 1922, a few male students, known as "Campus Boys," were allowed to attend classes and work on campus through their junior year, at which time they transferred to Baylor University or another college for their senior year and graduation. "Campus Boys" did work that was deemed unsuitable for the young ladies. They maintained the grounds, unloaded coal from rail cars, milked cows, fed hogs, served as night watchmen, and unstopped drains. They lived on the second floor of a carpenter shop in quarters dubbed "The Shack."

In 1925, Baylor Female College was renamed Baylor College for Women. A year later in 1926, it was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities (now SACS), being the first Texas Baptist college to do so. Then in 1927, it received accreditation from the American Association of Colleges. In 1925, enrollment peaked at 2,372 which forced the college to start a costly building project. That, in addition to a devastating campus fire in 1929, required immediate construction of even more buildings and, with the help of the Great Depression, brought the college to the edge of bankruptcy. It was saved by a generous gift from Mary and John G. Hardin. In gratitude, the college changed its name to Mary Hardin-Baylor College in 1934.

In 1968, the Scott & White College of Nursing, named for the Scott & White Memorial Hospital located in nearby Templemarker, became a part of Mary Hardin-Baylor College.

Mary Hardin-Baylor College once again became fully co-educational in 1971. With the inauguration in 1978 of its first graduate program, a Master of Education, the college achieved status as a university with five schools: Arts and Sciences, Creative Arts, Business, Education, and Nursing. It was renamed the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.


There are 12 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate degree programs, including several Master's degree and one doctoral program. Qualified students can participate in engaged learning through internships with businesses and industries. Study abroad programs are offered on 3 continents.

UMHB comprises eight colleges: College of Business, College of Christian Studies, College of Education, College of Humanities, Scott and White College of Nursing, College of Sciences, College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Notable alumni

Presidential Ties

Former President George H. W. Bush, management expert Dr. Ken Blanchard (author of the "One-Minute Manager" books), and former First Lady Barbara Bush were recent distinguished guest speakers on campus. Johnson Hall, an all girls dormitory on the UMHB campus, was named after Rebekah Baines Johnson, mother of President Lyndon B. Johnson and granddaughter of Baptist preacher Reverend George Washington Baines who served as president of the college from 1861–1864. President Johnson, Mrs. Johnson and several other family members were present when the building was dedicated on September 26, 1968.


Athletics logo
The UMHB Crusaders, or "The Cru," competes in NCAA Division III as a member of the American Southwest Conference (ASC). UMHB was formally a member of the NAIA before becoming a full member of the NCAA Division III following the 1999–2000 school year. UMHB held dual membership in the NAIA and NCAA during a provisional period as UMHB was transitioning to the NCAA.

PJ Williams runs for a touchdown against Mississippi College

UMHB sponsors twelve varsity athletic programs, six men's and six women's:

Athletic Achievements

Tim Walker charges towards the end zone on a punt return against Linfield in the NCAA Div III Championship Game

The Crusaders have won one national championship and seven national runner-up finishes:
  • The Lady Crusader golf team won the 2000 NAIA Women's Golf National Championship
  • The Lady Crusader golf team posted four straight second-place finishes at the NCAA National Tournament from 2002–2005
  • The women's basketball and men's baseball teams both posted national runner-up finishes in the NAIA
  • The football team finished as the NCAA national runner-up in 2004
  • UMHB athletic programs have won or shared a combined total of 13 conference championships in the ASC
  • The men's golf team has won two ASC golf championships in four years and three overall
  • UMHB recently had its first athlete from the football program make the jump from college into the NFL. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman signed a free agent contract with the Tennessee Titans


Easter Pageant

For 70 consecutive years the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has produced an outdoor reproduction of the Holy Week. Each year the pageant takes place on the Wednesday afternoon before Easter and is performed on campus in front of Luther Memorial. The Easter Pageant is fully produced by the students of UMHB themselves, including directing, costumes and performances and draws nearly 5,000 viewers each year.

Charter Day

Charter Day is an annual tradition that celebrates the charter signing on February 1, 1845. The event is held during chapel service on the first Wednesday in February. During the service, seniors sing the alumni/senior song, "Up with the Purple." At the conclusion of the service, it is tradition for seniors to place a wreath of flowers on the grave of Judge R.E.B. Baylor, located in the courtyard.


The Candlelighting Ceremony was started in 1939 by the Alumni Association to encourage a closer relationship between alumnae, students and the college. During the ceremony, those in attendance are handed a candle at which time the seniors light a smaller candle from the Alumni Association president's larger candle, and the seniors then proceed to light the others in the audience.

Midnight March

At midnight on the Saturday of Homecoming Weekend, seniors in regalia march with lighted candles around Vann Circle Drive. As they sing the senior/alumni song, "Up With the Purple," they stop to light the candles of special friends and alumni. In the early stages of the Midnight March, the dormitory residents would witness the March inside of their dark rooms. Later during the ceremony, the residents would migrate into the hallway so senior friends could light their candles. Due to fire codes, however, the March was moved outdoors.


Believed to be held as early as 1902, Robing was initially associated with graduation weekend in which juniors and seniors marched to the front of the Wilson Administration Building, the future site of the Sanderford Administration Complex, possessing a chain of daisies given by the sophomores. The juniors were then honored by having the senior's academic regalia passed on to them, symbolizing the transfer of student leadership. It also marked the first time the juniors were allowed to sing "Up with the Purple". The ceremony is now a part of chapel service known as Robing Chapel.

Dubbing Ceremony

The Dubbing Ceremony started in 1995 at the request of students who wanted a more emotional attachment to the university. Thus, the next Fall and every fall thereafter, all new students were honored, or "dubbed," with a ceremonial sword from the university president pronouncing them as "Crusaders Forever." Starting in 1999, a similar dubbing ceremony was started specially for alumni.

Hanging of the Green

Following the school's annual Christmas Dinner, representatives of different campus organizations are led by the Residence Hall Association in hanging wreaths on all buildings facing the quadrangle. The event includes singing Christmas carols and reading the story of the birth of Christ.

"Up with the Purple"

Up with the Purple, the Gold and the WhiteHigh o'er the college towerForth from her portals we step in her might,Men and women great in power.Yes, we come from old Baylor,Her loyal sons and her daughters true,And proudly each one hails the memoryOf Baylor College, for we love you.

All hail to thee, old Baylor,Proud daughter of the SouthWith heart and voice we praise theeAs we go marching forth.

UMHB Alma Mater

The current Alma Mater was sung for the first time in February 1994 with the lyrics written by two students and the music written by two graduates of the university. Former school songs included "Centennial Song," "Old Baylor," "Mary Hardin-Baylor College," "Old Baylor Is Marching," "Slinga da Ink," and "Swing Song."

Dear Mary Hardin-Baylor, who stands ever proud and strong.With courage, boldness and loyalty, our Crusader leads us on.We will keep you high in honor, forever through our days.With endless time and wonder, our love will never fade.Ever thankful for our past, into the future we will go.With faithfulness and devotion to you. Our Purple, White, and Gold.

UMHB Fight Song

Though it's rarely sung, there are words to the UMHB fight song which is played at most sporting events throughout the year.March on, Crusaders!We're gonna fight, with all our might,And it will give us the victory.We are the Purple, Gold, and White! (Go 'Saders)Proud our tradition — in faith and loyaltyCome on, let's cheer for the 'Saders,For 'ole UMHB!
  • Music — Carl Cooper
  • Words — Erin Cooper (Class of 1996) and Carl Cooper


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