Growing Schreiner University offers opportunities for future
From its Texas Ranger roots to its Presbyterian bent, Schreiner University has always been a uniquely Texas institution, and it continues to be a monument to the state’s spirit.
To Schreiner University President Char-lie McCormick, at least part of that combination means judging potential students on grit as well as grades.
“We believe in the message that is carved into our front gate: ‘Enter with Hope.’ While there are thousands of higher education institutions in the U.S., most of them are caught up in a race to be the most prestigious,” McCormick says. “Each year, they are trying to recruit the most exclusive group of students based on standardized test scores and high school GPAs. Good scores and good grades are wonderful, and we are proud of the many Schreiner students who arrive on campus with very high marks. But Schreiner has long believed — and continues to believe — that things like grit and resilience and drive are even more important. We are looking for students with those qualities. We believe that in the educational environment that Schreiner provides, such students can thrive to such an extent that they will be competitive with any graduate from any college or university in the nation.”
Schreiner’s founder, Texas Ranger Capt. Charles Schreiner, began building the university in 1923 on land in Kerrville that he donated, along with an endowment. It’s home to about 1,400 undergraduates — a number school leadership expects to grow to more than 2,200 over the next four years. A majority of Schreiner’s student body comes from within a 150-mile radius of Kerrville. The school has been affiliated since its opening with the Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of West Texas.
McCormick says the expected growth is part of the plan for the university’s future. “Schreiner intends to continue to grow its overall enrollment, and we will grow our staff and faculty,” he says. “Careful planning in the past has placed us in a position where our facilities can accommodate this growth for the next several years. Schreiner’s faculty and administration will continue to evaluate its curricular and cocurricular offerings to provide students with the wisdom, skills and experiences they need for their first job — and the third.”
Undergraduates at Schreiner can pursue any of 27 majors and 23 minors. The school also offers master’s degrees in business and education.
But many Schreiner students are pursuing more than just academic degrees, and they arrive at the Kerrville campus with hopes for a better life. U.S. News & World Report recently named Schreiner as one of the top five schools in the nation for social mobility. To school administrators, that means simply that Schreiner is living up to its mission as a beacon of hope for the Texas Hill Country. “Since its found-ing, Schreiner has always been a place of opportunity,” says Mark Tuschak, university vice president of student recruitment, external relations, marketing and communications. “Influencing social mobility is the latest manifestation of that value: By attending and graduating from Schreiner, our students have the opportunity to live a better life than their parents.”
McCormick says the unexpected rank-ing is confirmation for the direction Schreiner has always taken. “This was external validation for what many of us knew — the value of a Schreiner education is clear and present. It has been a part of the American dream that our children will have better lives than their parents had. At Schreiner, this dream is coming true for students — especially for students who come from low-income backgrounds.”
Diana Comuzzie, the university’s health professions program developer, says Schreiner is special because of the caring environment it creates for its students. “Every employee at Schreiner who has been here for any extended period of time knows deep in their heart that there is a student who walked across the stage at graduation because of something they did to help them in their journey,” Comuzzie says. “It could have been a connection to an employer. It could have been an intern-ship. It could have been an intriguing discussion in class, or it could have been a listening ear and a shoulder for crying. It could have simply been a kind word on a particularly hard day. The employee won’t brag about it, but they know they changed a life. That’s what we do — we transform lives. It is sacred and noble work, and it is our joy to do it.”
Schreiner operates freshman campuses in Brownsville, Mission and El Paso. Students who enroll at those campuses can complete their freshman years with 30 hours of credits debt free before arriving as sophomores at the Kerrville campus.
The university offers 27 four-year undergraduate majors and 23 minors as well as master’s programs in education and business.
The Mountaineers compete at the NCAA Division III level, fielding men’s and women’s teams in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, track and field, and tennis. There’s also a men’s baseball team and women’s teams in volleyball and softball. Other sports include esports, bass fishing, cycling, competitive cheer, wrestling, riflery and shooting.
In 1923, what was then called Schreiner Institute became affiliated with the Presbyterian Church through the Presbytery of West Texas. Schreiner currently has an enrollment of just over 1,400 students. That number is expected to grow to more than 2,200 students by 2023. The student-to-faculty ratio is currently 13-to-1.
After opening as a male-only school, Schreiner became coeducational in 1932.