Culture / Newsy

TCU Celebrates 150 Years In Wake of National Championship Game Loss — How to Get In On the Party

How It All Started and Where It's Going

BY // 01.13.23

It’s been a remarkable 150 years for Texas Christian University. Throughout the past century and a half, Fort Worth has transformed from a dusty Cowtown into a corporate and cultural giant (it is currently the 12th largest city in the United States). But for thousands of TCU students, alumni and residents, Fort Worth will always remain their beloved college town.

Here’s how it all started.

Brothers Addison and Randolf Clark, who were both teachers and ministers, had a vision for founding a college to provide a classical education on what was then the desolate prairie back in 1869. They founded AddRan Christian College, just north of Granbury in Thorp Spring, Texas. It became one of the first co-ed educational institutions West of the Mississippi when the first class of 13 students began their studies.

Just five years later in 1873, the college was officially chartered, having grown dramatically to 450 students. The college then relocated briefly to Waco in 1895, where its name was officially changed to Texas Christian University. A fire destroyed the campus there in 1910, necessitating a change of venue. Enter Fort Worth.

These days TCU is home to more than 10,500 undergraduate students and 1,750 graduate students. They study in 32 different programs in eight different departments.

The university continues expanding its offerings and facilities. TCU’s School of Medicine was recently renamed the Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine and the school is building a four-story, 100,000-square-foot medical education building. There are new residence halls on the rise and the state-of-the-art Van Cliburn Concert Hall just opened last April. The concert hall is part of the new $53 million TCU Music Center that brings more than 7,500 square feet of rehearsal space.

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TCU is kicking off the year with a new president as well. Daniel Pullin, the John V. Roach Dean of the TCU Neeley School of Business, will begin his tenure as the university’s president on February 1.

Super Frog is Texas Christian University's beloved mascot.
Super Frog is Texas Christian University’s beloved mascot.

The Rise Of The Horned Frog

The horned frog was chosen as TCU’s mascot  due to the lizard’s rugged exterior. A master of defense, the horned frog’s thick skin is spiked and it has developed an uncanny ability to survive in the harshest climates. When their natural camouflage doesn’t deter a predator, the horned frog can puff itself up to double its size ― becoming a more intimidating opponent. When that doesn’t work, they have one last option.

Yes, the rumors are true, horned frogs can spit toxic blood out of their eyes.

TCU fans have been Riff Ram Bah Zoo-ing for nearly a hundred years now, but the university’s mascot Super Frog has changed a lot since his introduction in 1979. Once a softer squishier reptile, Super Frog is now a buff and muscular fella, suited up in his TCU football jersey. TCU’s official hand gesture also only caught on in the early 1980s.

“It’s like a peace sign with slightly curled fingers, symbolizing the horns of our tiny, mighty mascot the horned frog,” the school’s website notes.

TCU’s school colors of purple and white were chosen to reflect both royalty and the ideal of playing a good clean game. This, of course, brings us back to football ― which is largely how the rest of America knows anything about Texas Christian University ― especially after the recently completed David versus Goliath season. TCU and quarterback Max Duggan was dismissed from day one, but shocked the college football world by making it all the way to the national championship game, beating traditional blue blood power Michigan in an instant classic semifinal game along the way.

With sea of fans and alumni, all dressed in purple, filling the stands at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, TCU ended up getting demolished by Georgia 65-7 in a historic beatdown of a national championship game. Still, the 13-2 dream season has already created a recruiting boon for Sonny Dykes’ program.

Of course, the team will be very different in 2023 with many of its top performers moving on, including Duggan (who won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Davey O’Brien Award, and finished second the Heisman Trophy voting). Duggan is entering the NFL draft.

TCU football fans are rabid — and proud.
TCU football fans are rabid — and proud.

TCU’s 150th Celebration

Now, on the heels of that epic football run, TCU is ready to celebrate its milestone anniversary. Here are the 150th events to look forward to:

150th Drone Display

TCU’s sesquicentennial will be marked with more than 200 drones flying over campus. Get your camera (or smartphone) ready, this should be one unique sight.

When: 6:30 pm on Tuesday, January 24

Where: Campus Commons located at 2901 Stadium Drive

The Story of Us: An Immersive TCU Experience

TCU’s past, present and future will come to life in an immersive, multimedia experience with historical artifacts and lots of photo opportunities.

When: From 6:45 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday, January 24. There will be more chances to watch this on Wednesday, January 25 and Thursday, January 26 at either 11:30 am to 1:30 pm or from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

Where: Brown-Lupton University Union 2901 Stadium Drive

Texas Christian University and its hometown of Fort Worth certainly have a lot to celebrate these days. And almost certainly, a lot more growth to come.

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