Texas Tech University is a public, coeducational, research university in Lubbock, Texas. Established on February 10, 1923, and originally known as Texas Technological College, it is the leading institution of the Texas Tech University System and has the sixth largest student body in the state of Texas. With , it has the second largest contiguous campus in the United States and is the only school in Texas to house an undergraduate institution, law school, and medical school at the same location.
The university offers degrees in more than 150 courses of study through 13 colleges and hosts 60 research centers and institutes. Texas Tech University has awarded over 200,000 degrees since 1927, including over 40,000 graduate and professional degrees. The Carnegie Foundation classifies Texas Tech as having "high research activity." Research projects in the areas of epidemiology, pulsed power, grid computing, nanophotonics, and wind energy are among the most prominent at the university.
The Spanish Renaissance themed campus, described by author James Michener as "the most beautiful west of the Mississippi until you get to Stanford", has been awarded the Green Star Award for excellence in grounds-keeping, and has been noted for possessing a public art collection among the ten best in the United States.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are members of the Big 12 Conference (South Division) and compete in Division I for all varsity sports. The Red Raiders football team has made 31 bowl appearances, which is 19th most of any university. The men's basketball team has made 14 appearances in the NCAA Division I Tournament. Bob Knight, the winningest coach in men's NCAA D-1 basketball history, served as the team's head coach from 2001 to 2008. The Lady Raiders women's basketball team won the 1993 women's national championship. In 1999, Texas Tech's Goin' Band from Raiderland received the Sudler Trophy, which is awarded to "recognize collegiate marching bands of particular excellence".
Though the majority of the university's students originate in the southwestern United States, the school has served students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. Texas Tech University alumni and former students have gone on to prominent careers in government, business, science, medicine, education, sports, and entertainment.
The call to open a college in West Texas began shortly after the arrival of settlers in the area in the 1880s. In 1917, the Texas legislature passed a bill creating a branch of Texas A&M to be located in Abilene. However, the bill was repealed two years later during the next session after it was discovered that Governor James E. Ferguson had falsely reported the site committee's choice of location. After new legislation passed votes in the state house and senate in 1921, Governor Pat Neff vetoed it, citing hard financial times in West Texas. Furious about Neff's veto, some in West Texas went so far as to recommend that West Texas secede from the state.
In 1923, the legislature decided that, rather than a branch campus, an entirely new university system would better serve the needs of the region. On February 10, 1923, Neff signed the legislation creating Texas Technological College, and in July of that year a committee began searching for a site. When the members of the committee visited Lubbock, they were overwhelmed to find residents lining the streets to show support for the idea of hosting the institution. That August, Lubbock was chosen on the first ballot over other area towns, including Floydada, Plainview, and Sweetwater.
Construction of the college campus began on November 1, 1924. Ten days later, the cornerstone of the Administration Building was laid in front of a crowd of twenty thousand people. Governor Pat Neff, Amon G. Carter Reverend E. E. Robinson, Colonel E. O. Thompson, and Representative R. M. Chitwood spoke at the event. With an enrollment of 914 students—both men and women—Texas Technological College opened for classes on October 1, 1925. It was originally composed of four schools—Agriculture, Engineering, Home Economics, and Liberal Arts.
Texas Tech grew slowly in the early years. Military training was conducted at the college as early as 1925, but formal ROTC training did not commence until 1936. By 1939, the school's enrollment had grown to 3,890. Though enrollment declined during World War II, Texas Tech trained 4,747 men in its armed forces training detachments. Following the war, in 1946, the college saw its enrollment leap to 5,366 from a low of 1,696 in 1943.
By the 1960s, the school had expanded its offerings to more than just technical subjects. The Faculty Advisory Committee suggested changing the name to "Texas State University", feeling the phrase "Technological College" was insufficient to define the scope of the institution. While most students supported this change, the Board of Directors and many alumni, wanting to preserve the Double-T logo, opposed it. Other names—University of the Southwest, Texas Technological College and State University, and The Texas University of Art, Science and Technology—were considered, but the Board of Directors chose Texas Tech University, submitting it to the state legislature in 1964. A failed move by Governor John Connally to have the school placed into the Texas A&M University System, as well as continued disagreement and heated debate regarding the school's new name, kept the name change from being approved. In spite of objections by many students and faculty, the Board of Directors again submitted the change in 1969. It finally received the legislature's approval on June 6 and the name Texas Tech University went into effect that September. All of the institution's schools, except Law, became colleges.
The university was integrated in 1961 when three African-American students were admitted. After its initial rejection of the students' enrollment and the threat of a subsequent lawsuit, the university enacted a policy to admit "all qualified applicants regardless of color". The university offered its first athletic scholarship to a black student in 1967, when Danny Hardaway was recruited to play for the Red Raiders football team. In 1970, Hortense W. Dixon became the first African-American student to earn a doctorate from the university.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the university invested US$150 million in the campus to construct buildings for the library, foreign languages, social sciences, communications, philosophy, electrical and petroleum engineering, art, and architecture. Some other buildings were significantly expanded. On May 29, 1969, the 61st Texas Legislature created the Texas Tech University School of Medicine. The Texas Legislature expanded the medical school charter in 1979, creating the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. TTUHSC, which is now part of the Texas Tech University System, includes Schools of Allied Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. It has locations in four Texas cities in addition to the main campus in Lubbock.
In 1996, the Texas Tech Board of Regents created the Texas Tech University System. John Montford was selected as the first chancellor to lead the combined academic enterprise. Regents Chair Edward Whitacre, Jr., stated that the move was made due to the size and complexity of the institution. "It's time", he said, "to take the university into the 21st century..." The Texas Tech University system originally included Texas Tech University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. On November 6, 2007, the Texas Legislature ratified an amendment to the Texas Constitution re-aligning Angelo State University with the Texas Tech University System. Kent Hance, a former United States Congressman and Texas Tech University graduate, assumed the duties of chancellor on December 1, 2006.
Even though growth continued at Texas Tech, the university was not immune to controversy. In 2003, a third-year student at the Texas Tech School of Law filed suit against the university over its policy on free speech zones, which restricted student speech to a single "free speech gazebo". The following year, a federal judge declared the policy unconstitutional.
To meet the demands of its increased enrollment and expanding research, the university has invested more than $548 million in new construction since 2000. It has also received more than $65.9 million in private donations. Although it is not currently a flagship university of the State of Texas, Texas State Senator Kirk Watson is conducting a study to explore the possibility of expanding the number of Texas state flagships. Texas Tech is a leading candidate for inclusion in such an expansion.
By enrollment, Texas Tech is the sixth largest university in Texas and the largest institution of higher education in the western two-thirds of the state. It had a 2007/08 enrollment of 28,260 students. Most of the students came from Texas (85.17%), followed by New Mexico, California, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. Altogether, the university has educated students from all 50 U.S. states and over 100 foreign countries. Enrollment has continued to increase in recent years and growth is on track with a plan to have 40,000 students by the year 2020. Since 1927, the university has awarded 160,007 bachelor's, 30,985 master's, 5,197 doctoral, and 6,477 law degrees. The Princeton Review ranked Texas Tech among the 117 best colleges in the Western United States in its 2009 edition. The 2008 Shanghai Jiao Tong Rankings placed Texas Tech University at 302 worldwide, which tied it with fellow Big 12 schools, Oklahoma and Kansas State, among others. In its 2008 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university as a "Tier 3" national university with a "selective" admissions policy. As a state public university, Texas Tech is subject to Texas House Bill 588, which guarantees Texas high school seniors in the top 10 percent of their graduating class admission to any public Texas university. In 2008, 21 percent of incoming freshmen were admitted in this manner. Approximately half of incoming freshmen finished in the top quarter of their graduating class.
Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university offers 150 bachelor's, 104 master's, and 59 doctoral degree programs. Texas Tech has five satellite campuses located in Texas—in Abilene, Amarillo, Fredericksburg, Highland Lakes, and Junction. There are also two satellite campuses in Europe, located in Quedlinburg, Germany and Seville, Spain. Additional study-abroad programs are offered in various countries, such as Denmark, England, and Italy.
The Office of International Affairs supports and facilitates the international mission of Texas Tech University. It provides services for faculty and students, offers international educational and cultural experiences for the school and community, and contributes to the university's globalization process and its effort to grow as an international educational and research center. The International Cultural Center provides a continual series of conferences, lectures, art exhibitions, and performances.
In the 2009 U.S. News & World Report report on higher education, the College of Engineering was ranked 78th in the nation. The previous year, the college's Petroleum Engineering Department within the college was ranked 10th best in the nation. The college offers twelve engineering programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
The largest academic division on campus, the College of Arts and Sciences offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in a wide range of subjects from philosophy to mathematics. In 2004, the College of Mass Communications and the College of Visual and Performing Arts were created from programs that had belonged to the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Mass Communications offers degrees in several areas, including journalism, advertising, and public relations. Programs offered through the College of Visual and Performing Arts are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
Once the Division of Home Economics, the College of Human Sciences now offers degrees in applied and professional studies, design, human development, nutrition, hospitality, and retailing. The College of Architecture was founded in 1927 and offers programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
Rawls College of Business, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, is the university's business school. It is ranked by Business Week as the 45th best among approximately 800 U.S. public schools of business. The school offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in business disciplines. From its origin in 1942, the business school was known as the Division of Commerce, until it was renamed the College of Business Administration in 1956. In 2000, following a $25 million gift from alumnus Jerry S. Rawls, the school was formally renamed the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration.
In 1967, both the College of Education and the Texas Tech University School of Law were founded. The College of Education instructs future teachers and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The School of Law is an American Bar Association-accredited law school on the main campus in Lubbock. The school offers Juris Doctor degrees which can be earned in conjunction with Master of Business Administration or Master of Science degrees through the adjacent Rawls College of Business. In 2008, the law school had an 89.1% bar exam pass rate, placing it 49th among U.S. law schools.
All graduate programs offered at Texas Tech University are overseen by the Graduate School, which was officially established in 1954. The university's Honors College allows select students to design a customized curriculum that incorporates a broad range of disciplines, and offers students the opportunity for early admission into Texas Tech University’s medical and law schools.
In September 2008, the university added the College of Outreach and Distance Education. The college was created by bringing together the Division of Off-Campus Sites and the Division of Outreach and Distance Education. Texas Tech's six in-state satellite campuses are under the auspices of the college. Additionally, it oversees the Texas Tech University Independent School District.
The Texas Tech University System also operates a medical school, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. It offers Schools of Allied Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. While it is a discrete entity, separate from Texas Tech University, it offers joint degrees (such as MD/MBA) through coordination with the university. Further, the Health Sciences Center is located on the university's main campus in Lubbock. In addition to the Lubbock campus, TTUHSC has campuses located in Abilene, Amarillo, El Paso, and Odessa.
Classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with "high activity", Texas Tech University hosts 60 research centers and institutes. In 2008, a team of researchers from Texas Tech University and Harvard University announced the development of a siRNA-based treatment that may ultimately counteract the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Human cells infected with HIV, injected into rats, have been cured by the experimental treatment. Clinical trials on humans are expected to begin by 2010. Texas Tech researchers also hold the exclusive license for HemoTech, a human blood substitute composed of bovine hemoglobin. HemoBioTech, the company marketing the technology, believes that HemoTech will diminish the intrinsic toxicities that have stifled previous attempts to develop a human blood substitute. On January 14, 2008, Texas Tech University announced the creation of the West Texas Influenza Research Center. The university has concluded human clinical testing of oral interferon in a five-year study of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and continues its study of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Following a May 11, 1970, tornado that caused 26 fatalities and over $100 million in damage in Lubbock, the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center (WISE) was established. The WISE Center, which includes of indoor laboratory space, is focused on research, education, and information outreach. The interdisciplinary research program studies methods to exploit the beneficial qualities of wind and to mitigate its detrimental effects. The Center offers education in wind-science and engineering to develop professionals who are experts in creating designs which deal effectively with problems caused by high winds. WISE Center researchers contributed significantly to the development of the Enhanced Fujita Scale for rating the strength of tornadoes.
Texas Tech has made numerous contributions to NASA projects. Daniel Cooke, Computer Science Department Chair, and his colleagues are working to develop the technical content of the Intelligent Systems Program, and have been awarded a five-year budget valued at $350 million. University scientists have also teamed with NASA's guidance, navigation, and control engineers to develop the Onboard Abort Executive (OAE), software capable of quickly deciding the best course of action during an ascent failure. The Texas Tech Space Research Initiative has also partnered with NASA to perfect methods for growing fresh vegetables in space and to determine the most efficient ways to recycle wastewater. In November 1996, the university dedicated the Charles A. Bassett II Pulse Laboratory to honor engineering alumnus and Gemini-era astronaut Charles A. Bassett II. In total, Texas Tech has helped to produce four astronauts: Bassett, Bernard A. Harris, Jr., Paul Lockhart, and Rick Husband, the final commander of space shuttle Columbia.
In 2008, the pulsed power electronics laboratory received $4 million in federal funding. Among other things, the money will be used to create compact generators for weapon systems designed to destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The College of Engineering’s Nano Tech Center has received approximately $20 million in grants toward its work in applied nanophotonics, the creation and manipulation of advanced materials at the nanoscale that can produce and sense light. Texas Tech's Center for Advanced Analytics and Business Intelligence performs grid computing research through collaboration with the SAS Institute that seeks to improve the speed with which large quantities of data (such as those present in genomics and global economics) can be processed.
Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources has received state and federal grants for research projects including the fiber properties of cotton, the antibacterial properties of cotton fabric, and the development of chemical-warfare protective fabrics. The college has also created two grass variants, Shadow Turf, a drought-tolerant turf grass that thrives in shade, and Tech Turf (marketed as Turffalo), a turf grass with the rich color and texture of bermuda and the resilience of buffalo grass.
In 1998 the Board of Regents created the Texas Tech University Public Art Collection to enliven the campus environment and extend the educational mission of the university. It is funded by using one percent of the estimated total cost of each new building on campus. The collection features pieces from artists such as Tom Otterness and Glenna Goodacre. The Texas Tech University Public Art Collection is ranked among the ten best university public art collections in the United States by Public Art Review.
The university also hosts the Museum of Texas Tech University, which was founded in 1929 and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. The museum is home to over three million objects and specimens and houses the Moody Planetarium, art galleries, a sculpture court, and a natural science research laboratory. The museum also operates the Val Verde County research site and the Lubbock Lake Landmark, an archaeological site and natural history preserve in the city of Lubbock. The site has evidence of 12,000 years of use by ancient cultures on the Llano Estacado (Southern High Plains), and allows visitors to watch active archaeological digs. Visiting scientists and tourists may also participate in the discovery process. Lubbock Lake Landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a designated National Historic and State Archaeological Landmark.
Located on the northern edge of the campus is the National Ranching Heritage Center, a museum of ranching history. The site spans and is home to 38 historic structures that have been restored to their original condition. Structures represented at the center include: a linecamp, a dugout, a bunkhouse, a blacksmith shop, a cowchip house, a schoolhouse, corrals, shipping pens, windmills, chuckwagons, and a coal-burning locomotive.
The university maintains a number of libraries, some general-purpose and some dedicated to specific topics such as architecture and law. Among the most notable of these are the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library and the Vietnam Archive, the nation's largest and most comprehensive collections of information on the Vietnam War. On August 17, 2007, the Texas Tech Vietnam Center became the first U.S. institution to sign a formalized exchange agreement with the State Records and Archives Department of Vietnam. This opens the door for a two-way exchange between the entities.
There are over 390 student clubs and organizations at Texas Tech. Many students participate in Greek Life. The Student Union Building, located centrally on campus, is the hub of daily student activity. It houses restaurants, coffee shops, a book store, meeting rooms, lecture halls, movie rooms, and study areas as well as the offices and meeting rooms of the Student Government Association. Directly adjacent to the Student Union Building is the School of Music, home of the Texas Tech Goin' Band from Raiderland. The 450-member band, which was awarded the Sudler Trophy in 1999, performs at all home football games and at various other events.
Approximately 20 percent of students live on campus, and most students live on campus for at least a portion of their academic careers. Students with less than 30 hours of academic credit are required to live in university housing unless they receive an exemption. Specific dorms and communities exist for married students, graduate students, athletes, and various specific interests and academic disciplines.
International honor societies Phi Beta Kappa (liberal arts & sciences), Beta Gamma Sigma (business), and Tau Beta Pi (engineering) have chapters at the university. Professional and service fraternities and sororities on campus include Alpha Phi Omega (service), Delta Sigma Pi (business), Phi Alpha Delta (law), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (music), and Tau Beta Sigma (band). Professional development and research organizations hosted by the university include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, the Center for the Integration of Science Education and Research, the Society of Engineering Technologists, Student Bar Association, and the Texas Tech Forensic Union. Spirit organizations representing Texas Tech include the High Riders, Saddle Tramps, and the Sabre Flight Drill Team.
The university maintains KTXT-FM 88.1, a student radio station focusing on alternative, indie rock, industrial, and hip hop music. National Public Radio station KOHM 89.1, which features classical music and news, is also found on campus. Additionally, the university owns and operates Public Broadcasting Service television station KTXT-TV. Students run a daily newspaper, The Daily Toreador, until 2005 known as The University Daily. The university also produces a yearbook, La Ventana.
Of its varsity sports, Texas Tech's womens' basketball team has been the only one to claim a national title. The Lady Raiders, led by player Sheryl Swoopes and head coach Marsha Sharp, won the 1993 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. The men's basketball team has made 14 appearances in the NCAA Men's Division I Tournament. Bob Knight served as men's basketball coach from the beginning of the 2001 season until February 4, 2008. On January 1, 2007, he became the winningest coach in men's NCAA Division I basketball history, when the Red Raiders defeated the New Mexico Lobos, 70–68. Upon Knight's retirement, his son Pat Knight became the head coach of the team.
Since 1999, home basketball games have been played at United Spirit Arena, a 15,020-seat multi-purpose facility which cost $62 million to build. In addition to serving as home to the men's and women's basketball teams, the arena is used by the Lady Raiders volleyball team.
The Red Raiders football team, coached by Mike Leach since 2000, is a member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A). In each of its last twelve seasons Tech has finished with a winning record, the fifth-longest such streak in the nation. The Red Raiders have made 31 bowl appearances, which is 19th most of any university. From 1932 to 1956, as members of the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Red Raiders won eight conference championships and one co-championship. After joining the Southwest Athletic Conference, the Red Raiders added conference co-championships in 1976 and 1994.
Jones AT&T Stadium serves as home to the Red Raiders football team. The stadium, named for Clifford B. and Audrey Jones, opened in 1947. In 2000, the stadium was renamed Jones SBC Stadium after SBC Communications made a $30 million contribution to the university. Following SBC Communications' acquisition of AT&T Corporation in 2006, the stadium was renamed Jones AT&T Stadium. The stadium's original seating capacity was 27,000, but it was expanded in 1959, 1972, and again in 2003 to the current capacity of 53,000. On August 7, 2008, the Texas Tech Board of Regents announced a $25 million expansion project. The planned expansion will add a Spanish Renaissance themed facade to the east side of the stadium. In addition to the improvements to the exterior of the facility, the expansion with add 1,000 general-admission seats, 550 club seats, and 26 suits. Texas Tech has allocated a total of $19 million to the expansion and plans to add another $6 million through fund-raising initiatives. Construction is set to begin following the 2008 season.
The Red Raiders baseball team played its first game in 1925. The team has two conference championships, two conference tournament championships, and has made nine NCAA Division I Baseball Championship tournament appearances. Larry Hays coached the team from 1987 to 2008 and lead the team to a .639 winning percentage. Following Hays’ retirement on June 2, 2008, Assistant Coach Dan Spencer was promoted to head coach. At least 20 former Red Raiders baseball players have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. The team plays its home games at Dan Law Field. The field, located on the main campus in Lubbock, has a seating capacity of 5,050.
In addition to varsity sports, the university offers polo, rugby union, lacrosse, fencing, soccer, ice hockey, and other activities through campus intramural sports organizations. In 2006, Texas Tech beat rival Texas A&M to win the United States Polo Association National Intercollegiate Championship.
Today the Masked Rider, with guns up, leads the team onto the field for all home games. This mascot, adorned in a distinctive gaucho hat like the ones worn by members of the marching band, is one of the most visible figures at Texas Tech. Ashley Hartzog, a senior animal science and Spanish major from Farwell, Texas, will represent the university as the Masked Rider during 2008/09.
Texas Tech's other mascot, Raider Red, is a more recent creation. Beginning with the 1971 football season, the Southwest Conference forbade the inclusion of live animal mascots to away games unless the host school consented. For situations where the host school did not want to allow the Masked Rider's horse, an alternate mascot was needed. Jim Gaspard, a member of the Saddle Tramps student spirit organization, created the original design for the Raider Red costume, basing it on a character created by cartoonist Dirk West, a Texas Tech alumnus and former Lubbock mayor. Though the Masked Rider's identity is public knowledge, it has always been tradition that Raider Red's student alter ego is kept secret until the end of his or her tenure. The student serving as Raider Red is a member of the Saddle Tramps or High Riders.
The most readily identified symbol of Texas Tech is the Double T logo. The logo, generally attributed to Texas Tech's first football coach, E. Y. Freeland, was first used as decoration on the sweaters for the football players. The Double T existed in its original form as an official logo from 1963 to 1999 and was updated in 2000. The new logo maintains the original premise but incorporates three-dimensional bevelling effects coupled with white trim.
To recognize the importance of the Double T to Texas Tech, the class of 1931 donated the Double T bench. Per tradition, freshmen are not allowed to sit on the bench, which is currently located in the courtyard of the Administration Building. The logo is further embodied in the Double T neon sign, donated by the class of 1938 and affixed to the east side of Jones AT&T Stadium. At the time of its purchase, this was reputedly the largest neon sign in existence.
Carter claimed that Texas Tech was the ideal setting for the statue and that it would be an appropriate addition to the traditions and scenery of West Texas. The statue, estimated to cost (in 1950) $25,000, stands 9 feet 11 inches (3 m) and weighs 3,200 pounds (1,450 kg). The inscription on the plaque at the base of the statue reads: "Lovable Old Will Rogers on his favorite horse, 'Soapsuds', riding into the Western sunset."
According to one legend, the statue was originally to be positioned with Will Rogers facing due west, so that it would appear he was riding into the sunset. However, that position would cause Soapsuds' posterior to face due east, towards the main entrance of the school. The horse's rear would also be facing downtown Lubbock, potentially insulting the Lubbock business community. To solve this problem, the statue was turned 23 degrees to the northwest so Soapsuds' rear would face southeast in the general direction of College Station, Texas, home of rival Texas A&M University. Before every home football game, the Saddle Tramps wrap the statue with red crepe paper. In times of national tragedies, the statue has also been wrapped in black crepe paper.
One shoulder of the ring displays an image of the Administration Building, with the bells which represent victory. The other shoulder contains the university seal: an American eagle perched above a book, representing the church; a star, representing the State of Texas; a key, representing home; and, a lamp, representing knowledge. These elements are separated by a cross featuring ten cotton bolls, one each for Lubbock and its nine surrounding cotton-producing counties.
The Texas Tech Alumni Association, with over 27,000 members, operates more than 120 chapters in cities throughout the United States and the world. Throughout Texas Tech's history, faculty, alumni, and former students have played prominent roles in many different fields. Among its Distinguished Alumni is Demetrio B. Lakas, President of the Republic of Panama from 1969 to 1978. Three United States Governors, Daniel I. J. Thornton, Governor of Colorado from 1951 to 1955, John Burroughs, Governor of New Mexico from 1959 to 1961, and Preston Smith, Governor of Texas from 1968 to 1972, are graduates of the university.
Four astronauts, including Rick Husband, the final commander of Space Shuttle Columbia and recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and Bernard A. Harris, Jr., the first African-American to walk in space, are Texas Tech alumni. U.S. Marine Corps Major and Medal of Honor recipient, George H. O'Brien, Jr., is a distinguished alumnus. Richard E. Cavazos is a two-time Distinguished Service Cross recipient and the first Hispanic and Mexican American to advance to the rank of four-star general in the U.S. Army. The school's influence on the business world is seen in such people as former AT&T Chairman and CEO Edward Whitacre, Jr., Finisar CEO Jerry S. Rawls, Belo Corporation CEO Dunia A. Shive, and Wellpoint, Inc. president and CEO Angela Braly, ranked by Fortune magazine as the most powerful woman in business.
Texas Tech alumni have also made contributions to sports, music, and acting. Texas Tech Red Raiders have gone on to play in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, and MLB. Current alumni standouts include NFL All-Pros Zach Thomas of the Dallas Cowboys and Wes Welker of the New England Patriots. Others among the university's alumni are folk rocker John Denver, country singer Pat Green, and actor George Eads.