30 Most Beautiful College Campuses in Texas
- February 13, 2017
- Posted by: Jeff Gitlen
- Category: Top Colleges
There are over 170 colleges and universities in the state of Texas. Being the second largest state in the United States behind Alaska and ahead of California, Texas holds a wide range of scenery. Here at LendEDU, we chose to evaluate all of the colleges and universities in the state based on the following criteria:
- Architecture and grounds
After reviewing each campus, we came up with the 30 most beautiful campuses in Texas.
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30 Most Beautiful College Campuses in Texas
1) Texas A&M University – College Station, TX
At a sprawling 5200 acres, Texas A&M has one of the largest college campuses in the country. In addition to plenty of open space and tree-lined walkways, the school has many unique attractions spread around its campus. The most noteworthy building might be historic Kyle Field, the fourth largest college football stadium in the country and the fifth largest non-racing stadium in the world. The school is also home to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, one of thirteen such libraries in the U.S., as well as numerous other buildings and departments associated with the former president. The Corps Arches are a series of 12 brick arches that mark the entrance to the Quad and honor the members of the Armed Forces attending the university.
2) University of Texas at Dallas – Richardson, TX
Though only 18 miles from downtown Dallas, the campus at this UT feels worlds away from the bustle of a major city. There is plentiful open space, unique architecture all around and a commitment to sustainability that make the campus a pleasant place to go to school. The buildings at UT Dallas are mostly in the plain Brutalist style, though there are also interesting academic buildings in the late modern and postmodern styles, with strange geometry and innovative materials. (The remarkable Student Services building is the first university structure in the state of Texas to receive LEED platinum certification.) A recent “landscape enhancement” campaign contributed many improvements to the university’s outside spaces, including the addition of 5,000 native trees and overall re-design of common areas.
3) Rice University – Houston, TX
Right in the middle of urban Houston, a large swath of greenery awaits Rice students at the Lynn R. Lowery Arboretum. These grounds hold approximately 4,200 trees and shrubs, which provide shade and beauty for whoever might want to relax outdoors. The campus’ 295 acres also contain multiple quads for students to stroll through on the way to class and many architecturally notable buildings throughout. The most iconic, perhaps, would be Lovett Hall, named after the school’s first president, which was designed in a striking Mediterranean style.
4) University of Texas at Austin – Austin, TX
The flagship of the state’s university system has a whopping 1,438 acres of property to its name, with nearly a third of that at the main Austin campuses. As well as having plentiful green space and outdoor social areas, the school has a great deal of notable architectural gems. The Main Building, designed in the elegant Beaux-Arts style, is one of the more prominent structures, with its landmark bell tower marking the center of campus. UT-Austin also has an impressive amount of culture on hand, with seven museums and seventeen total libraries, the seventh-largest college library in the country.
5) University of North Texas – Denton, TX
At 865 acres, the campus at UNT fills much of the small and charming town of Denton. The school has a renowned music program and the beautiful Murchison Performing Arts Center is the campus headquarters for world-class concerts and instrumental study. Also notable are the numerous initiatives that the university is making to develop a robust sustainability program, including wind turbines, LEED certified buildings and scientific research. The Life Science Complex was the school’s first Gold rated LEED structure, featuring four rooftop greenhouses and a celebrated aquatics laboratory.
6) Baylor University – Waco, TX
Originally founded in 1845, Baylor relocated only a half-century later and has remained there ever since. The school’s broad 1,000-acre campus has many attractions and features that make it a fantastic place to study. The Burleson Quad, which was created shortly after the university’s relocation, is a magnet for students wanting to socialize outside. Many of the school’s notable older buildings are in this vicinity, including the historic Old Main, which integrates both American Victorian and Italianate aspects into its design
7) University of Houston – Houston, TX
The lovely 667-acre University of Houston campus has been at its current site since 1939 and much of the school’s architecture retains the style from these earlier days. Especially notable is the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building, which represents an excellent example of the ornate Art Deco style, as does the nearby Roy G. Cullen Building. The university also prides itself on its numerous green spaces, outside plazas, public art and parks. A recent stream of “beautification projects” along Cullen Boulevard on campus has won local awards from the Keep Houston Beautiful group.
8) Trinity University – San Antonio, TX
Overlooking downtown San Antonio, the campus at Trinity has an excellent vantage point for scenery and study. The Skyline Campus, as it is known, covers 117 acres and the red brick layout was modeled after an Italian village. The most visible feature on campus is the 166-foot tall Murchison Tower, which is lit up at night, turning it into a high landmark for much of the city. The state-of-the-art Ruth Taylor Fine Arts Center, recently remodeled to add 20,000-square-feet of additional space, won a major design award from the City of San Antonio in 2008.
9) West Texas A&M University – Canyon, TX
This modest 176-acre has a nice balance of historic architecture and pleasant landscape design, making it an excellent place to go to school. The Barbara Kerr Vaughan Pedestrian Mall, completed in 2007, made a central area of campus into a manicured green space that connects some of the schools notable academic buildings. One of these is the Old Main building, the first on campus, which is considered one of the most distinctive at the school. West Texas A&M also has the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, there since 1930, dedicated to the development of this region of the state.
10) Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX
The wide 1,839 acres that constitute Texas Tech hold the sixth-largest student body in the state and the only campus in Texas to house undergraduate education, a law school and a medical school at the same location. The buildings are largely in the Spanish Renaissance style, inspiring author James Michener to declare the campus “the most beautiful west of the Mississippi until you get to Stanford.” The large section of campus built between 1924 and 1951 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Texas Tech also has a number of notable museums, locally important monuments and plenty of open space for students to relax outside.
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11) Texas State University – San Marcos, TX
Spanning 492 acres in San Marcos, midway between Austin and San Antonio, the Texas State campus has a lot of beauty to offer students. The historic Old Main building was the first on campus and its stately Victorian Gothic style makes it a landmark at the school. A number of other notable buildings, like the impressive Alkek Library, dot the university grounds. Texas State also can boast Sewell Park, a full-fledged green space along the flowing San Marcos River.
12) Southern Methodist University – Dallas, TX
With a total 237 acres among the wide sprawl of urban Dallas, SMU is a respite from the surrounding city bustle. The majority of the buildings are done in the Georgian Revival style, supposedly designed after the University of Virginia’s Rotunda by the team of Boston architects that first spearheaded the campus development. The oldest building on campus is Dallas Hall, named in honor of the supporting local community, and the most substantial project in recent years has been the development of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which holds the former president’s library and museum. The school also prides itself on its many open green spaces and its numerous tree-lined walkways.
13) Texas Christian University – Fort Worth, TX
Founded in 1873 as AddRan Male & Female College, the school now known as Texas Christian College is a relatively small university covering 325 acres near downtown Fort Worth. Many of the buildings follow a neo-classical beaux-arts design, blending in with greater Fort Worth’s general Art Deco-styled architecture. The first building not to be constructed with the school’s signature golden “TCU buff” bricks was the Robert Carr Chapel, which is instead made from pink-colored brick. The broad TCU Commons is a beautiful green open space popular with students wanting some leisure time outside.
14) Southwestern University – Georgetown, TX
Formed in 1873 from a gathering of collegiate charters established in 1840, Southwestern often claims to be the first university in the state of Texas. The school has a number of notable buildings, including the Roy and Lillie Cullen Building built in 1898 in a Richardsonian Romanesque style and the multipurpose Mood-Bridwell Hall, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Admission Center, built in 2009, is the school’s first entirely sustainable building with Gold LEED certification. Southwestern has a pleasant layout with many shady trees for students to relax under.
15) University of Texas at El Paso – El Paso, TX
Once known as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, what is today the University of Texas at El Paso retains much of its past – a practice mineshaft even still remains on the campus. The school has many buildings modeled after the Dzong monastery architecture of Bhutan, with overhanging roofs and colorful exteriors set in a similarly rocky environment. What began as a whim of the university’s first dean is now the de facto style of the entire school; even new buildings retain some of the Dzong inspiration. A 25-foot tall pickaxe sculpture greets visitors – due to the school’s Miner mascot – and a cutting edge sports center is there for local diehard sports fans.
16) St. Edward’s University – Austin, TX
A small Roman Catholic university in the ultimate Texas college town, St. Edward’s has a lovely campus for studying and socializing. The Main Building, designed in the Gothic Revival style and rebuilt after a major fire and then again after a tornado, is the most historically notable structure on the school grounds. Among the new campus renovations are two new residence halls, an impressive Natural Sciences Center and a major upgrading of existing library facilities. Outside of the school’s pleasant landscaping, students at St. Edward’s have access to the many opportunities of greater Austin.
17) Texas Lutheran University – Seguin, TX
Occupying 184 acres in the small Texas town of Seguin, TLU has over 40 buildings and many open spaces for students to utilize. The most central structure on campus is The Chapel of the Abiding Presence, a Gothic Revival building made from Austin limestone in 1954, considered to be a local historical gem. Emma Frey Hall, built in 1929 in a Spanish Colonial Revival style, is on the edge of the school’s quadrangle and is the oldest building on campus. Another notable building is Langer Hall, which holds the Mexican American Studies Center, the Fiedler Memorial Museum and an outdoor geological garden.
18) University of Texas at Arlington – Arlington, TX
With a student population of 39,714, the largest in North Texas and the fourth largest in the whole state, there is plenty of space in the 420-acre campus. After a long tree-planting campaign, the school is now largely shaded and makes for a wonderful pedestrian experience. The oldest buildings on campus – Ransom Hall, Preston Hall, College Hall and Brazos House – all date back to 1919 and the newest buildings, like the Chemistry and Physics building, embody a cutting-edge postmodern style. Not far from downtown Arlington, students at the university also have access to great culture, dining and shopping.
19) Tarleton State University – Stephenville, TX
The central campus at Tarleton State University fills a modest 150 acres, which would normally be fitting for a school of its relatively small student body. Luckily for students, though, the school also has an adjacent 700-acre farm and the 1,170-acre Hunewell Ranch, both of which provide educational opportunities. The school recently finished building a 70,000-square-foot sports center and a state-of-the-art dining facility. Among other renovations, star lovers will appreciate the school’s new science building, with its 64-seat planetarium, and the new research-grade telescope added to the ranch property.
20) Brazosport College – Lake Jackson, TX
Not far from the Houston metropolitan area, this small public college has many notable features on its campus. Despite having no students living on campus – it is considered a fully commuter-based campus – a lot of thought was put into how its buildings can accommodate the local community. The Clarion, a 29,000-square-foot performance space, regularly hosts famous touring musicians and the 75,000-square-foot Health & Science Technology Complex features state of the art labs and classrooms. The independently managed Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences has art studios and a gallery, while the Museum of Natural Science has a great nature center and a stellar planetarium.
21) Sam Houston State University – Huntsville, TX
A renowned teacher’s college and one of the oldest purpose-built institutions of its kind west of the Mississippi, SHSU holds a great deal of history on its campus. Built in 1851, Austin Hall is the oldest building on campus and the original one-room Peabody Memorial Library was the first free-standing campus library in all of Texas. The school also has two agricultural complexes, a research farm, a rodeo arena and an 18-hole golf course, among other outside amenities. The 316-acre mains campus also has plenty of green space and oak-lined common areas for students to relax outdoors.
22) University of Texas Rio Grand Valley – Edinburg, TX and Brownsville, TX
In 2012, the University of Texas System decided to merge the existing university campuses at UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American to create this umbrella school, which is the largest in the country with a majority Hispanic student body. Of the six satellite campuses, the one in Edinburg holds the majority of the nearly 30,000 students. Most of the academic buildings there are within a covered walkway that was part of the original school plan and new additions in student housing have been made in the past few years. The campus in Brownsville is larger, but holds fewer students; the buildings there are mostly remnants of a historic Army outpost and a lovely oxbow lake flows through the school grounds.
23) Texas Wesleyan University – Fort Worth, TX
Perched high above the flowing Trinity River, the 75-acre campus at Texas Wesleyan is consistently picturesque. One local architectural landmark is the stately Oneal-Sells Administration Building, which was built in 1902 out of nearby quarry rock and remodeled a few times since. The columned Dan Waggoner Hall is another notable building on the TWU campus; it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and today houses the School of Education. The landscaping is pleasant through the campus, making it a great place to study.
24) Austin College – Sherman, TX
A small private liberal arts school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, the campus makes Austin College a pleasant place to study. Granted a charter in 1849, the college is also the oldest institution of higher education under its original name, so there is plenty of history throughout the grounds. One of the oldest buildings on campus is the ornate Sherman Hall, which was built after the classic Old Main building caught fire in 1913. The school has several outdoor areas that are great for socializing or studying away from the library, including the Honors Court and the Hersh Memorial Garden.
25) Lamar University – Beaumont, TX
Within a mere 30 miles of Lamar’s small campus is a wealth of natural beauty. The wonders of Village Creek State Park, Big Thicket National Preserve and the Gulf of Mexico are all within easy reach for the university’s students. One focal point on campus is the 10,746-seat Montagne Center, designed especially for the school’s popular basketball team. Another important structure on campus is the eight-story Mary and John Gray Library, which is part of the Federal Depository Library Program that provides government documents to the public.
26) Texas Woman’s University – Denton, TX
Though today it is technically a co-educational institution, TWU remains the largest state-supported university for women in the entire country. The campus has a number of notable features, including the Little Chapel-In-The-Woods, which was built in 1939, dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt and is considered to be one of Texas’ premier architectural gems. The school also has a stellar art collection and the Administration Conference Tower holds the unique Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection. The campus’ 270 acres also has many pleasant outdoor spaces for students to convene between classes.
27) Midwestern State University – Wichita Falls, TX
Founded in 1922 as Wichita Falls Junior College, today Midwestern State is a robust public liberal arts college, the only such school in the state. Among the notable buildings on campus are the D.L. Ligon Coliseum, Killingsworth Hall and the Clark Student Center, all made of uniform red brick. A handful of new residence halls have been built in recent years, updating the student accommodations but maintaining the school’s signature brick exterior. There are also plenty of open green spaces on hand for students to enjoy time outside.
28) Angelo State University – San Angelo, TX
The 268-acre campus at ASU has many features for students to appreciate. The central tree-lined campus mall connects many of the school’s buildings and is a pleasant space to traverse between classes. The large Houston Harte University Center is routinely considered one of the best student unions in the country, with a number of dining options, indoor games and high-tech capabilities. The school’s science buildings are equally impressive, covering everything from nursing to geology and containing one of the largest university planetariums in the country.
29) University of Dallas – Irving, TX
A private Catholic school in the suburb of Irving, the University of Dallas is a mere ten miles from the city’s downtown. The school’s campus is mostly made up of earth-toned box-shaped buildings, many designed by renowned Texas architect O’Neil Ford. The centerpiece of campus is the 187.5 foot-tall Braniff Memorial Tower, which sits in the middle of the university’s central mall. The 744-acre campus also has many tree-lined walkways for students to enjoy.
30) Sul Ross State University – Alpine, TX
In the West Texas town of Alpine, SRSU is located in one of the most beautiful locations in the country. The school is in close proximity to three stunning national parks and three wonderful state parks, as well as a network of mountain trails. The 647-acre campus itself is made up of a uniform series of academic buildings that have a desert-like orange color that blends in with the surrounding environment. For scholars and outdoor-lovers alike, the SRSU is an ideal place to go to school.
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