Located in Hobbs, New Mexico, the story of University of the Southwest is an inspiring one. It is a story of vision and dreams, faith and determination, work and wisdom. It encompasses countless numbers of hearts and hands who have joined together to build an institution that not only enriches human lives but also glorifies God. It is the story of one community’s belief in the future.
The story begins, so it is told, in the early half of the century when “a young man on horseback scaled the heights near Cloudcroft and climbed the Wofford fire lookout tower to gain a panoramic view of ‘The Land of Enchantment.’ In prayerful meditation atop the tower, the youth was inspired to beseech God to give him New Mexico for Christian Education.” Through the intervening years, we are told, “God made this young man ready to help answer his own prayer.”
That young man was B. Clarence Evans, and he was destined to become the founder and first president of what was to eventually become University of the Southwest.
And so, after many prayers and dreams and plans, Clarence Evans finally saw his “college for Christian Education” become a reality. Hobbs Baptist College was chartered as a two-year junior college in 1956, and changed to New Mexico Baptist College when the school became a four-year college in 1958.
Within a few years, however, it became apparent that the college had grown beyond the original design, and the move to a larger, permanent location became a motivating force. By 1961, the present site north of Hobbs on the Lovington Highway was obtained.
In 1962, to reflect the expanded vision of the entire community that had now embraced this fledgling institution as their own, College of the Southwest was founded as an independent, non-denominational, four-year liberal arts college to serve the southeastern New Mexico and West Texas region, an approximately 21,000 square-mile service area.
In 2008, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of College of the Southwest to University of the Southwest to better communicate the type of academic community into which the institution was evolving.