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Comanche Trace

Hill Country Harmony - Schreiner University in Synch with the Community

Posted by admin on August 1, 2013 at 3:10 AM

Schreiner University President, Tim Summerlin, once described the university chamber ensemble’s blending of instruments, passionate expression, and commitment to a musical composition as being much like orchestrating a university.

“Thus it is, students with one another in search of learning; students with faculty, growing through the mentoring experience; faculty among themselves, critiquing the curriculum to shape it to agreed-upon ends; and every person who is a part of the campus community engaged in doing his or her part, fully committed to its importance for the whole mission and fully aware that the work of any one of us finds its full value in concert with the accomplishments of the whole.”

However, Summerlin points out, far from playing a solo role, Schreiner and its Hill Country community have achieved thrilling harmony together.

A Premier Place of Learning

During the last decade and a half, Schreiner has:

• Grown its enrollment by 67 percent to 1,100 students;

•Enhanced its distinctive undergraduate curriculum with an interdisciplinary core;

• Identified innovative signature programs (Life Sciences, Graphic Design/Communication Design, and Integrity in Business);

• Launched 13 new undergraduate degrees, most recently the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and the graduate Master of Business Administration (MBA);

•More than doubled facilities to support enrollment growth and student success; and

• More than tripled endowment to $55 million.

What's even more remarkable is the give and take that has made it all possible.

“Learning by Heart”

The Presbyterian-related university has brought thousands of college students to Kerrville to get a transformative education, to intern in local businesses, to volunteer for community organizations and non-profits, and to make lifelong friends – all while they’re contributing to the local economy. Under the auspices of various student organizations including sororities and fraternities, campus ministry, athletics, and academic programs, Schreiner students participated in more than 80 distinctive community engagement service projects during the fall and spring 2013 semesters. Of course, Schreiner also has attracted an extraordinary faculty, whose contributions to the community are certainly felt well beyond the classroom.

Hill Country residents and businesses have, in turn, supported Schreiner’s students with scholarship funds (Hill Country College Fund provides major support for area residents with demonstrated need), jobs, internships, and many have found that volunteering is a rewarding way to help out face-to-face. Schreiner’s volunteer program exists to create opportunities to engage the community, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff in meaningful volunteer activities that will empower, activate, and enrich its students’ lives.

If you think you might be interested in volunteering, contact Mindy Wendele, Schreiner’s director of the Schreiner Mansion and Community Engagement. You can email her at MNWendele@schreiner.edu or call 830-896-8633.

Schreiner also offers many other ways of becoming involved in the life of the university. Every semester, the university invites the public to a wide variety of campus lectures, book reviews, concerts, performances and other activities. The full schedule is available on Schreiner’s web calendar at www.schreiner.edu.

The Future

Higher education is evolving—and new technology, shifting demographics, and morphing public expectations have raised the rate of change to a crescendo. Schreiner University is adapting while holding steadfast to the vision upon which it was founded 90 years ago: to be an institution of opportunity where students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences learn through educational programs equipping them to achieve, excel, and lead.

To ensure the university continues to be successful in this environment of flux, it has set three goals for itself:

1. To be widely known as a premier place of learning;

2. To provide facilities, services and campus ambience to support that reputation; and

3. To begin its second century from a position of ever-growing financial strength.

Increasing students’ access as well as achievement will strengthen Schreiner’s reputation. This goal will be borne out with more student scholarships, further development of key signature programs and attracting top-notch faculty.

During the last 15 years, the 211-acre campus has undergone a metamorphosis. Just this summer a new plaza, landscaping and wide, “flowing” sidewalks have transformed the central academic quadrangle. All of these elements encourage the campus community and visitors alike to stop and chat, to connect with one another—a hallmark of a “Learning by Heart” education.


A few of the many Comanche Trace Residents who volunteer at Schreiner are:

  • Don Neuenschwander, lecturer in Schreiner’s Business department
  • Janet McKinney, member of Schreiner’s Board of Trustees, who also coordinates Schreiner alumni and Schreiner students for mentoring
  • David Rittenhouse, tutor for Greystone at Schreiner University
  • Lloyd Painter, assists with Hatton Sumners Scholars
  • Robert Earl Keen, 2011 convocation speaker


Currently, three major facilities projects have top priority and are in process:

Mountaineer Athletic and Events Center

The old gymnasium puts Schreiner at the bottom of its new athletic conference, NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), in terms of facilities. Even though Schreiner’s athletics program is nonscholarship and entirely focused on athletes as scholars, the lack of a modern gym complex is a considerable recruitment roadblock.

Auditorium/Chapel renovation

The university’s popular Campus Ministry program is currently housed in a small former faculty residence and its chapel is the size of most people’s living room. The administration is working on plans to renovate the old Dietert Auditorium into a more usable facility with a large assembly space, a beautiful round chapel, and space for ministry staff, peer counseling, community service initiatives and vocational discovery.

Music Education Hall

The university’s music program is not-too-comfortably housed in Dietert Auditorium. Plans are to transform the old Rex Kelly pavilion into a modern 10,000 square-foot music center, complete with practice and rehearsal rooms, performance space and offices for music faculty. Schreiner has worked hard to grow its endowment— funds that are never spent but generate income, a portion of which is used to provide predictable and steady support for scholarships, enhanced curricular and co-curricular programs, professional growth opportunities for faculty and staff, new instructional technologies, etc. Schreiner’s goal is to increase endowment funds to the equivalent of $100,000 per student, which will effectively double its current endowment to $110 million. Most major endowment gifts are individual bequests.

The Finale

Schreiner University and its Hill Country community have joined together for years to both compose and perform this complex higher education symphony. Success, however, won’t be measured in applause that will inevitably fade to silence. This achievement will reverberate throughout time, in the individual lives changed and dreams realized.

Campus Events:

The public is invited to participate in many educational and cultural events on campus. The following is only a selection from the fall semester and you are urged to check Schreiner's web calendar (www.schreiner.edu) in case of last minute updates and to get more details.

August 20:
Panel discussion of World War Z, Schreiner University's summer "Big Idea/Big Read" that is the basis for the yearlong examination of rights and responsibilities. Cailloux Campus Activity Center and Ballroon at noon. Bring your lunch.

August 23:
Opening Convocation. Theme is "Being a Responsible Citizen". 1 p.m. in the Dietert Auditorium.

September 4:
Texas Coffee House Series, Sideshow Tragedy headlines. Open mic for writers, musicians and artists to showcase their work. 7 p.m. in The Lion's Den, Cailloux Campus Activity Center.

September 23:
Debate on the Second Amendment. "Big Read/Big Idea" Chautauqua and Constitution Day presentation. 7 p.m. in the Cailloux Campus Activity Center Ballrooms.

September 23:
Monday Night Fiction. The Coffee Trader by David Liss. Discussion moderators are the author, David Liss, and Schreiner associate professor of religion, Dr. Cole Starr. "Big Read/Big Idea" at 7 p.m., Scarle-Phillips Room in the Wm. Logan Library.

September 26- November 21:
GAGA: Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association juried art exhibition in Cailloux Campus Activity Center.

September 27:
Texas Heritage Music Days educational event featuring more than 50 performers and demonstrators, with a tribute to Jimmie aarodgers. Robbins-Lewis Pavillion on campus, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

September 28:
CSI Kerr County community service with Partners in Ministry.

October 2
Texas Coffee House Series, open mic for writers, musicians, and artists to showcase their work. 7 p.m. in The Lion's Den, Cailloux Campus Activity Center.

October 10:
"Promoting the Common Good Throughout the World", with speaker Ruth Brown, a food security and development specialist working with the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC). Presented by Campus Ministry. Big Read/Big Idea.

October 19:
Past is Prologue workshop in Hanszen Fine Arts Center. Dr. Kathleen Hudson is the event's organizer.

October 21:
Monday Night Fiction, The Dixie Association by Donald Hays. Moderator is Dr. Tom Wells, Schreiner professor of exercise science. At 7 p.m., Scarle-Phillips Room in the Wm. Logan Library.

October 25-27
The House of Bernarda Alba, a play directed by Jeff Cunningham. Hanszen Fine Arts Building Studio Theater on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

November 6:
Texas Coffee House Series, open mic for writers, musicians, and artists to showcase their work. 7 p.m. in The Lion's Den, Cailloux Campus Activity Center.

November 18:
Monday Night Fiction, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Moderator and guest speaker is Tom Woods, a graduate student in history at Texas State University. At 7 p.m., Scarle-Phillips Room in the Wm. Logan Library.

November 22-24:
The 39 Steps, a play directed by Steve Roberts. Hanszen Fine Arts Building Studio Theater on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

December 1 - January 5:
13th Annual Hill Country Art Survey juried exhibition of Texas high school students' art. Cailloux Campus Activity Center.




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