After new legislation passed in the state house and senate in 1921, Governor Pat Neff vetoed it, citing hard financial times in West Texas. Chitwood, the chairman of the House Education Committee, who became the first Texas Tech business manager, spoke at the event. Sterling, was the architect of all campus PWA projects.Furious about Neff's veto, some in West Texas went so far as to recommend West Texas secede from the state. Chitwood served in the position only fifteen months; he died in November 1926. During the 1930s, Bradford Knapp, the university's second president, proceeded with an expansion program, which included new dormitories, the first library (now the mathematics building), a golf course, a swimming pool, paved streets and alleys, and landscaping. Because the state cut appropriations by 30% at the start of the Great Depression, President Knapp applied for assistance from the major New Deal agencies to expand Texas Tech, including the Works Progress Administration, Public Works Administration (PWA), Civil Works Administration, and the National Youth Administration. Military training was conducted at the college as early as 1925, but formal Reserve Officers' Training Corps training did not start until 1936.Texas A&M's triple designation as a Land-, Sea-, and Space-Grant institution reflects the broad scope of the research endeavors it brings to the city, with ongoing projects funded by agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.

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Ten days later, the cornerstone of the Administration Building was laid in front of 20,000 people. but the Board of Directors chose Texas Tech University, submitting it to the state legislature in 1964.

A failed move by Governor John Connally to have the school placed into the Texas A&M University System, as well as continued disagreement and heated debate over the school's new name, kept the name change from being approved.

Chancellor Kent Hance reiterated plans for Texas Tech's main campus to reach enrollment of 40,000 students by 2020, with additional 5,000 students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and 10,000 students at Angelo State University.

In 1996, the Board of Regents of Texas Tech University created the Texas Tech University System. Montford, later of San Antonio, was selected as the first chancellor to lead the combined academic enterprise.

In spite of objections by many students and faculty, the Board of Directors again submitted the change in 1969.

It finally received the legislature's approval on June 6 and the name Texas Tech University went into effect that September.Texas Tech University has awarded over 200,000 degrees since 1927, including over 40,000 graduate and professional degrees.The Carnegie Foundation classifies Texas Tech as having "highest research activity".It has locations in four Texas cities in addition to the main campus in Lubbock.In 2011, the combined enrollment in the Texas Tech University System was greater than 42,000 students—a 48% increase since 2000.In 1923, the legislature decided, rather than a branch campus, a new university would better serve the region's needs under legislation co-authored by State Senator William H. A proposed ,000 allocation for a football stadium was shelved. By 1939, the school's enrollment had grown to 3,890.