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Lindsay Mills • Elmira, NY • Class of 1981

I decided to attend Texas Tech in 1977 primarily because my father was an alumni, having graduated in 1950 with an Electrical Engineering degree. Growing up in upstate NY, long before the internet, on Saturday nights, we would sit in the family station wagon with the car antenna fully extended, and if weather conditions were right, listen to Tech football games on the radio. There was a 50,000 clear channel watt radio station in Fort Worth which would broadcast the games.

I had the opportunity in 1976 to visit the campus and quickly decided I wanted to attend Tech. I received my degree in Construction Engineering in 1981. Living in Murdough Hall, I met a group of fellow freshman from Sweetwater, Texas. We have been lifelong friends ever since. We get together whenever we can to attend Tech football games. On gamedays when we can't be together, we share a text thread where we all share our comments during the game.

My education has served me well throughout my working career allowing me to succeed in business and to be able to set up 2 endowed scholarships within the Construction Engineering Department. It has been a joy to read the letters from the scholarship recipients and hear their stories.

My daughter graduated in 2020 and is currently pursuing her Master Degree and expecting to graduate in the summer of 2023. There's something special about Tech and Lubbock. I've met some of my most memorable people during my time at Tech, consisting of Professors and students. It was a great experience that I was honored to be part of. I was particularly a fan of the Tech commercial with the slogan "From Here It's Possible". I'm living proof.

Wreck Em!

Glen Sirles • Southlake, TX • Class of 1972

When I was at Tech from 1968 to 1972 the Carol of Lights was a big a part of the holidays, as it is now. But in addition to the lights on buildings, Memorial Circle and the Engineering Key were lined with luminarias. They were not electric, but traditional paper bags filled with sand to keep them in place and hold a candle inside.

Every night the landscape staff tended the luminarias, lighting each one. The effect was amazing because there were so many. I miss them when I see pictures of today's Carol of Lights. For many years now my family has included luminarias in our outdoor holiday decorations.

Although electric, they remind me of the many nights at Tech I walked across campus to or from the Library or Computer buildings and enjoyed the amazing site the staff had prepared for us students.

Narissra Punyanunt-Carter • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1996 and 1997

Dr. David Roach was most impactful on my career and my life. He encouraged me to consider graduate school. He believed in me and encouraged me to apply for a Ph.D. program. I would have never ever considered doing that unless he told me that he thought I could do it. He spent countless hours helping me become a better scholar.

Michael Meza • Lubbock, TX • Class of 2007 and 2008

My affiliation with Texas Tech University began as a young boy, and it now spans 5 decades!

In the seventies, I listened to Texas Tech football games on the radio, because back then not too many football games were televised. I can still hear the Victory Bells ringing after a win! Later, in 1977 at the age of 14 I received a golden opportunity to work in the Chemistry department at Texas Tech. I was actually trained to run the mass spectrometer that analyzed unknown chemical solutions for the Chemistry students! This machine cost more than a $!00K, and I was supposed to work there part time during the school year. Unfortunately, the deal fell through, when the engineer who had trained me to operate the machine went on strike. Apparently, he had been doing the job of two people for months, and the only reason he didn't raise a fuss was because he didn't want me to lose my position. Imagine, a professional placing his life on hold for a 14 year old! I told him not to worry about me. Yes, it was a great opportunity for me, but I was a kid and he had a family to think about. Anyway, he went on strike the next day and I was reassigned to the Chemistry labs.

The new job was not as glamorous, but the experience with the engineer made a major impact in my life. I don't remember his name, but I owe him a debt of gratitude for raising my self esteem at such a young age and enlarging my future perspective!

Eventually, I would go on to serve in the Navy as an engineer, a Lubbock policeman, and now as a teacher at Lubbock Cooper ISD. Of course, I also attended and graduated from Texas Tech University! I have truly been blessed, Guns Up, Texas Tech!

Dwight Pounds, PhD • Bowling Green, KY • Class of 1958 and 1963

My story concerns a night game between Texas Technological College with Texas A&M played in College Station in the Fall of 1954. The 1953 Red Raider team was quite good, had a very successful season, and went to the Gator Bowl where the Masked Rider tradition began. The 1954 team was not quite as capable, so much so that very little thought had been given to the possibility that we might win this game and/or have someone on hand to ring the Victory Bell if necessary. Low and behold, we rather unexpectedly won the game...but only muffled silence from the Administration Building tower greeted our ears. I happened to be in the area of the quadrangle when approached by three fellow students, two of them freshmen, as was I, easily identified by the green "slime caps" we were required to wear at that time. "Hey Fish, come with us-we've got to get up there and ring that bell."

Two items here a reader has to understand: firstly, freshmen were addressed as "Fish" at any given place and time of day because that is how we (in our slimy state) were regarded. The green slime caps had given us away and we were subject to upperclassmen's bidding. Secondly, the "come with us" wasn't a request-it was a command! Upperclassmen pretty well had their way with us because that is how they had been treated and they were always out for revenge. Ordinarily my tendency would have been to respond to this bozo with a very colorful version of "go fly a kite," but the part about ringing the Victory Bell was enticing and made me willing to join this ad hoc gang of carillon volunteers.

We made our way to the Administration Building (which fortunately was unlocked) and quickly up three or four flights of stairs until we came to the caged area which secured the upper tower. About the equivalent of another story above us and hanging there in total silence was the object of our affections, the bell itself. Almost predictably the gate was locked and the fencing too high to scale. But there it was-so near, yet so far, with the end of the rope we hoped to pull curled like a finger urging us closer! Something had to be done! One of our number left to find the building night janitor, assuming he would have a key, and another ran to his car to get a crowbar from his tool chest. Curiously they both returned within a couple of minutes of one another. The custodian didn't have a key to this particular lock, but he was eager to help. "Gimme that crowbar-I know just how to jimmy this thing!" A few seconds later and no more a barrier, we pushed the gate aside and ran up the remaining steps, grabbed the rope, and began putting the final and fitting touches to our victory over the Aggies by ringing this too-long muted bell-and this in no small part thanks to a college employee who himself was willing to be complicit with four freshmen and one sophomore in nothing less than a "breaking and entering" scheme!

Postscript No. 1: The trespassing students quietly disappeared into the night after about an hour of ringing the bell following the treasured victory over A&M. Our friendly, cooperative and complicit custodian resumed his evening duties as if nothing had happened. The broken lock was replaced the following Monday without fanfare or comment from Security, nor was an investigation conducted. Our story, if anyone indeed ever wrote anything about it, didn't even make the back page of the student newspaper. How very neat! Conclusion-this apparently was by no means the first time something of this nature had happened!!

Postscript No. 2. The Red Raiders won the 1954 Homecoming game and we freshmen were at last permitted to discard once and for all the green slime caps!! Oh Happy Day!!

Amber Gregory • Bulverde, TX • Class of 2015

One of my favorite Texas Tech traditions is hearing the sweet sound of the victory bell ringing after a Tech win. I have heard the bell ring many of times but the sweetest recent moment was the 37-34 win over UT in football. Wreck 'Em!

Nina Cortez • Houston, TX • Class of 2018

I have too many incredible memories to count from my time at Texas Tech. Lubbock brought me the most incredible and indispensable friendships and life lessons. I have many professors from the College of Media and Communications to thank for instilling such a fire in me and guiding me down my career path such as Dr.Peaslee, Bill Dean and Dr.Taylor just to name a few.

Leave it to a tiny town in old West Texas to mold me into the person I am today. Because of Texas Tech I was able to both appreciate tradition and receive an outstanding education. Some of my favorite memories are throwing my first tortilla in the Jones, wild nights on Broadway with my pals and a taking in a fresh coat of snow in the English and Philosophy courtyard plus many, many more.

I am so thankful to be a Red Raider. Happy 100th Birthday Texas Tech and Wreck 'Em forever!!

Rachel Perez • Duncanville, TX • Class of 2010 and 2014

I attended Texas Tech from Fall 2007 - Summer 2010. The most life-changing experience I had was the study abroad program in Sevilla, Spain, in the fall of 2009. I went with the confidence that I did not know any Spanish, but I would have professors from Tech that would have experience with mono linguists such a myself.

The second week, I met a really great guy who would one day become my husband. We met at a bar and became best friends, hitting the gym together, watching soccer together, and traveling all over europe. I earned tons of Spanish credits, I learned the language, I bonded with my host family, and I learned a lot about life and the world.

My now husband eventually moved to Lubbock in summer of 2011 to get an MA in Romance Languages and teach undergrad students. We married in 2015. I'm so glad I went to Tech and to Sevilla!

Mickey Cole • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1970 and 1977

I graduated from Southland High School in 1967 with 9 others. That right...our senior class had 10 members! It was quite a shock to my system to think about attending a college as large as Texas Tech!

My family could afford to send me to college, but could not afford the cost of a dormitory. I started summer classes the week after graduation with my MOM! My dad decided that she was smart enough to be a teacher and help supplement the family income. So we drove back and forth to Tech from Southland, about a 45 minute drive. She majored in elementary education and I was secondary Ed aiming to be a math teacher. We went each semester and looked forward to graduation in the spring of 1970. We even had our picture made together in our cap and gowns.

Some of you might remember May of 1970. That was when a tornado struck! Much around the Tech area was destroyed. Graduation was cancelled and my mom and I never got to walk across that stage. I only have a picture to remember our special time together at Tech.

Kevin Rackers • Frisco, TX • Class of 1998

My kids wanted me to thank Texas Tech and all the great memories we created there, because without Tech, they would not be here right now. My wife, Jenny, and I met at Tech through my Fraternity, Kappa Sigma. We were in many of the same classes after we started dating before we both graduated from the Rawls School of Business with Marketing degrees.

We were both from the DFW area and moved back to Frisco, TX in 2001 after we graduated in '98. She has been the chief family officer since the kids were born and I have been a Certified Financial Planner for over 21 years now, and currently in Frisco with Edward Jones. Our kids are at Frisco Wakeland High School now Cheerleading and playing Baseball, but Tech still means a lot to us today even as we go back once a year to games, attend alumni events in the DFW area and still hang out with many of our old Tech friends still to this day.

Tech was not just a 4 year education, but more a part of mine, my wife's and now our kids life's forever! Thank you and congrats on 100 years! My favorite memories besides fraternity life was getting to the '95-'95 sweet 16 basketball team games half a day in advance to be one of the crazies on the floor (that was a fun year), and also seeing Tech beat A&M in College Station and hearing 80,000 fans completely silent was amazing! A sad memory was my 1st football game ever seeing our beloved horse pass away in '94. Seeing an entire fan base rally around a sad moment like that though was another reason why we love Tech so much!

Carl Carter • San Saba, TX • Class of 1964 and 1972

My memories of Tech involve two places. First, my living quarters on campus and, second, a feedlot on campus where I fed steers experimental rations.

In the summer of 1960 I was hired to work with the beef cattle herd. My living quarters was a three bedroom apartment in the building now housing the Texas Tech television station. Six students lived there, each working at some part of the farm; beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, swine or poultry. One guy cooked our meals, remainder washed dishes. He "requisitioned" milk, eggs and meat from each department. We ate well!

In the summer of 1961, I assisted in construction of a 200 head feedlot on campus (where the Ronald Macdonald House is now). Another student and I fed the steers at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days per week until they gained finish weight. Feed was hauled to the pens in wagons on rubber tires pulled by a horse and a mule. After harnessing a mule for the first time I soon could do it in the dark. No tractors needed, simply cluck to the animal, move up and whoa.

One day after feeding we thought it fun to race the animals to the barn. Two days later we were called to the department office. Prof. Ralph Durham said an elderly retired Dean of Agriculture was out looking at the cattle and observed our race. Thinking it was dangerous to do so, while drinking coffee with the president it was mentioned. The president called the Dean of Agriculture who called the department head who called us. Bottom line: No more races. Many good memories working wit all those guys.

Nick Grumbles • Seattle, WA • Class of 2015

As far back as second grade, I have been captivated by boats. I enjoy looking at them, climbing on board, peeking inside the cabins, and even drawing pictures of them. In 2006, at age 13, I visited the Turnagain Arm, a body of water outside Anchorage, Alaska and became inspired to build one. After graduating from Texas Tech's engineering school in 2015, I began saving money and decided to call my would-be boat the Turn Again. Despite this eternal desire of mine, I lacked the space, tools, and knowledge necessary for boat building, not to mention, I did not know how to sail. Many years would pass until a serendipitous encounter with a fellow alumni would allow me to realize my dream of building a boat.

In 2019, my college sweetheart Anna Lee (Wind Science, 2017) and I relocated from Fort Worth, Texas to Seattle, Washington for my job. Shortly after moving, Anna Lee and I ventured across Puget Sound on a whim to visit the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. It was at this spritely gathering of boatwrights and enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs, sailors and landlubbers that by complete happenstance we stepped aboard this beautiful 21-ft. wooden sailboat to introduce ourselves to Larry and Patty Cheek. While admiring the craftsmanship, we made a remarkable discovery: Both were Texas Tech graduates. They met while in school and married shortly before graduating in 1970 with degrees in journalism and music respectively.

As it turns out, Larry was not only a journalist, but an author, magazine contributor, retired creative writing professor, and an accomplished boat builder. Needless to say, we hit it off. A short time later, they invited us to their home on Whidbey Island for lunch and afternoon sailing. With a taste for late summer sailing on the Salish Sea, I was marveled by this couple who achieved similar dreams to my own. A few months would pass before I worked up the courage to propose an idea. In exchange for boat building experience, I offered to help Larry build his next boat. He declined, but graciously counter-offered with an opportunity to help build my first boat. And so it was agreed. Together, Larry, Anna Lee, and I would build a 14-ft wooden sailboat in Larry's workshop with his tools and of course with his guidance. They even offered to teach us how to sail it.

With designs from French naval architect Francois Vivier, we started working around Halloween 2020. We used marine-grade plywood for the hull and several varieties of hardwood for everything else. Construction began with the hull, which we built upside down. Then it was turned right-side up to build the inside with its decks and seats. Gallons of epoxy and a boatload of screws would hold it all together. At that point, it started to look and feel like a boat. However, Larry was quick to remind us that until she floats, this was merely a B-S-O (boat-shaped-object).

Throughout the project, I procured a trailer, hired a sailmaker, and signed up for sailing lessons. Finally came the masts, spars, and rudder. The project took approximately 1800 man-hours and spanned 51 boat building sessions, each requiring a round trip ferry ride from Seattle. Some days we made satisfying progress in a wonderful island paradise with excellent weather and long sunny days. While other weekends would be plagued by wind-driven power outages with dark and gloomy weather to match the equally somber realization of numerous setbacks. The project had many highs and lows, constant ups and downs, like the bobbing of a boat in the surf. Nevertheless, Larry and Patty were always there. Along with their cat named Kelley, they hosted us at their home and cooked us delicious food. Over countless dinners followed by generous helpings of pie, our cross generational relationship was strengthened by their advice on life, love, careers, as well as their on-going support after long days, good and bad, in the workshop.

This community was essential. Especially upon realization that due to a casually ignored gap, we accidentally built one side of the boat one centimeter longer than the other, making the transom (back) not straight. Well before, during, and after this moment Larry would quote a golden rule of the project: Boat building is not about preventing mistakes, it's about solving the mistakes you will inevitably create. Larry wrote a book on building his first boat and he still contributes articles to Wooden Boat Magazine, so I was inclined to believe him. Even before we mitigated that misalignment, Larry and by extension Anna Lee and I always remained confident that she would sail.

Finally, launch day had arrived. The water was cold but the sun was warm. As the boat slid off its trailer, the sky was a brilliant blue with wispy clouds that matched (our little dinghy with its cream interior) the hull and its cream interior. The hull with its vivid hue now contrasted nicely with the deeper shades of murky blue water. The boat dipped down as I climbed in, all of its wonderful woodwork shimmering in the daylight. Larry handed me the two oars and pushed us off. Pulling in the bowline, I glanced up to see Larry and Patty standing proud on shore. We made eye-contact and exchanged a relieved smile. Whew! It floats. I turned around to position myself for rowing, and looked back at Anna Lee seated near the tiller. The moment began to feel like a dream. Then my mind wandered to that time we built an accidental angle in the back and that pesky extra centimeter. Chuckling to myself, I recalled Anna Lee's clever suggestion for the boat's name after our mistake. A name that was not only unique but simple, relatable yet symbolic, comedic and yet justified. Her words replayed in my mind: "Instead of calling it the Turnagain, we should call it the Measure Again." What an elegant name thoughtfully chosen to describe an amateur-built wooden sailboat. My reflection was interrupted by Anna Lee shouting "You can barely tell one side is longer than the other!"

William (Tex) Wilson • Mt. Vernon, WA • Class of 1954

At age 93 I now reflect on my life in general and certainly my five years in Red Raider country, Texas Tech.

Becoming an artist of some sort was a dream of mine since the third grade but didn't know how I was going to achieve it. After graduating from Slaton High School in 1946 I learned that Texas Tech College in Lubbock offered a degree in Commercial Art. Interestingly, the Art and Architecture Departments were together under the Engineering Division. The tuition was $25.00 a semester and monthly room & board, $47.50. There were so many WWII veterans entering school on the GI Bill the enrollment at Texas Tech swelled from 1,000 to 4,000 students in a single semester. The rapid expansion caused numerous classes to be held in recycled army barracks. May seem archaic compared to Tech today.

I recall a few teachers and professors, i.e, Dr. Kleinshcmidt, Dr. Elizabeth Sasser, Edna Houghton, Richard Tracy and many others who helped immeasurably with my art and academic education. Joining the Socii Social Fraternity and the Saddle Tramps improved my social skills and created many occasions for promoting school spirit and just having fun. Carrying a full class load wasn't possible because it was necessary to have a part time job during the school year plus working for the Santa Fe Railroad in the summer.

Three years of service in the U.S. Air Force (‘50-'53) interrupted my college education but returning to Texas Tech and receiving a BA degree in Commercial Art in 1954 was definitely a goal accomplished.

My commercial art career and marriage to Ausma Tuims, a lovely girl who had immigrated from Latvia, began after moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1954.

Working for a variety of small businesses in the graphic arts industry was good experience but when a large Advertising Art studio hired me in 1961 I felt I had made it to the major leagues. The assignments became more challenging covering national advertisers and publishers, including Harley Davidson, Ringling Bros. Circus, Allis Chalmers, John Oster, Schlitz Brewing Co., U.S. Steel and National Wildlife Magazine.

“Freelancing” was something I had fancied so July 14, 1976, I declared my independence. Conducting business out of my own art studio went well until the Milwaukee/Chicago economic situation took a serious downturn in 1984.

In 1985, being empty nesters, my wife and I decided to make an adventurous relocation to Seattle, Washington. The freelance business there went well until about 1992 when personal computers began permeating the entire commercial landscape. A new career for me in Fine Art Graphics seemed a viable option. The sales of my ”Workin' on the Railroad” and “The American Cowhand” art prints and books have been rewarding.

Early in 1998 I was asked to design a giant mural for my hometown of Slaton, TX. I accepted the challenge and was honored to contribute my time and ability to such a worthy project. I still do work for the restored Slaton Harvey House and Railroad Heritage Association.

Even though I've lived in different parts of the country, Texas History and Texas Tech have had such a profound influence on me I initiated “Tex Wilson” as my personal and professional identification.

Ausma and I being hitched 68 years with 3 children and 3 grandchildren hadn't really felt old until our kids begin to reach retirement age. We currently reside in Mt. Vernon, WA.

Stanley Myles • Gaithersburg, MD • Class of 1968

My family hails from Ackerly, a little town in Dawson County about eighty miles south of Lubbock. My grandfather and my father were both well drillers, mainly involved in drilling wells for irrigation, but my father drilled wells for any purpose - residential water supply, oil and mineral exploration, and mining. His work required many moves; during my first 17 years we moved nearly three dozen times. I attended four elementary schools, one junior high, and three high schools in five states.

The one constant in my upbringing was Texas Tech. My father was a fervent fan and supporter of Tech football starting as a youngster following Pete Cawthon's teams traveling around the country in the 1930s. My parents told me that I attended my first Tech football game when I was only a few weeks old. One of my earliest memories was watching the game clock wind down at Jones Stadium. We attended away games whenever possible. The highlight of my childhood was being in the stands to witness Tech beat Texas for the first time in 1955.

Beyond sports, as a child and adolescent Tech was a powerful part of my very identity as I constantly had to reestablish myself in new towns and new schools. The connection to Tech that I felt was very personal. When I stepped on campus as a student for the first time, it was like coming home.

In all the years since I graduated in 1968, I have maintained my connection to Tech through sports and donor activities despite following a career that led me to live far away. My Tech roommates and I have together attended numerous Tech sporting events throughout the country, including nearly 40 football games. I support Tech through the Alumni Association, the Red Raider Club, and the Matador Society. I'm intensely proud of the progress Tech has made over the past fifty years to become a premier institution of higher and professional learning, as well as the vital contributions it has made to the well-being and development of the West Texas region. I am grateful to be a part of Raider Nation. As always, I'm thrilled to say "Go Tech!"

Amanda Dorton • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1991

I grew up a Red Raider, however I am the first in my family to graduate from Tech. My love of Tech started by being in The Goin' Band from Raiderland. Best traditions ever! Being a part of this Tech organization gave me a lifetime of friends, family and amazing memories. I met my best friends and husband of 32 years. My daughter was also in the Goin Band and a sister in Tau Beta Sigma. My pasion continues as my husband and I are still very active in the Tech band by being board members in the Goin Band alumni association. Ofcourse my education at Tech prepared me to teach for the last 31 years.

Molly Collie • Burnet, TX • Class of 1986

I wasn't suppose to go to TTU. But at the last minute came for summer school with a friend already enrolled. I stayed, I pledged Pi Beta Phi. And I met my husband Ray Irvin also a freshman who was on the basketball and baseball team at the time, later just playing on the basketball team. I missed few basketball games as we started dating before his first season. To go through the old Southwest Conference games and tournament, to the excitement of the 84-85 year when they won it all conf and tourney!

My time at Tech is intertwined with Tech basketball, Greek life and Ray. We went on to live in Lubbock for many years afterwards, our twins were born in Lubbock and their first game was at about six weeks old in the "bubble" old coliseum where Tech beat the Aggies and it was deafening packed house. The babies slept through the whole thing! Through the years we have attended and had season tickets for many sports. My children attended many events for kids on campus.

Sadly Ray died after a car accident in December 2004 and there is a memorial bench between the Marsha Sharp center and the Frazier alumni Pavilion. My children's last events with their dad include Lady Raider basketball game in December and the month before a football game where they were on the field with their dad for a pre game presentation. Ray is memorialized on the bench in an etching of him shooting the basketball in his #52 jersey. We have many great memories of Texas Tech during our college years and beyond!

Holmes Brannon • Shamrock, TX

So many great memories of my life at Texas Tech! Great professors, like Dr. John Paul Strain of the School of Education, campus events, dancing at Eli's, cheap dinners at the Tower of Pizza, etc. But the most vivid memory of my college days is the night in 1969 when the tornadoes slammed into Lubbock. When I think of it, the song that plays through my mind is "Oh What a Night!"

That evening, I was in the Tech Theatre rehearsing a play when the storm alarms went off. The cast and crew were herded into the basement below the stage to await the "all clear." As I recall, it was a party atmosphere, laughing, talking excitedly while listening to the roar of wind, rain and hail above our heads while we sat dry and safe. Suddenly, the power failed leaving us in total darkness for a few seconds until the emergency lights popped on. That stopped all conversation. What we next heard was nothing...total silence. Of course, curiosity got the best of us and we stumbled up the stairs, through the auditorium and outside to witness, for the first time, Texas Tech totally swathed in darkness.

The air was still, but rent with the wail of police and emergency vehicle sirens. I ran back into the box office to call my wife. By some miracle the phones still worked and I got her on the line. "It's over, honey, everything is okay." "Okay hell!" she shouted, "The roof is gone!" Normally, it took me five minutes or less to get to our apartment house (the Westernaire) at Avenue X and University. This night it took me almost 30 minutes. When I got to the front of the library I realized that several of the giant oaks fronting the Ad Building had blown over across the street. I had to drive up on and over Memorial Circle to get around them and make it to University. Our apartment house was U-shaped. Our side of the U was intact but the roof on the other side had been peeled back like a sardine can. Wifey and our dog, who had had puppies three days before, were shaken but okay. The rest of the month was spent helping other students not so lucky, picking up debris and mourning the dead and injured. The 1969 graduation ceremonies were cancelled because coliseum was being used as a homeless shelter and first aid center. It didn't matter. We were just happy to be alive. Edward Bulwer-Lytton famously wrote, "It was a dark and stormy night. Ol' B-L didn't know half of it!

Elizabeth Hoffman • Houston, TX • Class of 1984

I was in graduate school as an Athletic Trainer. My second semester, I met the love of my life, Van Hoffman. We were in the same graduate program. We were married for 38 years until his passing this year, 2022. I will always have very fond memories of the 2 years we spent at Texas Tech.

Luke Cotton • Fort Worth, TX • Class of 2014

When doing homecoming invitations in in October 2011 a massive dust storm aka 'Haboob' swept over Greek Circle while a bunch of fraternity guys: dressed up in suits, carrying musical instruments, and carrying heavy glass vases of flowers, scrambled around the neighborhood trying to outrun the storm and each other to the sorority houses. We unfortunately lost and had to stand outside, under the awning luckily, while other fraternities pitched homecoming for the next year. As you might expect, our presentation of dusty flowers and suits did not go well, and we didn't get a homecoming date. While it upset me at the time, it's a hilarious sequence of events and story of weird fraternity competition in hindsight.

PS I have time lapse photos of me running away from the storm, as it closes the gap on me, while carrying heavy vase in arm.

Kelsey Halfen • Richmond, TX • Class of 1998 and 2009

I loved my time as an undergrad at Tech but thing that really changed my life was my graduate work. As a young mom and new teacher, Tech offered an amazing opportunity to develop my career through the online Instructional Technology graduate program. I learned so much and was able to balance work, school, and motherhood. Since then, I have been named my campus Teacher of the Year in 2017. That same year, I made the finals for FBISD Secondary Teacher of the year and co-coached my first 6A State Champion Academic Decathlon team! Since then, we have won six straight Texas Academic Decathlon titles, broken the record for highest scoring team in Texas history, and made two trips to USAD Nationals.

This year I was named Texas Academic Decathlon Coach of the Year. Teaching and coaching are my absolute passion and joy. I feel like I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for the excellent education I got at Texas Tech University! Wreck ‘Em Tech! Thank you!

Meri (Beth) Miller • Corpus Christi, TX • Class of 2010

I attended Texas Tech for the Educational Leadership Program. Professor Fernando Valle was the leader of my cohort. He fostered such a great relationship and network between our cohort that we all became more than classmates but more like a little family. It has been 12 years since graduation and I will still always remember what an impact Dr. Valle made in my life. We learned together, laughed together, and even cried together as a cohort. He made as one.

Jeannie Lovett Barrick • Lubbock, TX • Class of 2003 and 2005

The choir room at Texas Tech has housed some of the most important moments of my life:

1.) March 07, 1998, as a high school senior, I met my husband, Clint Barrick, in the choir room when he played the piano for my audition into the School of Music. He says he knew immediately that I was "the one."

2.) September 11, 2001. I will never forget University Choir rehearsal that day as we cried, prayed, and tried to understand the horror of that day. Later that evening, while in The Lubbock Chorale, we watched President Bush's address to the nation together as a group.

3.) February 01, 2003. The space shuttle Columbia exploded while at a choir retreat. This was significant because Commander Rick Husband was an alumnus of the University Choir and had taken the choir's recording into space with him. He emailed our director, Dr. John Dickson, from space a few days before the shuttle exploded saying that he was exercising in space to the sounds of the choir. A few days later, we sang for the Columbia memorial in Allen Theatre.

4.) March 12, 2020. As a faculty member, I was in a University Choir rehearsal on the day we learned that campus would be shut down indefinitely for the COVID-19 pandemic. I remember the shock and confusion in the room as we came to terms that the semester ahead was being stripped from us amid unprecedented uncertainty of if or when we'd be back to school that spring.

The Texas Tech choir room has been home for many important days, relationships, and musical opportunities and is easily one of the most significant locations in my life.

David Teska • Lawrence, KS • Class of 1986

I was not native to west Texas although I was born at Fort Hood. I transferred to Tech in 1983 and would spent three years there. For all three years I lived in Coleman Hall on the 9th floor. I don't remember when during that three year period the weather event occurred but I will never forget it.

I was in my room looking across the courtyard when I saw a massive wall of dust coming towards Lubbock. It must have been 100, if not 1,000s of feet high and stretch east and west toward the horizon. Within minutes it was over the campus, cutting of the light and reducing visibility. The sky became a thick, brown haze. Then it started to rain - rain mud. As soon as it had arrived it past, the sun again coming out and the air returning to normal.

I'd been drying a t-shirt outside the window and during the excitement forgot it was there. I brought it in side - it was wet and coated with dirt. I only saw that phenomenon once in my three years in Lubbock but I will never forget it.

Tami Lee-Spearman • Elmira, MI • Class of 1988

I began attending Texas Tech in the Fall of 1983, two years after I graduated from high school. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, so I took those two years to try and decide. All I decided in that time was that I did not want to live in the small town where I had gone to school and work as a secretary for the rest of my life. Not that that is a bad thing, I just knew it wasn't for me. My mom continually told me I needed to get a degree in accounting because it was a safe way to stay employed for the rest of my life. I knew that was not what I wanted, either.

My freshman year, I took my basic classes and one of those was in a monster class for English Literature. That class was taught by Dr. Mike Schoenecke. I liked his class so much that when it came time to register for the next semester, I made sure that I took another one of his classes. At the time, I had thought about being a journalism major and was taking a journalism class; as well as an advertising class. I knew that I liked reading and writing, but wasn't sure I could do something with that.

In the second semester English class with Dr. Schoenecke, we had several essays due (this was a smaller class with around 25 students). At the end of that semester, Dr. Schoenecke talked with me and said that I should consider English as my major because I had a talent for writing, and that I could do many things with an English degree. He then asked me to be one of his assistants for the following school year. I was one of his assistants for the last three years of my education at Tech, and I learned a lot from him not only about English; but, also about how to deal with other people, especially when those people are difficult.

I took all of his film classes and had decided to begin my Master's degree in Film Studies after graduating with my BA in English Literature; although, Film Studies was not a program for a degree at that time. I did not finish my Master's and, instead, went on to work because money was a more important need for me then. He always encouraged me to finish my degree because I "had what it takes to make it in the industry." I wish I had listened to him instead of others; but, I am now writing because I still hear his voice in my head telling me it's what I need to do.

My life has taken me to many different states to live and I have gained a lot because of that; however, I will always be grateful to Dr. Schoenecke for what he helped me discover about myself. I was saddened to hear of his recent passing. The world was better for having had him in it, and Texas Tech was blessed to have had him as a professor. I know that many students came before and after me, and I know there are thousands of others who feel grateful to have had him as one of their professors. He was knowledgeable, talented, inspiring, helpful, a prankster and humorous man. He loved Tina Turner and golfing, but he loved his wife and family even more.

Texas Tech will always have a special place in my heart and I will always be a Red Raider. I am grateful for my time there. My daughter recently graduated from Tech with a degree in Art, and she knew from the first time she stepped foot on the campus at the age of five that she would also be a Red Raider. Texas Tech is a wonderful and special University with many amazing professors. Thank you for allowing me to tell just one of the many memories I have of Tech. Wreck 'Em!

TeeJay Smith • Amarillo, TX • Class of 1997

I loved throwing tortillas at the home football games.

Brett Nelius • Houston, TX • Class of 2011

The year was 2007 and I was walking from campus to my apartments on Main Street after class. It was late in the afternoon, and as I got closer to the apartment complex there was a young lady waiting for the bus. She displayed the classic signs of worry with pacing and looking up and down the street for the bus. Having been there myself hoping a bus will arrive to take me to campus in time, I asked if she could use a ride to campus.

A ride seemed the best offer because she was dressed in very professional attire, as if she had an important meeting. She quickly accepted my offer and we loaded up for the Student Union Building. We exchanged pleasantries on the drive and brief introductions, but nothing too deep. She said she had an important interview and was worried that she wasn't going to make it on time. However, we made it to the SUB just in time for her to make the important meeting.

I then left, happy to help out a fellow Red Raider in a crunch, thinking we may never cross paths again, but I was glad to help out a new friend anyway.

I think it was the very next day, I walked to my car at the apartment complex and noticed an envelope under my windshield. Inside was a card with a beautiful picture of a horse, and a note thanking me for the ride to campus. What shocked me was the news that my new friend, Ashley Hartzog, was going to her final interview to be the next Masked Rider, and she was thrilled to share with me that she was selected, in small part, due to her on time arrival for the final meeting at the SUB.

I was so honored to have a small part of the Masked Rider tradition and still enjoy the memory of the short drive to campus to help a fellow Red Raider.

Samuel Angel • Midland, Texas • Class of 2016 and 2018

Texas Tech fans are indeed some of the rowdiest, and I am proud of it to my veins. Home games always showed the visitors whose boss, and my favorite memory is the Texas Tech vs. TCU football game on a Thursday night in September 2013. By far one of the heaviest attended games of the season, we were showing off how good a team we could be, and the students cheered them on like a part of the team. The game was special, with Josh Abbott performing Victory Bells at the halftime show, a glorious win by the home team, but the best memory was the crowd. The rowdy, rowdy crowd.

Texas Tech Cheerleaders push the boundaries of leading cheers, especially when it's the right time and the right crowd. That night, the students were as loud as ever, and the echoing of the stadium from one side to the next made everything more intense. It all started with a simple "Raider" from one side of the stadium, followed by a picked up "Power" by the other side. We had just reached a third down, an adrenaline-pumping moment in the home games. "Raider" followed by a stronger "Power." There was a palpable energy as these yells were gaining strength in the crowd. "Raider" followed by an ever-growing "Power." The crowd became so intense the advertisement, fluff pieces they run from the end zone could not catch a break to run something. "Raider" followed by an even bigger "Power." The yell became something of its own, an unstoppable force of nature. "RAIDER" "POWER." The ground began to shake. "RAIDER!" "POWER!" You could feel the decibels like a tingle running through your body. "RAIDER!" "POWER!"

What can only be described as ground-shaking fans knowing their team could go far, showing their love. An event I will never forget.

Bethany DeLuna • Wichita Falls, TX • Class of 2021

My favorite Texas Tech story is how I planned the 2019 Homecoming Week parade and got to see my fellow Red Raiders' school pride!

Fred Satterwhite • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1962

I have fond memories of a very kind mail delivery person named Dudley. While I was at Texas Tech, in 1954 and living in Sneed Hall, Dudley delivered mail to the dorms and around the offices on campus. I was surprised at his profound memory of (what it seemed like at the time) EVERYONE on campus! Out of the blue, he would see me around the Tech campus and call me by name! I know I wasn't the only one who remembers him and his kindness. Wreck 'Em!

Ashley Morris • Towson, MD • Class of 2014 & 2016

As a Geophysics and Atmospheric Science student, watching the skies was a favorite pastime of mine while at school. From severe thunderstorms to ice storms to large hail - West Texas weather never disappointed!

I will never forget the day TTU campus went black and then red like Mars due to a rare haboob. A haboob is a giant wall of dust associated with a strong front or outflow boundary. In October 2011, a strong front brought a haboob that turned campus dark! Campus lights turned on and then there was an eerie red glow similar to living on Mars. I'll never forget cleaning the red dust out of the doors of my car.

Amanda Porter • Independence, MO • Class of 2012

Because I attended Texas Tech University, I was blessed with multiple long-lasting friendships. Because I attended Texas Tech University, I was provided an education from a top-notch school.

Because I attended Texas Tech University, I got to bask in years of traditions that helped build me into the person I am today.

Lastly, because I attended Texas Tech University, I get to work my dream job as a Child Life Specialist. I get to support patients and families in their most vulnerable moments. I assess how kids in the hospital are coping, provide education and preparation for what they are going to experience, encourage self-esteem, work closely with members of the disciplinary teams and we create opportunities for essential life experiences (birthday parties, graduations, holiday parties, etc). It is by far the greatest joy of my life. All of this, because I attended Texas Tech University. I will forever be grateful for my time in Lubbock at this phenomenal university.

Mari Kate McLaughlin • Dallas, TX • Class of 2020

Texas Tech runs in my family's blood. My late grandfather attended Texas Technical College and graduated in 1959. I, along with my father, mother, three siblings, husband, aunts, uncles, and cousins attended Texas Tech University.

I vividly remember my first Texas Tech University football game at age 7. I remember going to school the next week with a double T tan line on my face from a sticker I had worn on my cheek. I remember wearing my Texas Tech cheerleading uniform to school in third grade and for many Halloweens. In my parents' home, we have a Texas Tech themed living room with framed diplomas, TTU wallpaper, and many pictures.

I grew up loving Texas Tech because of the community, traditions, and values of the university. I loved the university because those before loved it. During my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to be a Red Raider. There were no other schools I had even considered.

During my years at Tech, my fondest memories were waiting in line for eight hours for the TTU vs. Kentucky men's basketball game and watching the TTU men's basketball team play in the NCAA National Championship. As a student, I walked on campus past the double T bench where my father proposed to my mom in the 80's. I walked past the class ring at the Merket Alumni Center where my grandparents' names are engraved in a brick.

In May of 2020, I graduated summa cum laude and was named the Banner Bearer for the College of Human Sciences. Now, I work for the university as an admissions counselor. I am grateful for the memories I made as a student, and I look forward to the memories I will make as I now serve the university.

I want to show students why I love the university and help them succeed as future Red Raiders. The university has seen much success in its first 100 years, and I know it will continue to succeed. Guns up and wreck 'em.

Larry Cheek • Langley, WA • Class of 1970

Officially, my transcript says I earned a BA in journalism with a minor in Russian. But I also had an unofficial minor, and as I look back on the half-century since my graduation, that one has made all the difference in my life.

In 1968-69 I was a member of the Tech Singers, the second-string Music Department choir that was good enough to be tapped for serious performances with orchestra, such as the Haydn "Creation" oratorio and Howard Hanson's "Song of Democracy." In my spare time I was also teaching myself classical guitar. One day as we were leaving the choir room after rehearsal a soprano friend named JoAnn Park, a music major, noticed my guitar sheet music and asked if she could look at it. I handed it to her. She opened it and saw immediately that I'd been penciling in the note names-E, F#, G#, A ... Her jaw dropped.

"Larry!" she squealed. "You're supposed to be able to read music in this choir!!"

Three dozen choir members, most of them thoroughly adept music-reading music majors, spun and stared, saucer-eyed. I begged the earth to open an instant chasm and swallow me. It did not.

I'd been singing in choirs for years. I loved music, and I had a good enough ear that I could generally intuit where the music was going and tune myself to the nearby singers who actually knew what they were doing. But read the music? Not really.

The choral director, Gene Kinney, somehow missed learning about the imposter in the bass section. I remained in Tech Singers and the next semester signed up for Music Theory 101. And in the semesters that followed, a bunch more music courses. By the time I graduated, I had 19 credits in music. And I could read music.

The journalism degree program was wisely structured with few required courses outside the Journalism Department, leaving us free to wander wherever our interests took us and assemble a broad-spectrum education. Besides Russian and music, I took electives in sociology, political science, French existentialism, Mandarin, and more. But of everything I learned at Tech, music has been the beating heart at the center of my life.

I met the woman who became my wife because of music. Patty Ball was a music major and was prepping for her senior recital when we had our first date. When she learned I could read music she asked me to be her page-turner. (I still am, 52 years later.) I became the music critic for the Arizona newspaper I worked for some years later and wrote hundreds of concert reviews and music features. I studied piano seriously and even taught for a few years. I built a couple of harpsichords. I regret that I never became a good enough pianist to play at a concert-quality level-I started much too late-but I saw many friends who were professional musicians struggle and was frankly glad I never had to earn a living at it. Music is way harder than journalism and unless you rise to the rarified top, it pays even worse.

I usually have music playing in the background for several hours a day now while I'm doing other things-writing, cooking, building boats, sweeping the porch. When a particularly interesting piece comes along I'll shift my focus and listen intently. And I'll understand quite a bit about what I'm hearing. I still love music more than anything else I've done in my life, and thanks to a supremely embarrassing moment at Tech in 1968, I'm no longer a bystander or imposter. I live in music.

Gary Swanzy • Fort Worth, TX • Class of 1978

I don't have any one memory of Tech. There are many. It was the whole experience of my four years on the High Plains. I had great instructors, mediocre ones, and some that were down right terrible. What I learned most was how to deal with the whole spectrum of life. Good people. Bad people. Experiences that will last me a lifetime and helped build who I am today. Mainly I learned how to deal with the highs and lows of life. What to look for to take any hope in bad situations or to just move away to something else. To enjoy what pleasures come my way.

To kind of paraphrase Kenny Rogers, I learned when things were going good or bad and what to look for to change the situation. Or to just move on. There were a lot of people from different states and countries so what mainly I learned was how to deal with the differences that make life the wonderful journey that it is.

Dorothy Davidson • Abilene, TX • Class of 1961

What a blessing that I enrolled at Texas Tech in September, 1957, attended classes, participated in campus activities and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Home Economics Education in May, 1961! The Faculty and Staff, as well as the carefully-planned and well-maintained facilities, provided superior, meaningful experiences for me. Dean Willa Vaughn Tinsley, Dr. Gene helden, Dr. Mina Lamb, Ethel Jane Beitler, Dr. Elmer Knowles, Clara McPherson and Gladys Holden, to name a few, served as role models who provided classroom experiences in a professional, knowledgeable, practical, forward-thinking manner. They were always available, approachable, caring and interested in the students. I am a proud, grateful graduate of Texas Tech University!

Richard Ledesma • Lubbock, TX

As kids growing up in the 90's right across from the stadium. We would walk up to the practice field and watch our Red Raiders practice. One day out of the blue Coach dykes sees us and walked up up to at the time a 4 ft gate and says would y'all like to get up here and meet the guys we said yes. In shock of him calling the guys over I never forgot feeling so small. First up in his trademark half jersey # 35 himself Zack Thomas I remember feeling like my hand was gunna break lol. Then shaking Byron Hanspard hand. Playing catch with Zebe Lethridge, Tony Darden. That as a kid will always be what made me a Red Raider!

Nicolas Lessault • San Francisco, CA

I will always remember this one Thursday where my friends and I spent some time at the outdoor pool on campus, weather was great, hot and sunny. We went to Crickets that same night and walking back to Carpenter/Wells I was freezing. The following Friday, class was canceled due to snow.

Margaret Boeneke • Round Rock, TX • Class of 2004

As I was leaving campus one afternoon a rainstorm kicked up. I wasn't worried because I had my umbrella, but as I approached the edge of the commuter lot, the road between me and my car looked more like a canal. Those flat roads in Lubbock can flood so fast!

As I stood on the sidewalk getting up the courage to sacrifice my shoes and wade into the ankle-deep water, a fellow student pulled his pickup up on the sidewalk and asked if I needed a lift across the flooded street. He dropped me off a few yards away by my car, saving my shoes and cementing my belief that Red Raiders are the friendliest people on earth!

Sara Sitsch • Houston, TX • Class of 2015

November 1, 2008 - It would not shock me if a multitude of your Texas Tech sports memory submissions took place on this date.

As an eight grade girl, I'm sure some of my friends thought it was off how excited I was for this home football game vs Texas. My parents had held season tickets for a few years by that point and every Saturday in the fall, I could hardly wait to put on my Tech jersey and make the two hour drive from Amarillo to Lubbock. I lived for the opportunity to tailgate with family, friends, and throw the occasional tortilla inside The Jones.

However, this day felt different. Students had been camping for days. College Gameday would be onsite. There was a distinct buzz in the air as though the entire city of Lubbock knew how big this game would be against a top ranked Longhorn squad.

I still get goosebumps when I think about the game. It had everything - a pick six, late comeback by UT, and of course, the most improbable play from Harrell to Crabtree. At the time, I was on crutches, but all I wanted to do was stormed the field after the last seconds ticked off.

Since 2008, I have gone on to work in Texas Tech's athletic department as a student, graduate from Rawls, and pursue a career in sports marketing. I credit my longstanding passion for college athletics to the magic surrounding The Jones that magical night in November.

Brice Key • Amarillo, TX • Class of 1994 and 2011

Texas Tech alumnus and Ag Science & Natural Resources 1994 graduate, Brice Key, and his daughter, current Tech student, Emma Key, are reaching new heights in their prospective roles in the business world.

Emma, who grew up in Gail, TX and who is currently a Senior at Texas Tech University, started with Chick-fil-A in 2019 in Lubbock. Over the past three years, she has been promoted from Team Member to Team Lead to Store Manager to Director, and now, last week at the tender age of 21, she has been promoted to Executive Director within the Chick-fil-A organization. The Executive Director is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the CFA stores and strategic organizational planning. The only higher level is owner/operator. Emma is the youngest ED in Lubbock CFA history. She was also named "Chick-fil-A 2021 Employee of the Year" winning a sizable academic scholarship. Emma will graduate from Texas Tech with her Bachelor's degree in the Spring of 2023. When CFA thanked Emma for her leadership and continued loyalty to the brand of Chick-fil-A she replied with a smile..."my pleasure."

Her father, Brice Key, who also grew up in Gail on his family's cattle ranch and who is also a Texas Tech University graduate, has accepted a position as the National Key Account Manager-U.S. for Bayer Crop Science in the Turf and Ornamental division. Mr. Key earned his Bachelor's Degree in Ornamental Horticulture with a Turfgrass specialization and also a Master's Degree in Business Administration, both from Texas Tech University, ('94, '11).

He previously worked for Scott's Miracle-Gro for 18 years as an account manager, Bayer Pharmaceutical as a Territory Account Manager, and most recently, with Merck Animal Health as a Regional Account Manager where he covered ten states.

He and his wife, Darby, who is a 1995 LCU graduate and taught math at Borden County ISD for 18 years (1999-2017), now live in Amarillo, TX, and will remain there for the foreseeable future. Mr. Key is the son of the late Karan Robinson Key, a 1968 Texas Tech Graduate and he is also the brother of the 30th Masked Rider, Ralynn Key Kirkpatrick.

Richard Bludworth • Houston, TX • Class of 1970

Because I attended Texas Tech as a fifth generation Texan from 1966 to 1970, I discovered a part of Texas I had never known and a lot of friendly west Texas people I still appreciate today. Tech felt very isolated and required a great deal of personal fortitude to stay and learn, and learn I did. I worked many jobs while attending Texas Tech and continued my employment there as a post-graduate. My time at Tech fueled my desire to complete a task and to look for alternate paths of accomplishment.

My daughter was a graduate red raider in the early 2000's and she carries on the same sense of no job is too large or too difficult. I hope one of her two sons will continue the tradition of dust and slow speech always being in the air.

Michael Barnes • Ft. Worth, TX • Class of 1975

I was in architectural lab when I looked at the stadium and the light poles collapsed in high winds.

Edward Alvarado • San Antonio, TX • Class of 2008

Because I went to Texas Tech University all of my siblings also attended and graduated from Texas Tech. Living nearly six hours away we did not know much about Tech nor had we ever visited. Fortunately, Texas Tech was the first school to admit me and after campus visits to those other closer schools I made one of the best decisions of my life (without ever having to visit Tech). My family and I are proud Red Raiders!

Pat Murchison • Graford, TX • Class of 1975


David Weindorf • Riverdale, MI • Class of 1995 and 1997

I came to Texas Tech University in the Fall of 1991 studying Range Management. In the Spring of 1992, I took PSS 2432 (Principles and Practices in Soil Science) under Prof. B.L. Allen. Though a challenging course, I quickly engaged and made my mark.

Dr. Allen asked if I would like to join the TTU Soils Judging Team; I gladly agreed and competed for three years in both regional and national competitions. Into my junior year, Dr. Allen asked if I would like to become a laboratory technician working in his lab. Again, I gladly agreed. All the while, I found myself captivated by soil science, to the point where I took every soil science course offered at TTU.

As I approached graduation, Dr. Allen asked if I would like to stay on an pursue an M.S. in Soil Science under his guidance - I was thrilled! I was fortunate enough to serve as a teaching assistant for the PSS 2432 course, assistant coach of the TTU Soils Judging Team, and travel to regional and national meetings with Dr. Allen. Of Dr. Allen, I will say that he taught me an enormous amount about soils, but also an equal amount about life and how to be a man.

We discussed politics, religion, sports, and science. He invited me to attend a TTU football and basketball game with him. I was honored he invited me to his church and attended my wedding in Dallas. He carefully guided my career, even as I completed my PhD and entered academia as a professor myself.

Upon Dr. Allen's death after a long and distinguished career, I traveled to Lubbock to attend his memorial service. A bachelor his entire life, Dr. Allen donated his entire estate to TTU to create the BL Allen Endowed Chair in Pedology. In 2013, I was called to return to TTU as an Associate Professor to hold the BL Allen Endowed Chair in Dr. Allen's honor. I served as a faculty member at TTU for 7 years, progressing to Professor, Associate Dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, then Associate Vice President for Research over the University.

It was such an unbelievable honor to serve as Professor over the lab I once worked in as an undergraduate, all in Dr. Allen's name. Today, after publishing 200 peer reviewed research papers and working in 32 countries around the world as a soil scientist, I serve as Vice President for Research and Innovation at Central Michigan University. None of that would have been possible without Dr. Allen. It is with lifelong gratitude that I proudly proclaim the ethos that has defined generations of Red Raiders: From Here, It's Possible.

Juli Ward • Burnet, TX • Class of 1997

I loved the A&M vs Tech tradition! I worked for the intramural sports department. I loved all the games I worked. Especially outdoor ones! My favorite time of life was at Texas Tech. I'll never forget it! Lots of memories around campus.

Rick Adams • Waxahachie, TX • Class of 1984

Growing up in El Paso We rarely saw any snowfall and if we did it was a dusting. 1980 Fall Finals week it started snowing and snowing. It must of snowed a foot. Since we had been studying for several days, everyone had cabin fever, I remember getting into a huge snowball fight outside Weymouth Hall at Midnight that lasted 3 hours. Ahh to be young again. I still return to Tech several times a year for football and baseball games. Love That town........

AJ Bunn • Lubbock, TX • Class of 2020

In the early spring of 2020, while COVID-19 was still "just a bad cold," I was selected by my professors in the School of Financial Planning to be on a team with 2 others in my cohort, McKenzie Arrott and Rob Tuckfield, and compete in the annual FPA Challenge. This is a national competition that other schools of financial planning compete against each other in 3 phases: Case Study, Presentation, and Quiz Bowl. The top 8 schools that submit the best case study in the Spring are selected to attend the annual FPA Conference in the Fall and present their case and compete in the quiz bowl.

I came into the program in January of 2018 and our school went on to win it for the first time that Fall and I knew instantly it was something I wanted to be a part of. I anxiously waited through 2019 and seeing us take 3rd the next fall and in the spring of 2020 I applied and was selected. Shortly after being selected, we were told to all leave campus for "2 weeks to slow the spread" and the world changed forever.

Our team that normally met 2-3 times a week in person was now scattered across the state and we had a decision to make, finish the case or not. No one would have blamed us for packing it in, saying it was too difficult to do, blaming it on COVID-19, and moving on. Even so, it was very likely at that time that given all that had gone on they would cancel the competition completely.

We decided that we would control what we could control, complete the case the best we can and if it were to be canceled, then at least we did all we could do. We worked tirelessly and met virtually as much as we could, we would stay on Zoom for 8,9, 10 hours at a time, sometimes without talking, just so we could work "together." We meticulously prepared and combed through our case and made sure that we had the absolute best possible product for the judge panel to review.

The case was due on a Friday afternoon by 11am in mid-May and we submitted it at 10:58, checking and double checking that everything was in order and we did not miss anything. Then we waited. Each day that passed we almost expected that they would send us an email that said "thank you for submitting, but the competition is canceled this year."

In late-July we received word that we had qualified for the Final 8 and that they would hold the competition as scheduled, but virtually. This was the first time in the history of the competition they would be doing it this way. We knew that competing virtually was not the same experience and that it would create its own set of challenges but we were just excited to be able to compete.

We prepared our presentation for weeks and practiced it over and over again until we knew it in our sleep. Come the day of the competition, we delivered it over Zoom in front of multiple judges and thousands watching virtually all across the country. We saved our best run through for last. Our faculty advisor, Dr. Michael Guillemette, told us that we had done the best one he had ever seen. We felt really good about how we had done so far but still did not know where we stood ranking wise - they do not tell anyone the results until the very end. The next day, we competed in the quiz bowl via a virtual test proctor and had a respectable 4th place finish, but only a few points out of 1st so it was closer than it seemed. Once that was over, we had to wait 2 days until the "closing ceremonies" of the virtual conference for them to announce the winners.

We all met in a large conference room off campus and remained socially distant around the table but wanted to be together in case we won. After about what was probably closer to 5 minutes but felt like 30 minutes, the final 3 were announced. We listened closely as 3rd place was announced and did not hear our name, anxiously excited that maybe we got top 2 but also fearful of not placing at all. 2nd place was announced, not Texas Tech. We became increasingly anxious as the thought of us winning it all became even more real but again, did not want to get too hopeful.

"In first place," read the emcee, "and winner of the 2020 FPA Challenge and $10,000 in scholarships, The Texas Tech School of Financial Planning from Lubbock, TX."

Absolute elation erupted in the conference room. I still do not remember the rest of what he said after that but we all hugged and happy tears were shed as we had won this competition against all odds when we could have just said it was too hard. That is not what Red Raiders do though; we rise to meet challenges. We welcome adversity and we always bet on ourselves. I am proud to be a 2020 FPA National Champion from The School of Financial Planning and I will forever remember that year and that moment with my two teammates.

William Kenneth Nolan • Kerrville, TX • Class of 1964

I had two brothers graduate Tech before I attended. I graduated Lubbock High in 1955 and started Tech in September 1955. My selected degree was Architecture Construction Option. In my first year I took basic courses, ROTC and fired on the Tech Rifle team. My grades were not great, but I was passing. I felt that I was good on the ROTC drill team.

On May 19, 1956, Tech was added to the Southwest Conference. I went with some friends to Clovis to get some spirits. We also bought some fireworks. When we got back to the Lubbock city limits, the police were waiting for us. Someone in New Mexico had ratted on us. We were taken to the police station but only the driver received a charge of contributing to the delinquency of minors. The driver was 21 and we were all 19 to 20. The minors were released and the driver the next day. During the next week three of us were told to report to the disciplinary board. The Dean of Men told us we would go before the board and receive probation. When we went before the board we were informed that we were dropped from school that day and would not be given grades for that semester. We would be allowed to rejoin the University the fall semester. We were not allowed to comment or challenge the punishment. We had not been charged by the police or apprehended by Texas Tech.

I went home and told my parents that I wanted to challenge this punishment. My mother said no, a Deacon of our Church was on the board. I was angry, over 18 and joined the Army the next day. Three years later, I rejoined Texas Tech. The same Dean of Men asked me if I was going to drink. I will leave it to your imagination about what I said. I pledge DTD and was kicked out. That is another story.

I completed Tech in January 1964 with a degree that was worthless, but I did have a commission in the Army. After over 30 years in the army and 17 years in Heavy Construction overview I retired. I have a MBA from Sul Ross and have used both my degrees in the Army and in construction. I love Tech, but not what Tech did to me.

Rodger Watkins • Bryan, TX • Class of 1956

I just love Texas Tech!

Timothy Bushong • Lubbock, TX • Class of 2019 and 2023

There was a downpour that came randomly some autumn day during my undergraduate years. I was in the chemistry building and had to make it all the way to Sneed without an umbrella (I know, rookie mistake, but I had no idea how weird the weather was in Lubbock at the time). Running past the science key, I was about to arrive to the cover of the Math building, alongside a group of students waiting out the storm, when I fell flat on my back. It was embarrassing, but I just had to laugh it off.

Mary Mitchell • Rockwall, TX • Class of 1993

My craziest Texas Tech Weather story happened the first semester of my Freshman year. When I left my dorm (Hulen) and headed to my History class at Holden Hall the temperature was in the low 70's and it was a typical sunny fall day in Lubbock. I came out of my class 1.5 hours later to a temperature drop of close to 30 degrees, wind gusts in the upper 30+ MPH with sand and dirt blowing so hard that it felt like I was getting sand blasted as I made my way across campus back to my dorm. Before I could make it all the way back, it began to rain muddy water due to the dust storm that was blowing in, as the temperature continued to drop.

Drenched, wet, cold, and dirty from the muddy rain, I made it up to the 6th floor of the dorm and decided I needed to take a warm shower. As I gathered my things to go down the hall to the showers I heard the pelting of sleet and hail on my dorm room window. I took a quick shower, and then sat down to call my mom to tell her how crazy the weather was in Lubbock TX, and before I got off the phone with her it began to snow as well. This all happened in mid October which was even crazier for this Dallas girl who had NEVER seen snow that early in the year.

In less than 3 hours time I witnessed sunny skies, a temperature drop of more than 35 degrees, high winds, dust storm, muddy rain, hail, sleet, and SNOW. Craziest weather day of my life.

Sarah Harris • Lubbock, TX • Class of 2011

In 2010, I went to Seville, Spain to study abroad for the summer! It was my first time out of the country so I was excited to experience a new culture and meet new people. I became friends with a few people in my class before the trip. We travelled there together and experienced Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Africa together. Once study abroad was over, we all kept in contact. I kept in contact with one person in particular who I got along very well with...I never expected she would eventually become my wife! We are Red Raiders for life and still can't believe how that one summer in Spain changed our lives.

Erton Tate • Wichita Falls, TX • Class of 1956

My story includes my father's graduation year, 1936, which was also not shown. I taught an elementary accounting course in 1957. My father attended Texas Technological College when the football team was called the Toreadors (i.e. bull fighters), later changed to Red Raiders (maybe because of their red uniforms) by the Fort Worth Star Telegram when the Toreadors beat the TCU Horned Frogs.

Carol Henry • Cloudcroft, NM • Class of 1975

It was my first day of classes as a Freshman. I was by the library walking back to my dorm, and it began raining very hard! I ran into a friend who suggested that if I got on a "yellow" bus, I could get out of the rain and the bus would take me to my dorm. That sounded like a grand idea! I stood under a roof out of the rain and waited.....and waited....and waited. Several busses passed by, but they were all green and white busses. No yellow bus. So I finally just walked to my dorm. Later that evening, I was talking to some friends about the lack of yellow busses on campus. What a laugh we all had when I found out that those green and white busses all had a "route name" in front. There was a red, green, yellow, blue route. You just had to get on the correct "route" color! No doubt I waited thru several "yellow routes" before giving up on that yellow bus!

So that's my Freshman funny. I was humiliated as an 18 year old Freshman, but now it really does seem pretty humorous! I wonder if they still have the bus system on campus?

Story that is hidden...
Lonnie Eakle • Greeley, CO • Class of 1964

Remembering E. J. Holub: I was an underclassman with E.J. at Lubbock HS, where we were in Latin Club together, my Sophmore year and his Senior year. At Lubbock High, E.J. was a High School All-American. It was my pleasure to watch E.J. play my first two years at Tech, and it was always amazing to watch him play! E. J. played both offense and defense, making play after play! One writer wrote of E.J. that "the sound, when he hit an opposing player, was like a crate of curtain rods dropping from a ten-story building."

In one of his last games, he intercepted a pass and ran for the end zone. Only the opposing quarterback remained between him and the goal. When the quarterback saw that it was E.J. coming his way, he stepped aside and waved him into the end zone.

E.J. was drafted by the Dallas Texans, first round, 6th pick, in '61. Texans would become Kansas City Chiefs where he played for 11 years. (E.J. was also drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, in the second round, that same year!) E.J. was the last of the 2-way players in pro ball! He played linebacker, long-snapper, and finished his career at center. E. J. was the starting center in Super Bowl IV when the Chiefs defeated Minnesota, 23-7.

E.J. had 11 knee surgeries during his pro career which may have been a record at one time. E. J. brought so much to our school. He was the embodiment of the true spirit of a Red Raider! Our world is a little empty without his large presence. But, we are richer for his presence as part of Texas Tech history!

Sydney Crane • Lubbock, TX • Class of 2015 and 2017

My love and passion for Texas Tech started well before I even stepped foot on campus at the start of my schooling in the Fall of 2011. My mom was a proud Texas Tech grad, and for years in middle and high school, I would come to Lubbock and be a part of the band and orchestra camp on campus. I always watched Texas Tech sports and wore the bold scarlet and black colors proudly on college t-shirt day in school. I knew I was destined to write my own Red Raider story when I made the decision to attend school here for not one, but two degrees! (That's how much I love Texas Tech)!

My fondest memories not only involve my educational experiences and where that has led me as a professional today in the Lubbock community, but also the passion and spirit I felt on campus and still today whenever I see a fellow Red Raider. The culture of Texas Tech is one of excitement, pride, and support for all things scarlet and black, getting your guns up when the suns up, tortillas, and wrecking em. I am a proud Texas Tech alum and my love and passion will never fade. I think in some ways, it's grown stronger as I have Texas Tech to thank for the many friendships, experiences, education, and beautiful memories I cherish and hold close. #wreckemforever #ttuloveandpassion

Pat Dilworth Warren • Dallas, TX • Class of 1969

It was September 18, 1965, my very first game to march in the Goin' Band. We were playing a Kansas team, and the storm clouds went from bad to worse. We lined up and marched to the stadium, bravely belting out the march Grandioso,and the game began. In those days nobody had a phone to check the radar, but all you really had to do was look at the sky!

The Kansas coaches really hated to agree to call the game off even though there was a lot of lightning, as Tech was ahead and would be declared the winner if they called it off. Finally, in the fourth quarter, as the take shelter sirens went on, both coaches were in agreement that they were done! We heard there was a tornado headed down Fourth, but it just hadn't touched down yet! The band was dismissed to get back to our dorms the best we could, and everybody was worried about the instruments.

I was afraid all the pads in my clarinet might come unglued from the rain. I got back to Drane Hall, which was a girls' freshman dorm in those days. Wool band uniforms smell a little like wet sheep when they get wet, but the rule was that we had to duck and cover in the downstairs hallways. So it was a good while before we could go up to our rooms to change! I ended up marching in the band for four years in spite of it all, and graduated in January of 1969.

Jon Skavlan • Dallas, TX • Class of 1982

My senior year, a friend of mine won a small departmental scholarship. The coat and tie awards banquet was held in the Ag Pavilion. Dinner was bbq served cafeteria style on paper plates, and we sat on folding chairs on the dirt arena floor. This event would not stand out in my memory if, while we were eating, Dr. Cavazos, then President of the university, hadn't walked up with a plate and asked if we minded if he sat with us. I don't remember the conversation, but I do remember how casual his presence felt, as though he was a parent celebrating his son's success, rather than the university president watching a student he didn't know get a check that barely covered the cost of that semester's books.

David Murrah • Rockport, TX • Class of 1979

Encountering the Dairy Barn:

One of my favorite memories on the Tech campus was an encounter with the Dairy Barn! In 1970, I was teaching in Morton, Texas, but that summer was on campus working on an MA degree in history. One of my courses was Spanish, which required me to find the Foreign Language Building. I will never forget as I rounded a corner, the Dairy Barn came into view, and I stopped suddenly, so surprised-not because I had never seen it before-but because of its location-behind the Library and in the middle of campus!

You see, when I was in high school at Gruver, Texas, in 1959--only eleven years before that 1970 encounter--I was on the dairy judging team, and we came to Lubbock for the regional contest, which was staged in pens just back of the Dairy Barn. It was a memorable day. I recall finishing in second place, quite an accomplishment for a kid who rarely ever saw a live dairy cow! The image of that event and the old Dairy Barn located on the west side of the campus remained a fond memory.

So, when I encountered the Dairy Barn again in 1970, my first thought was, "Why in the world did they move that old building to the center of the campus?" And, then I realized the building had never moved-it was the campus that had moved; it had grown so rapidly in those eleven years that the Dairy Barn was now almost in the center.

I think that encounter helped give me a passion for the Dairy Barn. After getting an MA, I became an archivist on the staff of the Southwest Collection and became its director in 1977. There I became acquainted with Lubbock farmer and former dairy owner Arch Lamb who insisted that the Dairy Barn be preserved. We did what we could to promote its rich history relative to the campus, and had the privilege of giving a speech at the dedication of one of its historical markers.

I really appreciate those in the University administration who helped keep the Dairy Barn on life support until such a time it could be fully renovated and put to good use as it is now. Thanks very much to the late Arch Lamb and all those who followed to work toward its preservation-a century in the making.

Julie Johnson Bryant • Fort Worth, TX • Class of 1984

You haven't lived until you've tried to cross 19th street after one of the rare deluges of rain and get a full soaking from a passing car as the driver flies a plume of water over your head -- on purpose.

Jody Sneed • Midland, TX • Class of 1984

I transferred to Tech in the spring of 1980, halfway through my freshman year.

Guessing someone in the housing office got a giggle out of assigning me to Sneed Hall (Tech is the only place in the universe where the name is recognized, other than a haunted mansion in Austin but that's another story).

Pretty soon the story was the place was named after my grandfather and my dad and I stayed there out of tradition - complete malarkey but more than a few coeds believed me.

At least until September 1980 - I introduced myself to a cute blond at Weeks Hall (she lived next door to my roommate's girlfriend). Her response: I know that's where you live but I don't believe that's your name.

Finally had to show her my driver's license.

We've been married 41 years...and both sons graduated from Tech as well!

Carolyn Bishop • Fort Worth, TX • Class of 1998

After serving two years as the Homecoming Parade chair, I was selected to be the 75th annual Homecoming Coordinator for Tech. I was so proud of this opportunity and learned so much from those that joined the Homecoming Committee. We all worked together, coming from different organizations and backgrounds, to make sure that our alumni and students enjoyed every activity.

From the first bonfire to a fun comedy show with Carrot Top, I walked away knowing after the game ended that we did the very best job we could. It was one of my first real leadership opportunities and the skills I learned then I still carry with me today running a large child placing agency in Texas. Thanks Tech and Happy Birthday!!

Joseph Gregory Boyd • Dallas, TX • Class of 1976

My dad, Joseph Y. Boyd was also a Tech grad. His mother was a sister of Emma Boone Bledsoe, wife of William H. Bledsoe (Bledsoe Hall), who authored the Senate Bill No. 103 which created Texas Technological College in 1923. His home at 1812 Broadway still stands. A historical marker sits outside. Seems that we don't hear much about the unique circumstances in which Tech came to be.

Ron and Carol Powell • Tulsa, OK • Class of 1967

My wife to be and I met in a class soph year spring of 1965. Married May 28, 1966. Graduated Aug 1967. Moved to Tulsa September 1967. We both had very successful careers. Now married 56 years; 2 children; 6 grandchildren; 1 GREAT grandson.

Bryce Dehlin • Canyon Lake, TX • Class of 2019

Where do I begin about Texas Tech. It's a place that I hold dearly, from the first game where I sat front row to walking across the stage and throwing the horns down symbol. Texas Tech is something I'm very proud to say I'm from. From the first week of welcome week where I didn't think I was going to make it to 3 years post graduation where I can't believe I did it. I've met so many friends and couldn't be more grateful for a university to give me as much as they did.

I always go out of my way to ask someone who has any sort of gear on when they went and strike up some sort of conversation with them. Tech brought me 5 years of pure joy while getting 2 degrees. The struggles of class and the highs of going to all sporting events. To see what we Tech students accomplished as a university in the time I was there was amazing. Getting such high remarks from our Research Programs to our sports it was something incredible every single day.

I proudly display my Tech gear and always get a smile whenever I see it in public on a car, or whenever someone is wearing it. Congratulations on 100 years Tech I can't wait to see what the next 100 years brings for us!

Laura Landenberger • League City, TX • Class of 2002

Aaron and I (both class of 2002) met early on in our Texas Tech years, probably at a TKE fraternity party, but we were just good friends until after we both graduated. One day, we just realized we were more than friends and we started a love story that is one for the ages. He commissioned into the Air Force in May 2003 after finishing his ROTC requirements, and we got married in June 2003 and headed to our first assignment in Colorado Springs immediately after. From there, it was us against the world, and we didn't want it any other way. We had our first son in Colorado, and after 3 1/2 years there, we got stationed at Johnson Space Center in Houston. We had our 2nd son there, which completed our family of 4.

When our youngest son was 2 in 2010, Aaron was diagnosed with melanoma. He underwent surgery and immunotherapy, and all was seemingly well. So the Air Force sent us to our next assignment at Los Angeles AFB. At his very first CT scan in California, we learned that the melanoma had spread to his lungs and was now Stage IV. Over the course of the next few years, he underwent several different treatments to combat this beast. At different times, the melanoma spread to his lungs, liver, brain, and colon. In 2014, he was medically retired from the Air Force and we returned to Houston to put down some roots for our children, and to be near his doctors at MD Anderson.

I wish I could tell you he beat this beast, but he did give it everything he had. After a couple of years of the right combination of treatments keeping the cancer at bay, eventually melanoma outsmarted the chemo. He ran his last half marathon on January 18, 2015, and that week he went into the hospital because the cancer had returned with a vengeance. He passed on from this world as I held him in my arms on March 1, 2015.

It is the greatest honor of my life that I was Aaron's wife. I need only look at our children to know that he is always with us. This story may seem like it has a sad ending, but the story goes on. I had the great honor of moving our oldest son into Murdough Hall this past August to attend our precious alma mater for the next 4 years. He would be over the moon that our son chose this school we love so dearly to further his education. Aaron's legacy lives on. I owe so much to Texas Tech for bringing the greatest partner I could have asked for into my life. Fingers crossed our youngest chooses the same path because so far, I love being both a Texas Tech alumnus AND a Texas Tech mom! (As long as he doesn't go to A&M or UT, it'll be okay!)

Robert Grimes • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1986

I'll never forget walking down the ramp from the locker room to the turf at Jones Stadium. When we took to the field to play a football game the band was playing the fight song, the masked rider at that time raced around the entire track, and the crowd was very loud! Our team was like brothers going into battle. We wanted so badly to win for our city, our University and for our coaches who became like a second father to us. The thrill of game day competition will forever be engrained in my memories. I will forever be a Red Raider.

James T. South • Glen Allen, VA • Class of 1969

I arrived at Texas Technological College in the Fall of 1965, as part of the first wave of Baby Boomers to reach college age. Enrollment the previous year was 12,000. That year it was 16,000. There was scrambling for faculty and classroom space, and the growth never stopped. Among my Tech memories - in addition to the name change - are playing trumpet in the Goin' Band for 4 years (especially at the 1966 Gator Bowl - my first plane ride) when Dean Killion was director; working first for the Tech dormitory system, then at the original Gristy's Cleaners on 19th St., where I drove a delivery truck for two years; a sandstorm my sophomore year that knocked down two light standards on Jones Stadium; excellent classes in English Lit., especially with J. Wilkes Berry and James W. Culp; a Fall Convocation which included Gov.

John Connally, who wouldn't let the band sit behind him after being wounded during JFK's assassination; the Carol of Lights; being served pecan and cream cheese sandwiches as a meat choice in Carpenter Hall (!?); hanging out with friends at the Texas Tech Bible Chair on Broadway; and, coming back to Lubbock the year after my graduation to witness the aftermath of the 1970 tornado. So many life-changing experiences, and so many great memories!

Trey Hill • Idalou, TX • Class of 1981 and 1986

I was top 10% in high school in 1978 & was accepted at Texas Tech, UT & UTEP. I wanted to go to UT, but felt they didn't care if I ever showed up. Visiting Texas Tech, Dr. Tom Bacon in the Germanic & Slavic Languages met with my father and me in Spring 1978. Dr. Bacon seemed excited about an in-coming freshman, who already spoke German (although I was going to major in Political Science & go to law school). The entire interview was in German. At the end, Dr. Bacon shook my hand and said in English, "I hope you come to Tech", then turned to my father and said, "That way, UT won't get him." I thought - hell, these people want me, so I enrolled at Texas Tech.

Double-majored in German & Political Science (Dec. 1981), Master of Arts in German (Dec. 1983) and Doctor of Jurisprudence (May 1986). Interestingly, my daughter selected Texas Tech too and for about the same reason: UT didn't care if she showed up, Texas A&M just kept telling her how great it will be to be an Aggie, but Texas Tech told her, you are what we want in our honors college: rural, intelligent & female.

Ken Hargesheimer • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1957

I graduated in 1957 with a BS in dairy husbandry. The last three years I lived in one of the "feed rooms" in the dairy barn with 10 other students. We milked the cows 3 times a day. Rotated the cooking/clean up. Rotated the summers.

Roger Schuster • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1996

Texas Tech provides me with the perfect job for me since the most serious of my birth issues has so limited me now; Texas Tech allows me to work remotely solving and maintaining computer programs for the Rawls College of Business. I was impressed at my 20-year service pin ceremony when Dr. Schovanec remembered me from my math TA days, and I smile and think of Texas Tech when I hear Alanis Morrisette or other artists that were popular in my math TA days.

Bill Dean • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1961 and 1971

I came to Texas Tech on a journalism scholarship and a baseball scholarship. The journalism scholarship paid $200, and the baseball scholarship was books, tutition and fees. I lived at 2608-20th right behind what is now Café J. (It was St. Mary's Hospital in those days.). That was a pretty good deal.

I thoroughly enjoyed my early time on campus wearing a slime cap. I had a good academic background from Lubbock High School and made good grades, except for Zoology. I played baseball that spring and missed several labs. I swore if I could just pass, I would never enter the Biology Building again. I made a D.

I made lifelong friends in my fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and in the journalism department. My parents frowned on journalism, and I eventually transferred to marketing, with a minor in journalism.

I thought about teaching and my fifth year I took some education classes. Dr. Cary Southall had a pronounced influence in that regard. I ended up teaching in high school, and later at Tech.

My favorite tradition is the Carol of Lights. In the fall of 1960, I was Student Body President and Dr. R. C. Goodwin, Tech president, invited Janis Jones, secretary of the student body, and I to pull the switch on the first official Carol of Lights. Actually Dr. Gene Hemle, chair of the music department had started the tradition several years earlier gathering students to sign Christmas Carols and have hot chocolate in the quad in front of that dreaded Biology Building. A regent donated the first lights that we turned on that fall. My wife and I have never missed the event through rain, sleet, snow, and unseasonably warm weather.

I returned to Texas Tech after a stint in the Army and teaching assignments at Lubbock High School and Coronado High School as Director of Student Publications in 1967. I was in charge of the University Daily and The Toreador and taught journalism.

My first year in that position an event of major proportions took place. On Dec. 3, 1967, a custodian, Sarah Alice Morgan, was found in the Biology Building almost decapitated. The killer was at large, and it set off a campus panic. He was finally tracked down and arrested in January.

On May 11, 1970, an F-5 tornado hit Lubbock two days before graduation, killing 25 people and causing enormous damage. The storm bent the light poles at Jones Stadium backward. Graduation was cancelled as the Coliseum was being used as a shelter for people displayed from their homes.

Thank God finals had ended and students who lived just east of the campus had gone home. Otherwise, there is no telling how many lives might have been lost.

The Ex-Students Association invited those 1970 graduates back in 2000 to officially receive their diplomas. It was quite an event.

In 1978 I moved to the then Ex-Students Association as alumni director. I retired as President and CEO in 2018 after 40 years. Most of those 40 years I also taught four classes in the College of Media and Communications. I formally retired from teaching in 2021 after 55 years and still teach one class.

There are so many good memories of events like the Michael Crabtree catch against UT or the Zach Thomas interception to beat A&M or the emergence of Texas Tech as a Tier One Research University. The best memories are probably the close relationships I developed with students in my classes (I estimate I have taught close to 40,000 students), in Phi Delta Theta, in my baseball experience and in the Texas Tech Alumni Association. They have all served to enrich my life.

Eli Vega • Hot Springs, AR • Class of 1971

I majored in art at Tech in the 1960s. It was through the great art and design professors at Tech that I was exposed to art movements like Impressionism and Surrealism. It was through my art classes that I was exposed to masters like Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Magritte, Monet, Vermeer, and others.

It was that Texas Tech art exposure that led me in 2019 to take on an ambitious project: to create my own photographic renditions of famous paintings. The project two-and-a-half years to decide on which thirty renditions to create and to find models, costumes, props, and venues. The project covered six centuries' worth of art, from the Mona Lisa to Campbell's Soup Cans; from Leonardo Da Vinci to Georgia O'Keeffe.

I wrote and published a book about the project, Renditions of Famous Paintings. The book is available online on Amazon and Books-A-Million.

Kathy Waters • Georgetown, TX • Class of 1975

Planning for the Carol of Lights begins early in the Fall semester. Traditions are a wonderful part of life at Texas Tech ... and the Carol of Lights remains one of the greatest!

The Fall of 1972 seemed routine ... the RHA made assignments for individuals to assist in the 1972 version of the Carol of Lights. As the program chairman for the event that year, I was all about the details and wanted to add a new element to the festival ... could we ring the Victory Bells as part of the program for the Carol of Lights?

A formal letter to the Board of Regents was a routine request asking permission to hold this traditional event in the center of campus, encompassing Memorial Circle, the Science Quadrangle and Engineering Key. Once that letter was written, our team set about planning for the choir and orchestra who would preform, getting the Saddle Tramps to be torchbearers, and inviting dignitaries to the celebratory dinner and the evening program prior to turning on the lights. As the ground crew begin stringing lights in October, our anticipation began to build. I was especially elated to learn that permission had been granted to let the Victory Bells ring out over campus at the end of the formal program ... this was the very first time that the bells would ring for the Carol of Lights!

The first week of November, we realized that we had not received a response from the Board of Regents. When an inquiry was made to the President's Office, it was learned that the request to have the Carol of Lights Program had been declined! The program was less than a month out and all our planning was in execution mode! Dr. Grover Murray requested an audience in his office with our leadership team. He made a personal offer to move the program site to the BA building complex where he would see to it that the buildings were lit in time for the Carol of Lights program.

Why was there not a program for the Carol of Lights in December of 1972? It was revealed that in the Spring of 1972, the Board of Regents had passed a resolution banning public gatherings on Memorial Circle. This was the era of Vietnam War protests and the Regents chose to address the concerns of large protests by banning ALL gatherings. Our committee chose to retain the tradition of the Carol of Lights in the central part of campus. We gave up the program in order to continue to light the buildings that had long been a part of the Christmas tradition in Lubbock.

My college experience at Texas Tech University was rich with life experiences and educational challenges. It was my honor to serve as the program chairman for the Carol of Lights 1972; on the RHA and as President of Stangel Hall 1972-73.

"...and the Victory Bells will ring out!!!"

Patti Thompson • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1977 and 1994

It was Dad's Day football weekend in 1974 or '75, and my parents and grandparents were in town from Eldorado, Texas, for the game. I don't remember the score or if we won, but on the cover of the UD (University Daily) on the following Monday was my grandfather in the picture on the front page with his "Guns Up!"

Alice Schul • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1982

Texas Tech football has always been a special part of my life. My parents would take me to the games when I was a little girl. I thought Donny Anderson hung the moon. I could tell you where he was on the field at all times (he was at Raider Alley in 2019 and I got my picture made with him and told him how I always was one of his biggest fans).

As I grew older, I always listened to the games on the radio and have always cheered for them. When it came time to graduate from high school, I had to really think what schools other than Texas Tech did I want my scores to be sent to. I had to be a student so that I could go to the games and yell for the Red Raiders. I was accepted at Texas Tech and could hardly wait for football season to start. I was a member of Women's Service Organization and would go to the games with some of my fellow WSO members. Sometimes, while waiting for the game to start, we would wait and walk with the band. That is a tradition that I have done with my nephew (he came to Texas Tech and was a member of the Saddle Tramps and was Raider Red his last two years before graduating), my granddaughter and still do to this day.

There was one football game that sticks out in my memory so well. We were playing Texas A&M and they were kicking our rear ends. WSO was having a party after the game and so many of my fellow WSO members left early to go to the party because we were getting beat so bad. I stayed to the end and guess what? The Red Raiders played one heck of a second half and we came back and beat the Aggies! I learned then, you don't ever give up on the Red Raiders. There have been only a few games (you could count them on one hand and have fingers left over) that I left early. I have been known to go to the Houston game while we were in the Southwest Conference and sit out in the snow the whole game to cheer for the Red Raiders. To this day, I stay for the whole game and sing the Matador song at the end.

I love Texas Tech, our traditions, our sports and we have the most beautiful campus! Wreck 'Em!!

Melissa McCormick • Abilene, TX

I am a true Athletic fan of the red raiders. The students to the mascots are tremendous with enjoyment. I could not be a bigger fan with any other than the Texas Tech Athletics.

Ken Schneider • Tyler, TX • Class of 1973

Because I went to Texas Tech for my degree in Advertising, I landed a terrific job in Houston just six weeks after I graduated. It was in the in-house Advertising Department of the largest department store in the city. My supervisor was a Tech graduate and, thanks to the School of Mass Communication, I had a great portfolio. I was immediately named Copywriter in charge of concepting and writing all the newspaper ads for the entire Men's Department: suits, sportswear, casual wear, shoes, underwear, everything. What I learned there launched my 40-plus-year advertising career as an award-winning advertising Copywriter.

I worked for Madison Avenue-based ad agencies, wrote and produced TV commercials in New York, Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles, and started a freelance career advertising national magazines like Sports Illustrated, TIME, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Playboy and many others.

Today, in my 70s, I'm still writing as staff Copywriter at a small college in Tyler, Texas. And it all started when I enrolled at Texas Tech back in 1969. I wouldn't have done it any other way.

Darren James • Lubbock, TX • Class of 1955

Where to begin.....growing up in Houston, I knew I wanted to go to college far away! Once I set foot on this campus to visit it, I knew it was home.

For those who never had the pleasure of the "all you can eat buffet" in every dining hall - you really missed out! There wasn't anything a la carte back then. They scanned you in and you went to town - and gained 15 lbs!

There were lots of great professors then who made a difference in my life. With a degree in Accounting, I knew I could do anything with it. Tech prepared me for the real world as they say.

I still remember a lot of the games that I went to. Football - 1995 - Zach Thomas' interception to beat ATM. The men's basketball team in 1995-96 that only lost a couple of times. The National Championship in women's basketball in 1993. That was a raucous time on campus!

And now, to come full circle, I have two sons who attend Tech.

Thank you Texas Tech for all the great memories!!!

Donna Fisch • Fort Worth, TX • Class of 1951

My last two years of college at Tech were two of the best years of my life for so many reasons, some of which I don't mention. Are there any others who graduated as far back as 1951? I was there for the 25th anniversary celebration, 75 years ago. WOW! The homecoming parade celebrated the 25th anniversary and I got to ride on the Press Club's float. It was a really cold day and to celebrate 25 years the girls wore flapper style dresses. Wearing thermal underwear under a short dress was a challenge. Just one of many special memories. 

Martin Farach • Conroe, TX • Class of 1987

I actually have two stories to share. I became second generation in my family when I attended TTU. My dad, Wadi Farach (1954), attended TTU and graduated from the Department of Architecture. I actually started majoring in Electrical Engineering and had met several of his past college friends who where working in TTU. One was Mr. Dudley Thompson who was a professor in architecture, and another friend was Dr. Lauro Cavazos who was the President of TTU at the time I attended between 1982 and 1987. After one year of attending Tech, I started to doubt if Elec. Eng. was the right career for me. My GPA was 3.87 at the end of my first year, and I chose EE because of an aptitude test I took which indicated I had strong interest in EE or Computer Science. Computer Science was a new curriculum in those years. I opted to change majors because I couldn't picture myself how or what specifically I was going to contribute to this world in the future. I changed to Architecture since I was more familiar with this career and I enjoyed working for my dad when I was in high school. The change in major led to my two Tech stories

For my first story, in one of the classes I had to take was Architectural History with Dr. Elizabeth Sasser. Dr. Sasser was the first and only person I have met that had a PhD degree in architecture. She was a dear and wonderful lady in her 60s. One day in class, when our first Architectural History exam was returned, she wrote on the front page of the exam in addition to the grade, "Are you related to my former student Wadi Farach?". Oh my God, this is unbelievable I thought to myself. I did go to talk to her after the class ended as well as call my dad in the evening to share the news in which he could not believe.

For my second story, timing is everything. When I changed my majors, TTU had a Department of Architecture which was under the College of Engineering. As I went thru my third year at TTU, I learned that the Department of Architecture was seeking to establish its own College of Architecture but had to obtain approvals from the State as well as from the accreditation board. The targeted date for when this was going to happen it was unknown. Luckily enough, the College of Architecture became a reality in my fifth year (architecture was a five year degree at TTU) and Mr. Dudley Thompson was named the interim dean for the new minted College. When I graduated in 1987, I was blessed to receive my diploma signed by two of my dad's college friends, which makes my stay at TTU and my diploma more meaningful.

Julie Johnson Bryant • Fort Worth, Texas • Class of 1984

Before the Masked Rider became the program it is today, let me just say, there was a little bit more flexibility back in the early 80s, when the horse and trailer were allowed on the stadium floor. As the only regular assistant to Masked Rider and third woman rider, Jennifer Aufill, I was the poop picker upper (often times guided to the offending pile by Raider Red) and driver.

One memorable game was the 1983 Texas game in Austin. Traffic between Fort Worth and Austin was very heavy and we were scrambling to get to Memorial Stadium in time. While on the road, Jennifer changed in the truck while I waved to fans as they passed or smirked occasionally at others who told us we were number one, if you know what I mean. After speaking with a campus cop upon arrival, they graciously cleared a path to get us to the stadium. The Tech band had already executed its march in and were seated in the stands. We could see the UT band was on its way. As luck would have it, the UT band beat us to the ramp, so we waited until they completed their march in and followed behind. The Tech fans loved it . . . they gave a huge cheer as we entered . . . it was like we were already getting the last word. Texas was ranked #2 that year and squeaked out a win 20-3.

Jennifer Sams, Austin, Texas, Class of 2011

When I was going to orientation and Red Raider Camp in 2007, the Cupid Shuffle and Crank That (Soulja Boy) had both just come out. Those two songs were played at many events and it always reminds me of those times.

Janine Beckie, Portland, Oregon, Class of 2017

Never would I have ever told you as a young girl growing up in southern Colorado that I would end up spending 6 years of my life in windy West Texas at Texas Tech University but if you ask me now I'd say I don't know where I'd be without it.

In 2012 I arrived on campus as an eager soccer player with a dream to play professionally and there was not a whole lot else on my mind. A kid with a dream and a story that had yet to be told. In four years at Texas Tech, I transformed in more ways than I ever could have imagined, spent countless hours in an athletic department any young athlete would be blown away to be a part of.

I'll never forget a sold out Jones AT&T stadium on a college football game day, the basketball arena with a student section so loud and packed you couldn't hear a thing, the John Walker complex on a Friday night in West Texas as the place to be! I'll never forget the memories formed in Lubbock, the games won, the tough times, the laughs shared and the tears cried.

I don't take it lightly to call myself a Red Raider because it means I'm part of a family of people who pride themselves on a foundation of kindness, hard work, and a deep-rooted belief in “from here, it's possible”. And from Lubbock to professional soccer in the US, Europe and all over the world, world cups and a gold medal, it really is possible. Texas Tech is so much of who I am, and Lubbock will always have a home in my heart.

Amy Crumley, Corvallis, Oregon, Class of 2006/2008

When I think of my time living on campus, what I remember the most is the abundance of food. Food was always all around us. We planned our days by what was being served, where, and if it was free i.e. free turkey legs at Urbanovsky park, pizza at student group meetings, ice cream sundaes at Arbor Day, the President passing out hot dogs, ethnic cuisine at the foreign languages building.

Luckily, I loved working out at the Rec so I never gained that "freshman 15." My friends and I lived in Wall Hall freshman year and they had a decent dining hall. Whenever I hear "Toxic" by Britney Spears I immediately get transferred back to 2003 when music videos would play nonstop on the tvs in the dining hall. It provided our pre-going out playlist while we chowed down on enchiladas from the buffet.

Hulen Hall had the best pizza buffet. One time my friend and I made fresh chicken salad sandwiches and deviled eggs using what was being served on the buffet for a bunch of people craving them. Random I know. Sam's Place always had the best chicken fingers and you could get free refills from the fountain machine with whatever glass you brought in. The best breakfast was served at Horn Hall but they stopped serving at 10am so the struggle was real to get there on weekends in time!

College was the best!

Courtney Davis, New Braunfels, Texas, Class of 2010

Texas Tech University can be summed up in one word for me: FAMILY.

In the Spring of 2006, I was being recruited to play basketball at Lubbock Christian University, I flew into a duststorm on Southwest Airlines and promptly said I would NEVER live in Lubbock, Texas. Never say never, y'all.

Thank goodness the good Lord knew I needed to head west. Two years later, countless credit hours spent searching for what I wanted to do with my life, I ended up back in Lubbock, but this time in the offices of Dr. Todd Chambers and Chris Cook for more than two hours. From that day in the Spring of 2008, I knew I was HOME.

I spent over eight of the best years of my life living and breathing the West Texas way through my education in Mass Communications to my career in Athletics Communications as an sports information intern turned sideline reporter.

It was along these walks past Holden Hall and through the Engineering Key every day, I found my people, my purpose, and ultimately, myself. I am proud to call myself a West Texan by choice and a Red Raider for life. Through my time spent on campus, I had a front row seat to the most passionate fan base and salt-of-the-earth individuals who put their head down and go to work for the greater good day in and day out. I know this because several of those individuals became my mentors, my best friends, my colleagues, and ultimately, my family.

People like Blayne Beal, Kent Hance, Tim Siegel, and Tom Stone just to name a few who did not have to give this small town girl a chance all those years ago, but because they did, I am a better person, educator, and mother today.

Because I am a Red Raider, I have the privilege each day to be a part of something far greater than myself no matter how many hours may span between Lubbock and myself now, something so few truly experience, BUT if you were lucky enough to be inside Jones AT&T Stadium on November 1, 2008 from kickoff to tiptoe touchdown, in a collegiate atmosphere unmatched by any other, you know exactly what I mean.

It was an absolute honor to tell the story of so many incredible Red Raiders year after year, but nothing will ever surpass the feeling every time I wear the double T and someone tosses me the Guns Up or a RAIDER POWER chant breaks out in Austin up big late in a game over the Longhorns.

Texas Tech, to know you is to absolutely love you. Here's to the next 100 years - Wreck' em!

Don Hill, Katy, Texas, Class of 1992

During a special television series for five evenings in February 1987, talk show host Phil Donahue moderated a live television audience between the USA and USSR (the former Soviet Union). The world was changing quickly before our very eyes, and even though the post-World War II tensions between the two countries, called the Cold War, would ease, the late ‘80s were a time of fear of nuclear war and substantial distrust.

Donahue's philosophy, as he stated it, was, “There is a moral and political symmetry between East and West; only a few madmen disturb it.”

This talk show miniseries captivated and demanded my attention because for the first time on mainstream television, average citizens of our nations were bantering back and forth on television, breaking down stereotypes and propaganda on each side. It truly softened my tough, indoctrinated stance on what I was led to believe about our enemies.

The people weren't our enemies—government leaders were causing and exacerbating all this strife.


Signing Up for Foreign Language as a Freshman

In August 1987, I left my hometown near Houston for my next half-decade in Lubbock, Texas, about a nine-hour drive each way, when I entered Texas Tech University as a wide-eyed freshman Red Raider—the Texas Tech mascot—ready to take on the world.

A charismatic Mikhail Gorbachev was the president of the former Soviet Union during this period of glasnost and perestroika, and I was quite obsessed with world news. When I went to sign up for my first-year classes, I saw an offering for a Russian foreign language course, so naturally it was a no brainer signup for me to fulfill my foreign-language requirement.

I soaked it all in. Twice a week, I pored through that light-blue covered beginner Russian language textbook and donned those clunky headphones in the language lab for practice at the insistence of my instructor, Valda Jirgensons.

Mrs. Valda Jirgensons was a native Latvian who taught my beginner Russian class. She was a sweet woman and ensured I didn't slack off. We bonded and years later, after my graduation, I even gave her a ride from Lubbock to Littleton, Colorado, to visit her sister while I spent a few days interviewing for jobs in the area while staying at my cousin's home.

Mrs. Jirgensons' story alone was amazing to me. She and her husband were native-born Latvians, but after Latvia fell under Soviet power after World War II, they had a choice: stay or relocate. They chose to live in a Displaced Persons Camp. A host family in the USA took them in as immigrant refugees until they were established and on their own. I believe their decision to move to this nation was a smart one as Latvia would be ruled behind the Iron Curtain for many decades.

Mrs. Jirgensons and her husband both taught at Texas Tech. I distinctly remember that she also was working on her graduate recital with the pipe organ. I was a music major at the time, so at her request, I went to listen to her perform. She was phenomenal. She allowed me play on the organ during her practice time once since I knew how to play piano. It was the one and only time I ever played an instrument of that grand magnitude. I moved on from music, but we had that bond.

I also keenly remembered that when we started off in her beginner class, she assigned all of us students Russian nicknames and would use those only when addressing us. I'm not sure why, but I embraced and enjoyed it. Perhaps that was the intention.

I was dubbed “Valodya.” Now, I don't know if it was coincidental or not, but in Russian, the meaning of the name Valodya is “world ruler.” Consequently, my name given name, Donald, is from a Gaelic word meaning “world ruler,” as well. I'm anything but a world ruler, but it's fun to fantasize to this day.

While I absorbed all this language learning from Mrs. Jirgensons, my captivation intensified with the changes continuing in the USSR and I longed to experience or know it for myself.

Signing Up for the Trip of a Lifetime

Then came my sophomore year in the autumn of 1988, and the opportunity arose for students to travel to the former Soviet Union, which was still a relatively new opportunity and rare for outsiders. With the support and funding of my wonderful parents, I could go! Never in a million years would I guess they'd consider “yes” as an answer.

The trip took place during Spring Break 1989. It required enrollment in a special credit course for an immersion experience where we'd learn more about the culture, history, literature, etc. Part of that course included the trip experience itself. Our sponsors and trip leaders were Drs. Ulrich Goebel, professor of German, and Peter I. Barta, professor of Russian, both wonderful mentors.

Rules were quite strict regarding what we could take with us, what we could do when there, and how we should behave. Well, leave it to some of us Techsans to not exactly stick to the rules religiously, per say. I'll share some memories, including the more colorful-yet-foolish things I was part of.


Our Tech Travel Group

One of the students in our group was a good friend and fellow Goin' Band trombonist Derek Robertson from Spur, Texas. It was nice to have a buddy to hang out with. We got along well and would be trip roommates. We were also in the same Russian class. Mrs. Jirgensons nicknamed him “Igor.” I would snicker—it's such a Russian name if I ever could pick one out.

Igor, er… Derek and I also often hung out with an upperclassman who stayed true to his West Texas roots with Western wear—tan leather boots, faded jeans, and beige cowboy hat. He was tall and slender and the perfect gentlemen when people were around. Then he'd raise a little hell from time to time. While I can't recollect his name, I certainly remember him. For the purposes of this article, I'll call him “Slim.”

Sadly, I don't remember any of the others' names in our group, but I can still see their faces and remember some mannerisms, particularly the over-the-top Texas in us all. Having taken photos of them helps keep that memory somewhat intact.


Back to the USSR

En route to the USSR, our group flew from Lubbock to Houston to board a KLM flight at what was then Houston Intercontinental Airport. I was able to visit and thank my parents during that short layover, since Houston is essentially my hometown. They lived in an eastern suburb where I was raised, and they wanted to see their baby boy.

Dad brought his Canon AE-1 camera for me to borrow on the trip at my request and he even provided me with around 20 rolls of Fuji 35 mm film. Of course, Mom slipped me some goin' money to enhance my experience and while I feigned not wanting it, internally I did need it and was quite grateful in accepting it.

The flight departed in the evening. After a couple of hours, once the cabin lights were dimmed, some in our group got a little loud on the plane, downing vodka and practicing their Russian language skills—appropriate for the occasion. I do remember Dr. Goebel having to quiet some of us down, lest we get booted off the flight.

Our first layover was a couple of hours in Amsterdam. While we remained at the airport, it was a sight to see the canals and windmills in the distance, though the day was quite overcast.

After reboarding onto a different airline, our next stop was Gothenburg, Sweden. I don't remember much about that short layover, but I do remember the beautiful scenery as I peered out the plane windows onto the rolling hills covered in snow, thinking to myself, “I really need to visit this place someday.”

Finally, we reached Helsinki, where we stayed for a night. After settling in at the hotel, a group of us walked around the area and I was stunned at the cost for everything. At the time, Finland was one of the most expensive countries one could visit on Earth. And the locals seemed to have the means to afford it. I say that because I remember how so many I passed in the streets were into high fashion, at least by my modest Texas standards. The store windows displayed things you'd see on New York fashion runways, and the locals dressed to impress.


Crazy Train

Ozzy Osbourne's 1980 hit song Crazy Train was perfect for our next trip segment as we boarded a train, which would be our primary transportation between cities through the USSR. Why crazy? Well, to a bunch of students in a foreign land, let's just say it was definitely… different.

We departed late afternoon from Helsinki. Having ridden the Amtrak from Washington, D.C., to New York for my only rail excursion in the past, this was different. The train cars were similar but quite a bit older and not nearly as refined. There were four to a cabin and the narrow bunk beds were not meant for us big Texas college boys, by any means. We all shared one tiny sink and that was about it.

Somewhere along the Finland-Russia border in the middle of the night, we were awakened as the train slowed, squeaked, and rattled to a stop. Then someone spoke in Russian while banging on doors. It was a border check station. We were instructed to display our passports. They'd also asked to look in all our suitcases and belongings, which they'd messed up quite badly as they searched.

I chuckle as I remember one of the Russian border agents, who were all carrying automatic military rifles strapped on their shoulders, searched next door in the women's baggage who were also part of our travel group.

After going through one of the blonde female students red suitcase, the young agent's face quickly turned beet red in hue, and he was deep into frantic apologies of, “мне жаль,” (pronounced mne zhal) or simply in English, “I'm sorry.”

You see, he had sifted through her panties and brassieres that laid on top of the other clothes, holding them up for closer inspection, and the women had quite apparent looks of disgust on their faces. These weren't your average granny panties or bloomers—they were college women's private couture. The blonde student began complaining at him in English, though I can't remember exactly what she said. However, I do keenly remember it wasn't exactly pleasant.

The border agents promptly left the area after that mini-fiasco, and those of us in my cabin promptly turned our faces away as if we never noticed. Muffled laughter and boyish snickers ensued as we closed the door.

It was extremely cold and dark outside. I couldn't see any towns and it felt as if we were in the middle of a deep, desolate forest. I remember looking out the windows into the darkness, only dimly lit by the train's ambient interior lights, with amber lights in the far distance.

The agents were all clad in gray wool overcoats, wool ushankas (Russian hats with ear flaps), and black shiny boots, with the automatic rifles strapped over their shoulders. They stood around outside talking as thick steam arose from their breath. The gold-and-red USSR metal crests that adorned the ushankas suggested to me, “Holy cow, we're really here!”

Dreams became reality. No turning back now.

With the brief excitement subdued, the train continued to roll on toward Russia's second largest city, Leningrad (it was renamed Saint Petersburg a few years later in 1991).



This beautiful, historic city was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May 27, 1703, on the site of a captured Swedish fortress, and was named after the apostle St. Peter. Despite the cold, snow-laden, overcast days, the beauty of the place was evident. The city's 18th- and 19th-century architecture remains a unique reserve of European architectural styles of the past three centuries. With some 220 museums, 2,000 libraries, more than 80 theatres, and 45 galleries and exhibition halls, if you ever wanted to experience culture, this was a place to do it. We had limited time but were determined to see as much as we could.

I remember we barely put a dent into seeing the world-famous Hermitage Museum—the largest art museum in the world by gallery space. This massive venue was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings.

What really struck me at the time was how poorly the art was preserved. Windows were open to ventilate the museum and it was filled with cold, humid air because of its proximity to the Gulf of Finland. You can only imagine the toll it must have taken on oil paintings.

We also toured the Winter Palace that served as the official residence of the Russian Emperor from 1732 to 1917.

But the highlight of my entire trip was when we toured the Peter and Paul Fortress. Standing at its center was the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, which houses the tombs of all Imperial Russia's rulers, including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and the last Russian monarch, Nicholas II. Sure, that was impressive, but what happened from there is a story I share every time someone asks what kind of trouble I may have gotten myself into.

The Chase

One of those rules we were given was not to take photos of military bases under any circumstances. Well, somewhere near the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral was a naval yard of sorts and in it were docked naval ships. They were very distinct from any other type of ships and could only be military in nature.

I remember opening the camera case dad let me borrow and Derek suggested I shouldn't think about doing what he knew I was about to do. I assured him it would be fine as I looked around, seeing no one of consequence. Besides, Slim suggested I go for it.

So, I did.

Why not? We were young and stupid.

I discreetly shot a few photos of what we believed was a naval yard. I had Slim stand in front of me so I could pretend I was photographing him in front of some Russian object of sorts, while in all actuality, I pointed the camera to the left of him instead. It was his idea.

And with several presses of the shutter button, the deed was done.

Not long after, as we continued walking along the path, Derek noticed a man staring at us from a distance. We didn't think too much of it, but to soothe his mind, we meandered our way toward a crowd, while keeping a nonchalant eye on him.

We decided to change directions and, to my amazement, he did seem to be following us. We changed directions again a few minutes later down a less traveled road and he continued to follow. By then, we knew we could be up the creek without a paddle.

Slim said it was time we lose him, so he started walking fast. When he did, we noticed the man react, so we all walked swiftly, as well.

We eyed an alley around a bend and headed down it. I nearly slipped on ice during the evasion process. At the end of it, we saw him spy us from the end of a long building, so we ran when we knew we weren't in his sights, with a few zigs here and a few zags there.

We spotted a small corner poster shop and ducked into it behind some large posters out of street view. There were several patrons in the shop. Our pursuer briskly walked past the store after a quick glance through the windows. He kept going as we peered at him through the window. We figured we'd stay for a spell to ensure we'd truly lost him.

The shop keeper could sense something was going on. After all, we were halfway panting heavily and kept looking outside. He ushered us into an adjacent room that housed Soviet propaganda posters. We did our best to speak broken Russian, being students and all. We thanked him profusely saying, “Спасибо”—pronounced spaSEEbah—for “thank you.”

He insinuated that it was likely the KGB because of his dress, and went on to explain why, though we weren't nearly fluent enough to understand more than the gist. We took it for face value that our follower was KGB and decided to lay low. Besides, it sure makes for a more interesting story!

In gratitude, I bought many of his propaganda posters, thinking it'd be great to have and perhaps sell one day. They were very cheap by American standards back then and I speculated they would cease to exist in coming years due to glasnost.

To this day, I have yet to sell any and instead, my wife and mother-in-law framed a few large ones years ago for my birthday and they hang in my man cave upstairs. I still have many others stored away for future safekeeping. I wonder how much they may be worth now, even though I don't have any plans to part with them anytime soon.

Hotel Dining

We returned to the hotel, and I unloaded all the film I had used that day, put it into my suitcase, and geared up, packing more into the camera case. Derek and I stayed amped up for quite some time and talked in the room ad nauseum about that experience.

We later went downstairs to meet our travel group for dinner in the hotel. I remember it was a fancy dining hall that harkened to centuries of old. The waitstaff wore black and white uniforms with white gloves. It was quite formal, akin to hoity toity weddings.

The first course was borscht, a sour beet soup. Well, my group was filled with finicky Southern folk, so I not only ate mine but ate the woman's sitting next to me at her urging. She grimaced and didn't want to touch it.

Next came black caviar on dark rye bread. Again, I'm adventurous and happened to be a lover of caviar, and I knew the stuff was expensive. I believe I ate four to five helpings, as most in the group snubbed their noses at it. Then we finished off with some sort of fish-based soup with a big fish head staring back at us. Yum… it had radishes in it, as well.

I guess it helps having a mother who is native South Korean. I was exposed to foods growing up that many of my Southeast Texas friends made faces at. It certainly worked for me as a growing boy. Sour, smelly, and spicy cabbage was routine in my food experience.

Come to think of it, I believe I may be the only one in our group to gain weight instead of losing weight on that trip!

Most of our experiences dining in the USSR were like that. We were treated like dignitaries and given traditional Russian fare, which I'm confident was all a big show to impress foreign visitors, hoping we'd return home and spread good will about the experience. I had no complaints but did feel guilty knowing that the locals, with very few exceptions, couldn't dine in such establishments.

Even to enter the hotel, you had to have a passport, and Russian passports were not welcome, except for special treatment.

The Loss of Memories

After dinner, we retired back to our room for the evening. I noticed the bags were moved to the side and my main bag was left on top of the bed. I looked inside and all the film I unloaded was gone!

Did I misplace it? The rest of the unopened film remained in the side zipped pocket, but the used film had disappeared.

I asked the hotel manager, but our language was so broken that it was a lost cause. Google Translate didn't exist back then. To think about it, neither did Google!

Derek was as confused as me. I had to accept it as a loss.

We chalked it up to being KGB. Perhaps they did track us down and I'm confident they knew all foreigners' whereabouts. We had an itinerary planned by their government agency, so they knew when we'd be on the move, at dinner, touring, etc. From then on, my film always stayed on my person.

It's sad. I took a lot of photos, but most of the photographic proof of my adventures in Leningrad were gone, except for a few the next day while out and about. I certainly had no pictures of the naval yard!


On to Moscow

It was time to move on to Moscow. I was especially excited for this because it was the hub of all things Soviet. As impressive as Leningrad was, Moscow had to be even more so. Again, we boarded the train and rolled on down the tracks. It involved another overnighter.

As it had been the whole trip, everything was blanketed in snow and the skies were gray and overcast, with the white stuff falling seemingly nonstop. We were bused to our hotel via the electric passenger transit buses that were everywhere. I don't remember the hotel name, but it was quite luxurious by their standards.

Back then, there were no foreign hotel chains. So, when I use the word luxurious, it's by Soviet standards of the day. The lobby was grandiose and modern. There was a massive, beautiful metal tube sculpture handing from the ceiling that demanded attention. But, that's where fancy ended.

Once we arrived in our room, there were two beds. The room was small—even smaller than my Murdough Hall dorm room back in Lubbock! The beds were very short and narrow, again, more so than the one I had in my dorm room. And the two beds were along the same wall back-to-back, so we made sure our heads were opposite lest we snore each other to oblivion.

We made do. It was a padded bed and, in the end, that's what mattered. The décor was non-existent, but we had a beautiful view of the city. All we could really see through the dark, though, was steam rising from every building on the horizon, since we were only there to sleep at night.

We had dinner at the hotel that evening with our full travel group. Again, I dined well because I ate so many others' dishes. I don't remember the food we had, but I do remember being embarrassed for some of the more mature members of our group. Most of us were students, but some were either alumni or simply interested citizens of Lubbock that wanted to go.

The embarrassment came in when some of the non-students became upset when they felt they were overlooked or ignored when it was time to get our coats from the checkout station. The one person in charge of it was obviously overwhelmed with our group. I remember him apologizing and there not being a system for orderliness. I speculate that they didn't run into these types of situations very often.

The high-pitched, non-student women raised their voices, with facial expressions of disgust. I looked at them and essentially had to say, “The guy is overwhelmed so we should be patient,” and, boy, that went over like a fart in church!

I don't remember what their rebuttal was, beyond knowing that I was ticked off and turned the other way to avoid a greater confrontation. I do remember feeling like these were spoiled, rotten brats and despite all we've seen with the living conditions and treatment of the locals, it seemingly just went above their heads. Empathy was definitely not in their wheelhouse.

Hitting the Streets

I remember going to the impressive Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. It was the largest museum of European art in Moscow. We had learned a lot about what was inside from our studies prior to the trip, but taking the subway to get there was an experience in its own!

The Moscow Metro was impressive. First, to get to it, you had to be nimble. The escalators that took you down were so long you couldn't see the bottom from the top, and they were very, very fast. It was fast enough you could feel the air hit your face as if it were windy. One of them was the world's longest subway escalator. It impressed.

Each train station was fancy, as if instead of being in a station, you were in a five-star hotel lobby. It was ornate with chandeliers, paintings, and architecture. Most also had some sort of statue or tribute to Soviet heroes. There's no mistaking it for the New York subway by any means.

To this day, in all my travels, I've never found its equal in terms of extravagance.

As our group rode the escalator for the first time, it was around rush hour in the morning. Of course, we were talking amongst ourselves and we noticed local citizens paying attention to us, but indiscreetly. I remember thinking that they must never have met or heard Americans in person before.

Once again, a couple of us brash, stupid guys decided to have fun. We spoke in English to make it all the more apparent we were Americans. I don't remember the conversation, but I sure do remember we were talking about plans for espionage of sorts and trying to be serious about it. That lasted perhaps 15 seconds or so before someone in our party looked sternly at us, telling us to stop. We reluctantly obliged.

To this day, I can still distinctly envision one Russian woman in her brown wool overcoat, red scarf, and head covering slyly peeking at us from time to time, holding her gloved hand up to her ear to focus on hearing us talk, seemingly thinking we didn't notice. She was the main reason we decided to be stupid, as it was a game to us. In hindsight, it was dumb. She could've been KGB, after all!


Natasha and Peter

Everywhere we went on the official sanctioned tour, we had tour guides. They were approved by the government and were trained to give us the best possible experience as tourists. They didn't disappoint. Ours were Natasha and Peter. I remember hearing some of our female companions talking with Natasha during a bus ride and it came out that she and Peter were an item.

But Natasha seemed unhappy, which was what prompted the women of our group to talk with her. Of course, listening in, I was able to ascertain that she felt she needed to be with Peter to have a better life. They were engaged. While the women of our group smiled and loved it, she didn't share a similar reaction. She was obviously not happy with her circumstances.

They both met in the Komsomol, or Russian Young Communist League. It was described as the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). To join ensured you had higher standing, meaning a better quality of life.

She didn't like it, didn't subscribe to it, and felt trapped. At least that was the gist of what I understood and remembered. But to her credit, her English was excellent, as well as her knowledge of her culture to the extent she was allowed to share.

Peter didn't talk about his relationship with her when asked. He kept tight-lipped about his personal life except at a high level—I assume that's how they were trained. And I certainly couldn't fault him for that—he was a good tour guide in his own right.


The Main Attractions

Our hotel was short walking distance to Red Square, one of the oldest and largest squares in Moscow. It's regarded as one of the most famous squares in Europe and perhaps the world. It's the center of Moscow and Russian power.

Within it, we visited Saint Basil's Cathedral, built in the mid-1500s, and one of the most popular cultural symbols of Russia. It was adorned outside with onion-spired domes, and the interior was just as impressive as the exterior with the architecture and how it was adorned decoratively with real gold. A couple of years later, the Kremlin and Red Square was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is the highest conservation status for cultural and historical monuments in Russian legislation.

Also within the confines of the square was Lenin's Mausoleum. I can remember the very long lines outside to get inside just to peer at his preserved body. I elected not to go because I've never been one to have much patience in long lines. It was estimated to be a couple of hours long to get inside. I did take photos of the tomb's exterior with Soviet military men outside in the background. This is where I have another story involving Slim.

Guns Up in Red Square

As a Red Raider, it wouldn't be prudent to not capture ourselves in Red Square without a tribute to our alma mater. Slim had long planned to do something unique and special before the rest of us had any clue. And, as usual, he was geared up in his cowboy garb, standing out like a sore thumb.

I photographed Derek in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral, and in turn he photographed me. Then I was to photograph Slim. But he wanted to be photographed in front of Russians in their military uniforms in front of Lenin's Mausoleum. OK, sure, no problem.

He handed me his Vivitar 700 110 film camera and instructed me to be ready on his signal. Curious, I obliged and held his camera ready as he positioned himself strategically. “Can you see the soldiers in front of the tomb behind me?” I remember him asking.

“Yeah,” I responded.

He then grabbed something from his interior jacket pocket. It was a medium-sized Texas flag! He hoisted it above his head while giving the Texas Tech Guns Up hand gesture.

“Shoot it, shoot it!” he demanded. So, I did.

He promptly bunched it up and stuck it back in his jacket pocket and we made a brisk exit. As we looked around, sure enough, we were stared at as we chuckled, walking off. The soldiers didn't do anything, much to our relief.


We later met up with our travel group for lunch at the GUM department store on the eastern side of the square. It was massive in size and is the best-known and largest shopping center in Russia. After a quick lunch, we broke up again to shop.

The interior of the place was ornate and eclectic with all sorts of fare being sold. I remember buying matryoshka dolls – the Russian stacking dolls. I bought a few sets as souvenirs for my mother, sister, and others.

I also bought some cologne for my dad because it had photos of Saint Basil's Cathedral printed on it. However, it smelled to high heaven and could knock over a wild boar! I explained to him when I presented it that he may not want to wear it but just look at it.

It's also where I purchased my black rabbit fur ushanka hat. Not only was it unique to the Soviet Union, it was nice and warm as well, and my ears were freezing! It remains on display in my man cave upstairs on a stand adorned with a gold Soviet emblem I retrieved from there, as well. I bought one of the hats for my dad, too, not that it'd do him any useful service living on the Texas Gulf Coast. However, it was useful at least once as I remember when we took ski lessons in Breckenridge, Colorado, he wore that hat on the slopes!

The Kremlin

I don't remember much about the Kremlin in terms of visiting it. It was a series of buildings that housed the Soviet government as well as the president, general secretaries, premiers, ministers, commissars, etc. I don't remember it being open for tourists to visit though I understand it's now allowed—or was for tours prior to the 2022 war with Ukraine.

What stood out to me though were the Soviet flags—the red flags with the yellow hammer and sickle emblem. They flew in many places throughout the Kremlin. I wanted one “just because.” I'll come back to this topic later.

The Underground

Later that evening, our smallish subset of the travel group was my usual entourage of Derek and Slim. But we also had a few others including some of the female students. I don't remember how or where, but we met a small group of Russian guys around our age while out and about. Because they were flirting with the women in our group, we stayed close with the women for their safety. The Russian guys were nice enough, though, asking all sorts of questions about America.

One in their group was an American student studying abroad. She was attending Brown University and would often interpret into English for us. She suggested we all go to an underground discotheque so, we happily obliged.

We didn't know much regarding youth our age in the Soviet Union, so what an opportunity this would be. We took the electric bus about 15 to 20 minutes away. Our newfound Russian friends showed us the way. In hindsight, it was probably very stupid because it could've been some sort of trap. But we were big guys with a big group, so we felt safety in numbers.

We arrived at the non-descript location with just a single metal door to a concrete exterior with no signage, but the music inside was reminiscent of what we might find back in Lubbock at Midnight Rodeo, a local club, if there were no signage or pickup trucks parked out front. Well, and minus all the Western gear, too.

As we entered, the security guard asked to see our passports, as was the rule that all Russians had to show their passports when asked. Since ours were American, the more athletically built Russian guys in our group stood in front of the security guard intimidating him as they motioned for us to go on by, so we did. The American student that accompanied them explained this was common and that police and such aren't paid much, so they really don't want to get hurt nor do they care—made sense.

After enjoying ourselves with a live band singing in Russian, we were drinking shots of airplane fuel, also known as vodka. We continuously raised our shot glasses to cheers.

Perhaps it was 20 minutes or so into our arrival when a small group of Russian guys came up to our group. One in particular looked like a thin version of David Bowie, with bleached and spiked white hair and all. His eyes were wild and quite red.

He came straight to me, raising his voice, asking me something that I clearly could not understand, in some accusatory manner. I could only respond with, “что?” (pronounced schtow meaning “What” in Russian). He repeated himself and I shrugged again with, “что?”

Then he became really mad and dropped his jacket to take a swing at me. It was all in slow motion. I can still see it in my mind to this date.

Before I could react to defend myself, a couple of the bigger Russian guys with us jumped in front of me, pushing me back, and commenced to beating the living daylights out of this guy. One was hitting him in the face while the other in his midsection.

I don't remember this episode taking long at all and our Russian friends insisted we leave, so we did. I remember the security guard looking at them and then looking away once they gave him the stink eye.

Everything seemed to be a blur, but I remember the female students with us insisted we go back to the hotel and we as sure heck weren't going to say no. We headed back, but the Russian guys still wanted to hang out.

We said the only place we knew was a bar at the top of our hotel, but that they couldn't get in because they had Russian passports. They assured us that they could. And we wanted to repay them with drinks for coming to our defense. I can only imagine had I taken care of myself physically that I might be sitting in some Gulag in the middle of Siberia.

We arrived and the plan was that we foreign visitors would show our passports to the lone security guard while the rest would sneak past behind us, looking hurried. Some of the guys answered in English that they were just drunk Americans and to leave them alone! Again, it wasn't worth the effort to truly enforce. It worked and the next thing you knew, we were at the bar!

The Flag

As promised, I'm getting back to the flag story. I wanted one of the Soviet flags that flew around the Kremlin, and we could see plenty from our hotel bar. Remember how there was that list of “do nots” we were given? Yes, excessive blue jeans were on that list. Do not trade blue jeans, as that was taboo at the time. Well, magically, my suitcases happened to accidentally have about five pairs—two for me and three for any gifts I might want to bestow upon new friends.

One of our new Russian friends asked if I had any blue jeans. Hmmm…as a matter of fact, I did. But there was a price for this gift. I wanted a Soviet flag that's flying from one of the Kremlin buildings. Brash as they were, two of them said, “No problem.” We went to my room so I could show them the jeans and they nodded in approval. They asked me to go downstairs and let them exit out of a side door. I then just had to sit in the lobby to watch for them to return and then go to that side door and let them back in.

About 20 or so minutes later, I was about to give up waiting until I saw them emerging through the darkness. I opened that side door and let them back in and we went back to my room. Guess what? I was the proud owner of a government-flown flag from the USSR! I carefully hid it in some socks surrounded with some whitey-tighties. And mysteriously, I seem to have lost two pair of jeans! Go figure.

Passport! Passport!

After reentering the hotel, I led one of the guys back to the bar to rejoin the group while the other wanted to head home, so I was going to walk him out of the hotel and hail a cab. He was stricken by panic as we were set to leave. He patted himself a few times and became wide-eyed while trying his best to explain to me repeatedly, “Passport! Passport!”

He was missing his passport.

It must have fallen. We searched my room, but it wasn't there. We went to the bar, and it wasn't found and no one in the group had seen it. They didn't really seem to care as they were busy flirting while I was busy with business transactions.

Odd as it was, he teared up in fear and I felt awful for him. Maybe it was the vodka reacting? I don't know.

I finally walked him outside and instead of a cab, since he apparently didn't have cash but did have a bus pass, he got on a bus. I felt so bad for this guy. He was just out having fun getting to know crazy Texans.

I don't know what would happen to him. He mentioned his father would be angry. I don't know if that's what he feared or the government or what. But I absolutely felt bad for him, and to this day, I wonder what happened with him.

Grocery Shopping

One lasting memory I had was from a relatively brief excursion to a grocery store across the street. The guys and I wanted to get some snacks and various items for the hotel room. There was a line wrapped around the building and no one seemed to be moving. We wondered what was going on so we went to the front of the line, not to go in, but to see what the issue was.

Some store representative asked us, in broken English, if we were Americans, obviously from hearing us talk, but more likely from Slim's cowboy outfit. We nodded yes and he ushered us inside ahead of the line. We were confused but followed and he encouraged us to shop. Again, foreigners were treated like royalty. Not so much the locals.

We weren't limited on what we could get but the locals were. The signs we could read in Russian explained the limit they were allowed, which usually was one item.

The stories we'd heard about the Russians rationing things such as groceries, toilet paper, and such were very true. They were very poor, so our foreign influx of money was obviously welcome. I was embarrassed. We did shop but we later discussed it at the hotel, and it was certainly a learning moment. I was proud that our group kept spending to a minimum out of compassion.

Even when we have disaster preparation or pandemic here in the states, it still pales in comparison to what we saw firsthand. They had to have tickets to get limited rations on a certain day of the week and had to hope that what they needed was in stock. And, they had no choice but to be obedient and patient.

It was then I knew how good we Americans truly have it and how collectively we take our culture and lifestyle for granted.

That experience changed me forever.


On to Estonia

After a few days in Moscow, we boarded a train to Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn, capital of Estonia has roughly double the population of Lubbock, which made it significantly smaller than Leningrad and Moscow. Estonia, a Baltic nation adjacent to Latvia, was occupied after World War II as a constituent republic of the USSR. With all the changes during glasnost, they regained their independence two years after I was there.

After the train arrived, we took the subway into the heart of the city. I noticed many bronze Soviet-era statues adorning walkways as we continued.

This ancient city—the first fortress was built around 1050—was surrounded by high stone walls, simply known as the city wall, built beginning in the 13th century. Over the course of the next three centuries, it became one of the largest and strongest defense systems in Northern Europe. Tallinn Old Town also would later earn the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

I marveled at the architecture of the 26 defense towers along the walls that were cone-shaped red-tile roofs. I figured they must have, in some way, inspired Disney fairy tales.

During glasnost, it was very apparent that Tallinn was much further along with moving toward freedom than the previous two cities I had experienced. The people seemed more casual as they went about their business. Most locals we met proudly insisted that we understand that they were Estonians, not Soviets.

That struck a chord with me.

I remember one landmark I'd use when I needed some semblance of direction was the very tall Tallinn TV Tower, which could be seen from virtually anywhere. The tallest building in Estonia, it has very tall spire and halfway up was an observation deck. It looked like a needle that had a bad blister in its center.

My favorite thing in Tallinn was just hanging out and soaking in the medieval vibe of Old Town. The majestic buildings were constructed between the 15th and 17th centuries, and shops, restaurants, etc., were eclectic. The cobbled streets with historical monuments were enough to keep my interest.

I do remember walking around with the guys in Old Town and I slipped and fell on some black ice. I bumped my head good on the cobblestone street and was very briefly knocked unconscious. When I opened my eyes, Derek was standing over me, extending his hand to help me up, and an older woman, dressed in all brown, was talking to me but I didn't understand a thing she said. All I could mutter repeatedly, as I began to draw a small crowd, was, “Я в порядке, спасибо,” (pronounced ya vi poryadke, spasibo, meaning “I'm fine, thank you.”),

I got to my feet and truly felt OK, minus the bump on my noggin. We returned to the hotel and I remember feeling so embarrassed.


Back to Lubbock

After Estonia, we returned to the rails straight back to Helsinki, and from there, we made our way back home. I distinctly remember the travel group wanting to dine in Helsinki's McDonald's since there were no American franchises in the USSR back then. And eat they did! For some, it was the first true meal they had the entire trip. Of course, I ate it, too, but I wasn't in starvation mode like most were. It still makes me chuckle to this day.

The rest of the trip was rather uneventful, as we were all exhausted from the tours and such, and we slept hard on the way home.

A couple of days after returning to campus, I received a phone call from a reporter for Texas Tech's school newspaper, the University Daily (now called The Daily Toreador). She wanted to interview me about the trip after learning about it from one of the professors. So, I obliged.

I gave many perceptions and takeaways, as well as some anecdotal experiences. She wanted to know more about the people and I shared how caring they were when I fell on the ice. Well, that's the one primary quote she used from me.

Derek later called me up and asked why I'd admit to falling because he knew I was embarrassed. We both had a good laugh about it. It seemed as if all I learned from the trip of a lifetime was that people cared when you fell and knocked yourself unconscious.

It was a fine trip. I'll forever be grateful to my parents for the opportunity and to the school representatives for putting such a trip together. Since then, millions of foreigners have traveled to the former Soviet Union. Many have experienced the post-glasnost life that embraced increasing capitalism, but most did not have the unique experiences I did in a unique time period.

This trip did indeed change my opinions. It changed my perception. It changed how I viewed political enemies.

It changed me.

With the current war between Russia and Ukraine in 2022, I hope the experiences do not revert for the Russian and Ukrainian people. Like citizens around the globe, they are good people.

But to reiterate what Phil Donahue said, “There is a moral and political symmetry between East and West; only a few madmen disturb it.”

Austin Hering, Lubbock, Texas, Class of 2018

One of the things I love most about Texas Tech is the endless opportunity to engage in community. From my time as a student in the Fall of 2015 - the end of 2018, I had so many experiences that gave me such confirmation that I was exactly where I needed to be!

If I had to narrow it down to one experience, I would probably say the events that took place for the annual Carol Of Lights! I remember my first year being a part of that and just how mesmerizing it was! There is nothing like walking through campus at night with over 25,000 lights draped all over the buildings! The ceremony was a blast, but hands down my favorite part was the Carol Of Lights Run!

I still live in Lubbock and work at a local church by the name of Live Oak Community Church, and one of the things we do yearly as a staff is that run! It's so cool to continue to experience campus in a way that reminds me of my favorite tradition!

From running around memorial circle to being on the field of the Jones Stadium, it is such a fantastic experience! I'm thankful that Texas Tech takes community so seriously. Not just between students, but for those in the Lubbock area as well! I am a seriously proud alumnus! Wreck ‘Em Tech!

James Hering, Dallas, Texas, Class of 1986

When I think of my time at Texas Tech (1982-1986), I think of “unexpected opportunity”. After starting college as a music composition major, I hit the proverbial wall mid junior year… music was my passion, but not my career calling.

What do you do when you're halfway through… and don't know what you want when you grow up?

Well, you turn to the Career Counseling Center of course! And take a massive quiz on an IBM AS 400 green screen computer the size of a Volkswagen bus (remember, we're talking 1984) and waiting a week to review a report on green bar tractor paper.

The readout?

While I had high a proclivity for the “Arts” (duh…) and “Homemaking” (ha… you should have seen my apartment…) the area that popped to the top was “Communications”. Hmm… At that point, I'm off to meet Dr. Billy I. Ross, head of the School of Mass Communications (now College of Media and Communications), who after five minutes of reviewing my info declares “You'd be perfect for Intro to Advertising. Take that class & let me know how it goes.” 

Boy was he clairvoyant. The next thirty-six years, I'm working in Advertising. Still am.

Guess he knew back then I might make for a pretty good Mad Man. With endless options for career paths, Tech has you covered. No matter how unexpected your college experience may turn out!

Macy Hering, Houston, Texas, Class of 2021

My time at Tech was filled with creativity, friendship, and learning. When I first enrolled, I had a plan to be a Med Student. I soon realized that path wasn't for me and decided to change my major to nursing. My sophomore year I learned that this wasn't the right path either. I found myself in a slump, not knowing which direction to go in.

I decided to check out the career center where several amazing people truly helped me. I spoke with career counselors about my interests, goals, and talents. After pondering the possibilities for a while, I landed on Nutrition and Dietetics.

Within this major, I found my true passion; a love for health and helping others. During this journey, my amazing professors guided me every step of the way. The Human Sciences professors teach class material exceptionally, but also truly care about the success and futures of their students.

I can't even count how many times a professor has gone above and beyond to ensure my learning and wellbeing were at their peak. My fellow classmates created a network of knowledge, creating study groups and learning opportunities for each other.

When my time at Tech came to an end, it was sad to say goodbye, but exciting to know I was prepared for the next chapter of my life. Overall, Texas Tech is not only an institution of higher knowledge, but also a place where everlasting friendships and memories are made. I will forever be a Red Raider! Wreck ‘em!

Emily Jones McCoy, Fort Worth, Texas, Class of 1998

My favorite Texas Tech memory came two decades after I graduated. When it came time for my niece to start looking at colleges, Texas Tech made the cut…yay! Her dad and her favorite aunt ;) went to Tech and both had a wonderful experience. When it came time for her to visit Lubbock, my Tech peeps took amazing care of her and showed her the greatness of being a Red Raider. She was sold. When she came to visit after completing her freshman year, the smile on her face and the stories she told made me so happy. I'm so grateful we get to experience her college career with our Red Raider bond.

Molly Tucker, Lubbock, Texas, Class of 2003

When I think about Texas Tech, my heart is flooded with some of the best times of my life!

As a Communication Studies student, the first thing I think of, is my all-time favorite professor, Bill Dean. He had the best stories and was the most relatable and funny professor I ever had. The classes where he shared past students' hilarious comments about him and his class, was worth the 10 minute mad-dash I had to make from the BA to the Mass Com building. He expected you to show up, engage and be ready! Everyday! He taught me how to be passionate for whatever I do and be willing to outwork your competition. He is the exact definition of Red Raider.

My daughter will be a college Freshman in the Fall of 2023 and my biggest hope is that she chooses Texas Tech and loves it as much as I did - and still do. Texas Tech is different than any other school. We have to fight, work, and hustle for everything we get. It's not always easy, and I think that's what makes it so special. It's truly a family.

The culture is infectious, emotional, and loyal! It makes every single win worth it! Going through an airport with your Red Raider shirt on and having random strangers give you the “guns up” motion, is a true term of endearment! Walking to your car after beating a team that nobody thought you could compete with, and listening to the victory bells ring out, is indescribable. Over 20 years of football games and I still get chills watching the Masked Rider take off across the football field to start the game! I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything! Everyday I'm a Red Raider!

Britta Tye, Lubbock, Texas, Class of 1999/2005

This April marked my 6-year anniversary working with the Texas Tech Alumni Association and 21 years working for or with TTU. If you would've asked the girl sitting in Dr. Dean's MCOM 1301 if this where she would be now, she'd have said "yeah right." Never could I have imagined what an impact TTU would make on my life.

Tech and Dr. Michael Shonrock gave me the opportunity being the first ever coordinator for Red Raider Camp, and now I am coordinating a traditions camp for TTU grandparents and soon-to-be Red Raiders. I've had the opportunity to meet some inspiring Red Raiders through their service on the TTAA National Board of Directors, as one of our Distinguished Alumni honorees and as the advisor to Student Alumni Board. And now, serving on the Centennial Events Planning Committee…this is the ultimate in special events planning, a truly once in a lifetime occasion, and a chance for me to give back to TTU for giving me so many amazing opportunities.

I know I am lucky because I get to celebrate "the school we love so dearly" and be a proud Red Raider every day.

Laura Romero, Lubbock, Texas, Class of 2009

In my Senior year, I was preparing for graduation and had started applying for an assortment of jobs in the area. However, I was struggling with my resume. One of my co-workers suggested I visit the career center for help. I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Toni Burse who helped me craft my resume for the jobs I was applying for, and I was invited to a few interviews. However, none of them felt like a fit for me. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or what my degree in Economics even qualified me for. I was really struggling. Toni called me to follow up and see how the interviews went. I told her that they went well but that they just weren't for me. She suggested I come back into the center and complete some career aptitude assessments and discuss my future and my options. After completing the assessments, the number 1 recommended career field was “sales”. I had never considered that before, but it sounded interesting. Toni got me signed up on Raider Jobs and helped me identify some jobs that aligned well. I proceeded to apply and interview for a Sales Manager position at a local student living apartment community. I received an offer (and accepted!) on the day of my last final and started the Monday after graduation!

Fast forward 13 years, I am still in sales and working my dream job as an Account Executive at Salesforce. So, I can honestly say, I would not be where I am today without the guidance and support I received from TTU and Toni Burse. Toni passed away in 2014 so I am sad to not have the opportunity to thank her personally for the impact she has had on my life. I feel so grateful and proud every day to call myself a Red Raider.

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