Texas Tech University

Tech Pioneer Women

Note: The information below was compiled from various sources and sited accordingly.

The Early Days

florence drane

Florence Drane, in the first meeting of the Tech board of directors.
Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

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 F. N. (Florence) Drane, a Corsicana native, was one of the first women appointed to Tech's board of directors in 1923 by Gov. Pat Neff, she served on the board continuously for nine years and in 1932, following the death of Paul Horn, was named as acting president. In that capacity she signed diplomas for the 1932 graduates. Her interest in the development of Texas Tech was best expressed in a letter written to President Horn in 1924 before the school opened: “It is impossible for me to tell you how very deeply interested I am in the College…I am giving the best I have to it, and will until is stands a living monument to the greatness of Texas.”

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

Women Appointed to the Board of Directors Timeline

Mrs. Charles De Groff (El Paso, TX), Board of Directors 1923-1927
Florence A. Drane (Corsicana, TX), Board of Directors 1923-1932
Haley, Mrs. John A., 1926-1939
Hobbs, Carey, 1987-1993
Jones, Nancy, 1997-2003
Kahle, Jean, 1986-1987
Marion, Anne W. (Sowell), 1981-1987
Meharg, Mrs. Emma G., 1933-1937
Montford, Debbie, 2010-2017
Phillips, Anne W., 1981-1987
Potter, Mrs. W. R., 1935-1941
Ward, Elizabeth "Cissy", 1991-1997
Woods Martin, Patsy, 1991-1997

Women Appointed as Deans

College of Arts and Sciences, founded 1925
#8 - Jane L. Winer, 1991-2010

College of Education, founded 1967
#8 - Elaine Jarchow, 1994-2000
#12 - Sheryl Linda Santos, 2003-2009

College of Engineering, founded 1925
[Renamed the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering in 2009]
#11 - Pamela A. Eibeck, Dean 2004-2009

College of Home Economics/Human Sciences, founded 1925
#1 - Margaret W. Weeks, 1925-1953
#2 - Willa Vaughn Tinsley, 1953-1971
#4 - Elizabeth G. Haley, 1981-2000
#5 - Linda C. Hoover, interim 2001, then becomes the permanent Dean in 2002-present

College of Visual Performing Arts, founded 2003
# 3 - Carol Edwards, 2007-present

Graduate School, founded 1937
#16 - Peggy Miller, 2010-present

Libraries, founded 1925
#1 - Elizabeth Howard West, Librarian 1925-1942
Note: Miss West has also been credited with giving the name La Ventana, “the window,” to the Tech annual
#2 - Emma Lillian Main, Acting Librarian 1942-1945

School of Law, founded 1966
#7 - Susan Saab Fortney, interim 2010-2011
#8 - Darby Dickerson, 2011

Source - Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.

Historical Resources

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

angela braly

Alumna Angela Braly named 16th most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine

In November, 2007, Braly was awarded the Distinguished Alumni award by the Texas Tech Alumni Association


Alumna Linda Francis Lee, Best-Selling Author; Advertising, 1981


Alumna Ginger Kerrick, NASA Flight Director; Physics; 1991 & 1993