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History of The College of Arts and Sciences

Texas Tech circa 1928

Texas Tech Campus 1928

From its first year of existence until today, Texas Tech has graduated more Arts and Sciences majors than those in other disciplines.  Of the first class of 914 students who began study on October 1, 1925, 595 majored in what was then called the division of liberal arts.  Even though the main intent of Senate Bill 103 that created Texas Technological College was to provide instruction in technology and textile engineering, first President Paul W. Horn always favored the expansion of the disciplines offered to include a strong focus in the arts and sciences.

 President Horn's vision to encourage the growth of a liberal arts faculty in the early years set the tone for the growth of Texas Tech University throughout its first eight decades.  Approximately 1,500 of the 4,300 students who graduate each year earn a degree in on of the 120 degree programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

 Horn himself was educated in the liberal arts tradition.  He shocked several engineers on an early Board of Regents when he proclaimed, "I think there can be no difference of opinion concerning the fact that English is in general the single most important subject taught in our schools and colleges."  Horn also understood the importance of an international perspective, having been superintendent of the American School in Mexico City early in his career.  Thus, in 1935, the liberal arts division, later the School of Arts and Sciences, established a field course program in Mexico, which is noted today as the oldest continuous student field course program in the nation.

 The School of Arts and Sciences became the College of Arts and Sciences when Texas Tech became a university in 1969.  At the time, then Dean Lorrin G. Kennamer wrote that "it is obvious that a university without a central focus of Arts and Sciences is not a university but a specialized school."

 From the first years until now, Texas Tech has grown steadily.  The College of Arts and Sciences has played and will play in the future a pivotal role in defining the terms under which Texas Tech will come to be known as a great Southwestern university.

 Texas Tech's College of Arts and Sciences boasts 18 departments, 3 schools, 11 academic centers and 6 institutes.  Degree programs vary from Art to Physics, from English to Biological Sciences, from Mass Communications to Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work.  The academic centers and institutes of the college pursue scholarly interests in topics ranging from the study of the Vietnam conflict to studies of sport health and human performance.  Arts and Sciences faculty enjoy international recognition for their work in philosophical studies, forensic studies, and meteorological studies, among others.  Interdisciplinary programs in the college connect economists with philosophers, historians with chemists, studio artists with geoscientists, and musicians and actors with political scientists.  The wide scope of academic interests in the College of Arts and Sciences allows diverse people, ideas, and programs to come together for the purpose of teaching, learning, research, and service.

 At Texas Tech, the College of Arts and Sciences plays an essential role in the mission of the university.  Students with majors in the College of Arts and Sciences use their studies as entry points for careers in many diverse fields.  At the same time, students with majors in other areas of the university take courses in the College of Arts and Sciences, broadening their learning in the true spirit of higher education.  As Paul Horn knew well, a university exists not merely to train students, but to teach them how to think, carefully and critically, as well as to identify and solve problems, so that they are fully prepared to take their place in a democratic society and to enjoy personally fulfilling and rewarding lives.

 As the world becomes more complex, specialized skills become obsolete more and more rapidly.  The College of Arts and Sciences offers a diverse breadth and depth of learning, so that students will leave with strong, flexible abilities in many different areas.  Study, appreciation, and love of the humanities, mathematics, fine arts, foreign languages, social sciences and natural sciences have laid the foundation for many students' lives and careers.