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Texas Tech Celebrates 90th Anniversary

On Feb. 10, 1923, Texas Senate Bill No. 103 was signed to establish a Texas state college in West Texas.

Written by Callie Jones

Texas Tech has since grown to include more than 30,000 students, 11 colleges, a law and medical school, and a sprawling campus.

Texas Tech has since grown to include more than 30,000 students, 11 colleges, a law and medical school, and a sprawling campus.

Texas Tech University celebrates a milestone today (Feb. 10), the 90th anniversary of the passage of Texas Senate Bill No. 103, Texas Technological College’s charter. The bill, passed Feb. 10, 1923, was signed by Gov. Pat M. Neff to establish a Texas state college in West Texas.

In recognition of the milestone, a reception with cake and refreshments will take place at 2 p.m. Monday (Feb. 11) inside the Student Union Building courtyard.

“This is a great time for Matadors and Red Raiders to take a moment and reflect on the wonderful history, memories and life-changing events that being associated with this great university have produced over the last 90 years,” said Interim President Lawrence Schovanec. “What started as a vision to provide educational opportunities in West Texas has grown into a world-class institution of higher learning. As a result, the impact of our graduates, our faculty, our students and our research has been recognized worldwide. Here’s to another 90 years of Texas Tech pride, tradition and class.”

In February 1923, Texas Technological College existed on paper. However, the physical location of the school had not yet been determined.

“The governor appointed a locating committee to accept proposals for the site of the new college and to visit those sites to determine where it would be eventually located,” said Lynn Whitfield, associate archivist at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech. “We had more than 30 proposals from various towns in West Texas submitted.”

Lubbock was chosen as the future site of Texas Technological College in August 1923 with the help of Texas State Senator William H. Bledsoe, who authored Senate Bill 103 and called Lubbock home. The Lubbock community also played a key role by coming out to celebrate and greet the locating committee during its visit.

With the site of Texas Technological College chosen, the cornerstone for the Administration Building was laid Nov. 11, 1924. Five schools began classes in the fall of 1925, including Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Home Economics and Music.

“Just as Paul Horn, the first president of Texas Tech boldly envisioned, our university continues to dream big and exceed expectations,” said Kent Hance, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. “As we celebrate the university’s 90th birthday, this vision has never been more evident than through the recent success of our $1 billion capital campaign. The future is exciting for Texas Tech University, and we look forward to sharing our next 90 years of achievement with our loyal friends and supporters.”

Texas Tech has grown throughout its 90-year history:

Thousands of people attended the laying of the cornerstone of the Administration Building.

Thousands of people attended the laying of the cornerstone of the Administration Building.

  • Though the 1930s and 1940s were a difficult period for the country and for the college, Texas Tech established its graduate and business administration schools.
  • In the 1950s, Texas Tech developed its infrastructure and became a national presence in athletics by joining the Southwest Conference.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, Texas Tech officially changed its name to Texas Tech University; established a medical school, law school, museum and the National Ranching Heritage Center; and began to acquire an international reputation for its research activities.
  • In 1996, the Board of Regents created the Texas Tech University System (TTUS) with John T. Montford serving as the first chancellor. Under Montford, a return to Texas Tech’s legacy with the Master Plan ensured that future building would adhere to the university’s Spanish-Renaissance tradition. Montford’s wife Debbie helped re-establish Arbor Day to encourage campus maintenance and instill a sense of campus community.
  • Under Chancellor Kent Hance, TTUS has entered a new stage of growth and development. Angelo State University became part of the Texas Tech University System in 2007, Texas Tech University’s enrollment figures have increased to more than 30,000 students and the Vision & Tradition Campaign has reached its goal of raising $1 billion.

“All of this growth brings in more people, more students,” Whitfield said. “You see over the decades, the university keeps expanding and the town of Lubbock keeps expanding because the faculty members are buying houses, students are staying here and having families. The history of the two is just so interconnected in ways that you can’t really fathom one without the other.”

Texas Tech is also on its way to becoming an Association of American Universities Tier One University by achieving the National Research University designation. Texas Tech continues to grow its infrastructure with new facilities such as the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, Talkington Residential Hall, United Commons and improvements to Jones AT&T Stadium.

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Texas Tech's 90th Anniversary
90th Anniversary Logo

Texas Tech University was founded in 1923, and its impact on the nation and world has been nonstop ever since.

The campus has grown, but a tradition of big thoughts, hard work and honor, evermore, still reside in every fiber of this institution. Upon its founding, Texas Tech University’s purpose was to bring the highest quality teaching to the horizons of West Texas.

Now as the state’s next premier research institution, we are shaping the world.

Join us as we celebrate 90 years of Texas Tech by experiencing our history through photos and videos.

Long Live the Matadors

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