New Kerr County History Book Available!

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Almost 100 years ago, on a former grain field, a Kerrville school was born

Schreiner Institute students, plus 1 dog, exercising on campus.

In September, 1923, almost 100 years ago, Schreiner Institute opened its doors to students. Today the school is known as Schreiner University.
An opening ceremony was held that month, which was attended by students, faculty, the Kerr County community, and the man who’d made it all possible: Captain Charles Armand Schreiner.
Charles Schreiner
There were several speakers at the opening of the school, and two in particular stand out: J. E. Grinstead, who was a newspaperman and writer, and Dr. J. J. Delaney, the first president of the school. Their remarks were reported in the September 20, 1923 edition of the Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Grinstead was a favorite local speaker at the time. He'd come to Kerrville at the turn of the century because his wife was ill with tuberculosis, and in a few short years he owned the newspaper, was elected mayor, then school board president, and later state representative. He published a magazine, and spent his later years writing pulp westerns. He authored much of the image and myth of the Texas hill country.
"A year ago," Grinstead said at the opening of the school, "this spot was an open field. A crop of grain had been harvested from it, and I used to take walks out this way and think it was a dreary place. And now, look at the beauty of it! Almost like the story of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp. When you think about how it came about, quite as wonderful. From the rough surface of a field, within a few months have sprung these magnificent buildings. True, there were many artists and artisans at labor, but in effect every brick, stone, tile and shingle was placed by a single man. A man who devoted his life to service. He was half a century accumulating the materials for this great institution, and it was he in effect who, having the materials at hand, raised on this eminence a wonderful monument to service. From this gift of Captain Schreiner, there is a wonderful lesson for you -- the lesson of service. Of service to God, to your country, and to your fellow man.
"The building of the real edifice, the most beautiful thing of all, is just begun. You men of the first year of the Schreiner Institute are the foundation and corner stone of that more beautiful building, that shall grow and grow throughout the generations to come. A building of men whom, wherever they may be found, shall look back with pride and pleasure to the days they spent in this institution. You have opened the book, in which is to be written the history of Schreiner Institute. The pages are blank and white. Write upon them with the pen of inspiration, drawn from earnestness of purpose. Emulate, throughout your labors here, that splendid example of the unselfish service shown by the founder of your school."
J. J. Delaney presented an oil portrait of Captain Schreiner to the school, and remarked "it is far more to us than a reminder of a man who gives generously of his wealth that the youth of Texas may have the opportunities of education. It should be a constant inspiration to high endeavor to every man who passes through these halls.
"It is easy to envy Captain Schreiner the 'opportunity' and 'luck' and complain of our disadvantages. Young men, the 'luck' of Captain Schreiner was to return after four years' hard service in the Civil War with nothing but what he had in his own spirit except a noble wife and two small children. His 'opportunity' was to wrest a living for them from an untamed wilderness with his bare hands or starve.
"The opportunities for you today are a hundredfold larger and the same qualities which have brought success to him will bring abundant fulfillment of any worthy ambition that burns in your hearts.
"I wish that we might inscribe under this portrait just these words, 'Integrity, Industry, Economy,' for it is to these and not to easy fortune his success is due."
At the end of the dedication program one member of the school's faculty called the students together and led fifteen cheers for Captain Schreiner and for Schreiner Institute.
In the last century, since Charles Schreiner placed a quarter million dollars and 140.25 acres in trust on December 31, 1917, the school he started has touched the lives of thousands.
Until next year, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is especially proud of one Schreiner College graduate: his lovely wife, Ms. Carolyn, who graduated from Schreiner with a teaching degree, which she's used to make the world a much better place. 

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