Texas Tech University – History in Pictures

Laying of the Administration Building cornerstone, 1924-1

It’s that time of year again at Texas Tech University when students old and new make their pilgrimage back to campus. Because TTU is approaching its hundredth year (in 2025! So close!), we thought we’d share a few photographs from its early decades. The photo above, for example, is a shot of the laying of the cornerstone for Tech’s Administration Building in 1924.

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This photo is not just a house on the Texas Technological College campus. You see, it was supposed to serve as the home of then-Texas Technological College (TTC) president, Paul W. Horn. But he rejected it, then removed it from campus to make way for a residence he found more suitable. The structure was removed to what is now 1611 Avenue Y where it stood until 2018, when it burned down.

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Texas Technological College initially focused heavily on agriculture education. Some of its student body raised livestock (typically dairy cows) on campus to pay their way through school. And some of their beasts spent time in the Agriculture Livestock Pavilion–otherwise known as the Aggie Pavilion–seen above shortly after its opening in 1925. It now rests not a half-dozen yards from the Southwest Collection itself!

Texas Tech basketball players 1927 composite

But you know what else went on in the Ag Pavilion? Basketball! There were no other facilities in which to play the game, so the 1927 basketball squad (seen here in a composite photo made for the La Ventana yearbook) had to handle their business Pavilion-style. Their first game, in 1926, ended in an 18-9 victory over West Texas State Teachers College (now West Texas A&M University, just up Interstate 27 in Canyon).

Cattle grazing near the Dairy Barn and Silo 2

This bucolic scene dates from 1925, with cattle grazing in a fenced pen near the Dairy Barn and Silo. Also featured: the Administration Building, the Agricultural Pavilion, the Agriculture Building, and in the far distance the Home Economics Building.

firstTTUfootballTeam

In the spirit of the upcoming football season, we also dug out this photo of the University’s first football team in 1926. Then known as the “Matadors,” they had played their first game the previous year against McMurry College at the South Plains Fairgrounds in Lubbock. Final score? 0-0.

firstbleachersatJones

The Red Raiders only had to play across town for one season and one game before a small field and bleachers were built on campus. Then, in 1947, the Clifford B. and Audry Jones stadium was completed. Its first bleachers are seen in this photo. The stadium could seat 16,500 students, although it boasted that it could do a full 20,000 if portable bleachers where wheeled in.

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The Jones wasn’t the only sports facility on campus in the 40s. Above you can see the TTC gymnasium and field house circa 1945. There was clearly something going on inside when this photo was taken, because these taxi drivers weren’t waiting around for nothing.

aerialviewNE1950

This aerial shot of the campus was taken in 1950. The photographer was looking northeast across Memorial Circle, with the Administration Building to the right and what was soon to be the West Texas Museum (and is now Holden Hall) on the center-left. It’s fair to say that things have changed just a little bit.

Presentation of honorary Texas Tech degrees to President

Our final photograph shows TTU President Grover Murray conferring honorary degrees upon President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz. Congressman George Mahon, who represented the region in Congress for over forty years, is standing behind President Johnson.

These images are but the smallest sample of the treasure trove of Texas Tech history in our holdings. Need more? Then look no further than our University Archives digital collections or our other photograph collections!

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Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Records

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The SWC has a number of scientific collections, both from individuals, universities, and other organizations. Not the least of these is the records of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS). Founded in 1958 in Los Angeles in response to Sputnik and the perceived lack of U.S. supremacy in the technology race, the ARCS Foundation has since provided to thousands of scholars awards totaling nearly $87 million and has grown to 1,600 members in 17 Chapters across the United States. Our collections focus primarily on the Lubbock, Texas ARCS chapter, particularly related to events and get-togethers they held, the most notable of which was the 2003 ARCS National Meeting held and hosted in Lubbock.

Lubbock’s chapter was founded by Fran Carter in 1972, and she served as its first president. Her focus was on recognizing outstanding students in a leading science field at Texas Tech University (TTU) and Lubbock Christian University. The creation of the organization was also influenced by Dr. Grover E. Murray, former president of TTU and professional geologist, after he discovered other chapters from cities throughout the U.S. In 2012 the local chapter celebrated its 40th (or Ruby) Anniversary and documented the festivities in several scrapbooks, the cover of one of which can be seen above.

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Another event is their annual Scientists of the Year dinner. 2003’s event celebrated the career of noted physicist Dr. Shubhra Gangopdhyay, whose work focused on semiconductor manufacturing. This invitation was sent to the aforemented Grover Murray, whose family donated many of the ARCS’s records to us.

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ARCS receives much of its support from donors, both at the local and national level. Documentation of donation drives, fundraising goals and results, and similar information comprise a sizable portion of these records. Fortunately, not all of them are dry financial reports. Here we have a page from a scrapbook acknowledging Lubbock’s many donors on the occasion of the chapter’s 40th (or Ruby) anniversary. These scrapbooks are some of the best parts of this collection, because through their photographs, biographies, and other personal elements they capture the human side of the organization.

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Interspersed among the newspaper and magazine clippings, correspondence, and scattered financial records in the collection is also a nearly complete run of ARCS newsletters, both local and national.This newsletter for the Lubbock chapter dates from Fall 2003, and concisely summarizes a great deal of organizational info: award winners, events both past and upcoming, and administrative information to which members otherwise might not have easy access.

In short, although the ARCS records are a relatively small collection, it is diverse and at the very least provides a snapshot of a large national organization is handled at the local level. The rest of the scrapbooks in particular are particularly interesting, and it’s a shame that we couldn’t provide more of them here. As with all of our materials, interested parties are encouraged to use our Reference Staff to the fullest if they want to see any of this in the flesh.