South University dedicates Austin campus, unveils plans for growth

South University dedicates Austin campus, unveils plans for growth

by Amy Denney

March 6, 2012

When South University opened its Austin campus in November on Parmer Lane, the institution was following the city's trend of investing in higher education, said state Rep. Larry Gonzales, whose District 52 covers Northwest Austin, at the university's dedication March 5. Gonzales said businesses relocating to Austin do so because they know this is where the workforce is located. He also acknowledged the region's leaders who decided education would be a priority.

“It's not an accident, and we're not lucky. We're smart,” Gonzales said.

Since opening classes to students in early November, 57 undergraduate and graduate students have enrolled in South University, which offers associate and bachelor's degrees in information technology, business administration, criminal justice, health care management, psychology or a master's degree in business administration.

The university was founded in 1899 by John Draughon as Draughon's Practical Business College. The family of Chancellor John T. South III acquired the university in 1974 and changed the name to South College in 1986. The institution became a university in 2001.

South University has 11 locations across the United States, including locations in Ft. Worth and Dallas. Austin first came on the university's radar in 2008, and initially South University had planned to open a campus in Round Rock, but the deal fell through at Frontera Vista.

Chancellor South said the university is not using all of its 63,000 square feet of space at Freescale's property at 7700 W. Parmer Lane, but that will change as South University continues to roll out programs.

He said the university has already invested $1.2 million in technology at the new campus and is planning $800,000 more in investments in lab equipment over the next few months. The university will be growing its health care programs by adding a bachelor's degree in nursing.

“We're glad to be a new choice for higher education in Austin,” South said.