This article appeared in the Winter 2008 issue of Texoma Living!
Had it not been for the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, our own Austin College might still be in Huntsville. Presbyterian missionary, Daniel Baker, founded the school in 1849. The original site was on what is now the campus of Sam Houston State University. Twenty-seven years later the school was moved to Sherman where the first building was completed in 1878, and fifty-three students were enrolled. A homesick prep-school student burned down the main building in 1913. The citizens of Sherman rallied and raised $50,000 for a new library and auditorium.
In today’s dollars that would be $1,079,000. Obviously, Sherman valued the college, and the money turned out to be a good investment. During the 2007-2008 academic year Austin College contributed more than $202 million to the area economy, according to a study done by the school. In 2008, Austin College had 1,331 students on campus and 329 faculty and staff. If you’re a vendor, you got part of the college’s $12.7 million payout for goods and services. Next time you see an Austin College student, you might want to walk up and give him or her a nice hug.