Marker No: 2373
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 32.476036, -99.734070
Location: Hardin-Simmons University, corner of Ambler & Simmons Street, Abilene
Marker Text: 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 serve 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 of Texas. Most of extant buildings have been constructed since 1945.(1967)