This year marks the 150th anniversary of our beloved Trinity University. Known as the Harvard of the South, Trinity shapes our future leaders with a liberal arts experience, positioning them to thrive in a world that values critical thinking, incisive decision making and extraordinary communication skills. Trinity students today will have the opportunity to move between jobs and careers, and assume leadership positions at every level.

Trinity is rooted in the vision of a few hardy Texas pioneers who believed in the transforming power of higher education. When classes began on Sept. 23, 1869, five faculty members greeted seven students at the original Tehuacana, Texas, location – six miles from the nearest railroad station. At that time, Tehuacana was accessible only by horse drawn carriages.

By the end of the school year about 100 students had gathered. Co-educational from the outset, Trinity students were a lively group who studied hard and still found time for entertainment. Student life featured literary societies for discussion and debate, and intercollegiate athletics.

In 1902, the school moved 75 miles to Waxahachie, a railroad hub and cotton-farming community south of Dallas that offered better financing for the school. Keeping abreast of education trends, Trinity faculty in the 1920s established new departments such as education, sociology, psychology and religion, and enrollment reached about 800.

The Stock Market Crash of 1929 plunged the country into a prolonged period of economic depression and dealt a crushing blow to the University’s progress. Enrollment declined sharply, indebtedness and faculty attrition mounted, and trustees were forced to use endowment funds to maintain daily operations.

In 1941, as the country entered into World War II, Trinity accepted an invitation from the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to relocate to San Antonio. By 1950, enrollment reached 2,000 and was composed largely of returning veterans and other San Antonio area residents.

Today, close to 2,500 students attend Trinity, located on 107 acres with a beautiful view of downtown San Antonio. Its distinctive tower and chapel are campus landmarks, and the National Parks Service has designated the campus as a National Historic District. The designation honors the architectural work of O’Neil Ford, who designed most of the University’s mid-century modernist red brick buildings connected by walkways and lush native landscaping. Trinity has the largest concentration of Ford’s buildings anywhere in the world.

Trinity’s educational experience lands the school on all sorts of “best of” lists. It’s ranked No. 10 on SmartAsset’s Best Value Colleges – the only Texas school to make that list. It’s ranked No. 2 in Texas behind Rice, and 10 spots ahead of The University of Texas at Austin, on Wallet Hub’s Best Colleges and Universities list. And it’s is ranked No. 61 in the nation by College Consensus, which cites the University’s extraordinary study and research resources, exceptional library and a state-of-the-art athletic and recreational center.

Alumni and observers of the university have speculated that Trinity’s greatest contribution to San Antonio is the graduates who decide to stick around. About 7,600 of the school’s 30,000 living alumni reside in San Antonio – including our own Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

Nirenberg, who once served as the general manager of the university’s jazz radio station, told the Rivard Report that he dreamed of becoming a journalist when he enrolled at Trinity in 1995. He worked at the student newspaper, the Trinitonian, and later discovered a passion to pursue graduate work in communications. He returned to San Antonio after completing a master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

“It was every day that I spent in San Antonio as an undergraduate student at Trinity that made me fall in love with the city,” Nirenberg says. “Coming back to the city after finishing my graduate degree – there was no place I would rather go.”

I couldn’t agree more! In honor of San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, I’m ranking Trinity University No. 41 in my 300 Reasons to Love San Antonio list. Another great reason to live, work, buy a home and continue your education in San Antonio!