Texas Tech University Archives
Below is a historical timeline concerning women's history at Texas Tech University. The timeline is not comprehensive but does cover many of the important events and women that shaped the university's history.
Johnnye Langford, one of the first faculty members when Texas Tech opened in 1925, was the only instructor in the women’s physical education department and served as the department head until 1946 when she became Dean of Women in 1946. She went back to being the head of the women’s physical education department in 1949 until her retirement in 1950. (Tex Talks, July, 1950)
The first scholarship awarded by an Ex-Students chapter was given in 1950 by the Houston Exes to Miss Mary Margaret King. (Tex Talks July, 1950)
Doris Pitzinger was the first woman to graduate from Department of Civil Engineering. (Tex Talks, July, 1950)
The newly established Home Economics Exes organization made its membership available to any woman who graduated Texas Tech and/or was a member of the Home Economics Division program.
Texas Tech graduates Barbara Culver and her husband John R. Culver became the first husband and wife team to graduate from SMU’s School of Law. (Tex Talks August, 1951)
The Women's Council was established by the Association of Women Students to act as an advisory board to the dorm senates to help coeds understand dorm regulations and address housing issues. It was originally set up to oversee the point system regulating the number of campus offices a female student could hold. The Council was comprised of a representative and the president of each of the women's dorms and Casa Linda. (The Toreador, January 6, 1951)
Dr. Pauline Miller, an obstetrician with St. Mary's of the Plains Hospital in Lubbock and a class of 1929 graduate, became the first woman president of the Panhandle District Medical Society. (Texas Techsan, May, 1951)
Greek-letter fraternity and sororities were allowed at Texas Tech beginning on June 21, 1952.
Texas Tech's women fencers defeated Texas State College for Women to win the intercollegiate title of North Texas division of the Amateur Fencers League of America. (The Toreador, March 25, 1952)
Two coeds taking the surveying course as part of their architectural major were interviewed by the student newspaper due to the rarity of women taking the engineering course. (The Toreador, February 15, 1952)
Patricia Fain was the first to earn a Ph.D. at Texas Tech. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry in 1953, her M.A. in 1951, and her B.A. in 1948. (The First Thirty Years, 161)
Women's fraternities were installed in March and April of 1953.
Suzanne Matteson was elected as the first Homecoming Queen during the Texas Tech versus the University of Tulsa football game on November 13, 1954. (The Toreador, November 18, 1954)
The first woman pledge, Nancy Wallace, was initiated into the Block and Bridle Club on November 18, 1957. (The Toreador, November 21, 1957)
Mortar Board established a $400 scholarship for women, the largest single award ever to be awarded specifically for a female student at Texas. (TTC press release in February of 1959)
Ruth Ann Strain was the first Texas Tech student to win the $250 annual scholarship given out by the Texas Dietetic Association. (TTC press release in April of 1959)
Perry Thompson, a 20-year old coed from Dallas, was the first woman to win the coveted Aggie Club Award in the college's 34-year history. She held the title of Tech's Rodeo Queen the previous year. (TTC press release in April of 1959)
Karin Smith was the second Texas Tech student ever to receive a Fulbright Scholarship. After graduating with a B.S. degree in Chemistry in June of 1959, Smith would go on to study biochemistry at the University of Vienna, Austria. (TTC press release in April of 1959)
Mabel Irwin, professor in Home Economics, was chosen as the 1959 inductee for the Texas Home Economics Association Hall of Fame.
Mrs. Lucille S. Graves, the founder of the first black private school in Lubbock, was the first African American to gain entrance into Texas Tech in the summer of 1961. Her persistent attempts to gain entrance into the college opened the door for other minorities to attend. She also established the Mary and Mac School, which was the first black private school in Lubbock. The Lubbock County Historical Commission placed a historical marker on the school's structure on July 11, 2014. (Link to the AJ's article about the site dedication)
Beth Ann Gray was the only female majoring in Petroleum Engineering. (The Toreador, March 2, 1961)
Sue Diller became the first female to earn a place on the Texas Tech Meats Judging Team. (Tex Talk, April 1962)
Ophelia Powell-Malone was the first African American to receive a B.A. degree from Texas Tech in 1964.
In May of 1965, Stella Ruth Courtney Crockett became the first African American to receive a B.A. degree from Texas Tech who had attended all of K-12 in Lubbock and attend all undergraduate years (non-transfer) at Texas Tech. Stella Crockett Courtney oral history interview (2010)
Jeannine McHaney, a new assistant professor in HPER, was appointed the Women’s Intramural Director.
Five women were enrolled in the first class of the newly established Law School. (photo)
Anita Carmona Harrison was the first native Latina Lubbockite to graduate from Texas Tech in 1967. She was also the "first person Mexican origin to go through the entire Lubbock School system and graduate from Texas Tech." (El Editor, February 15-22, 1979)
Rosemary Pledger received the first Ph.D. degree of Business Administration in Business Education from Texas Tech on June 1, 1968.
According to the September 20, 1968 issue of the Toreador, Mary Bobbitt was the only woman enrolled in the 2nd class of the Law School's second year in operation.
The women's swim team is formed. Some of the new members include Paula Clements, Jocelyn Treut, and Janet Morriessey.
A. Beatrix Cobb (Psychology) and Faye L. Bumpass (Classical and Foreign Languages) become the first females to hold the high rank of Horn Professors at Texas Tech. In April of 1969, Beatrix also became the first honorary member tapped by the Tech chapter of Mortar Board.
The women's swim team is officially formed with Mrs. Mary Ann Cobb as its coach. (University Daily, April 16, 1969)
Dr. Hortense W. Dixon, who majored in Higher Education and minored in Home Economics, was the first African American to graduate with a doctorate from Texas Tech University. She graduated in August, 1970, and then went on to become an associate professor of Home Economics at Texas Southern University. (TTU Press Release 5-9-15-70)
Hui-Ying Tseng was the first woman to receive a master's degree in agronomy from Texas Tech in 1970. (Photo)
Leslie Lohoefer and Karla Eoff, both from Lubbock, were the first women at Texas Tech to enter the AFROTC program. (TTU Press Release 7-8-25-70)
Dr. Sunanda Mitra was the first woman to be engaged in electrical engineering research at Texas Tech. She also helped organize the International Club of Lubbock's YWCA and was chairman of the previous year's International Faculty Women's Club. (TTU Press Release 13-6-25-70)
Per the Open Hours Policy a new women's dormitory curfew policy required unmarried women under 21 to a have more restricted curfew. Women eligible to stay out later were required to pay a fee of $5 per semester to cover the cost of the night watchman. (University Daily, April 8, 1970)
An exercise program for women faculty, staff and faculty wives was offered starting on September 12, 1972, in the Dance Studio of the Women’s Gym. (For Your Information newsletter, vol. 3 no. 6, Sept. 6, 1972)
The Women’s Intramural Department set about to implement a program of weekend recreational activities for women faculty members on campus (For Your Information newsletter, vol. 4 no. 8, Sept. 26, 1973)
In August, Margaret Briley, an animal science major, was the first to receive a doctorate in agriculture at TTU, as well as “the first person in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in agriculture at a non-land grant institution.” Following graduation Dr. Briley went on to teach food and nutrition at Texas Christian University. (For Your Information newsletter, vol. 4 no. 5, Aug. 15, 1973)
The second freshmen class of the TTU School of Medicine had 10 women enrolled in the program. (For Your Information newsletter, vol. 4 no. 3, July 18, 1973)
Dr. Marilyn Phelan was named the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School to be effective on Sept. 1, 1973. (For Your Information newsletter, vol. 3 no. 22, May 2, 1973)
In December, 1973, the first woman at Tech was commissioned in the Air Force ROTC. (Photographic Services negatives #121873)
Margaret Wilson is named the first “Woman of the Year” in a new Texas Tech program (For Your Information newsletter, vol. 4 no. 24, May 1, 1974). Faculty and staff were eligible for nomination for the award which sponsored by Mortar Board, Women in Communications and the Women’s Task Force. Selection for the winner was based upon the areas of “campus and community service, professional performance, concern for students and the role of women.”
Dr. Ann A. Daghistany, an assistant professor of English, is named the Texas Tech “Woman of the Year.”
The official women's basketball team is formed following the enactment of Title IX with Suzie Lynch as the team's first coach.
Jeannine McHaney was also appointed as the first Women's Athletic Director, a position she would hold for 10 years.
In May of 1975, the first female graduate received a degree in Agronomy's Production Horticulture.
Also graduating that spring semester was Sandra Kay Caldwell, the first woman to graduate with a degree in petroleum engineering. (Photo)
The High Riders spirit organization, founded to promote and support women's athletics, was created by students Nancy Hughes, Lyn Travis and Kathy Scott.
Cheryl Lynn Green was the first woman in Tech history to receive an athletic scholarship when she signed her athletic letter of intent on April 15, 1976. And, for the first time, Tech's women intercollegiate athletics would award 20 $500 scholarship for the 1976-1977 school year to women in the areas of basketball, volleyball, track, swimming, golf, and tennis. Additionally, Mortar Board announced it would sponsor the first Intercollegiate Athletic Banquet to honor women athletes. (University Daily p. 1 and 5, April 16, 1976)
Jeannine McHaney, the first appointed Women's Athletics Director, was selected by the yearbook as "Woman of the Year." (La Ventana p. 168)
Native Lubbockite Diane Parson, a track runner from Estacado High School, was the first African-American woman in Tech history to receive an athletic scholarship when she signed her athletic letter of intent in July of 1976. (University Daily p. 1 and 5, July 16, 1976)
Following the High Riders submission of a constitution to the Office of the Dean of Student in January of 1976, Joyce Davis Arterburn was chosen as one of two organizational sponsors. On February 2, 1976, the High Riders were approved as an official campus organization.
The cover page of the Toreador featured a story pointing out the glaring disparity between the men's and women's athletic facilities and staffing. (University Daily p. 1 and 5, April 15, 1977)
Frequent collaborators Alpha Phi Omega and Women's Service Organization chose to became coed and allowed members of each organization to join the other. The first woman to join Texas Tech's chapter of APO was Laura Peterson, a transfer student from UT who had joined APO there. [Laura Peterson Heinz later went on to be a Librarian a the Texas Tech Library] (University Daily p. 5, September 12, 1977)
The Texas Home Economics Association began awarding their members who had 40 years of service with the Mabel Erwin Award, named after Texas Tech Clothing and Textiles professor Mabel Deane Erwin.
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