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Texas Tech University Archives
Below are historical tidbits on the establishment and growth of Texas Tech University.

Establishment of TTU

Texas Senate Bill [often referred to as the "School Charter"]
Senate Bill No. 103 provided for the establishment of a “State college west of the 98th meridian and north of the 29th parallel,” thereby setting the ground work for the creation of Texas Technological College. Among the purposes of the college was to provide a “co-educational college giving thorough instruction in technology and textile engineering from which a student may reach the highest degree of education.”

See also Alumni, Former Staff and Faculty Interviews for more on Texas Tech history

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An Abbreviated timeline for the early history of Texas Tech:

  • November 11, 1925 - the laying of the cornerstone of the Administration Building
  • September 22, 1925 - President Paul Whitfield Horn and his wife held a reception for faculty at their residence
  • September 28-29, 1925 - entrance exams were held
  • September 29-30, 1925 - Registration for classes
  • September 30, 1925 - Formal opening exercises were held in front of the Administration Building at 4 p.m.
  • October 1, 1925 - First convocation held at 10 a.m. The college hymn, "O College Mother, Beautiful," was first sung. Classes began starting at 8 am.
  • October 3, 1925 - the first football game, Texas Tech vs McMurray, was held at 4 p.m. The final score was Tech 0, McMurray College 0.
  • October 3, 1925 - President Paul Whitfield Horn and his wife held a reception for students and faculty to meet one another.
  • October 3, 1925 - the first issue of The Toreador, the college's newspaper, was published. This issue, along with others, is now available for viewing online.
  • October 4, 1925 - Rev. R. Thomsen gave the opening sermon to the students and a union from all the Lubbock churches in the Livestock Judging Pavilion.
  • October 9, 1925 - Tech played its second football game, this time against Austin College. Final score Tech 3, Austin College 3.
  • October 13, 1925 - Lubbock churches held receptions for students of their respective denominations.
  • By the time of publication of the October 1925 Bulletin, 914 students were enrolled.
  • November 25, 1925 - First bonfire at a "pep meeting"
  • 1926 - Tech received accreditation by the Association of Texas Colleges and the Texas Education Agency (formerly State Department of Educations)
  • 1926 - Coach E. Y. Freeland presented the first letterman's sweaters during convocation in the Livestock Pavilion. The sweaters were scarlet with two black outlined T's. (The Toreador 1/9/26).
  • April 17, 1926 - the first All-College Dance was held on the rooftop garden of Cheri Casa Home for Boys. Programs of some of the Cheri Casa events can be viewed here.
  • November 24, 1926 - Coat-style senior sweaters were worn for the first time. The sweaters had a black "T" on them with a scarlet "Tech" and the numerals "'2" and "7" on either side. The design for a senior class ring was still under discussion. (The Toreador 11/26/26).
  • May 30, 1927 - Mary Dale Buckner became Texas Tech graduate at the college's first commencement ceremony in the college gymnasium.
  • 1928 - Tech received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
  • June 1929 - the first class graduated who had completed all four years of coursework at Texas Tech.
  • November 7-8 1930 - the first Annual Tech Aggie Rodeo was held.
  • 1931 - The senior class of 1931 gifted a large Double T Bench, designed by architectural engineering student B. A. Brady, to the college. The bench is still resides in its original location on the south side of the Administration Building.
  • 1932 - the first Homecoming Parade was held.
  • 1934 - the first men's dormitory No. 1 (West Hall) and the first women's dormitory (Doak Hall) opened.
  • May 8, 1940 - The first annual "Texas Tech Day" was observed by chapters of the Ex-Students Association
  • October 18, 1940 - Tech celebrated its first official Western Day.
  • 1945 - Tech received accreditation by the American Association of University Women
  • 1947 - Tech received accreditation by the American Association of Universities.
  • 1951 - Carl Coke Rister was appointed to the fist distinguished professorship at Texas Tech.
  • 1955 - The Board of Regents approved the changing of the name of the five undergraduate academic units from "Division" to "School" effective September 1, 1956. (BOR meeting minutes 11/5/55)
  • 1960 - Tech received accreditation by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
  • 1960 - the Atchiston, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway donated a locomotive bell to the Saddle Tramps  which was to be known as Saddle Tramp Spirit Bell No. 1 which would be used primarily at football games. (Tex Talks, May, 1960)
  • 1961 - The Carol of Lights tradition officially begins with student body president Bill Dean flippling the light switch in December of 1961.
  • 1962 - the traditional green color of the freshmen beanie with red lettering, often referred to as the "Slime Cap" or "Fish Cap," is changed to alternating red and black with a black bill. (Tex Talks, October, 1962)
  • 1972 - The Board of Regents supported an administrative ruling prohibiting the use of Memorial Circle and adjoining quadrangles for the Carol of Lights program. This was in response to a series of US Federal Appellate Court decisions  on the use of designated areas for specific uses (For Your Information newsletter, vol. 3 no. 11 and 12, Dec. 6, 1972).
  • 1975 - The official women's basketball team is formed following the enactment of Title IX with Suzie Lynch as the team's first coach.

Historical Publications on Texas Tech now digitized:

Several departmental biographies and historical overviews have been written, including:


Early TTU Footage

Tech promo film narrated by Tech graduate Clint Formby, 1947 (links to YouTube; 5:08 minutes long). The December 4, 1948 issue of The Toreador has an article on the front page about a Tech movie called "Futures Unlimited" in which Clint Formby serves as a narrator. This film on YouTube must be the same one as the $5000 one described in the Toreador article, which was financed by the Tech Chamber of Commerce and the Student Council. At the 0:54 mark Formby states "born only in 1925, Tech has already left its babyhood and is in its years of adolescence. Before it are growth and progress, and before it lies its maturity... it's unlimited future."

Texas Techsan Retrospective Articles and La Ventana

For over 25 years, staff members of the Southwest Collection have written articles on Texas Tech historical subjects and themes for the university's alumni magazine, The Texas Techsan.  These articles appeared under the title of Texas Tech Retrospective Articles.  As these articles cover many of the important subjects and tradition of the university, they have been digitized and placed online.  Click here to view the articles.  An index of the Texas Techsan for 1950-1951 is available here.

The La Ventana, Texas Tech's yearbook, has been digitized and is now available online.  Click here to view.

Board of Regents

The TTU Board of Regents, formerly known as the Board of Directors, oversees the university's growth, governance and maintenance.  It is composed of nine members chosen by the governor.

The Board of Directors/Board of Regents Meeting Minutes and Indexes to the Minutes are currently being digitized and are available here (1923-1960s).  The meeting minutes from 1999-present are available on the TTU Reports website

Although the meeting minutes for years previous to 1999 are currently not online, an index of attachments to these meetings is available.  It is arranged chronologically.


Texas Tech Songs and Traditions

Below is a list of songs associated with Texas Tech
  • 1925 - "O, College Mother, Beautiful" (College Hymn) by Dr. Paul Whitfield Horn, 1st President of Texas Tech
  • 1926 - "Tech Spirit Songs"
  • 1927 - "Texas Tech" by W. R. Waghorne
  • 1930 - "The Matador Song" by R. C. Marshall, music by Harry Lemaire
  • 1937 - "Fight Raiders Fight" by Carroll McMath, music from Three Days Fantasia-Overture by Adolph Lotter
  • 1944 - "Fight on for Texas Tech" and "Texas Tech Has Got to Win" by Thornton Allen
  • 1942 - "Red Raiders" by Fred Waring; the song was recorded by the Tech Band and chorus in 1950

The 1926 Texas Technological College Song Book included the songs below:

  • "O, College Mother, Beautiful" (College Hymn)
  • "Glory to Alma Mater"
  • "The Tech of Texas State"
  • "Anvil Chorus"
  • "The Soldier's Chorus"
  • "Hail! Hail! The Tech's All Here!"
  • "Matador Song"
  • "Good Morning"
  • "Our Girls"
  • "My Bonnie"
  • "Good Night"
  • "Farmer Leidigh Had a Farm"
  • "Spanish Cavalier"
  • "Funicule, Funicula"
  • "Bingo"
  • "Jingle Bells"
  • "Texas!" by W. R. Waghorne, 1924
  • "Star Spangled Banner"
  • "Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean"
  • "America"
  • "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
  • "Onward, Christian Soldiers"

Texas Tech Traditions:

History of the "Guns Up" Tradition at Texas Tech was written by L. Glenn Dippel in 1998 -- see U 23.6 Sports Information collection. Dippel is credited with coming up with the hand sign.

The first Monday in May of each year is officially "Texas Tech Day" [Board of Directors' Policy Statements, August 22, 1964]

Other Texas Tech traditions can be found here on TTU's main website. Another tradition at Tech is class gifts by the graduating senior class. Here are some of these gifts:

  • 1943 - funds were later used to help purchase a scoreboard for the athletic field (BOR 8/14/48)
  • 1948 - bronze name plates for campus buildings (BOD 7/7/48)


Enrollment and Graduation Information

Institutional Research and Information Management collections and compiles statistical information on the university, including enrollment, graduation rates and degrees given.  The reports are now available online and go back to the beginning of the university.  Click here for to view these stats. 

The Fact Books are a compilation of statistics on TTU's student profile and include information on student enrollment, degrees, credit hours, test scores, location distribution, majors, ethnicity, gender and age.

The first student to register for classes in 1925 was Irwin Coleman.

Texas Tech Firsts [University Highlights]

Below are some miscellaneous facts about milestones "firsts" at Texas Tech. Whenever possible, sources have been cited.

Educational Milestones:

Ph.D.'s were first offered beginning in the 1950-1951 academic year, with the Chemistry, English and History departments the first to do so. Later, Psychology and Education began offering Ph.D. degrees. (Memorandum from Office of the Academic Vice President, 12-21-60)

Mrs. Lucille Sugar Graves is noted in her oral history interview (1974) as being the first African American student at Texas Tech. She came to Tech with a bachelor's degree and was working on her master's degree in the summer of 1961. It was Mrs. Graves's persistent petitioning for entrance into the college that paved the way for other African Americans to attend Texas Tech.

Canon Clements was the first Texas Tech student to receive a Rhodes Scholarship in 1935.

Graduation Milestones:

  • Mary Dale Buckner won the drawing to become the first graduate from Texas Technological College. Buckner graduated with a bachelor's degree in English on May 30, 1927.
  • The first master's degrees were awarded in 1928 to Horace Bailey Carroll in history, R. W. Matthews in education and Walter Irwin Wilkins in sociology.
  • The first master's of science degree was awarded to Lonnie M. Starr, a agriculture student, in June of 1931. Starr had received his B.S. in agriculture from Tech in 1928.
  • Laura Song, a native from Korea, was the first Asian student to graduate from Texas Tech on June 5, 1933. She received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Home Economics. (June 15, 1933 issue of the Toreador)
  • Carl Bechtold was the first industrial engineering graduate in 1938. (Toreador, February 17, 1940)
  • Estus C. Polk, who majored in English, earned the first Ph.D. at Texas Tech in 1952. (Texas Techsan article, September 1952)
  • Ophelia Powell-Malone was the first African-American to receive a B.A. degree from Texas Tech in 1964. A short bio on her can be found on the MentorTech page.
  • James Clark Huff became the first Tech graduate to complete his entire degree requirements in the School of Arts and Sciences with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. (Tex Talks, August, 1965)
  • Reagan Harrison Beene Jr. and Eldred Donald Merkl were the first graduates of a Ph.D. program in engineering in 1965. (Tex Talks, August, 1965)
  • Anita Carmona Harrison was the first native Chicana Lubbockite to graduate from Texas Tech in 1967. She was also the first Mexican to go through the entire Lubbock School system and graduate from Texas Tech. (El Editor, February 15-22, 1979)
  • Stella Crockett Courtney oral history interview(2010) - first non-transfer African American student to graduate from Texas Tech University.
  • Rosemary Pledger received the first Ph.D. degree of Business Administration in Business Education from Texas Tech on June 1, 1968.
  • Fifteen students of the class of 1970 finished up their degree requirements early to become the first Law School graduating class in December, 1969. (TTU Press Release 5-12-17-69)
  • Hui-Ying Tseng was the first woman to receive a master's degree in agronomy from Texas Tech in 1970. (Photo)
  • 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)
  • Three additional Chicanos graduated from Texas Tech in 1972 - Bidal Aguero, Jesse Rangel, and Rosa Gonzalez. (El Editor, February 15-22, 1979)

Other University Milestones:

  • Greek-letter fraternity and sororities were allowed at Texas Tech beginning on June 21, 1952.
  • The all-male era of the Texas Technological band ended in the fall of 1941 when a few females wanted to be majorettes. However, a campus rule was invoked against girls participating as majorettes until after World War II. (TTU Press Release 6-6-23-69)
  • Maria Alejandrina Hevia was an international student from Brazil who attended Texas Tech in 1935. She may be the earliest cited Hispanic student to attend the university. She only attended one year and did not graduate from Texas Tech. (June 15, 1933 and January 22, 1938 issues of the Toreador)
  • In February 1967, Danny Hardaway became the first African-American athlete at Texas Tech to receive an athletic scholarship and he was a charter member of the university's first black student organization.
  • Mrs. Hazel S. Taylor received the first Ford Foundation Advanced Study Fellowship for Black Americans at Texas Tech in July of 1971. (photo)

Early Student Organizations:
A listing of some of the earliest Texas Tech student organizations is slowly being compiled and available here.


Chronology of TTU Departments and Degrees

Below is information on the development of departments and colleges and the degrees they awarded.
  • 1923 -- On February 10th, Governor Pat Neff signed legislation authorizing the establishment of a new college in West Texas
  • 1925 -- 4 co-ordinate colleges: The College of Liberal Arts, the College of Household Economics [later called Home Economics], the College of Agriculture, and the College of Engineering. All were four year course systems.
  • 1925 -- first classes held at Texas Technological College in September for first year freshman and sophomores
  • 1925 -- The College of Liberal Arts offered a A. B. degree, while the other three colleges offered a B. S. degree
  • 1926 -- starting in September, classes held at Texas Technological College for junior classes
  • 1927 -- starting in September, classes held at Texas Technological College for senior classes
  • 1928 -- the first master's degrees were given to three Tech students.
  • 1933 -- the first Law class was organized at Tech
  • 1935 -- the Graduate School is inaugurated
  • 1937 -- the Journalism Department is established.
  • 1942 -- the School of Business Administration is inaugurated
  • 1949 -- the Graduate Council expresses concern that Tech is "making a very poor showing as to the number of our graduate students" and recommends three recommendations, including offering a Doctor's degree (BOD 1/15/49)
  • 1949 -- approved conferring of degrees for emergency purposes at the conclusion of each fall semester (BOD 12/10/49 #357)
  • 1952 -- the first Ph.D. was awarded (for a photo, see Heritage Club Photograph Collection #E178)
  • 1964 -- approval for the Law School was received
  • 1967 -- the Law School was inaugurated
  • 1971 -- the Department of Mass Communications was formed by combining the Journalism Department and courses in telecommunications from the Speech Department, and advertising courses from the School of Businessd
  • 2004 -- the College of Mass Communications is established as an independent college

Click here to view a chronology of TTU departments/colleges and degrees awarded

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