In 1945, several leading Baptists of South Texas met to consider the possibility of beginning local college to train ministers and teachers. Two years later, Texas Baptists gave their support to the establishment of the University of Corpus Christi on Ward Island, previously the site of a U.S. military radar station. UCC continued as an effective four-year university until 1972. During these years the university fulfilled its main purpose of training teachers and ministers who would become leaders in South Texas and beyond.
In 1970, hurricane Celia destroyed most of the campus, with damages totaling over a million dollars. Due to this enormous financial pressure, the Baptist General Convention of Texas voted to give over two hundred acres of the Ward Island site to the city of Corpus Christi, who in turn made it available to the state of Texas for the establishment of Texas A & I at Corpus Christi in 1973. The school later became Corpus Christi State University and is now Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi.
From the beginning of this process Texas Baptists retained ten acres of land adjacent to the larger campus to be used for religious education. Baptists led the way for other denominations when undergraduate classes in religion began in the fall semester of 1977 through Howard Payne University. The first undergrad student graduated from HPU in 1981.
These ten acres of land from the BGCT were placed in the hands of the Christian Education Activities Corporation through the local Baptist Association. In 1980 the CEAC opened its main building, housing classrooms and offices, an auditorium, prayer chapel, library and kitchen. The CEAC now operates under the name of The South Texas School of Christian Studies.
In 1997, President Linn Self partnered with Dr. Vernon Davis, Dean of Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University, to offer the Master of Divinity program in Corpus Christi.
In 2004, SCS opened the Stark Conference Center, adding much-needed classroom space, as well as living quarters for resident faculty and visiting guests of SCS.
In 2011, SCS partnered with Hardin-Simmons University to provide a bachelor degrees for South Texas students.
Read The Lost Baptist University by Dr. Tony Celelli for a more detailed account of our journey from UCC to SCS.