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Summary of diversity at Texas A&M

Summary of diversity at Texas A&M

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1876: Texas A&M College officially opens its doors as the first offering of public higher education in the state. Forty students are enrolled and six faculty members there to instruct.

1891: First known Hispanic graduates from Texas A&M.

1913: First known Chinese student arrives at the college for his master’s degree.

1923: First Japanese student to play football in the Southwest Conference.

1925: Resolution prohibiting admission of female students is adopted by the College Board of Directions.

1934: Brazos County District Judge W.C. Davis hands down an opinion that A&M’s Board of Directors is within its right to limit enrollment to men.

1944: Bi-racial Conference on Negro Education releases a study that acknowledges lack of professional and graduate education for African-Americans in Texas.

1954: U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules that racial segregation in public schools violates equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, reversing a decision that allowed “separate but equal.” Statewide poll shows 80 percent of the white population in Texas opposes public-school integration.

1956: Texas A&M Student Senate votes 24-7 “opposing segregation.” Student election results in vote to continue segregation.

1962: A&M System Board decides to “admit qualified students regardless of race” to Arlington State College to avoid threat of lawsuit for admittance by three African-Americans.

1963: Those three quietly enroll for first summer session as “special students” at A&M, becoming the first African-Americans to attend.

1963: The Board of Directors permit women to enroll on a “limited basis.”

1964: Civil Rights Act and Assurance of Compliance with Title VI of that act bring an end to the era of segregation in Southern higher education. Five male freshmen become the first African-Americans in the Corps of Cadets.

1965: Sallie Sheppard, class of 1965, is one of the first women admitted to Texas A&M, though accounts of professor’s daughters and wives show some attended classes but weren’t allowed to receive a degree.

1967: First African-American athletes on scholarship signed on to the track team.

1968: Dr. Betty Miller Utenberger becomes the first female faculty member at Texas A&M with an appointment to the Department of History at the rank of full professor with tenure.

1969: Women are permitted to enroll at Texas A&M in unrestricted numbers.

1970: First known Hispanic woman graduates from Texas A&M with a degree in secondary education.

1970: Transgender Aggie Phyllis Frye graduates from TAMU; during her time at A&M, Frye was known as Phillip Randolph.

1972: Campus housing opens to women for the first time.

1974: Women are admitted as members of the Corps of Cadets.

1974: Gail Y. Sedberry becomes first African-American woman in Corps.

1975: Women’s Drill Team created as alternative to women participating in the Fish Drill Team. Ruth Anne Schumacher, class of 1977, was the commander; she later was the first woman commissioned from A&M into the armed forces. During this time, women were not allowed to participate in almost all other elite cadet organizations.

1975: Women’s tennis team created.

1975: Fred McClure elected as first African-American student body president.

1978: Swimmer Vicki Brown-Sobecki was first woman to receive official athletic scholarship at Texas A&M and first woman elected to Lettermen’s Association Board of Directors. She also started the Association of Professional Women, which evolved into a 2,000-member organization.

1978: First women’s history course taught.

1979: First female Aggie Olympian Linda Waltman breaks track records; can’t go to Olympics because the U.S. boycotted the games in Moscow. She’s the first woman elected into A&M’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

1980: Cadet uniforms for women include boots for the first time.

1981: Leaugeay C. “Beebe” Barnes is first woman to be a part of Parson Mounted Cavalry.

1985: Aggie Band and other organizations in the Corps are forced to admit women. In the fall, three women applied and were admitted to the band. Two other women joined the Ross Volunteers. First woman appointed to a brigade-level post in the Corps.

1986: Woman appointed deputy Corps commander, the highest rank for a female cadet at the time. The Battalion appoints its first African-American editor — a woman.

1987: Sallie Shepard became first female associate provost.

1990: Jane Stallings becomes first dean of a college (education).

1990: First gender-integrated Corps units are formed.

1991: Dr. Karan Watson becomes first woman in the College of Engineering to hold dean’s position.

1994: Brooke Leslie becomes the first woman to be elected student body president.

1994: Mary Nan West becomes first woman to be named president of the A&M Board of Regents.

1994: Women’s Programs opened in the Department of Student Life.

1999: Erica R. Smith reaches one of highest cadet leadership positions — combined band commander. She also was the first African-American to hold both positions.

2008: Elsa Murano becomes first woman president at Texas A&M. She also was the first Hispanic to hold the position.

2009: Dr. Eleanor Green named dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, becoming first female dean.

2011: Dr. Karan Watson makes news again, becoming the first female provost.

2015: Alyssa Marie Michalke is named commander of the Corps. She will become the first woman to lead the 2,400-member ROTC program in the university’s 139-year history.

Source: Texas A&M University Cushing Library

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