History of Arkansas Tech - Arkansas Tech Faculty Web Sites
History of Arkansas Tech
Arkansas Tech University was created by an act of the
Arkansas General Assembly in 1909. Under the provisions of this Act, the state was divided into four Agricultural School Districts. Boards of Trustees were appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Senate, and appropriations were made for the erection of
buildings and employment of a faculty for a district
agricultural school in each of the four districts.
Twenty counties of northwestern Arkansas were designated as the Second District.
Governor Donaghey appointed W. U. Balkman, J. R. Williams, H. S. Mobley, A. D. Shinn,
and O. P. Nixon as a Board of Trustees for the Second District Agricultural School. Several
towns made efforts to have the school located in their area. After considering all proposals,
the Board of Trustees decided to locate it at Russellville, which had made an offer of a tract
of 400 acres of land adjoining the city limits and a cash bonus of several thousand dollars.
The school opened its doors for students in the fall of 1910. The first class to graduate
from the school was the high school class of 1912. In 1921-22, a freshman year of college
work was offered, in 1922-23 a second year, in
1923-24 a third year, and in 1924-25 a fourth
year. The General Assembly in 1925 changed
the name from the Second District Agricultural
School to Arkansas Polytechnic College with
power to grant degrees. The class of 1925 was
graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science, as was the class of 1926. The effort to
maintain a four-year high school and a four-year
college proved beyond the resources of the institution at that time, and it became a junior college
in the fall of 1927. The Associate in Science
degree programs offered were in Agriculture, Engineering, and Home Economics. A student
could also earn a Licentiate of Instruction, more commonly known as a teaching certificate in
Education, Home Economics Education, or Vocational Education. The four years of secondary work were dropped, one year at a time, and the last high school class was the class of
Changing and increasing demands for college education in Arkansas caused the
Board of Trustees in 1948 to convert the college from a junior college to a degree granting
institution. In 1948-49 the college offered the third year of college work, and in 1949-50 the
fourth year, with the first baccalaureate degrees awarded at the end of the 1949-50 spring semester. A graduate program leading to the degree
of master of education was established in 1976.
Graduate courses were first offered by Arkansas
Tech in the summer of 1975.
In accordance with an act of the Arkansas General Assembly and by the authority of the State of
Arkansas Board of Higher Education, the name of
Arkansas Polytechnic College was changed to
Arkansas Tech University, effective July 9, 1976.
Arkansas Tech has consistently adjusted its scope
to accommodate immediate and future needs. In 1985 the
institution reorganized its programs into the Schools of
Business, Education, Liberal and Fine Arts, Physical and
Life Sciences, and Systems Science. In 1997, the School
of Community Education and Professional Development
was established. As part of ongoing efforts in strategic
planning and recognition of the growth and scope of the
institution and its programs, the schools were renamed in
2009: College of Business, College of Education, College of Arts and Humanities, College of Natural and
Health Sciences, College of Applied Sciences, and College of Professional Studies and Community Outreach.
—2009-2010 Arkansas Tech University Catalog
A.K. Short, 1910-11
George A. Cole, 1911-16
Charles E. Scott, 1916
Charles G. Lueker, 1916-1918
Hugh Critz, 1918-24
D.G. Armstrong, 1925-26
Dr. James R. Grant, 1926-31
J.W. Hull, 1932-67
Dr. George L.B. Pratt, 1967-72
Dr. Kenneth Kersh, 1973-93
Dr. Robert C. Brown, 1993 to Present
TECH Alma Mater
Music by: Paul Shultz
Written by: Sarah Lee Gordan and Billy Witt
Alma Mater, Alma Mater,
May we lift our eyes to thee.
May thy glory and thy honor
Be fore'er our destiny.
May the colors Green and Gold
Our loyal hearts fore'er enthrall,
And thy mem'ry live forever,
In the hearts of us all.
Alma Mater, Alma Mater,
Cherished beacon of our youth
Radiant emblom, shining symbol
Guide that leads us onto truth.
Down life's pathway, beaming 'or us
Ever lead us by thy light
Should we falter then restore us
By thy spirit's glor'us might!
TECH Fight Song
Fight on, Arkansas Tech,
Fight on to victory!
Break through to run up the score,
Conference Champions once more!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
We'll back you all the way,
Cheering for triumph always!
Go! Fight! Green and Gold,
Wonder Boys, You're Number
Sadie Hawkins Dance
The Sadie Hawkins Dance was held every fall where the
women would ask the men to the dance. Traditional apparel
for the dance was “L’il Abner” and “Daisy Mae” costumes.
The Sadie Hawkins Dance was fashioned after the Al Capp
comic strip, “L’il Abner.”
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, on the Friday night of Homecoming, Tech students would gather by
College Grocery on El Paso and snake dance down El Paso
to Main Street. At Main Street, students would turn left
and dance down Main Street to the Picwood Theater. The
students would dance through the theater (the movie would
be stopped and the lights would turn on so the students
could see) and end up at a street dance behind the theater.
After graduation practice, three longtime Tech supporters,
Mr. Burns, Mr. Burns, and Mr. Bartlet would sponsor a
barbeque for all graduating Tech students. The faculty would volunteer to serve the barbecued chicken dinner with all the trimmings.
Over 300 alumni attended Tech’s 23rd annual Homecoming celebration, November 10.
Every class since 1910, the year of Tech’s origination, was represented for the first time in the college’s history. The festivities consisted of the parade, the coronation of the queen, the football game
with Henderson and the coffee hour for the alumni.
The celebration was concluded with a dance featuring the Tech Orchestra. Other activites included the
Torchlight parade, pep
rally, and bonfire.
Queen Betty Owens’
coronation took place
preceding the game.
The Queen was escorted across the football field by Student
Council President, Bob Pendleton. —1952 Agricola
Five hundred parents attended Dad’s Day, October 13, to help
Tech observe its 25th annual day in honor
of parents of Tech students. The day’s
activities included registration, a tour of
the campus, lunch in the Dining Hall, a
special assembly program, and Open
House in Caraway Hall. The festivities
were climaxed by the Wonder Boys winning their 25th Dad’s Day football game
which was against Edmund, Oklahoma.—
The first Agri Day was held in May,
1928. According to the 1952 Agricola,
Agri Day, May 6, is a red-letter day of the Agri Club and Home Economics Club as well as
for the college. Each year, Agri Day is held during the first week of May. This celebration
includes such events as the traditional May Pole Dance, the coronation of the king and queen,
a special assembly program, exhibits, and the annual dance, which closes the day’s activities.
The celebration of Agri Day is the product of many days of work and preparation done by the
two clubs.—1952 Agricola
Publications-A weekly newspaper, the Arka-Tech,
and an annual, The Agricola, are published by the
students of Arkansas Polytechnic College. Membership on each staff is based upon interest and
proficiency in the publications field.
Agri Club-Founded in 1922, it is one of the oldest
clubs on campus. Any Agri student is eligible to
be a member. According to the 1928-1929 catalog: The Agri Club is the most successful organization in the college. It aims to create an interest
among the students for the promotion of scientific
agriculture in Arkansas. It also affords an opportunity for the betterment of social life on the
Textile Club-Tech was awarded the Textile School in 1925 – “The study of textiles includes a
study of the comparative value of the four chief fibers and the types of material made from
them. A course in home furnishings gives instruction in the best way of decorating and beautifying the home” —1928-1929 Arkansas Polytechnic College Bulletin
Association of Women StudentsThe A.W.S. is an association for
all women students on the Tech
campus. This association is the
expression of women students.
Through the functioning of the
association, a student assumes
greater responsibilities for her
activities and has a voice in the
direction of her affairs. The organization is governed by the
A.W.S. Board, elected wholly by
members of the A.W.S. Each year the members elect the “Lady of the Apple Blossom”,
which is the highest honor given to a woman student.—1928-1929 Arkansas Polytechnic
Our students are not only preparing for life, they are living a part of it now. They are
citizens in this little “college republic” and are given opportunities to help make it a good
place in which to spend four profitable years. Without freedom there can be no development.
On the other hand, absolute freedom is not good for any of us. Each student is given all the
freedom that he can use for the good of himself, his companions, and his college. Our students do not ask for more. They should not be given less.
This institution like any other must have rules to safeguard the individual and the college itself. Our one rule is do right. Not all of us agree on the term “right.” To help us understand it better, a little hand book is prepared and will be given to each student.
The aim of this college is to form rather than to reform character. Often the two go
The doors to Arkansas Tech are open to any boy or girl who really wants an education. The aim of the faculty is to help students to develop into worthwhile citizens. Students
who are not in sympathy with this aim, who refuse to help themselves, or to be helped, will
—1928-1929 Arkansas Polytechnic College Bulletin
1927-1928 Arkansas Polytechnic College Bulletin—Tuition is free. The board and
living expenses are made as cheap as is consistent with good service. Board has never been
more than $15/month. The students have good, comfortable rooms. The rooms are furnished with beds, mattresses, tables and chairs. Students are required to furnish
their own sheets, comforts, blankets, pillows, pillow cases
and towels. Meals are served in a large well-kept dining
hall. A large supply of vegetables and fruits, grown on
the school farm, are preserved during the summer months
for use throughout the school year. This makes it possible
to provide good board at a surprising low cost.
The Board of Trustees desires that parents and guardians
co-operate with the college authorities in encouraging the
practice of economy and it is suggested that students should not be supplied with much
spending money in excess of what is required for necessary expenses. A large number of the
best young people attending this institution spend very little each month about actual ex5
penses, and parents need not fear that their children will be embarrassed by reducing expenses to a minimum.
“Students are allowed to give entertainments of social nature only on Saturday evenings.” The President must grant permission in writing, and the events cannot go past 11:00
PM. No more than one such event is permitted per month.
An excerpt from the message to the Prospective Student
To the Prospective Student
Many boys and girls are asking the questions: “Should we spend years, money and
energy on a college education? Does a college education pay?” The state is spending a great
deal of money to educate its boys and girls. It too, is asking the question “Does it pay?” In
general, the answer to these questions is YES. In some individual cases, the answer is NO.
Will it pay both you and the state for you to go to college? The answer depends on too many
factors to name here.
The Arkansas Polytechnic College was established for the purpose of putting a big
education within reach of people who have small purses.
Two hundred dollars should pay all necessary expenses for
one year in this college. Much of that may be worked out.
Last year, a majority of the four hundred students worked a
part or all of their way through school. The spendthrift will
not feel at home on the Arkansas Tech campus.
Moral Atmosphere-Russellville is a town, not only of
churches, but of church going people. Church-going is the
“fashion” for Arkansas Tech students. Besides going to
church each Sunday, all students attend a short daily assembly where they enjoy “congregational” singing. The programs are varied. Talks by ministers, faculty members, and students are timely, short, and stimulating.
The spirit of the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A.
permeates the entire student body. This spirit has
made hazing an “unknown quality” on Arkansas Tech
campus.-1928-1929 Arkansas Polytechnic College
From the 1941 Agricola—One man out of every 4—
104 all told—bade
farewell to his Alma
Mater in the Ozarks.
of the football squad departed. Every basketball letter man
but one marched off. The entire track team, eleven of 14 student councilmen, and the
president of the student
body were all called away.
Jan. 13, 1941-What a day!
Life Magazine recognizing
that Tech lost the greatest
numbers of soldiers to the military of any college in the nation, paid us a visit today. The photographer took scores of
pictures. The banquet in the soldiers’ honor was held in the
dining hall. The decorations were red, white, and blue bun6
ting and large American flags. The
dance which followed in the armory was
one of the most colorful ever held at
Tech. Dot Hull and Lt. Gov. Bob Bailey
led the grand march. Everyone really
Feb. 3, 1941-Tech is in the National Limelight. Today our pictures
were neatly published in Life Magazine.
In any proper scheme of educational
work, physical education must demand
attention. Healthy bodies are essential to
strong minds. In addition to the physical
and mental benefits derived from the athletic activities, the sports, if properly di-
rected, have an inestimable moral and social value to
the entire student body. For these reasons we encourage clean and sane athletics. Representative teams are
organized in football, baseball, basketball, tennis, track
and field athletics, and these compete with neighboring
colleges.-1928-1929 Arkansas Polytechnic College
The “T” Association
The “T” Association is composed of men who have won their letter on the athletic field for
Arkansas Polytechnic College. The organization is designed to promote school spirit and
loyalty and to further in anyway the welfare of
Tech, especially in athletics.-1928-1929 Arkansas
Polytechnic College Bulletin
The ‘T’ Club was an organization for male students
who lettered in one or more varsity sports, football,
basketball, baseball, or track. New members to the
organization had their hair shaved by upper-class
“T” Club members. The main function of the “T”
Club was to promote athletics and create a better
image of the students
engaging in intercollegiate athletics-1969 Agricola
1941-While boxing in the middleweight class, Neil Kinney, held
titles of Fort Smith Golden Gloves Championship, was a quarterfinalist in the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, was state A.A.U. champ of Arkansas, and was a former Mid
-South title holder. He did not get to face many challengers because they would be very sick just before a match, and would not
Arkansas Tech and State College of Arkansas (now known as
UCA), had a huge rivalry in the 1960’s. Each school would commit a variety of pranks during the week leading up to the football
matchup. Pranks would include Tech traveling to Conway to paint
the bear mascot statue green, State College would travel to Russellville and spray paint-S.C.A. on campus buildings, and a variety of
other practical jokes including haircuts and painted football fields
in opposing team colors. Traditionally, this was the biggest and
most spirited football game of the entire season for Tech students.1969 Agricola
Arkansas Tech’s first
mascot was the Aggie. Since the school was
considered to be an agriculturally based school,
the Aggie mascot was the perfect representation
of the school. The mascot changed to Wonder
Boys in 1919 when the Russellville Aggies
played the Jonesboro Aggies. Russellville did
not allow the Jonesboro Aggies to score during
the game, and Russellville went onto win the
game 14-0. John E. Tucker, a 17 year old freshman scored both touchdowns and kicked two
extra points to win the game. After the
game, news outlets referred to the team and
Tucker as “those wonder boys of Russellville.” After that comment, the mascot
would always be known as the Wonder
Boys. The Wonderettes was the first mascot
name give to female sports teams at TECH.
The first women’s basketball team was organized in 1915 and was given the name, Wonderettes in 1923. Comprised of 40 women,
the Wonderettes were the pep squad for Tech
athletics during the 1930’s. The Wonderettes
changed their name to Golden Suns in 1975
and became recognized Arkansas varsity
sports. Several names were nominated, but in
the end, the athletes selected Golden Suns as
their new mascot.
Airport-Arkansas Polytechnic College has the distinction of having its own airport located on the campus.
Although serving as a municipal airport, it is managed
and operated by college personnel. With two hangars,
an administration building, a well-equipped shop
for aircraft repair and maintenance, and seven college-owned airplanes, the college has adequate facilities for the operation of its extensive flight training program.-1949-1950 Arkansas Polytechnic
Trailer Cities -Three “Trailer Cities”, consisting of
151 family units, plus central bath, toilet, and laundry
units, house veterans and their families. These are to
be concentrated into two groups in the fall of 1949 to
provide space for the erection of the new men’s dormitory.
College Farm-The college farm, of approximately 400 acres, serves a dual purpose. Managed as a practical farming operation, with emphasis upon livestock and poultry, it likewise
serves as a practical laboratory for students in agriculture. A modern dairy, with a large herd
composed principally of registered jerseys, furnishes milk for the college cafeteria.-1954-55
Arkansas Polytechnic College Catalog
Armory-Headquarters for two companies of the Arkansas National Guard, with offices, locker rooms,
storerooms, and a large drill floor which is also
used for an assembly hall and as a basketball court.
The Armory is being remodeled to increase the
seating capacity for basketball games.-1954-55 Arkansas Polytechnic College Catalog