In 1945, several leading Baptists of South Texas met to consider the possibility of beginning a local college to train ministers and teachers. Two years later, Texas Baptists gave their support to the establishment of the University of Corpus Christi (UCC) on Ward Island, previously the site of a Top Secret U.S. military radar station. UCC continued as an effective four-year university until 1972. During these years the university fulfilled its 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 the enormous financial pressure, Texas Baptists voted to give over two hundred acres of Ward Island to the city of Corpus Christi, who in turn made it available in 1973 to the state for the establishment of Texas A & I at Corpus Christi. The school later became Corpus Christi State University and is now Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.
From the beginning of this process, however, 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 (HPU). Despite the many challenges, SCS opened its main building, housing classrooms and offices, an auditorium, prayer chapel, library, and kitchen in 1980. The following year celebrated the first student to graduate from HPU at SCS.
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. By 2004, SCS opened the Stark Conference Center, adding much-needed classroom space, as well as living quarters for resident faculty and visiting guests. In the Fall of 2011, Hardin-Simmons University began offering bachelor degrees for South Texas students at SCS.
Read The Lost Baptist University by Dr. Tony Celelli for a more detailed account of our journey from UCC to SCS.