In 1835, Colonel William B. Travis penned a letter to the New York Christian Advocate calling for the establishment of a Methodist presence in the soon-to-be Republic of Texas. Five years later, in 1840, the first of Southwestern’s four root colleges was born from the vision of Methodist missionary Martin Ruter.
Southwestern University has a deep history, dating back to the founding of Rutersville College on February 5, 1840 – a day that we now celebrate as our Charter Day. Learn more about the history of Southwestern by visiting these online resources:
- Read Dr. William B. Jones’ book To Survive and Excel: The Story of Southwestern University, 1840–2000.
- View a video on Southwestern University’s Root Colleges, prepared by the Southwestern University Alumni Association in celebration of the University’s 175th anniversary.
- Visit the Office of Special Collections at Southwestern University.
- Discover our history through 100 years of yearbooks.