Thursday, May 3, 2012

50 Years Ago
The Year in Review
The May 8, 1962 JTAC devoted a long column to the “Year in Review”!   It reported that the Fall 1961 enrollment was Tarleton’s 2nd largest in the history of the school, with 1389 students, of which 633 were freshmen!  Wow!
Probably the most significant event that changed the history of the school also occurred in the fall of 1961 – the name of the football team was changed from Plowboys to Texans!  It was the biggest change since Tarleton became a four year institution.  An election was held on October 4, 1961 to change the name to something “more fitting for a four year liberal arts college”.  It became a heated election between the “old school” and the “younger generation”.  The next week the students voted to change the name to the Texans over five other names on the ballot, in the largest recorded vote ever.   In addition, the 10 pm pep rallies “bit the dust”, and the students realized they needed a new fight song rather than using the A & M fight song. 
The band director, Hilmer Wagner, wrote a “snappy new fight song” which was catching on!  In fact, the 1961/62 Grassburr was dedicated to Hilmer Wagner “because of his boundless energy and enthusiasm and his devotion to the students”.   In addition, the citizens of Stephenville donated $5000 for new band uniforms!
Plans were also being made for a new student center and construction began on a new women’s dorm!  Two long time faculty members retired – Miss Lillie Lillard and E.A. “Doc” Blanchard.  Miss Lillard, associate professor of speech, had taught at Tarleton 39 years!  “Doc” Blanchard, professor of mechanic arts, retired after 36 years!  If you go into the Thompson Student Center be sure to look at the red fire truck that belonged to Mr. Blanchard!
Lots of significant changes occurred in 1961/62, but I have to add this lighter note from the same JTAC……..”Tarleton Males Stage Unsuccessful Panty Raid!”……approximately 200 male students attempted a panty raid……but were broken up by college officials……before the raiding actually started!
It was easy to see why the 1961-62 school year was deemed the year of change!  The story ended by anticipating an “even bigger and more exciting year of change and new activity”.   May your 2012/13 year be even bigger and more exciting!
Have a Great Summer!!

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