Lydia Patterson Institute

By: Walter N. Vernon

Type: General Entry

Published: March 1, 1995

The Lydia Patterson Institute at El Paso is a Methodist high school and training center for ministers. Lydia Patterson, after whom the school is named, was a devout Methodist and longtime member of the Trinity Methodist Church in El Paso. For a number of years she assisted Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Corbin at the Effie Edington School for Mexican Girls, which met in the basement of El Mesías Church in downtown El Paso. Recognizing the need for a more comprehensive education program for Spanish-speaking students, Mrs. Patterson and the Corbins envisioned a high school and center for the training of young men as Methodist ministers. After Mrs. Patterson's death her husband, Millard, donated $75,000 for the construction of a school. The institute opened in 1913 under the direction of Rev. and Mrs. Lawrence Reynolds. In the late 1920s Rev. R. E. Stevenson, then president of the school, established a theological department, and in 1930 the institute was designated the official training center for ministers serving Spanish-speaking Methodists. In 1941, when the Methodist Church began to require two years of college for new ministers, Mrs. Clothilde Náñez and the Woman's Society of the conference established a scholarship fund. Mrs. Náñez was the wife of Alfredo Náñez, who later served as president of the school. Over the years the school continuously expanded. From 1980 to 1984 it enrolled 1,831 students, and its curriculum was accredited by the Texas Education Association and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school played an important role in facilitating cross-cultural ties between Mexico and the United States.

Alfredo Náñez, History of the Rio Grande Conference of the United Methodist Church (Dallas: Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University, 1980). Walter N. Vernon et al., The Methodist Excitement in Texas (Dallas: Texas United Methodist Historical Society, 1984).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Walter N. Vernon, “Lydia Patterson Institute,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995

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