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.

TTU Women's History Timeline: 1920s -1940s, 1950s -1970s, and 1980s -2000s

Annual TTU the Women Who Shaped Texas Tech exhibit sponsored by the TTU University Archives.

Other TTU Women's History Resources: Also available are timelines for Texas Tech University, a History of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and a Timeline of Diversity and Inclusion at Texas Tech.

The 1920s

Four female students in uniform for a Foods Lab in Home Economics.

Tech students outside the College Inn, which was a boarding house for female students, located at 2448 15th Street in Lubbock, Texas.

1926 photograph of female students in bathing suits for their Physical Education class at Texas Technological College.


Of the 910 students that enrolled in Texas Tech in the fall of 1925, 268 were women.

Mrs. Mary Doak presided over the first women’s convocation was held on Monday, October 12, 1925, at 4pm. During the meeting the women voted to establish a Y.W.C.A. They also elected a temporary chairman for the Women’s organization. (Toreador, October 17, 1925)

The Women’s Athletic Association (W.A.A.) was established “to promote interest in gymnastic and athletic activities among the women of Texas Technological College as a means of advancing physical efficiency, scholarship and good fellowship. (Toreador, October 17, 1925)

The Home Economics Club voted to create a “loan fund” to provide for the accommodation of a female student starting in 1925 with $50 which the organization would contribute to through monthly fundraisers. They also decided to hold one social event a month along with other minor events. (Toreador, November 21, 1925)

November 23, 1925 - the freshmen class voted to adopt the “slime” cap tradition. Alternating colors of red and black with a small bill was chosen for the cap color and a green button on the top of the cap would signify the wearer was a freshman. (Toreador, November 28, 1925)

It was announced that Lalla Boone of the history department would write a history of Lubbock County and had asked old members of Lubbock to write down their memoirs for her to use. (Toreador, January 9, 1926)

Ruth Ava Stangel was the first faculty baby born following the opening of Texas Tech. Her father was Wenzel Louis Stangel, who was a professor in the School of Agriculture and served as its dean. In August of 1946 Ruth was presented her B.A. degree from Texas Tech by her father during the summer commencement ceremony.

The first women administrators were Mrs. Mary Doak (Dean of Women), Elizabeth Howard West (Librarian), and Margaret Bennet (Assistant Business Manager).

Two women were among the 9 members that comprised the first Board of Directors - Mrs. Charles De Groff of El Paso and Mrs. F. N. Drane of Corsicana.

Additionally, the first female faculty members included: Ruth Pirtle (Public Speaking), Flora McGee (English), Mrs. W. B. Gates (English), Lalla R. Boone (History), Elizabeth Stafford (Mathematics), Frances Whatley (Spanish), Johnnie Gilkerson (PE for Women), Margaret W. Weeks (Dean of the School of Home Economics), Jonnie Hemphill McCrery (Foods and Nutrition), and Dorothy McFarland (Clothing).

Agnes Brows was the secretary-treasurer of the first Student Association organization.

Two women served on the first yearbook staff - Anna Belle Collins, as Assistant Editor for the Editorial staff, and Agnes brown, as Typist Assistant.


During its second college pageant on June 1, 1926, Mrs. D'Aun Sammons Marshall was crowned the fist queen of Texas Technological College.

Margaret Turner worked on the Toreador in its second year in publication. She would later go on to support the college when she became the women's editor at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (The First Thirty Years, p. 328).


Of the 23 seniors depicted in the La Ventana yearbook, 16 were women. The first student to graduate from Texas Technological College was Mary Dale Buckner, who won the drawing for the right to be the first official graduate of the newly established college.

The the first social club organized on the Texas Tech campus, Las Chaparritas, was a female organization that initiated its first pledges on February 12, 1927.

The Forum, an honorary organization for women, was established in 1927 by Mrs. Mary W. Doak, Dean of Women, and accepted a maximum of 20 women of the junior class.

Anna Belle Collins served as the Managing Editor of the La Ventana. Two other women served on the yearbook staff - Pauline Trippet as Associate Editor and Irene Conner as Assistant Editor.

Anna Belle Collins also served as secretary-treasurer of the Student Council. Four other women served on the council - Elizabeth Schott, Glenys Honey, Faye Brooks, Sylva Wilson.

Ruth Slaton was selected as Queen of the Pageant.


After returning 15 minutes late from a dance at the Country Club, a small group of 10 female students were placed on probation as punishment "in the effort to instill in them the knowledge that they should leave a dance early when there was a long and pleasant road to follow going home." The spunky girls responded by getting a full page in that year's yearbook (p. 173 in the hard copy; p. 185 of the PDF File La Ventana) as "The Probation Club" with their individual photos, names and a short explanation of what happened.

Imogene Higginbotham, daughter of Assistant Coach Grady Higginbotham, served as a mascot for Texas Tech. Dressed in a matador-style outfit, Imogene participated with the pep squad on the field during football games.

Five women served on the Students' Association - Ella Mae Lyle, Lila Allred, Margaret Turner, Nora Cocke, and Sarah Williams.


Organized in the fall of 1929, the membership of the Association of Women Student's (AWS) included all the female students on campus. The executive council had three officers and two representatives from freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior classes.

Las Leales Club was a female fellowship society organized in the winter term of 1929 and its membership was limited to twenty.

Las Vivarachas was a strictly social organization established in the winter term of 1929.  Its members, all female, were officially presented at a Formal Garden Dance on May 17, 1930.

Mary Woodward Doak, Dean of Women, is credited with idea of a museum at Texas Tech. She gave a presentation on February 28th of her recent summer trip to England where she visited the British Museum. Discussions following the presentation spawned the idea of a museum at Texas Tech and the Plains Museum Society was established to collect items for a museum and push the idea forward to fruition. (The First Thirty Years, p. 280)

The 1930s

A scene from the Texas Tech Women's Recognition Day ceremony held on the south side of the Administration Building on May, 1932.

1938 groundbreaking for the new Texas Technological College library. Pictured with the shovels are President Bradford Knapp, Librarian Elizabeth Howard West, and W. T. Gaston, Business Manager of Texas Tech.

Group portrait of the spring Home Economics seniors for the class of 1930 at Texas Technological College.


Comprised of 15 freshmen women, the Girl’s Freshman Council helped secure a freshman representative position on the Student Council.

Les Cigales was a female social club whose purpose was to promote wholesome social activities and uphold high scholastic standards.

15 of the 43 graduate students enrolled in 1930 were women. (Link to Institutional Research's enrollment by gender statistics)

Edna Hougton received her B.S. degree in architectural engineering in 1930, thus making her the first female to graduate from Engineering Division at Texas Tech. After graduate school at the University of Southern California, she returned to Tech in 1932 to teach architecture. (The First Thirty Years, p. 169)

Kathleen Harmon was named the rodeo queen during the first Annual Tech Aggie Rodeo, which was held from November 7-8, 1930.

Laura Nackune Song, a native of Korea, enrolled as a sophomore in the School of Home Economics. (TTC Press Releases 1930-1931 )

Kathleen Harmon was selected as the first Rodeo Queen at the First Annual Tech Aggie Rodeo, held on November 7-8, 1930.


The first nursery school was conducted during the 1931 summer session and was housed in the Home Management House. The program expanded to the regular school year starting in 1938 with the completion of a separate building.

Sarah Michie (Mrs. Victor Harris), daughter of Professor J. N. Michie, first head of Tech’s Department of Mathematics, became the first woman graduate of Texas Tech to win the doctoral hood. She got her BA in English at Tech in 1931 and her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. (The First Thirty Years, 1956)


Mrs. F. N. Drane, Board of Directors member, served as acting president for three months following Dr. Horn’s death for the specific purpose of signing the graduating class of June's diplomas.

Ruth Pirtle, head of the Speech Department, was able to found the first free county speech clinic in Texas with the support of the Kiwanis Club. (The First Thirty Years, p. 323)

The Women’s Recognition Service was an annual springtime event from 1932 until 1947, when it was absorbed by the All-College Recognition Service. Doak, Weeks, and the Quarterly Club sponsored the Women’s Recognition Service, which was held south of the Administration Building. Beginning in the spring of 1947, men shared in the recognition service event.


Laura Song, a native from Korea, was the first Asian student to graduate from Texas Tech. She received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Home Economics on June 5, 1933. (June 15, 1933 issue of the Toreador)


Mrs. Margaret Brashears Atkinson joined the mostly male dominated field as assistant professor of engineering drawing. (The Firsty Thirty Years, p. 170)


Maria Alejandrina Hevia was an international student from Brazil who attended Texas Tech in 1935. She may be the earliest cited female Latina 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)


Texas Tech was the first Texas school to acquire a chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron, which was a national professional fraternity. The Double Key home economics honorary society became the Omega chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron at Texas Technological College in an installation ceremony on November 27, 1937.

The Council of Women Graduates (CWG) was organized on February 23, 1937 by 18 female Tech graduates. A brief history of its founding can be found in the April 1940 issue of the Texas Tech Magazine, which was produced by the Alumni and Ex-Students Association. The publication ran regular updates on the Council's activities. According to the mention in the 1937-1938 Home Economics Newsletter the CWG was established with the goal of getting Tech recognized by the American Association of University Women.

Mina Wolf Lamb was the first woman to receive a master of science degree from the Division of Home Economics.

Marie George was the first woman elected to the position of editor of the La Ventana yearbook, making her the first female to edit a student publication at Texas Tech. (The Toreador, February 27, 1937)

Maxine Fry McCullough was the first women student body president, serving in the role for the 1937-1938 school year.

Emily SoRelle, an engineering major, is noted as the first woman to officially join the Texas Tech Band. Band Director D. O. Wiley gave the current band members the option to vote on whether women could join the marching band officially and the vote passed.

Tau Beta Sigma has played a crucial roll in the history of Texas Tech's band program. The idea to create a society that would promote band work among women college students came about in 1937 by Tech Band member Wava Banes. With the aid of D. O. "Prof." Wiley, director of bands, several women in the Tech band program organized and created the organization, called Tau Beta Sigma, in 1939. They modeled it after the band fraternity already in existence, called Kappa Kappa Psi.


Only 25 Phi Upsilon Omicron chapters existed at the time and Tech’s first initiation dinner took place on January 15, 1938. (This is Omega Scrapbook, 1937-1958)

Casa Linda, the first college owned cooperative residence hall for women opened in January, 1939.

Mother and daughter, Mrs. Minnie McGee and Jean McGee, of Lubbock, Texas, both enrolled in Texas Technological College as freshmen in the fall of 1934. They graduated next to one another in August of 1938. Mrs. McGee planned to continue on to complete a master’s degree in history. (Home Management Scrapbook, 1932-1940)

By 1938, six times as many students graduated from the Economics Division of Texas Technological College as the first graduating class of the division in 1928.(Home Management Scrapbook, 1932-1940)

Mrs. John Haley, Board of Directors member, was elected acting president in 1938 following the unexpected death of President Bradford Knapp in order to sign the August graduates' diplomas.

Six women musicians were announced as joining the Matador marching band in October, along with 98 freshmen.

The newly founded Lubbock Dietetic Association was chaired by Christine Berrier, dietitian of the men's dormitory and a graduate of Texas Tech. (link to 1939-1939 Texas Tech Press Releases)


Opal Hill (Mrs. Gustav Johnson) was the first woman to graduate as a textile engineer and went on to become a technician with the Good Housekeeping Institute. (The First Thirty Years, p. 175)

Wava Banes, Emily SoRelle and Ruth La Nell Williams petitioned the Dean of Women, Mary Doak, to form Tau Beta Sigma, a band organization for women similar to the male counterpart, Kappa Kappa Psi. Mrs. D. O. Wiley, wife of the band director, was the organization's first sponsor and Wava Banes was its first president. (Link to The Toreador, March 31, 1944)

The 1940s

Jean Spencer giving little Marie a bath in the kitchen sink of the Home Management House on the campus of Texas Technological College in 1941.

President Clifford B. Jones, Mary Woodward Doak, and Margaret Watson Weeks.

Students helped keep the home fires burning by planting and maintaining a victory garden.


Mina Wolf Lamb was the first woman in the Division of Home Economics to receive her doctorate's degree (from Columbia University), and the second woman to graduate from Texas Tech to go on to receive her Ph.D.


In 1943 and 1944, Maxine Craddock was the second woman to serve as Texas Tech student body president.

Barbara Griggs, a four year member of the Texas Tech Band, was the second woman band major to graduate from Texas Tech. (The Toreador, April 14, 1943)


From 1944-1945, the student government officers were all women.

Betty Ricks was the first female editor of The Toreador newspaper. She held the position from 1944-1945.


Texas Technological College received accreditation by the American Association of University Women.


Due to multiple issues with establishing the national chapter in Texas, the Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was disbanded in January of 1946 and transferred to Oklahoma A&M to be incorporated in March of 1946. The Texas Tech chapter would continue to be recognized as the founding location of the organization. (Link to the Tau Beta Sigma Wikipedia page)


Among the first group of women to graduate from geology in 1947, Sylvia Clementine Cearley was hired by Shell Oil Company in 1948 and her expertise in stratigraphy made her one of Shell's leading experts in that area. During her 38 years with the company, Cearley continued to be involved with and support several women's organizations promoting the professional advancement of women and the advancement of women in the field of geology. Following her passing on February 10, 2019 at the 93, Cearley's estate bequeathed a large endowment to the TTU Department of geology "that should generate some $80,000 in annual student support for 'Geosciences Majors, with preference being given to those with links to organizations focused on encouraging young women of Science." (Caprock Connections newsletter, Fall 2018)


In June of 1948, Irene Knowles became the first woman to receive a degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech. (Tex Talks, July, 1950) She then became the first woman electrical engineer employed by the Texas Electric Service Company. (The Toreador, September 25, 1948)


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