SAGU has occupied its lovely 70-acre campus since 1943. Three Bible schools merged to form Southwestern Bible Institute. The first, Southwestern Bible School, was established at Enid, Oklahoma in 1927 under the leadership of the Reverend P. C. Nelson. The second, Shield of Faith Bible School (containing a Bible school, a grade school and a high school), began at Amarillo, Texas in 1931 under the direction of the Reverend Guy Shields. The third, Southern Bible Institute (operating in conjunction with the Richey Evangelistic Temple), began at Goose Creek, Texas in 1931. It was started by Rev. J. T. Little in Trinity Tabernacle and later moved to Houston in 1933.
Shield of Faith moved to Fort Worth in 1935. In 1940, a merger brought Southern Bible Institute to Fort Worth. The Texas District Council of the Assemblies of God took ownership and direction of the newly formed South Central Bible Institute. The school in Enid then merged with South Central in 1941, at which time the name was changed to Southwestern Bible Institute. In 1943, the Institute moved to its present facilities in Waxahachie, Texas.
During the 1944-45 school year a junior college curriculum was added to the school’s program and soon accounted for about half of its enrollment. By 1948 SAGU received accreditation with the American Association of Bible Colleges as a charter member.
SBI Becomes Southwestern Bible College (SAGC)
Several regionally related districts of the Assemblies of God joined together in ownership of the school in 1954: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Texas, Oklahoma, South Texas and West Texas. In 1963 these districts authorized a change in name to Southwestern Assemblies of God College (SAGC). From 1968 to 1987 the school also identified part of its curriculum as Southwestern Junior College of the Assemblies of God.
During this period of time the Rocky Mountain District joined (1969) the owning districts and later withdrew (1980). The Mississippi District joined the owning districts in 1979. Also during this period SAGC achieved its regional accreditation in respect to the Junior College curriculum.
In 1988 the two divisions were reunited as Southwestern Assemblies of God College. By 1989, the entire college was regionally accredited.
SAGC Becomes Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU)
Beginning in the early nineties, the university experienced phenomenal enrollment increases. From 596 students in the fall of 1991, enrollment grew to 1492 students in 1997. Along with the enrollment increase, opportunities to expand the curriculum and programs developed. In December 1994, the Board of Regents unanimously approved the name change to Southwestern Assemblies of God University to more accurately reflect its purpose and mission as a Bible university of theological and professional studies.
Harrison Graduate School Forms (HGS)
In 1996, SAGU expanded to include the Harrison School of Graduate Studies, since renamed to the Harrison Graduate School. HGS now offers doctoral degrees as well as master's curriculum.
SAGU Creates and Aligns New Colleges
In 2004, the academic divisions of the university realigned into two colleges, the College of Bible & Church Ministries and the College of Arts & Professions. Both colleges maintain Bible-based curriculum to fulfill the mission of SAGU. In 2013, SAGU further aligned the colleges into the College of Bible and Church Ministries, the College of Business and Education, and the College of Music and Communication Arts.
Since 2000, SAGU has added 24 new academic programs, bringing the total to more than 60 programs. Additionally, under the direction of President Kermit Bridges, the campus continues to grow. In 2006-2007, Teeter and Bridges Halls were added. They were followed by the new Alton Garrison Student Wellness Center in 2009.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Southwestern Assemblies of God University.