Role of Religion & the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
The Presbyterian Synods of Texas, which initially set talks of a merger into motion, favored the idea of Trinity University merging with another Presbyterian school, Austin College, in order to preserve the religious identity of both schools. Yet even though both schools were Presbyterian, they came from different denominations within Presbyterianism, and their doctrinal differences, as well as their attachment to the Sherman campus, added some tension to the discussions about the merger. Ultimately, Austin College pulled out of merger talks due to uncertainties caused by World War II.
After Trinity Presidents Frank Wear and Everett Tucker suggested San Antonio as the location for the new institution, those leading the talks expanded their vision further and sought to include the University of San Antonio, a Methodist university, in the planned merger as well. Wear and Tucker contacted Arthur V. Boand, a clergyman who had connections to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, to gauge member reception to the idea and garner more interest in having the new university in their city. Their response was positive, as they believed the new institution would introduce a solid Protestant university supported by three major denominations in a city that already had three Catholic colleges and universities. Thus, C. W. Miller and J. H. Calvert took the lead in a committee tasked with securing business support for the merger and for Trinity University to come to San Antonio.
A San Antonio Express article from February 27 delves into the merger between Trinity University and the University of San Antonio, focusing particularly on how the Presbyterian school can do more in San Antonio than their Methodist peers had. The Methodists were willing to transfer their properties to Trinity so that a "good, strong protestant school" could flourish. This article also mentions the committee organized by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce with the purpose of negotiating with the university and garnering business support. Members of this committee included C.W. Miller, Calvert, T.F. Murchison, E.H. Keator, D.A. Powell, H.H. Bryant, Frank Gillespie, and John Bennet.
This Letter from Arthur V. Boand to Trinity President James Laurie provides a detailed summary of the merger between Trinity University and the University of San Antonio. Boand explains the initial plans for merging with Austin College and their later withdrawal "by a handful of votes" as they had recently received support from Sherman, Texas, and chose to remain there. Boand mentions that he was offered a position at Trinity as a Vice President, but he turned this down as his "heart was in the pastorate". Dr. Rian took over the position of Vice President.