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Though growth continued at Texas Tech, the university was not immune to controversy.In 2003, a third-year student at the Texas Tech School of Law filed suit against the university over its policy on free speech zones, which restricted student speech to a single "free speech gazebo".In 2011, the combined enrollment in the Texas Tech University System was greater than 42,000 students—a 48% increase since 2000.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.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.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.The Spanish Renaissance-themed campus, described by author James Michener as "the most beautiful west of the Mississippi until you get to Stanford", has been awarded the Grand Award for excellence in grounds-keeping, and has been noted for possessing a public art collection among the ten best in the United States.

Texas Tech was integrated in 1961 when three African-American students were admitted.

Texas Tech University alumni and former students have gone on to prominent careers in government, business, science, medicine, education, sports, and entertainment.

However, the bill was repealed two years later during the next session after it was discovered Governor James E.

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.

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