Christian College of the Southwest (formerly called Garland Christian College) was at the intersection of U.S. Highway 67 and Barnes Bridge Road, two miles north of downtown Mesquite in eastern Dallas County. The school was chartered in 1962 as Garland Christian College, a two-year liberal arts school, with plans to develop into a four-year institution. The college was affiliated with the Church of Christ and was established to provide "a quality education in a Christian atmosphere under leadership of a Christian faculty." The institution opened in a temporary location on North Shiloh Road in Garland with an enrollment of 115 students.
In 1963, in order to illustrate the college's mission, the name was changed to Christian College of the Southwest. One year later, enrollment had increased to 160 students, and the college had acquired its new site, the location of a pioneer schoolhouse built by David Oates, an early Dallas County physician. In 1965 construction on the first building began at the new Mesquite site, and student enrollment at the temporary site in Garland had increased to 180. The board of trustees, headed by G. C. Whitefield, selected Willis E. Kirk as the college's first president. Later that year college officials announced a development program that included a fund-raising drive appealing to Dallas businesses and numerous Church of Christ congregations. In September 1966 the first permanent building was opened on the new 117-acre campus. By 1968 the Christian College of the Southwest had moved to its Mesquite campus and had an enrollment of 365. In March of that year the college established a Community Resources Program that brought numerous civic, industrial, and business leaders to the Mesquite campus as part of a lecture program. The college also initiated a program to give the institution senior status by 1970 with the addition of a third year of instruction in 1969 and a fourth year in 1970. As part of this program Christian College of the Southwest would also begin cooperative development with Abilene Christian College, Fort Worth Christian College, Lubbock Christian College, and Southwestern Christian College at Terrell. The student enrollment was 410. The school's academic divisions included languages and literature, social sciences, business administration, science and mathematics, education, Bible studies, and fine arts.
One year later the academic-administrative building, the gym, and the physical plant were completed. The college's basketball team, the Trojans, was ranked ninth in the nation, and the student body numbered over 400. The college was affiliated with the Texas Association of Colleges and Universities, the American Association of Higher Education, the American College Public Relations Association, Texas Junior College Association, and the Texas and American associations of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and was approved by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
In 1971 financial problems forced Christian College of the Southwest to close. Later that year the college's campus was acquired by Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University) as part of its ACC Metrocenter branch. The Mesquite campus was eventually closed when the branch became Abilene Christian University at Dallas and moved to a new campus in Dallas (see AMBER UNIVERSITY).
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Dallas Morning News, November 27, 1968, April 13, 1969. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Donald W. Whisenhunt, The Encyclopedia of Texas Colleges and Universities (Austin: Eakin, 1986).
Defunct Colleges and Universities
Church Of Christ
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Matthew Hayes Nall,
“Christian College of the Southwest,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: