Methodist Influence

The Methodist Church first came to Texas in the 1810s as part of the nationwide Christian revival movement known as the Second Great Awakening. Methodism spread throughout the state in the years that followed. When the national revival movement began to wane, Methodists turned to education as a tool for nurturing and spreading their Christian faith, establishing schools and colleges throughout the country. As part of this initiative, the West Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church sponsored the San Antonio Female College, which opened in 1894.

During the early years of the school, college leaders strongly emphasized religious education. “Christian living” was one of the principal tenets of “the standard of excellence for womanhood” that guided the work of the college. The school also maintained a close relationship with the West Texas Conference and local Methodist churches.

During the Westmoorland College era, the Methodists moved to grow the institution and push it to greater acclaim as a four-year, co-educational institution. By the University of San Antonio era, the Methodist Church had significantly less influence on student life, though students were still aware of happenings in the Methodist Church and the Church offered many scholarships.

Facing financial difficulties, the University of San Antonio merged with Trinity University in 1942. The institution passed from the Methodists to the Presbyterians, whom Methodist leaders believed had more substantial government and business connections.