Missionary Paul Siebenmann begins offering night and weekend classes for thirty-two Hispanic students at the Baptist Goodwill Center under the auspices of the San Antonio Baptist Association. The school is called the Mexican Baptist Training School.
The school holds its formal opening on Jan. 2, 1948, at Palm Heights Baptist Church at the corner of Nogalitos and Malone streets. The stated focus is to teach three groups of students:
(1) Latin Americans who have had limited education,
(2) Latin Americans with a high school education or who are capable of carrying college work, and
(3) Anglo-Americans who desire to prepare for work in Mexican missions.
The first president is Dr. Calvin Guy “C.G.” Carter. Under his administration, the name changes to the Mexican Baptist Bible Institute in 1950. It is housed in a two-story brick home on the southwest corner of West Martin and North Leona streets by July 1950. Enrollment grows to 91 students during its first 11 years.
Dr. H.B. Ramsour is the school’s second president and uses his skills to galvanize denominational support and find a permanent home for the school. Seven buildings are constructed during his tenure, which ends in 1976.
Baptist General Convention of Texas votes to provide financial support to the school.
The school receives a gift from the Woman’s Missionary Union that allows it to purchase a 12-acre tract for a campus on I-35 South for $60,000 and begins building the current campus.
First building, an Administration-Classroom Building, is erected on the new campus in 1964, followed by the library and language department building by January 1965. Classes begin on the campus.
Dr. Daniel J. Rivera is named the third president and the first Hispanic president. He focuses on academic recognition.
The Mexican Baptist Bible Institute merges with the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth while maintaining its identity.
The school is renamed Hispanic Baptist Theological Seminary (HBTS).
In January the Hispanic Baptist Seminary officially ends its relationship with Southwestern and comes under the supervision of the State Missions Committee of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. In November Dr. Josué Grijalva is elected president of HBTS until he retires in 1993 when enrollment reaches 193 students.
Dr. Omar Pachecano becomes the school’s fifth president and begins the process of accreditation with the Association of Biblical Higher Education. He also creates an independent governing board.
Dr. Albert L. Reyes becomes president. In compliance with state legislation, the school’s name becomes the Hispanic Baptist Theological School (HBTS).
The Commission on Accreditation of the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges grants candidate membership to HBTS.
The primary language of instruction changes from Spanish to English, which subsequently changes the student body to a younger age.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board issues the certificate of authorization for HBTS to grant BA degrees for the first time in its history.
The Association of Biblical Higher Education grants BUA initial accreditation.
BGCT approves name change to Baptist University of the Américas.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board grants BUA authority to grant Associate of Arts degrees for the first time in its history.
The school purchases a 78-acre tract of land and creates a master plan for a new campus across from the current location.
BUA breaks ground on a new 78-acre Baugh Family Campus across I-35 from its current campus and accessible by a walk-over bridge.
René Maciel is installed as the seventh president of Baptist University of the Américas.
In January 2008, BUA opens Piper Village, a new student housing community on the Baugh campus. Apartment buildings are dedicated as: The Paul and Katy Piper House, The John & Eula Mae Baugh House, The Josué Grijalva House, and the José Rivas House.
BUA begins offering a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Leadership.
BUA offered conferences to denominational groups, including the Black Preaching Conference and the Rudy Sanchez Preaching Conference.
Eagle Run, the first community fund-raiser, partnered with Communities in Schools-San Antonio.
The Joe Jimenez Golf Tournament was initiated to raise funds for student scholarships. The tournament is named after American professional golfer Joe Jimenez, who was of Mexican-American descent and a Texan whose father-in-law was among those who established this school in 1947.
In a survey of 1,200 colleges and universities conducted by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, BUA ranked as #1 in Texas and in the Top 20 most affordable Bible colleges in the United States and Canada.
BUA begins offering a Bachelor’s degree in Music.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked BUA as the #1 higher education institution in the nation in 2011-12 for graduating Hispanics in Theology and Religious vocations.
BUA begins offering a Bachelor’s degree in Human Behavior.
BUA reaches a record fall enrollment of 336.
BUA purchases a foreclosed medical office building a block away from the previous campus because of the expense of updating the other buildings. With the help of Overland Partners (architecture company), the building was repurposed as a college campus and renovated by Mitchell & Sons Construction. On August 2, BUA held a grand opening of its new facility located at 7838 Barlite Blvd. Classes began in the fall 2016 semester and student enrollment increased to 375.
In October 2016, President René Maciel resigned as president of BUA to become a community pastor at First Baptist Woodway in Waco, Texas. That same month, the Board of Trustees named Executive Vice President, Dr. Moisés Rodríguez, as Acting President and formed a presidential search committee spearheaded by BUA Chair, Dr. Van Christian.
On July 20, 2017, Dr. Abraham Jaquez was elected president and chief executive officer of Baptist University of the Américas. He becomes the 8th president in the 70-year history of the school. Jaquez began his duties on Aug. 21, 2017.