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St. Mary's University, Texas


St. Mary's University, Texas

St. Mary’s University
Established 1852
Type Private
Affiliation Roman Catholic (Marianist)
Endowment $154 million[1]
President Thomas Mengler, J.D.
Administrative staff
212 full-time
147 part-time
Undergraduates 2,393[2]
Postgraduates 1,475
Location San Antonio, Texas, USA
Campus Urban, 135 acres (0.55 km2)
Colors Gold and blue
Athletics NCAA Division IIHeartland Conference
Nickname Rattlers
Mascot Rattler Man
Affiliations ACCU

St. Mary's University is a Catholic and Marianist liberal arts institution located on 135 acres (0.55 km2) northwest of Downtown San Antonio, Texas, United States. St. Mary’s is a nationally recognized master’s level school ranked among the top colleges in the west for best value and academic reputation by U.S. News and World Report.[3][4] In 2010, St. Mary's was named by Washington Monthly as first in the nation in the category of Master’s Universities for promoting an ethic of service to country; fostering scientific and humanistic research; and performing as an engine of social mobility.[5]

Founded by the Society of Mary (Marianists) in 1852, St. Mary’s is the oldest Catholic university in Texas and the American Southwest. With a diverse student population of nearly 4,000, St. Mary’s is home to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; the School of Science, Engineering and Technology; the Bill Greehey School of Business; and the St. Mary's University School of Law.


  • History 1
  • Academic programs 2
    • Law School 2.1
  • Research 3
  • Athletics 4
    • Athletics Honors 4.1
  • The Mascot 5
  • Notable alumni 6
    • Politics, Law, and Service 6.1
    • Business 6.2
    • Religion 6.3
    • Athletics 6.4
    • Arts, Entertainment, and Media 6.5
    • Education 6.6
    • Science, medicine, and technology 6.7
  • Student organizations 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Founded as St. Mary's Institute, the school opened on Aug. 25, 1852, with a faculty of five and an enrollment of 12 boys. It relocated to a location on College Street along the east bank of the San Antonio River in 1853 and in 1882 changed its name to St. Mary's College. In 1891, 75 acres located in Woodlawn Hills northwest of downtown were purchased as a new campus. In 1894, the new school, St. Louis College opened for boarding students and while St. Mary's College remained open for day students. St. Louis College received junior college status from the State of Texas in 1895.

In 1921 all college classes were transferred from downtown to the St. Louis College campus. In 1923, St. Louis College became St. Mary’s College with an enrollment of 12 in the freshman class. Grade school and high school students remained at the downtown school, which adopted the name St. Mary’s Academy. The new St. Mary's College quickly gained senior college status and in 1927 the first class of bachelor's degree candidates graduated from the newly renamed St. Mary's University.[6]

In 1932, the high school programs at St. Mary's Academy relocated from the College Street campus to become Central Catholic High School.[7] Personal attention and powerful academic programs have made St. Mary's, located on 135 acres (0.55 km2) 3 miles northwest of Downtown San Antonio, a nationally recognized liberal arts institution with a diverse student population of nearly 4,000 of all faiths and backgrounds. After over a century as an all-male institution, St. Mary's opens its doors to female students in 1963 and becomes a coeducational university. In 1987, Polish-American silent film star Pola Negri left most of her estate to St. Mary's University, including a collection of memorabilia and several rare prints of her films. St. Mary's University also set up a scholarship in her name. [8]

Academic programs

University rankings
Forbes[9] 390
U.S. News & World Report[10] 21 (West)
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[11] 20

St. Mary’s offers more than 75 academic programs, in addition to pre-professional programs in medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, allied health, and law. St. Mary's graduate studies offer 19 master's programs and 2 Ph.D. programs. A student-faculty ratio of 12 to 1 assures personal attention designed to help students excel in their chosen fields. St. Mary’s has some 200 full-time faculty members, 94 percent of whom hold doctorate or terminal degrees.

St. Mary’s University integrates liberal arts and professional studies in each student's degree. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is the largest school at the University.

St. Mary's is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the Bill Greehey School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, [Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business], making St. Mary’s the only Catholic university in Texas to achieve this status. Electrical and industrial engineering programs in the School of Science, Engineering and Technology are recognized through accreditation by ABET [Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology].

Law School

In October 1927, the San Antonio Bar Association established the San Antonio School of Law, and for seven years after its founding was administered by a board of governors under the control of the bar association. Until the School of Law became associated with a physical campus, classes were held at the Bexar County Courthouse. In an attempt to maximize educational and material resources of the fledgling institution, the Board of Governors negotiated with St. Mary's University regarding a transfer of the School of Law's administrative control. The transfer was completed on October 1, 1934, and St. Mary's University School of Law was officially established.

The School of Law was then housed at St. Mary's University's then downtown campus at 112 College Street, situated near the San Antonio River Walk. Possessing several military bases, San Antonio experienced a surge of population and industry in the years immediately following the World War II. This exponential growth resulted in more law students. To meet these new demands adequately, the School of Law organized itself to meet the requirements of the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools. It received accreditation from the ABA in February 1948 and became a member of the AALS in December 1949.

On December 19, 1967, the School of Law relocated from the College Street campus to join the main campus of St. Mary's. A multi-million dollar expansion project had provided for the addition of eight new buildings to the main University campus, including a lecture hall, law library, and faculty building comprising the Law Center. The school held its first classes the next month, in January 1968.

Since 1968, the school has had several structures rededicated, renovated, or expanded, including the Law Administration Building, housing the office of the dean; the Law Classroom Building; and the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library, dedicated in 1984 after the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation gave the School of Law $7.5 million to fund its construction in January 1982.


As a liberal arts institution, students at St. Mary's are encouraged to undertake undergraduate research. Conference travel funds and summer programs support student research in the sciences, humanities, and business. Students contribute to research in both the humanities and STEM fields using cutting edge theoretical frameworks and critically emerging technology in robotics and bioengineering. Research serves as both teaching tool and training ground for students who contribute their knowledge and skills in artificial intelligence, diabetes therapy, hip stem replacement research, interactive digital maps as well as social justice issues relating to migration, law, among others.

Internationally oriented degrees and study-abroad programs encourage a global consciousness on the part of both faculty and students. Study abroad programs are designed to take academic or service experiences to a new level, stretch the imagination, deepen a student’s understanding of the world that surrounds him and create memories that will last a lifetime.

An involved student community

St. Mary’s promotes a campus culture of service and change in the community. Students who live on campus become a part of more than just the campus community as organizations offer academic, political, cultural, social and community service activities. Students also actively participate in 60 University-sponsored clubs and organizations, or in programs such as Army ROTC, the Ethics Bowl, and Coffee and Politics.

University Ministry fosters a spirit of community and faith. All members of the University community are invited to participate in liturgical ministries, retreat planning, Bible study, Sacramental preparation, community service projects, faith-sharing groups, and much more.


The Rattlers women's soccer team in action against the Texas A&M–Commerce Lions in 2014

St. Mary’s University is a member of NCAA Division II and the Heartland Conference and sponsors 12 men's and women's sports at the varsity level. St. Mary's has won four team national championships in men’s basketball (1989), baseball (2001), softball (1986 and 2002), and one individual national title in men's golf (2006). [12]

Interscholastic athletics competition began with baseball in 1902.[13] Before St. Mary’s was recognized as a senior college in 1925, there was no formal conference competition, so the rivalry between the downtown and Woodlawn campuses was fierce. The colorful history of St. Mary’s athletics includes a stellar 1910 baseball team, which lost only to Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers in an exhibition game, and a stint by future President Eisenhower as coach of the 1916 football team.[13]

St. Mary’s was an all-male school for more than a century. In 1939, both Collier's and Life magazines feature full-page spreads on the St. Mary's football team and their cross country trips in a ragged bus, the "Blue Goose". The team was disbanded due to World War II.[13]

Records show the 1902 baseball team went 6–0, and the 1910 squad also went undefeated except for the aforementioned game against the Tigers. With the onset of the Depression, intercollegiate baseball disappeared only to be resurrected in 1947 by then-athletics director Brother Bill Siemer, S.M. Over the years, St. Mary’s baseball has won local, regional and national fame. Accomplishments include 24 conference championships, four NAIA College World Series appearances and, most recently, the 2001 NCAA Division II conference, regional and national championships. St. Mary's men's basketball program also has enjoyed success over many years. In 1926, the school’s first intercollegiate basketball team posted a 12–7 record.[13]

In the late 1930s/early 1940s, the Rattlers, with their big man Ken “Arky” Croswell (B.A. '42), dominated the short-lived Alamo Conference. Since 1951, men’s teams have captured 26 Big State and Heart of Texas conference championships and made 16 NAIA National Tournament appearances, including winning the 1989 NAIA National Championship. After entering NCAA Division II competition, the Rattlers won the Heartland Conference co-championship and advanced to the regional tournament in 2001, the team's first year of post-season competition eligibility.

Women's intercollegiate athletics, begun in 1968, have enjoyed many triumphs. The softball team has led the way, winning several conference titles, playing in the NAIA and NCAA Division II national tournaments, and winning the 1986 NAIA National Championship and the 2002 Division-II National Championship.[13]

St. Mary's first individual national championship came in 2006, when Jamie Amoretti won the NCAA Division II Men's Golf title. The Men's Golf team would be named the Golf Coaches Association of America 2008-2009 Academic National Champions, a title which St. Mary's treats as a fifth team national championship.[14]

Following the end of intercollegiate football at the start of World War II, there have been at least three attempts to revive full-contact sports on campus: a club football team in the early 1970s, a club rugby team in the early 1990s, and a Texas Rugby Union Collegiate Division III team formed in Fall 2010.[13][15] The school hosted the NCAA Women's Division II Basketball Championship at the Bill Greehey Arena in 2009 and 2012.

Athletics Honors

Three coaches and two players from St. Mary's have been inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame: Coach Elmer Kosub (1972), Coach Ed Messbarger (1990), Coach Buddy Meyer (2010), Leticia Morales-Bissaro (2000) and Robert Reid (1986).

The Mascot

The Rattler mascot has its own stories of how it came to be. Legend holds that the football practice field had to be cleared of diamondback rattlesnakes on a regular basis, thus leading to the designation. The truth is that Brother Kinsky thought “Rattlers” would be fitting because there was already on campus Rattler Club whose members had recently begun The Rattler newspaper. There was debate as to whether the name was being run into the ground, but the students quickly said they wanted the Rattler nickname.[16]

Alton Seekatz (B.S.C. ’32), a member of the Rattler Club, described the organization as a spirit and social organization. “It was called the Rattler Club when I got here in 1926, and I’m not sure how it got its nickname,” he said, although his stories of the club members’ antics and efforts to raise school spirit would certainly “rattle” some and “shake” up others.

Notable alumni

Politics, Law, and Service




Arts, Entertainment, and Media


Science, medicine, and technology

Student organizations

There are a total of 68 registered organizations:


  1. ^ As of Fall 2013. "St. Mary's University University Profile". St. Mary's University. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ As of Fall 2013 "St. Mary's University Profile 2013". Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ " Best Colleges 2008 Universities-Master's (West): Top Schools". Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  4. ^ " Best Colleges 2011: Best Values: Regional Universities (West)". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  5. ^ "America’s Best Master’s Universities and Baccalaureate Colleges". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Regional Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Washington Monthly Master's University Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c d e f "St. Mary's University Athletics Timeline". Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  14. ^ Mary's University website: athletics
  15. ^
  16. ^ "St. Mary's University History". Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  17. ^ "About Rick Galindo". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ Morton, Neil (2012-12-11). "Stehling, Taco Cabana founder, dies at 87".  
  19. ^ Wall Street Journal, July 7, 1993, page B^

External links

  • St. Mary’s University
  • St. Mary’s University Athletics
  • St. Mary’s University from the Handbook of Texas Online
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