Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist University (DBU) is a private Christian university in Dallas, Texas.[2][3] Founded in 1898 as Decatur Baptist College, Dallas Baptist University currently operates campuses in Dallas, Plano, and Hurst.[2][4]

Dallas Baptist University
Former name
Decatur Baptist College (1898–1985)
MottoSoli Deo gloria
Glory to God alone
TypePrivate 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
Colors    Red, white, blue
Sporting affiliations
Conference USA (NCAA Division I, baseball only)
Lone Star Conference (NCAA Division II, all other sports)



Dallas Baptist University (formerly known as Decatur Baptist College) opened in Decatur, Texas in 1898.[2][3] The Baptist General Convention of Texas purchased the land in 1897 from Northwest Texas Baptist College.[5][6][7] The school enjoyed a rich, full history in Decatur until 1965 when it moved to Dallas at the invitation of the Dallas Baptist Association.[8][3][6]

The school's historic Administration Building in Decatur, built in 1893, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[9] It was destroyed in a fire on March 18, 2023, after years of service as the Wise County Heritage Museum.[10]

In October 1965, Dallas Baptist College began offering classes to its first class of over 900 students.[11] The initial piece of land for the campus, overlooking Mountain Creek Lake in the hill country of southwest Dallas, was donated by John Stemmons, Roland Pelt, and associates.[11] 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).[12] In 2018, an additional land acquisition increased the total campus size to 368 acres (1.49 km2).

In 1968, the college moved from junior college to senior college status, subsequently offering its first four-year bachelor's degrees in May 1970. In 1985, the college officially changed its name to Dallas Baptist University.[3][6][7] 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.[13]

Growth and expansion

A view of the university

In 2019, the university enrolled 4,487 students.[14] The university offers 84 undergraduate majors, 24 master's degree programs, over 45 dual master's programs, and 2 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.[15]

Nation Hall (foreground) and Pilgrim Chapel

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.[16]

Joan and Andy Horner Hall

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.[17]

In 2001, DBU-North[18] 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.[19] DBU also opened DBU-Hurst-Colleyville in Hurst in the summer of 2005.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22]



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.[23] The university also houses two schools: the Graduate School of Ministry, as well as the Gary Cook School of Leadership.[24] The university offers a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in educational leadership through the Bush School of Education and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in leadership studies through the Cook School of Leadership.[25]

Accreditations and approvals


Dallas Baptist University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[26]

The teacher, principal and superintendent education programs of the university are approved by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC).[27]

The College of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for 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.[28]

The Dallas Baptist University Department of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).[29]

DBU is also affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.[30]

Institute for Global Engagement


The Institute for Global Engagement was founded at DBU in 2015 to be "a Christian, non-partisan think tank dedicated to addressing issues in the public square with biblical distinctiveness" and to be "a moral and spiritual catalyst for renewal in our culture." The goal of the institute is to be interdisciplinary in bringing together experts and practitioners from a variety of fields to address issues from a distinctively Christian worldview.[31] Since its founding, the IGE has held several seminars and lectures featuring a variety of individuals, including author Eric Metaxas, former presidential speech writer Michael Gerson, political commentator Matthew Dowd, former UN Ambassador Samuel Brownback, and former Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis.[32][33] The organization also produces The Daily Briefing, an email that goes out three times a week covering the news of the day with a Christian perspective.[34]

Rankings and recognition


U.S. News & World Report ranked Dallas Baptist University 214th among "National Universities" in its 2017 college and university rankings.[35]



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 experiences at DBU. The ring features many university symbols, including the Mahler Student Center, the Fishers of Men statue, as well as the university seal.[36]

Mr. Patriot


One of DBU's longest-running traditions, stemming from when DBU's mascot was the Indians, is the Mr. Patriot pageant. This anticipated event, formerly named Mr. Big Chief from 1981 to 2018, allows male students to display 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 the right to wear the coat and hat that have replaced the headdress on display in the Dean Learning Center as the prize.[37]

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.[38]

Unity Walk


Beginning in 2017, DBU has held an annual Unity Walk on MLK Day, with the DBU community coming together to remember the world of Martin Luther King, Jr., and pray for the dream of a unified country to become a reality. In addition to the walk, a special speaker each year recites King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Also during the day, students, faculty, and staff participate in the service projects in Dallas as a part of the national MLK Day of Service.[39]



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 Conference USA, 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.[40] 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.

In 2021, the Women's Golf team won the NCAA Division II National Championship.[41]

The DBU Baseball Team continues to be a premier sport for the school, with the team returning to an NCAA Super Regionals for the second time in school history in 2021, falling to Virginia in Game 3.[42]

Horner Ballpark

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,[43] Northern England,[44] Peru,[45] and South Korea.[46]



A member of the Lone Star Conference, Dallas Baptist University sponsors eight men's and seven women's teams in NCAA-sanctioned sports:[47] DBU is also home to a debate team that competes within the International Public Debate Association (IPDA). The team began competing in the fall of 2021.[48]

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
Track and Field Track and Field Men's Lacrosse
Tennis Volleyball Bowling
Soccer STUNT Esports

Notable alumni

Name Class Notability
Vic Black Professional baseball player
David O'Neal Brown Former chief of the Dallas Police Department
Lew Ford Professional baseball player
Ryan Goins Professional baseball player
Kari Jobe Christian music artist
Phil King Member of the Texas House of Representatives
Les Lancaster Professional baseball player
Jason LaRue Professional baseball player
Clifton McNeely Basketball player selected first overall in the 1947 BAA draft
Scott Mullen Professional baseball player
Colin Poche Professional baseball player
Freddy Sanchez Professional baseball player
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 Professional baseball player[49] two-time World Series champion, 2016 World Series "Most Valuable Player."
Tricia Woodgett Award-winning producer, director, film distributor and screenwriter


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  2. ^ a b c "Dallas Baptist University - USNEWS".
  3. ^ a b c d "TSHA | Dallas Baptist University". www.tshaonline.org. Retrieved 2022-10-20.
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  5. ^ "Dallas Baptist University | History | Plexuss". plexuss.com. Retrieved 2022-10-20.
  6. ^ a b c "Baptist History - The Journal of the Texas Baptist Historical Society Volumes XXvii-XXVIII 2007-2008" (PDF).
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  9. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  10. ^ "Wise County Heritage Museum lost to blaze - Wise County Messenger". 21 March 2023.
  11. ^ a b Williams, Michael Sr (1998), To God Be the Glory: the Centennial History of Dallas Baptist University, Arlington: The Summit Publishing Group, p. 117
  12. ^ Williams, Michael Sr (1998). To God Be the Glory: the Centennial History of Dallas Baptist University. Arlington: The Summit Publishing Group. p. 183.
  13. ^ Texas Baptist Annual. Baptist General Convention of Texas. 2005. p. 110.
  14. ^ Staff. "Dallas Baptist University: Review & Facts". American School Search. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
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  17. ^ "Baptist Standard - Baptist news, Texas Baptist Voices, Baptist commentary".
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  20. ^ "Around the State: DBU Opens New Center". Baptist Standard. January 8, 2009.
  21. ^ "Highlights". Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  22. ^ Staff. "DBU Off-Campus Sites in the DFW Metro Area". Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  23. ^ "Undergraduate Degree Programs Online : Dbu.edu". dbu.edu.
  24. ^ "Academics Programs, Online Education, DBU.edu". dbu.edu.
  25. ^ "Dallas Baptist University - Gary Cook School of Leadership - Home". dbu.edu.
  26. ^ "Institution Details". Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  27. ^ "Dallas Baptist University: Approved Certification Areas". Texas Education Agency. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  28. ^ "Current ACBSP Educational Institution Members". Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  29. ^ "Accredited Members". National Association of Schools of Music. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
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  32. ^ "Previous Events | The Institute for Global Engagement | Dallas Baptist University". www.dbu.edu. Retrieved 2020-01-11.
  33. ^ "General Jim Mattis | Dallas Museum of Art". dma.org. Retrieved 2020-01-11.
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  49. ^ 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.

32°42′36″N 96°56′53″W / 32.710°N 96.948°W / 32.710; -96.948