Texas Tech on Wednesday announced the naming of the Huckabee College of Architecture in honor of a gift received from the Huckabee family.
The college was named in honor of Tommie J. Huckabee, who was a student at the university for one year before having to quit due to a lack of funds available to continue his education journey.
But Chris Huckabee, a former regent and chairman of the Texas Tech System Board of Regents, said that didn't stop his father Tommie's pursuit of a career in architecture. He went on to apprentice at a local architecture firm in Lubbock and later found his own firm, Huckabee Inc.
"He took his architectural registration exams. And after passing, he founded Huckabee (Architectural Firm) in 1967 with a focus on educational design," Huckabee said. "Tommy felt if he could not have an education that he could do his best to contribute to others so they could accomplish their goals."
Tommie was the first of three generations in his family to attend Texas Tech, according to a news release from the university.
Chris Huckabee said his father's commitment is a core reason for making the donation on his parent's behalf.
His ultimate hope for the impact this gift has is to elevate the college to become the No. 1 school in the nation for first-generation students.
"We look forward to giving you an appropriate place in which to teach learn and to be inspired through many major renovations and addition to this building," he said.
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said the Huckabee family name has become synonymous with excellence in architecture and the gift made by them will have a lasting impact.
"As we work toward a common goal, the success of all students and today, our students here at Texas Tech and in this college and the facilities of the College of Architecture will benefit from that focus as the legacy of the Huckabee family will continue to shape the future of this college and Texas Tech," he said.
Schovanec said not only will the gift help enhance the interior and exterior of the school, but it will also fund student scholarships and technology in the classrooms.
Even though the university is respecting the family's wishes in not releasing the total amount of the gift, Schovanec called the donation very substantial, adding he is grateful for the gift.
A key focus of the donation is the revitalization of the infrastructure in and around Huckabee College through renovations that touch classrooms, technology, landscaping and more, according to a news release from Tech.
“We are excited to see how this gift helps transform the college and Texas Tech University,” Chris Huckabee said, “but most importantly, how it can impact students who might not otherwise have that opportunity.”
Huckabee College is home to 861 students and 46 faculty members. It offers three bachelor’s degree programs and three master’s degree programs, including dual degrees with the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering and the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business. In 2019, Design Intelligence ranked the college 10th in the nation among architecture schools for the number of graduates most hired by firms.
In July 2022, Huckabee College named a new dean, Urs Peter “Upe” Flueckiger, who has been at Texas Tech for nearly 25 years. He is looking forward to working with the Huckabee family to build a vibrant educational environment where students can think critically and creatively.
“This very generous donation from the Huckabee family marks an important milestone for our college and Texas Tech University,” Flueckiger said. “The first architecture class at Texas Tech was taught in 1927 through the College of Engineering, and by 1986, Architecture was a standalone college. Now in 2022, we are newly named the Huckabee College of Architecture. This gift from the Huckabee family is transformational and will enable students, faculty, staff and friends of the college to reach new heights.”
The Huckabee family gift (amount not disclosed) is the largest ever made to the college. With the naming of Huckabee College, the family joins some of Texas Tech’s most generous donors in naming a college and making an investment that will allow the college to advance the quality of its programs; enhance the level of talent recruited for students, faculty and staff; and multiply the impact graduates make in their field.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech names Huckabee College of Architecture after gift pledged