Tech Pioneer Women
Note: The information below was compiled from various sources and sited accordingly.
The Early Days
Florence Drane, in the first meeting of the Tech board of directors.
The Southwest Collection’s, Texas Tech in Retrospect by Jana Bryant ‘80
Tech's Pioneer Women
From the early days on the high plains of Texas, women played significant roles in the development of the region. Women were a part of that breed labeled as pioneers. As a part of the development of West Texas, Texas Tech provided an opportunity for women to be pioneers of education during the schools’ initial years. Four women – Mary Howard Doak, Elizabeth Howard West, Margaret W. Weeks and Florence A. Drane, true pioneers in every sense of the words, were deeply involved with Texas tech from the early days of its existence and left their marks upon the school.
Mary Doak was Tech’s first and only dean of women for 20 years, from 1925 to 1945. After relinquishing the deanship, she taught English for five years until 1950 when she retired. She was instrumental in establishing an honorary service organization for senior women called Forum. Today, the Forum chapter of Mortar Board is a national organization whose membership is open to senior men and women.
Elizabeth Howard West, Tech’s first librarian from 1925 to 1942, was instrumental in organizing two campus groups for women faculty members. In 1926, she formed the Tech chapter of the American Association for University Women. She then later named the Quarterly Club, a professional association for faculty members. After money was appropriated for construction of a new library in 1937, West personally helped ring Tech’s victory bells. She became Librarian Emeritus in 1942 and was research assistant in the history department until she retired in 1946.
Margaret W. Weeks was Tech’s first dean of Home Economics and served in that capacity from 1925 to 1953. Known as an “organizer, administrator and a tireless worker in the struggle for recognition of home economics, “ Weeks saw the school grow from 58 in the first classes to more than 1,200 by 1953. She helped establish the Double Key Honor Society in 1930, which later became the first Texas chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron in 1938. The Margaret Weeks Loan Fund and Weeks Scholarship were created in her honor.
Mrs. Drane’s statement perhaps reflected the attitude of the many pioneer women of Tech who did give their very best to this institution.
Women Serving the University
Mrs. Charles De Groff (El Paso, TX), Board of Directors 1923-1927
Texas Tech Alumni Profiles
Alumna Mary Jane Johnson, International Opera Diva; Bachelor of Arts/Music Education, 1972
Alumna Helen verDuin Palit, Founder of City Harvest, America Harvest, Angel Harvest, Aloha Harvest; Bachelor of Science/Sociology, 1978
Alumna Sally Davis, Mission Control; NASA; Mathematics, 1980
Alumna Angela Braly named 16th most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine
Alumna Linda Francis Lee, Best-Selling Author; Advertising, 1981
Alumna Ginger Kerrick, NASA Flight Director; Physics; 1991 & 1993