McMurry University

McMurry University is a private Methodist liberal arts university in Abilene, Texas. It was founded in 1923 and offers forty-five majors in the fields of fine arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, education, business, and religion, and nine pre-professional programs, including nursing, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary, and law.

McMurry University
MottoCultivating Leadership Excellence and Virtue...
Every Student, Every Day.
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment$76.56 million[1]
PresidentSandra Harper[2]
Location, ,
CampusUrban, 40 acres (.16 km²)
ColorsMaroon and White
NicknameWar Hawks

McMurry has 1,145 students. Methodist students constitute 27 percent of the student population. Ninety five percent of students are Texan. Minority groups make up approximately one-fourth of the student body. In the freshman class, 98 percent of students receive some financial aid. Fifty-three percent of students live on campus, and 75 percent of students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity. McMurry boasts a student to faculty ratio of 13:1.[3]

91 percent of the faculty have earned a doctorate or other terminal degree in their field. McMurry is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Texas Education Agency, the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, the National League for Nursing, and the Texas State Board of Nurse Examiners.[4]

Indians mascot controversy

In late August 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) handed down a decision calling for the eighteen universities with Native American mascots to change their names or obtain a waiver from their representative tribe for the use of the mascot name. The McMurry Indians were part of this list. The Indians nickname was chosen as a tribute to the University's first president, J.W. Hunt, who grew up on an Indian Reservation in the Indian Territory.

On May 18, 2006, the NCAA rejected McMurry's appeal to keep their nickname. The school has chosen to appeal the ruling, and indicated their intention to do so by the June 18, 2006 deadline. According to a press release, "the University’s appeal will be based on the arbitrariness of the NCAA’s decision-making process and the inconsistent results and messages that have come from the process." Other schools, such as Florida State University, have made successful appeals by garnering the endorsement of Indian tribes. Although McMurry has not actively sought an endorsement, representatives from the Kaw, Kiowa, and Comanche tribes have voiced their approval of McMurry's mascot.[5]

In October 2006, McMurry's Board of Trustees decided that the university would no longer use any names for its athletic teams. Citing the school's 83-year history of honoring Native Americans, the school announced that in spite of no longer using names to designate athletic teams, the school traditions created to honor Native Americans will continue.[6] The school's stadium has now been changed from Indian Stadium to Wilford Moore Stadium, as of Sunday, May 13, 2007. Wilford Moore was the highest winning coach in McMurry football history.[7] On March 11, 2011, it was announced that McMurry University's athletic teams would be known as the War Hawks. The new mascot was chosen after a nearly year-long search to find a new mascot to replace the former Indian mascot, which had been taken away by the NCAA in 2006. The war hawk is meant to represent pride, courage and fierce competition for McMurry's athletic teams.


McMurry's school colors are maroon and white. McMurry fields teams in 19 different intercollegiate sports. For the men, McMurry competes in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis and indoor and outdoor track and field. For the women, McMurry competes in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball, in which they won the NCCAA national championship in 2012, and softball.

All teams played in the NCAA Division III American Southwest Conference until 2011. In July 2011, McMurry announced that it had been accepted as a candidate for NCAA Division II membership and joined the Heartland Conference in the fall of 2012. The Board of Regent voted in January 2014 to move back to Division III.[8][9] As of July 2013, the McMurry football team has accepted an invitation to the Lone Star Conference and will play a full conference schedule as of fall 2014.[10]

McMurry University announced October 19th 2016 that the sport of softball would be added to its women's intercollegiate programs, beginning in 2018. The addition of softball will bring to 20 the number of sports sponsored by the War Hawks.

"This is another example of McMurry momentum," Director of Athletics Sam Ferguson said. "The University is growing in students, in programs, and now also in athletics opportunities.

"Softball is one of the most popular sports in the state of Texas. In fact, nearly 34,000 girls are competing at the high school level. It's a great fit at McMurry, because we know that there is an abundance of talent right here in our backyard. We are also excited about the type of scholar-athlete softball will attract. According to NCAA data, softball players are some of the most academically successful. Finally, the addition of this important program will help us take another step in the right direction from a Title IX standpoint. This addition is long overdue."

The plan is to hire a head coach by this coming January 2017 to begin recruiting for the following school year and build a schedule. The War Hawks will – initially – play their home games on a local city of Abilene facility and, by the third year, build an on-campus field. Beyond that, upgrade projects will include press box facilities, permanent seating and team areas/offices.

"The American Southwest Conference congratulates McMurry University on bringing softball to its intercollegiate athletics program," said Amy Carlton, ASC commissioner. "The War Hawks' addition provides women an avenue to continue academic pursuits while participating in a sport they enjoy within one of the top NCAA Division III softball conferences."

Softball sponsorship in the ASC will grow to 13 teams and becomes the seventh conference championship sport to be supported at every member institution. Women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, and baseball are ASC sports sponsored by all ASC members. By conference rule and with full member sponsorship of softball, the ASC Softball Championship Tournament format will shift to eight-team double-elimination with the 2018 tournament.[11]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


  1. As of January 29, 2015. "Sortable Table: College and University Endowments, 2013-14". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  2. Bethal, Brian (2013-08-12). "McMurry University names Sandra Harper as its first female president". Abilene Reporter News. Abilene, Texas: Abilene Reporter News. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  3. "Admission | McMurry University". Retrieved 2015-08-21.
  4. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-11. Retrieved 2014-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. Russell, John H. Ph.D. "Alumni Update". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
  6. Russell, John H. Ph.D. "McMurry Board Announces Decision". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
  7. "McMurry renames football and track stadium to Wilford Moore Stadium". Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  8. Robarts, Kyle (2011-07-12). "NCAA accepts McMurry's application to transition to Division II". McMurry War Hawks. Abilene, Texas: McMurry University Sports Information Department. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  9. Beyer, Dave (2012-02-10). "McM goes across town for 2012 football opener". Hal Mumme Official Website. Abilene, Texas: McMurry University Sports Information Department. Archived from the original on 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  10. LSC, LSC (2013-07-30). "McMurry University added to LSC football lineup for 2014". Lone Star Conference News. Richardson, Texas: Lone Star Conference Website. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  11. "McMurry Woman's Softball".
  12. "Grant Teaff To Receive Stagg Award". Baylor Football. 2005-09-21. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
  13. "Early Years". The Weddington Center. Archived from the original on 2006-03-19. Retrieved 2006-09-07.

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