LUBBOCK, Texas – Investing in Red Raiders was the main focus for Texas Tech University (TTU) president Dr. Lawrence Schovanec while delivering the centennial year State of the University address on Tuesday.

“Our progress in the first century has been a collective effort of faculty, staff, students and alumni bound by our love of this institution,” Schovanec said. “We often say Texas Tech is special. In many ways, we are a family. One that is characterized by an unpretentious nature and exemplary work ethic, a can-do attitude, pride and individualism.”

The 12,000 new students this fall helped reach a record total enrollment of 40,944 Red Raiders, which is over 400 more than the year before. 

“Students are coming from far distances to be here,” Schovanec said. “You can’t run home every weekend, so you stay here, you become embedded in the university community and in the local community, and it just creates a special bond.”

Schovanec added the school has also made significant strides in the number of graduates. He said just in the last five years, TTU’s four-year graduation rate has gone up nearly 50-percent.

“As we bring 12,000 in, we’re pushing them out at an increasingly higher rate, so it’s created a new sort of dynamic there in how we keep that pipeline full,” Schovanec said.

Schovanec applauded state lawmakers for making higher education a priority during the 88th Texas Legislative Session. TTU received continued, and now permanent, state support totaling $50 million every two years.

“We are in a very good position right now to do some very significant things as it relates to growing our research enterprise, but also investing in our students,” Schovanec said. “We wake up every day thinking about what we can do to enhance our students’ success, and having those resources can make a difference.” 

Schovanec said it’s important to celebrate the successes, but never lose sight of what lies ahead. 

“We are steadfast in our belief that the best is yet to come, and from here, it’s possible,” Schovanec said.