Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist University (DBU), formerly known as Dallas Baptist College, is a Christian liberal arts university in Dallas, Texas. Founded in 1898 as Decatur Baptist College, Dallas Baptist University currently operates campuses in Dallas, Plano, and Hurst.

Dallas Baptist University
TypePrivate, Southern Baptist University
Religious affiliation
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Endowment$41.7 million[1]
ChancellorGary Cook
PresidentAdam Wright
ProvostNorma Hedin
Academic staff
124 (full-time)
Location, ,
United States
Campus368 acres (1.49 km2) main campus
ColorsRed, White, Blue
AthleticsMissouri Valley Conference (NCAA Division I, baseball only)
Lone Star Conference (NCAA Division II, all other sports)
AffiliationsMissouri Valley Conference, Lone Star Conference


Decatur Baptist College, the forerunner of Dallas Baptist University, opened its doors in 1898 as the first two-year institution of higher education in Texas. The Baptist General Convention of Texas purchased the land in 1897 from Northwest Texas Baptist College. The school enjoyed a rich, full history in Decatur until 1965 when it moved to Dallas, at the invitation of the Dallas Baptist Association.[2]

The school's historic Administration Building in Decatur, built in 1893, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

In October 1965, Dallas Baptist College began offering classes for a first class of over 900 students.[4] The initial piece of land for the campus, overlooking Mountain Creek Lake in the hill country of southwest Dallas, were donated by John Stemmons, Roland Pelt, and associates.[4] An interested group of businessmen donated additional acreage, and in 1994 a donation by the Louis Hexter family brought the current size of the DBU campus, known as University Hill, to 292 acres (1.18 km2).[5] In 2018, an additional land acquisition increased the total campus size to 368 acres.

In 1968, the college moved from junior-college to senior-college status, offering its first four-year bachelor's degrees in May 1970. In 1985, the college name officially became Dallas Baptist University. The new structure consisted of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Mary C. Crowley College of Christian Faith, the Dorothy M. Bush College of Education, and the College of Business.[6]

Growth and expansion

In 2019, the university enrolled 4,487 students.[7] The university offers 73 undergraduate majors, 32 master's degree programs, over 70 dual master's programs, and two doctoral programs. While in its early years, the school had the reputation of being a commuter college, today's DBU has well over 2,000 students living on campus.

In 1992, the John G. Mahler Student Center, the first new building on the DBU campus in more than 20 years was dedicated. The building is a close replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it was the first of many new buildings in the Georgian architectural style on the campus.[8]

In 2009, the Patty and Bo Pilgrim Chapel was dedicated. The structure is used for various events such as chapel services and concerts, and houses office space for the Graduate School of Ministry along with classrooms and a large multipurpose room. The inspiration for the exterior of the building came from the First Baptist Church in America, located in Providence, Rhode Island.[9]

In the fall of 2011, the university opened the Joan and Andy Horner Hall. Named after the founders of Premier Designs, Horner Hall houses the DBU communication department, the offices for the College of Fine Arts, a multipurpose classroom and video recording studio, a design lab, and a music business recording studio, designed by the Russ Berger Design Group. The exterior of the structure is modeled after Congress Hall located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[10]

In 2001, DBU-North[11] opened in Carrollton, Texas as DBU's first regional academic center, serving North Dallas and Collin County. For several years, DBU-North was located in Frisco, Texas, and in 2011, moved to Plano, Texas.[12] DBU also opened DBU-Hurst-Colleyville at Hurst in the Summer of 2005.[13]

In January 2013, the Jeannette and Cletys Sadler Global Missions Center was completed. Apart from housing two classrooms and a large multipurpose room, this building houses the Office of Student Affairs, as well as offices for the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM), Global Missions Initiative, and the Master of Arts in Global Leadership.

In 2015, Jim and Sally Nation Hall opened its doors. A near replica of Monticello, the building is the home of the Gary Cook School of Leadership, as well as other administrative offices. The building also houses several classrooms as well as a special event space situated in the dome of the building.[14]

Other new campus buildings include the Henry Blackaby Hall, the William B. Dean Learning Center, Moon International Center, the Tom and Alicia Landry Welcome Center, and the Ebby Halliday Center. New residences include Spence Hall, the Colonial Village Apartment Complex (D. Harold Byrd, Jr. Hall, J. Blair Blackburn Hall, Sheila Cook Hall, Noble and Jane Hurley Hall, Fred and Mary Lou White Hall), and the Williamsburg Village Townhomes and Brownstones. Athletic facilities include Horner Ballpark, the Sadler Clubhouse, the Tabor Guesthouse, and the Sedwick Soccer Fieldhouse.

Further locations for special programs and opportunities include the Department of Military Science at University of Texas at Arlington (Army ROTC), Aerospace Studies at Texas Christian University (Air Force ROTC), and the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas Texas.[15]


Academic divisions

The university is divided into seven colleges: the Mary C. Crowley College of Christian Faith, the Dorothy M. Bush College of Education, the College of Business, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the College of Professional Studies.[16] The university also houses two schools: the Graduate School of Ministry, as well as the Gary Cook School of Leadership.[17] The University offers the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies through the Cook School of Leadership[18] and the Ed.D in Educational Leadership K-12 through the Bush College of Education. The university has 78 undergraduate programs, 32 master's programs, and 2 doctoral programs.[19] The university has an average class size of 12 and a student to faculty ratio of 13:1.[19]

University Honors Program

In 2006, DBU introduced the University Honors Program to help its brightest and most gifted students discover the extent of their own abilities and callings. The program has an interdisciplinary core that encourages students to make connections across disciplines and engage in a high level of critical thinking. Benefits include study abroad opportunities, smaller faculty-student ratios, and opportunities to attend events sponsored by the Paideia College Society including the Friday Symposium, Fall Study Retreat, and Spring Conference. Admittance is selective. Requirements include enrollment in advanced classes taught on the campus by DBU faculty, attendance at enrichment events, and a Senior Thesis or Project. Successful completion carries with it recognition at graduation and on the student's transcript which assists in admission to graduate school and future interviews.[20]

Formerly Pew College Society, Paideia College Society has steadily grown since its conception in 1997. It is now internally funded by DBU, with Dr. David Naugle at its helm. The rather unfamiliar term "Paideia" (pronounced py-dee-a or py-day-a) comes from the Greek word pais or paidos meaning "child." It refers literally to the training and education of children. In due course, it was used in the classical Greek system of education, and referred specifically to a complete course of study in order to produce a whole, fully educated citizen. The Paideia College Society at DBU is rooted in this venerable tradition, and takes as its purpose the educating of Christian students into their true nature as the image of God. The goal of the society is to unite the themes Pietas, Doctrina, and Humanitas, meaning piety, learning, and humanity, in order to become "fully human under God".[21]


Dallas Baptist University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[22]

The teacher, principal and superintendent education programs of the university are accredited by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC).[23]

The College of Business is nationally accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) to offer the Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) and the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) business degrees.[24]

The Dallas Baptist University Department of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).[25]

DBU is also affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.[26]

Rankings and recognition

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Dallas Baptist University, DBU, as 214th among "National Universities" in its 2017 edition.[27]
  • Ranked #1 in the nation for elementary teacher preparation by National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).[28]
  • Ranked #2 in Texas for secondary teacher preparation program by National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).[28]
  • DBU graduates have a 70% acceptance rate into medical school—twice the national average.[29]

Life on campus

Residence & apartment life

DBU has four dormitories for underclassmen, and several living arrangements for upperclassmen known as the Colonial Village Apartments, the Williamsburg Village Townhomes, and Brownstones. The apartments have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and are located on the east side of campus. Townhomes and brownstones have three bedrooms and three bathrooms and are located on the north side of campus.[30]

Student Life

DBU currently has over 50 student organizations, including the Christ-centered Greek Life program established in 2009. The University currently has seven local sororities (Alpha Delta Kappa, Alpha Epsilon Chi, Delta Theta, Kappa Gamma, Sigma Chi Eta, Zeta Chi and Chi Theta Alpha) and four fraternities (Beta Beta, Pi Theta Tau, Psi Omega Phi, and Tau Alpha Phi). The Student Government Association is DBU's oldest active student organization, having been established in 1958. The University contains Spiritual Organizations such as Baptist Student Ministries, Ministry Fellowship, and Ratio Christ. These organizations exist as opportunities for students to learn about apologetics, servant leadership, and as places for Christ centered fellowship.[31] The University contains seven academic organizations; American Association of Christian Counselors, Dallas Baptist Music Educators, History Society, Sigma Tau Delta, The Society for Human Resource Management, Student Education Association and Grammy U.[31]


In its early years, Dallas Baptist University's mascot was the Indians, but in the late 1980s, it was changed to the Patriot, and the school colors were changed from blue and gold to the more patriotic theme colors of red, white, and blue.

Cross Ring

The Official DBU Cross Ring serves as a symbol of the Christ-centered education students experience at DBU. The ring features many university symbols, including the Mahler Student Center, the Fishers of Men statue, as well as the university seal.[32]

Mr. Patriot

One of DBU's longest running tradition, stemming from when DBU's mascot was the Indians, is the Mr. Patriot pageant. This anticipated event, formerly named Mr. Big Chief from 1981-2018, allows male students to show off their skills, humor, and creativity. The show, a mock beauty pageant, begins with an opening number performed by all the contestants and is followed by three categories: the stamp act (formalwear), the tea act (beachwear) , and the intolerable act (talent). The categories were formerly known as just talent, beachwear, and formalwear. Magic tricks, lip-syncing, and musical interpretations are just some of the ways contestants have attempted to gain points in the past. The contestant with the most points at the end wins the coveted title, and has rights to wear the coat and hat that have replaced the headdress on display in the Dean Learning Center as the prize.[33]

Family events

Family Weekend and Grandparents Day allow students to invite their families into their lives on campus. Notable events include the Family Softball Game, Movie on the Quad, and Art Show as well as a family service project. Families are invited to fellowship with their students as well as the University faculty and staff through community activities and other fun events.[34]


Dallas Baptist University's Patriot Athletic Department sponsors 15 intercollegiate athletics teams that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). DBU also sponsors cheerleading and beginning in the fall of 2010, ice hockey at the club levels. All teams compete at the NCAA Division II level and compete in the Lone Star Conference, with the exception of the baseball team, which is a member of the Division I Missouri Valley Conference, which they joined in the 2014 season. Although the baseball team played as an independent for several years, they accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference for the 2013 season.[35] DBU also sponsors six intercollegiate club sports. The Diamond Belles are also an active part of the Patriot Athletic Department, serving as an auxiliary group of the Athletic Department.

The Athletic Department also features a Christ-centered Patriot Discipleship program, entitled "Champions for Christ," as well as the Athletic Department's Global Missions Initiative with athletic mission trips to Guatemala,[36] Northern England,[37] Peru,[38] and South Korea.[39]


A member of the Lone Star Conference, Dallas Baptist University sponsors eight men's and seven women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports:[40]

Men's Intercollegiate Sports Women's Intercollegiate Sports Club Sports
Baseball Cross Country Ice Hockey
Basketball Golf Cheerleading
Cross Country Soccer Drill/Dance (Patriettes)
Golf Tennis Bass Fishing
Soccer Track and Field Men's Lacrosse
Tennis Volleyball

Notable alumni

Name Class Notability
Vic Black Relief pitcher in the New Jersey Jackals organization (played 2 years for Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets)
David O'Neal Brown Former chief of the Dallas Police Department
Harley True Burton 1910 Texas historian and former president of Clarendon College; attended as Decatur College
Lew Ford Outfielder for Long Island Ducks (played 5 years for Minnesota Twins)
Ryan Goins Infielder for Chicago White Sox
Darren Hall Baseball player with a five-year career
David Hankins Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director[41]
Kari Jobe Christian music artist
Phil King Member of the Texas House of Representatives
Les Lancaster First DBU alumnus to make it to the majors
Jason LaRue Catcher for St. Louis Cardinals
Scott Mullen Baseball player with a four-year career
Colin Poche Relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays
Freddy Sanchez Infielder for San Francisco Giants, World Series Champion
Gwyn Shea Former Texas secretary of state (2002–2003) and a member of the Texas House of Representatives (1983–1993)
Ron Simmons Member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 65 in Denton County since 2013
Ben Zobrist Infielder and Outfielder for Chicago Cubs,[42] two-time World Series champion, 2016 World Series "Most Valuable Player."
Noah Syndergaard Starting Major League Baseball pitcher for the New York Mets; was also in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2016


  1. U.S. News and World Report, Best Colleges 2017, Accessed 15 September 2017
  2. "Best Colleges 2009", U.S. News and World Report, 2009, archived from the original on 2009-01-06, retrieved 2009-02-04
  3. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. Williams, Michael Sr (1998), To God Be the Glory: the Centennial History of Dallas Baptist University, Arlington: The Summit Publishing Group, p. 117
  5. Williams, Michael Sr (1998). To God Be the Glory: the Centennial History of Dallas Baptist University. Arlington: The Summit Publishing Group. p. 183.
  6. Texas Baptist Annual. Baptist General Convention of Texas. 2005. p. 110.
  7. Staff. "Dallas Baptist University: Review & Facts". American School Search. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  8. Teaching Them: A Sesquicentennial Celebration of Texas Baptist Education. Dallas, Texas: Baptist General Convention of Texas. 1996. pp. 65–66.
  9. "Dallas Baptist University Dedicates Pilgrim Chapel". Baptist Standard. October 30, 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  10. http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12808&Itemid=53
  11. "DBU North - Dallas Baptist University". dbu.edu.
  12. "DBU Moving North Campus to Plano". Dallas Business Journal. April 11, 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  13. "Around the State: DBU Opens New Center". Baptist Standard. January 8, 2009.
  14. "Highlights". Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  15. Staff. "DBU Off-Campus Sites in the DFW Metro Area". Retrieved 12/5/18. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. "Undergraduate Degree Programs Online : Dbu.edu". dbu.edu.
  17. "Academics Programs, Online Education, DBU.edu". dbu.edu.
  18. "Dallas Baptist University - Gary Cook School of Leadership - Home". dbu.edu.
  19. Staff (Fall 2017). "DBU Quick Facts". Dallas Baptist University. Retrieved 12/5/18. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. DBU Honors Society, retrieved 6 February 2009
  21. Paideia College Society, retrieved 6 February 2009
  22. "Institution Details". Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  23. "Dallas Baptist University: Approved Certification Areas". Texas Education Agency. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  24. "Current ACBSP Educational Institution Members". Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  25. "Accredited Members". National Association of Schools of Music. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  26. Teaching Them: A Sesquicentennial Celebration of Texas Baptist Education. Dallas: Baptist General Convention of Texas. 1996. p. 62.
  27. "U.S. News and World Report". Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  28. "National Council on Teacher Quality Ranking".
  29. "Medical School Acceptance".
  30. "Living on Campus". dbu.edu. Archived from the original on 2014-09-23. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  31. "Spiritual Organizations". DBU Student Life. Retrieved 12/4/18. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. "Cross Ring". dbu.edu.
  33. Williams, Michael (1998). To God Be The Glory: A Centennial History of Dallas Baptist University. Summit Publishing. p. 171.
  34. DBU Family Weekend
  35. "WAC Adds DBU, CSUB in 2012-13". NCAA. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  36. Henson, George. "DBU team hits home run with Guatemalan children". Baptist Standard.
  37. "DBU tennis teams share gospel in England". Baptist Standard. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  38. "DBU women's teams bring joy to orphans in Peru". Baptist Standard.
  39. "DBU students share basketball, cheerleading and the gospel in Korea". Baptist Standard.
  40. "The Official Site of Dallas Baptist University Patriots Athletics". dbupatriots.com.
  41. Staff (11/12/18). "Hankins Announces Retirement Plans". Baptist Press. Retrieved 12/4/18. Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  42. Rogers, Jesse; Olney, Buster; Marchand, Andrew; Bowden, Jim; The Associated Press (9 December 2015). "Cubs, Ben Zobrist agree to terms on 4-year deal worth $56M". ESPN. ESPN. Retrieved 10 December 2015.

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