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What makes UMHB special?

A is for Athletics –Crusader Athletics boasts impressive teams in football, baseball, softball, and volleyball, as well as in men’s and women’s basketball, tennis, golf, and soccer. As for Cru football, since joining the NCAA Division III in 1998, the program has established an exciting reputation, winning 9 conference championships in the past 14 years. Go Cru!

B is for Belton – Small-town charm meets big-city conveniences in Belton. Residents are particularly proud of its historic downtown and commitment to parks and recreation, but they also enjoy its central location within the state. The partnership between UMHB and Belton dates back to 1886, when the school decided to relocate from Independence, Texas. Both Temple and Belton put in competitive bids of $30,000 and $31,000 respectively, to become the new home of the college. Outbidding Temple by a mere $1000, Belton acquired one of its finest assets.

C is for Crusader Stadium– It is no secret that the new stadium is extraordinary, and fans enjoy game-day experiences that include tailgating, great music by the Blackshirt Cru Spirit Band, and the largest scoreboard among Division III schools. With football games now within walking distance of all campus residences, the university enjoys an exciting new level of student participation in traditions like the “Cru Spirit Dance.”

Dubbing — Each fall, new students are “dubbed” with ceremonial swords by the president and vice presidents as “Crusaders Forever.” This dubbing ceremony became part of Welcome Week in 1995, when students requested a ceremony to create closer emotional ties to the university. Each year, following the ceremony, sophomores ring the “sophomore bell” once for each year the university has been in existence.

Easter Pageant – Every year just before Easter, students stage an outdoor drama on campus depicting Christ’s final days. Children of faculty and staff take on roles as families in the days of Christ, and the president appoints students to portray Christ and Mary. Over the years, the production has grown from a set involving a few stones and tables to a complete village, temple, palace, and replica of Golgotha, with more than 5,000 in attendance.

Fine Arts Experience – UMHB is committed to broad-based education that prepares students for living full lives, in addition to having meaningful careers. The arts play a vital role in this approach, so UMHB implemented the Fine Arts Experience—a curricular component that requires all students to attend at least one approved fine arts event each semester. Students choose from a wide variety of events, such as zydeco music concerts, operatic performances of The Magic Flute, and gallery exhibits by outstanding artists.

Graduation – In May 2016, UMHB had a record number of graduates, awarding 460 degrees in total, with 340 on the undergraduate level and 120 on the graduate. In the past 5 years alone, the number of graduate degrees awarded each year has more than quadrupled.

Homecoming – Up with the purple! The first UMHB Homecoming celebration dates back to 1909, and today, hundreds of alumni still return to campus each fall to reconnect with old friends, enjoy some football, and engage in numerous Homecoming activities, from the selection of the Homecoming court to evening fireworks.

Independence — The columns of Old Baylor Park in Independence, Texas, stand as a reminder of UMHB’s rich history. Given the name “Baylor,” the school opened in 1846 in Independence with a total of 24 students, and unlike most institutions of its time, it included departments for both men and women. Even Sam Houston’s daughters attended the school, and Houston’s subsequent support invigorated the growth of the female department. Today, a cluster of apartment complexes on the north end of the UMHB campus is named Independence Village; the sign at the entrance is a replica of the columns at Old Baylor Park.

Judge Baylor –As early as 1839, a Baptist missionary movement was inaugurated in Texas, and missionary Rev. William M. Tryon was sent to the Lone Star State. Soon after, Judge R.E.B. Baylor came to Texas as a teacher, lawyer, soldier, and preacher, and together with Tryon, inspired a desire for Christian education in the area. On February 1, 1845, a charter written by Baylor and Tryon was signed, and the long-anticipated Baptist university became a reality. Today, Judge Baylor is buried on the UMHB campus, and on Charter Day each year, students honor his memory with a ceremonial placing of flowers on his grave.

Knights –Crusader Knights began in 1993 as a fundraiser led by and for the senior class. Men are selected by campus organizations to compete for the title of “Mr. Crusader Knight,” and they are judged on their unique video skit, group dance, individual walks, and ability to answer interview questions. Likewise, the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant provides female students the opportunity to develop leadership skills, theatrical training, responsibility, and confidence. Both events enable the university to showcase its students and their talents to family members and the community.

Luther Memorial — The memorial pays tribute to Luther Hall, the first building constructed on campus when UMHB moved from Independence, Texas in 1886. Luther Hall was considered one of the finest academic buildings in Texas, until it burned down in 1929. Constructed in 1955 from the actual stones of Luther Hall, the memorial includes a bell tower with two historic bells: the Horton Bell, from the university’s first location in Independence, and the sophomore bell, which traditionally can only be rung by sophomores at the beginning of each school year.

Mascot – Mascots have one goal: get fans pumped. The UMHB crusader mascot, CRUnk, does just that, game after game, performing as the face of UMHB school spirit. Being a mascot isn’t easy because it involves a heavy costume and stamina, but CRUnk makes it look easy . . . and a little fun, too.

Nursing – Regularly among the most popular majors at UMHB, the Scott and White College of Nursing is one of the best nursing programs in Texas, and the NCLEX-RN exam pass rate by UMHB nursing graduates is consistently higher than the state and national average.

Organizations — With over 50 student organizations, addressing everything from service and sports to films and professions, UMHB students have many ways to get involved around campus and beyond.

Play Day – Toward the end of the academic year, students take a break from coursework and enjoy Play Day. Hosted each year by the UMHB Student Life office, the event includes music, sports, and even carnival rides.

Quad – The quad is located at the heart of campus, and students use the beautiful outdoor space to relax, study, and convene. The quad is also home to the Senior Bell Plaza. The bell used to sit on the porch of the Ely Pepper dormitory, and it was rung whenever a senior left the campus for the last time. The plaza was a gift from the class of ’38, and was dedicated as part of the Sesquicentennial Convocation Celebration in 1995.

Revival – Each spring, just days after the university’s Easter Pageant, UMHB offers an annual student-organized revival, featuring speakers and bands. For three days, hundreds of students gather under a tent in the quad to fellowship, worship, and reflect on the meaning of Easter.

Stunt Night — In 1909, physical education instructor George Rosborough initiated an event called Stunt Night, in an effort to provide an activity for campus residents who could not go home during the Christmas holidays. The event continues today and is sponsored by the sophomore class each spring semester. A judged competition between the four classes, Stunt Night requires students to create a skit and original song within a theme selected by the sophomore class.

Teaching – The heart of any university is its faculty, and UMHB faculty members do not disappoint. They are a cut above the rest, not just because of their stellar professional credentials and genuine passion for teaching, but also because they are committed to modeling Christian behavior. They exhibit an intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for their fields of study which, in turn, stimulate students to excel academically—a vital component of holistic education.

Unapologetically Christian – UMHB is unapologetically Christian in its approach to education, seeking to foster a Christ-centered learning community. All students learn about the history and teachings of the Bible in Old Testament and New Testament courses, and the university’s faculty and staff work to help students grow spiritually, as well as academically.

Volunteerism – Life beyond the classroom is full and rich at UMHB, and that has much to do with a campus-wide passion for volunteerism. Students find numerous opportunities to serve and care for others—locally, across the country, and around the world. Clubs and service organizations channel student energies toward areas of need, and Reaching Out days of service encourage faculty, staff, and students to get out and work side by side on community projects.

Welcome Week – With everything from social mixers to sports challenges, Welcome Week is a chance for incoming freshmen to learn about school traditions, find their way around campus, and meet some of the people they will keep as friends for years to come. Welcome Week is a time for building relationships, so that new students walk away from the experience not feeling so new anymore.

Xylophone –The xylophone is just one of the many instruments to be found in UMHB’s exceptional band facilities. Located on the second floor of our new Student Union Building, the Farris Band Hall, named in memory of alumna Martha White Farris ’42, provides a 9,600-square-foot space for students to rehearse, learn, and make music.

Yearbook – For 109 years, student volunteers have published The Bluebonnet as an annual record of campus life at UMHB. As part of the team, students receive hands-on experience in areas such as photography, design, and writing. Through the years, the styles and themes of the yearbooks have changed, but all hold precious memories for the alumni pictured in them.

Zillion – Zillion is the number of ways that UMHB is special to students and alumni. This list names 25, but for those who love the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, there are certainly a zillion more!