(VIDEO) In recognition of a generous donation, and in honor of Tommie J Huckabee, the Texas Tech College of Architecture will be renamed the Huckabee College of Architecture.
Chris and Robin Huckabee, alumni and long-time supporters of Texas Tech University, have made a generous donation to the College of Architecture. The gift was made on behalf of the Huckabee family in honor of their father, Tommie J. Huckabee, and his contributions to the architectural industry and education.
Tommie was the first of three generations in his family to attend Texas Tech. Now, through his family's gift, the College of Architecture will be renamed the Huckabee College of Architecture.
Chris and Robin's gift will provide access to resources that elevate the educational experience for students and faculty while also supporting first-generation students, student scholarship, faculty enhancement and areas of greatest need. A key focus of the donation is the revitalization of the infrastructure in and around Huckabee College through renovations that touch classrooms, technology, landscaping and more.
“We are excited to see how this gift helps transform the college and Texas Tech University,” Chris said, “but most importantly, how it can impact students who might not otherwise have that opportunity.”
This sentiment is shared by Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec.
"The College of Architecture is renowned for producing technically-trained, high-performing architects, and this historic gift from the Huckabee family will enhance the already exceptional student educational experience," President Schovanec said. "The Huckabee family's commitment will have an immediate impact on our students, faculty, and staff, and generations of graduates will benefit from the legacy of this gift.”
Huckabee College is home to 861 students and 46 faculty members. It offers three bachelor's degree programs and three master's degree programs, including dual degrees with the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering and the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business. In 2019, Design Intelligence ranked the college 10th in the nation among architecture schools for the number of graduates most hired by firms.
In July 2022, Huckabee College named a new dean, Urs Peter “Upe” Flueckiger, who has been at Texas Tech for nearly 25 years. He is looking forward to working with the Huckabee family to build a vibrant educational environment where students can think critically and creatively.
“This very generous donation from the Huckabee family marks an important milestone for our college and Texas Tech University,” Flueckiger said. “The first architecture class at Texas Tech was taught in 1927 through the College of Engineering, and by 1986, Architecture was a standalone college. Now in 2022, we are newly named the Huckabee College of Architecture. This gift from the Huckabee family is transformational and will enable students, faculty, staff and friends of the college to reach new heights.”
About the Huckabee Family
Tommie was the first member of the Huckabee family to go to Texas Tech when he began his career in architecture as a student in 1954, predating the architecture building by 17 years.
By 1991, between Tommie, his wife Sylvia and their three children, the Huckabee family had received four degrees from the university. Phyllis, their daughter, earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the Rawls College. Their son, Tim, earned a degree from the College of Arts & Sciences, and Chris followed in his father's footsteps by seeking a degree in architecture. Upon graduation, Chris joined his father's architectural firm, Huckabee.
Texas Tech is also where Chris met his wife, Robin, an interior design student. Years later, their daughter, Mason, would graduate from the School of Art.
From 2015 to 2021, Chris served on the Board of Regents for the Texas Tech University System and led the board as chairman from 2019 until the conclusion of his term in 2021.
During his tenure, Chris helped guide the university and its students through a global pandemic and assisted with the creation of the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine. He also oversaw the transformation of a neglected patch of land with an uninhabitable structure into the renovated Dairy Barn — work that brings endless pride to the university.
A community leader, Chris is Chair Emeritus of the Board of the North Texas Community Foundation and is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization. He is a past Board Member of the Texas Tech Foundation, was twice appointed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and was a member of the Board of Trustees for Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Through the Huckabee Community Excellence Fund, the Huckabee family regularly gives to organizations that support education, health, community programs, arts and cultural affairs.
Chris serves as the Chief Executive Officer of MOREgroup, a family of architecture, design and engineering brands that serve clients nationwide with a staff of 700 and offices in 21 locations across the U.S. The founding brand of MOREgroup is Huckabee, an architectural/engineering firm focused on education that was started by Tommie J. Huckabee in 1967. Chris was named CEO of Huckabee in 2001 and has since grown the firm into one of the top educational design firms in the nation.
In 2015, Chris was recognized as a distinguished alumnus by the Texas Tech College of Architecture for both his business acumen and his dedication to his community.
Chris and Robin have long endeavored to champion student success, giving back to their alma mater nearly every year, 30 years in total, since they graduated.
In 2002, they established the Timothy Terry Memorial Endowed Scholarship for architectural students in memory of an employee and friend who passed away shortly after graduating from Texas Tech. They provided funding in 2007 to create The Corner, formerly known as the Huckabee Student Lounge, in the architecture college. This collaborative space was designed specifically for the needs of architecture students, providing an ideal location for studying, sketching and working on group projects.
The Huckabee family gift (amount not disclosed) is the largest ever made to the college. With the naming of Huckabee College, the family joins some of Texas Tech's most generous donors in naming a college and making an investment that will allow the college to advance the quality of its programs; enhance the level of talent recruited for students, faculty and staff; and multiply the impact graduates make in their field.