Baxter Institute had its beginning in Mexico City in 1964. The dream was to equip and train Latin American students who had completed high school. Entrance requirements would be high; students would be required to maintain high moral standards, and to earn good grades. In addition, students would spend weekends in evangelistic efforts, giving practical experience to ground the classroom theory.
With these aspirations in mind, property was located in Mexico City to begin this four-year institute. The West End Church of Christ in Nashville was among the first to become involved in this work; the Garden Oaks Church in Houston was close behind. Harris Goodwin and Dan Coker provided important leadership during the early days in Mexico.
Problems developed with the Mexican government, labor unions, and the postal service. Baxter then began looking for a location where the government was more cooperative. Finally, a property was found in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Baxter was moved to its present site in 1978.
In the 1980s large campaign groups of students, evangelized in the Global Campaign efforts throughout Latin America. In the early 90s, the institute was greatly enhanced with the construction of a men’s dorm and the administration building complex including classrooms, library, computer lab, and chapel. The construction of its cafeteria, amphitheater, and married student apartments followed. The Baxter Clinic was added with the purpose of serving and ministering to the impoverished of Tegucigalpa. Then the CELO program, a leadership training by extension program and PEC, a three-year intensive Saturday class for preachers and church leaders, were begun and have educated thousands of church leaders all over Latin America.
In 1996, Calvin Henry became the school’s second president. Calvin and Linda Henry accepted the awesome task of coordinating massive relief following the widespread devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Steve White (2004-2009), Howard Norton (2009-2012), and Steve Teel (2013-present) have moved the school forward in enrollment and numerous campus improvements. Recently, the Memorial Road Church of Christ has collaborated with Baxter to enroll Cuban students; graduating its first Cubans in 2012.
Baxter Institute has celebrated its 50th anniversary, and most of the churches of Christ in Latin America have been planted in that period. Baxter graduates have established many of them, started two-year preacher schools, staffed Christian orphanages, spearheaded radio broadcasting, and initiated numerous publications.