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Trinity University (Texas)

Trinity University
Motto: E Tribus Unum (From Three, One) Established: 1869 Type: PrivateEndowment: US$991,112,000[1]President: John R. BrazilStaff: 234 Undergraduates: 2,487 Postgraduates: 231 Location: San Antonio, Texas, United StatesCampus: Urban, 117 acres (0.5 km²) Athletics: 18 varsity teams Colors: Maroon and white Website:
For other schools with similar names, see Trinity University and Trinity College.

Trinity University is an independent, primarily undergraduate, university in San Antonio, Texas.



Trinity was founded in 1869 by Cumberland Presbyterians in Tehuacana, Texas. The school was formed from the remnants of three small Cumberland Presbyterian colleges that had failed during the American Civil War. Feeling that the school needed the support of a larger community, the university moved in 1902 to Waxahachie, Texas. In 1906, the university, along with many Cumberland Presbyterian churches, affiliated with the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.

In 1942, the Methodist-affiliated University of San Antonio was failing. Trinity was solicited by community leaders in San Antonio who wished to maintain a Protestant-related college in the city. The university left Waxahachie and took over the campus and alumni of the University of San Antonio. The old Waxahachie campus is currently home to Southwestern Assemblies of God University. In 1945, the school acquired a former limestone quarry for a new campus. Texas architect O'Neil Ford was hired to design a master plan and many of the buildings. Construction began in 1950, and the current campus opened in 1952. Since 1969, Trinity has been governed by an independent board of trustees and has maintained a covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Trinity's academic reputation underwent a startling transformation under the direction of university president Ronald K. Calgaard (1979-1999). Calgaard oversaw numerous changes which improved the school's quality of faculty, facilities, and resources. Admissions criteria and academic standards were also tightened during this period. Current president John R. Brazil (1999-) has continued the work started by Calgaard, with special focus on replacing outdated campus buildings and improving the school's financial resources. The "Campaign for Trinity University," which launched in September 2005, seeks to raise US $200 million for a variety of purposes. As of April, 2008, the Campaign had raised US $152.4 million. [2]

Trinity was recognized by Princeton Review in their 2007 edition of "The Best 361 Colleges," its annual college guide. Trinity has also been ranked #1 in its category ("Masters' Universities - Western") for 17 straight years in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges." The engineering program at Trinity has received specific praise, being cited in the same report as one of the best in the nation.

"Large Interior Form," a sculpture on Trinity's Coates Esplanade


Trinity overlooks downtown San Antonio, adjacent to the Monte Vista Historic District and just south of the Olmos Park and Alamo Heights neighborhoods. The 117-acre (0.5 km²) Skyline Campus, the university's fourth location, is noted for its distinctive red brick architecture and well-maintained grounds, modeled after an Italian village by late architect O'Neil Ford.

Notable buildings and structures

  • The 166-foot (51 m) tall Murchison Tower is the most dominant landmark on the campus and is visible throughout San Antonio. It was previously the highest point in San Antonio. The tower is now lit at night (excepting evenings when the lighting interferes with on-campus astronomical observances), a tradition begun on September 22, 2002 to commemorate Trinity's 60th anniversary in San Antonio.
  • The 164,000-square-foot (15,200 m²) Elizabeth Huth Coates Library houses (as of 2007) 937,000 books and bound periodical volumes. The library, an advanced facility for a school of Trinity's size, also houses over 200,000 volumes of government documents, over 1.3 million microforms, over 65,000 media items, and maintains 2,400 periodical subscriptions and access to over 20,000 electronic periodicals. The library's annual acquisition budget is over US $1.5 million. [3] In 2007, the library was awarded the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Sponsored by ACRL and Blackwell’s Book Services, the award recognizes the staff of a college library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution.[4]
  • In 2006, the Jim and Janet Dicke Art Building, the Campbell and Eloise Smith Music Building, and the Ruth Taylor Recital Hall were substantially renovated, providing greatly improved facilities and 20,000 additional square feet of space. [5]
  • The Margarite B. Parker Chapel seats six hundred and is famous for its large Hoffmann-Ballard pipe organ [6] comprising 5 divisions, 102 stops, 112 ranks, and over 6000 pipes. A state-of-the art four-manual console was installed in Summer 2007, with the aid of the University's Calvert Trust Fund [7]. Non-denominational services are led by the campus chaplain Sunday evenings.
  • The newly constructed Northrup Hall, finished in 2004 and designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, is used for administrative and faculty offices and classrooms.
  • Sixteen residence halls - as a residential campus, students are required to live on campus for three years and many stay for their fourth. As a result, Trinity has a variety of residence halls located on lower campus. Halls reserved for first-year students include Beze, Calvert, Herndon, Miller, Winn and Witt. Upperclassmen halls include Isabel, Lightner, Murchison, Myrtle, North, Prassel, Thomas, South and Susanna. One residence hall, McLean, houses both first-year and upperclass students.
  • The Coates University Center houses an information desk, dining areas, post office, bookstore, bar, meeting rooms, offices and a number of student organizations.
  • "Conversation with Magic Stones" (or, more commonly, simply "Magic Stones"), a series of metal sculptures created by Dame Barbara Hepworth.


The university offers 37 majors and 49 minors in the traditional liberal arts and sciences, fine arts, engineering, and graduate programs in accounting, teaching, school psychology, school administration, and health care administration. Across all disciplines, Trinity stresses close interaction between students and faculty members, evident in the 10:1 student/faculty ratio. The full-time faculty numbers 228, 98% of whom hold a terminal degree/ Ph.D. in their field.

About 40% of the student body has studied abroad in over 35 countries.

Student body

Trinity's 2,693 students come from 48 states plus 66 countries. Minority enrollment is 23 percent for all undergraduate and graduate students. For the class of 2011 admissions received over 4,500 applicants, a 16% increase over last year. The acceptance rate was just a fraction over 50%. In every measure of academic performance, the incoming class has higher average numbers than the classes that preceded it, to include grade point average, class rank, ACT mean, and an SAT average that is a full 10 points above last year’s (1300). [8]

83% of the student body receives financial aid, with the average package exceeding $17,100. [9]

Student life

Student organizations

The Mural inside the Coates Library is a familiar sight to many students.

Trinity hosts several local social fraternities and sororities. Fraternities include Iota Chi Rho, Bengal Lancers, Chi Delta Tau, Kappa Kappa Delta, Omega Phi, and Phi Sigma Chi. Sororities include Alpha Chi Lambda, Gamma Chi Delta, Phi Delta Kappa, Sigma Theta Tau, SPURS, and Zeta Chi. There is one fraternity that exists unofficially and without university recognition or a charter, Alpha Psi Omega. One fraternity, Alpha Theta Chi, dissolved and left the university voluntarily due to judicial violations during the 2007-2008 academic year. Two other fraternities, the Triniteers and Alpha Delta Epsilon had charters revoked for hazing violations, and do not exist officially. One sorority, Chi Beta Epsilon, has recently had its charter suspended for one year for hazing violations, but still is recognized by the university. Additionally, the school hosts chapters of several academic honor organizations, including Blue Key, Mortar Board, and Phi Beta Kappa. The school also has a couple of national co-ed organizations, Alpha Kappa Psi (Alpha Kappa Psi Trinity University (Nu Pi) Chapter), a national co-ed business fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (Trinity University (Delta Pi) Chapter) a national co-ed service fraternity, and Phi Alpha Delta, a national co-ed Pre-Law fraternity.

Service opportunities can be found through the largest single student organization, the Trinity University Voluntary Action Community, or TUVAC, which provides opportunities for students to give back to the surrounding community. The national co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega is also represented. Student government takes the form of the Association of Student Representatives, the Trinity University Honor Council, TIGER Council, the Trinity Multicultural Network, and a Student Conduct Board. The Trinity University Student Ambassadors maintain Trinity traditions and encourage philanthropic activity among students, alumni, and friends of the University.

In addition, a number of interest groups attract students. Religious organizations include The Well, InterVarsity Trinity's Intervarsity, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Jewish Student Association, Catholic Student Group, the Muslim Student Association, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and Students Creating Awareness of the Sikh Faith. Cultural and ethnic groups include the Asian Sub-Continental Association, African Student Association, Black Student Union, Chinese Culture Club, Filipino Student Association, International Club, Latino Exchange, the Hindu Student Union, the Gaelic Cultural Society, Sexual Diversity Alliance, and the Vietnamese Student Association. Political interests can be pursued in College Republicans, College Democrats, and the Coalition for Peace and Justice. Trinity's radio station, KRTU 91.7 FM, broadcasts jazz during the day, the only station in San Antonio to do so. At night, students, and a good deal of the station's community volunteers play indie rock. TigerTV serves as the campus TV station. In addition to movies, the channel broadcasts three main shows: Studio 21, Newswave, and the Not So Late Show. The Not So Late Show also also includes a show titled The Floor. The Trinitonian has been the weekly campus newspaper for 103 years, and has a print circulation of 2,500.

Intramural sports are also popular at Trinity. Students may participate in swimming, flag football, racquetball, table tennis, cross country, indoor and outdoor soccer, the home run derby, track and field, wrestling, tennis, volleyball, basketball, checkers, chess and spades.


Trinity's Bell Center serves as the hub of athletic activity on campus

Organized traditions at Trinity over the years have included students climbing Murchison Tower at the beginning and end of their time at Trinity, the Last Great Reception, the Golf Cart Parade during the homecoming football game, TigerFest, the Ring Ceremony, Spotlight, the talent show, and Christmas Vespers, a candlelit Christmas concert. Traditions that students perpetuate through word of mouth include being thrown into the Miller fountain on one's birthday and sorority candelights to announce engagements. Another recent tradition, reserved solely for first-years, is "Calvert Ghosts" in which the residents of Calvert Hall cover themselves in nothing but flour and streak through the first-year quad on Halloween Night. Originally this tradition was specifically for the third floor of the residence hall, which was traditionally male. However, for the 2003-2004 school year, residential changes led to a reversal of the floor's gender assignment. In response, students from other floors (and residence halls) cobbled together a traditionally male ancillary streaking expedition, though some females joined in as well. Tempered by this hardship, the tradition continues in a co-ed incarnation that is less Calvert-centric, welcoming students from all floors of Calvert, as well as from neighboring halls.

Throughout the years, various traditions have fallen to the wayside. These include the Sperm and Ova dance (done during the homecoming football game), Senior Disorientation (a full year celebration for graduating seniors), The Rites of Spring (a springtime celebration on Prassel Lawn), and Primal Scream (an organized stress release prior to finals), and Spontaneous Erections (constructions made from random objects that showed up overnight on the Esplanade). To take their place, new student traditions have been introduced, including a procession to Laurie Auditorium from the Esplanade prior to the first year convocation, and from Laurie Auditorium to the Esplanade following graduation ceremonies. Other new traditions include the Chocolate Festival, Trinity Idol, and "This is my story," a variety show that demonstrates the diversity of life experiences of Trinity students.

Tigers athletics logo


Main article: Trinity Tigers

The Trinity Tigers is the nickname for the sports teams of Trinity University. They participate in the NCAA's Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.[1] The school mascot is LeeRoy, a Bengal Tiger. In the 1950s, LeeRoy was an actual tiger who was brought to sporting events,[2] but today LeeRoy is portrayed by a student wearing a tiger suit.

Trinity has historically had a strong tennis program, with both the men's and women's programs winning national championships in 2000. The women's team also won the USTA collegiate national championship in 1968, 1969, 1973, 1975, and 1976. Trinity also has won national championships in women's basketball (Spring 2003) and men's soccer (Fall 2003). Club sports include men's and women's Lacrosse, Water Polo, and Trap and Skeet.[1]

In the 2007 Trinity vs. Millsaps football game on October 27, 2007, trailing by two points with two seconds left, the Tigers used 15 laterals covering 60 yards for a touchdown to give Trinity the win as time expired. [3][4][5][6][7] The unlikely play was named the top sports moment of the year by Time Magazine [10] as well as the "Game Changing Performance of the Year" by Pontiac [11] [12].

Men's football team, 1915

Notable alumni

  • Malouf Abraham, Jr. (B.S., 1961) - Allergist and patron of the arts from Canadian, Texas
  • Todd Bender (B.S., 1982, Business Administration) - All American skeet shooter, 3 time National Collegiate Shooting Champion
  • Mario Bosquez (B.S.,1978 Journalism)- First Hispanic Anchor in NYC and Author
  • Pedro Herrera III, a.k.a. Chingo Bling (B.S., 2002, Business Administration) - Rap Artist, CEO Big Chile Enterprises
  • John Cornyn (B.A., 1973, Print Journalism) - United States Senator from Texas
  • Frank Conner (B.S. Business Administration 1970) - Professional golfer PGA and Champions Tour and Tennis player.
  • Tim Derk (1979, B.S. Business Administration) - The original coyote mascot of the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Brian Gottfried, professional tennis player.
  • John Hagee (B.S., 1964, History)[13] - Prominent evangelical Christian leader and author
  • Gibby Haynes (B.S., 1981, Business Administration) and Paul Leary (B.A., 1980, Art) - Members of the Butthole Surfers, a popular rock band formed at Trinity
  • General James T. Hill (B.A. Political Science, 1968) - Former commander, U.S. Southern Command.
  • Adam Lee (B.A. History, 1987) - Founder, Owner, and Winemaker, Siduri Wines, Santa Rosa, CA
  • Gavin Maloof (B.A., 1979, Speech and Communications) - Co-owner of the Sacramento Kings
  • Michael McCaul (B.S., 1984) - Representative for Texas U.S. House District 10.
  • Chuck McKinley (B.S., 1964, Mathematics) - Professional tennis player, Men's Wimbledon Singles Champion in 1963, ranked No. 1 tennis player in 1963
  • Naomi Shihab Nye - Poet, songwriter and novelist
  • Uma Pemmeraju (B.A., Political Science, 1980) - Fox News Journalist
  • John Silber (B.A. - Philosophy 1947) - Chancellor and former President of Boston University and candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 1990
  • Anne Smith (B.A., 1993, psychology) - Professional tennis player, numerous tennis Grand Slam doubles titles.
  • Jaclyn Smith - American actress and model
  • Dick Stockton (B.A., 1972, sociology) - Professional tennis player, ranked as high as No. 8 tennis player in the 70's
  • William K. Suter (B.A. Sociology 1959) - Clerk of the United States Supreme Court and former Major General in the United States Army
  • Ana Unruh Cohen [14] (B.S., 1996) - Trinity's first Rhodes Scholar
  • Christopher Hart [15] (B.A., 1990 - History, German) Founder of Minder, Inc.
  • Jerheme Urban (B.A. 2003) - NFL wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks (2003-2006), Dallas Cowboys (2006-2007), Arizona Cardinals (2007-)
  • Alice Walton (B.S. Business Administration, 1971) - Daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton
  • Bob West (B.A. Art - 1978) - Voice of Barney, the purple dinosaur seen on PBS and loved by children worldwide
  • David Weekley (1975) - CEO of David Weekley Homes
  • Daniel Lubetzky (B.A. 1990) - Founder, The PeaceWorks Foundation.
  • Sardar Biglari - Chairman, President and CEO of Western Sizzlin', member of the board of Steak n' Shake, and Manager of The Lion Fund.

Notable faculty

  • Steven M. Bachrach (Chemistry) - Dr. D. R. Semmes Distinguished Professor
  • Mark R. Brodl (Biology) - George W. Brackenridge Distinguished Professor
  • Erwin Cook (Classical Studies) - T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
  • C. Mackenzie Brown (Religion) - Jennie Farris Railey King Professor of Religion
  • Thomas Gardner (Geosciences) - Herndon Distinguished Professor
  • Barry T. Hirsch (Economics) - E.M. Stevens Distinguished Professor
  • Sammye Johnson (Communications) - Carlos Augustus de Lozano Chair in Journalism
  • Gordon MacAlpine (Physics and Astronomy) - Zilker Distinguished Professor
  • Arturo Madrid (Modern Languages and Literatures) - Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
  • Gerald Pitts (Computer Science) - Caruth Distinguished Professor
  • Edward Roy (Geosciences) - Pyron Distinguished Professor
  • Norman Sherry (English) - Mitchell Professor of Literature and official biographer of novelist Graham Greene
  • Mary Ann Tetreault (Political Science) - Una Chapman Cox Distinguished Professor of International Affairs


  1. ^ a b "Athletics",, Trinity University. Retrieved on 2007-10-30
  2. ^ "Lee Roy the Tiger", Trinity Digital Collection, Trinity University. Retrieved on 2007-10-30
  3. ^ Briggs, Jerry. "Football: Trinity wins on miracle play", San Antonio Express News, October 27, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-28
  4. ^ "Video of the play",, The Disney Company. Retrieved on 2007-10-30
  5. ^ "Lateralapalooza",, Time Warner. Retrieved on 2007-10-30
  6. ^ Christensen, Mike. "Wild finish - think Cal-Stanford, '82 - beats Majors",, Gannett Company, October 28, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-30
  7. ^ Briggs, Jerry. "Football: Trinity wins on miracle play",, San Antonio Express News. 

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