A common question for our applicants regards the C in TCU: so just how Christian is Texas Christian University?
The short answer is that our faith background is just as important to us as it is to you. If your Christian faith is a huge part of your life, know that TCU has an Office of Religious and Spiritual Life on campus, many student organizations that are faith-based in nature, and great relationships with local area churches. At the same time, we do have over 60 different faiths represented on campus and there aren’t any mandatory chapel services or religious codes of conduct that students must adhere to.
The long story traces its roots all the way back to our founding. Addison and Randolph Clark were both ministers within the Disciples of Christ denomination. Even though the school’s original name, AddRan Male and Female College, didn’t have the word Christian in it, our founder’s spiritual beliefs permeated the school. The Disciples of Christ have traditionally been a progressive denomination that values equality and justice and these beliefs led the university to accept both males and females at a time when such a practice was rare.
That spirit of inclusivity continues to be a core value to the university today. We welcome students from all faiths, as well as students whose faith background isn’t particularly important to them. While we do have a chapel on campus, there aren’t services that students must attend. While our roots are steeped in the Disciples tradition, we have student organizations that adhere to many different faiths and our Disciples presence on campus is robust but is definitely a minority in terms of the school’s total enrollment.
That said, there are so many ways for students to develop in their faith, and we are proud to provide myriad support systems for our students. Each week, students host Ignite, a non-denominational service that is held on campus. Our Office of Religious and Spiritual Life does so much to support students and are aided by dozens of organizations that align with both particular faith backgrounds as well as non-affiliated groups such as Young Life, FCA, and others. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that our Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is one of the most highly anticipated events we host each year for students.
Ultimately, at TCU, we want you to ask the big questions. We want you to explore and to test the boundaries of your beliefs so you can learn and grow. As you’re asking those questions, we’re here to support you and guide you. However, the university isn’t here to tell you what to believe or how to practice your faith. While we’re proud of our Christian heritage and history, it’s up to you to take that letter in our name and make it your own.
Dalton Goodier is a Senior Admission Counselor in TCU’s Office of Admission. He’ll be eating dinner at Rodeo Goat tonight and will try a new burger because he’s feeling particularly adventurous at the moment.