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 new 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.
- Search the historic alumni directory (1844–1925).