West Texans' dream was going through a coming-of-age. Much like a boy goes from Johnny to John, Texas Tech had to "grow up."

In its early years, the college was referred to as "tech" or "the tech."

While many tried to make Tech's name well known, many also believed the name "Technological" was a misnomer, complaining of difficulty in explaining its meaning.

On Aug. 31, 1959, Dr. D. E. Jones resigned as president of the college and ended his last official report discussing the issue of the name.

"Everybody in Lubbock, certainly on the campus these days, would have been through all of that and much more in terms of bringing 'technological' in any form with the term 'university'..." he said in the report. "If I were a member of the jury now settling the fate of the question, I would vote for Texas State University for Texas Tech. That's my feeling."

This sparked a heated debate about the name of the school that raged for another decade.

The name was something few could get right in the beginning of this long-awaited dream. Even after two years of working for Amon Carter, the chairman of the Tech Board, secretary Menzing, whose first name could not be found, was not always accurate in naming the college.

In the address of one letter, she wrote, "Dr. P.W. Horn, President Texas School of Technology." Letters often arrived addressed to "West Texas Technological College."

The Faculty Advisory Committee drafted a resolution Nov. 19 of that year recommending changing the name to Texas State University" or some name including the word 'university.'"

It was approved and requested for submission to the Board of Directors, now known as the Board of Regents. However, minutes of the meeting do not record the issue ever reached them.

The Ex-Students Association refused to agree with the faculty on the issue. The association's stand remained solid throughout the years of debate: Any new designation must clearly allow the continued use of the name Texas Tech and the emblem of the Double T.

The opponents felt "Texas Tech University" was a "corny name," according to Russell Bean, Tech agriculture alumnus, in a letter to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. The sentiment was that "Tech" stood for a simply technological school, and Bean did not feel that did the college justice with its diverse fields of study.

Some still agree with Bean. Vice President for Research Dr. Bob Sweazy said, "Many think (today) it's a technological school because of the name 'Tech.' It is the most diverse undergraduate school in the state."

Graduate school Dean W. B. Gates tried to compromise with the Ex-Student Association in a report.

"I well understand the sentiment attached to the Double T and the name 'Texas Tech,' but ... we need to look down the road to the future," he said. "If, however, we are unwilling to abandon the short name 'Texas Tech,' we should be able to settle upon a suitable university designation that would permit the retention of 'Texas Tech' for informal and sports events."

On Feb. 15, 1964, the new name seemed to be at hand. At a Board meeting, a decision was reached. According to the minutes, "The Board by unanimous vote approved the submitting to the 59th Legislature a bill to change the name 'Texas Technological College' to 'Texas Tech University.'"

The students were outraged. The Daily Toreador published an editorial by campus editor Gayle Machen stating Tech should not be branded with the red letter just because of tradition.

"Red Double Ts are fine but not when they become scarlet letters," she said.

A protest was held April 11 claiming Manuel DeBusk had "saddled our university with the stigma 'Tech U,'" according to a circulating pamphlet.

The bill moved slowly through Austin with little opposition. Governor Connally vetoed the bill April 4, 1965.

In 1966, The Daily Toreador changed its name to The University Daily in support of the name change. No real action was taken, however, until 1967.

The Ex-Students Association made the next move and decided to "reiterate and affirm" its support of the name "Texas Tech University." Austin was slow to react and merely asked for a committee to "study suggestions and recommend a new name."

The impatient students held five protests within eight days in May 1967, the last one sanctioned by the Student Senate.

The next year saw the campaign "Texas State in '68" rise with a majority of students and faculty, as well as about 6,000 ex-students. However, the campaign was dashed when the Ex-Student Association refused to take a sampling along with faculty and students.

The fight seemed hopeless.

That summer, Dean John R. Bradford of the College of Engineering wrote an article entitled "What's wrong with 'Texas Tech University?'" in the July issue of Texas Techsan. The dean's answer was "not a darned thing!"

The dean summarized his column by explaining that no major departure had been taken from technological training the college had originally been intended for and that as industrialization spread, so did the need of a first class university with technological and scientific studies.

This article shocked people on both sides, and they slowly came to realize Tech was a multipurpose university. After all, "Tech" was not really a word and no more descriptive of the function of the college than "Rice" was of Houston University.

In 1969, hopes were high as yet another bill waged war with the reluctant Texas Congress.

After 10 years of fighting for a name, Texas Technological College was renamed Sept. 1, 1969. The school that was almost West Texas A&M was now and forevermore Texas Tech University.

(1) comment

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