MSU commemorates 100 years with Centennial Kick-off Celebration


Casee Harl

Apparel resembling that of early MSU clothing decorates a table at the Century of MSU Kick-Off Celebration, Jan. 27.

Midwestern State faculty, staff, students, alumni and other members of the Wichita Falls community came together at the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall to kick-off the university’s centennial celebration. Founded in 1922, MSU reached the age of 100 this year. 

“It’s an amazing time to be here. There’s a lot of people around that have contributed over the years to the growth and expansion and keeping MSU the way it’s always been. Strong college to go to and a good opportunity for a lot of people to attend so it’s an honor to be here, it’s a good feeling,” Rogelio Nuñez, psychology senior, said.

Interim provost Martin Camacho speaks at the Century of MSU Kick-Off Celebration, Jan. 27.
Interim provost Martin Camacho speaks at the Century of MSU Kick-Off Celebration, Jan. 27. (Casee Harl)

Nuñez hopes for growth within MSU in the future and thinks Texas Tech will help with the growth. Others in attendance were alumni such as Andrew Wolf, former student regent, who saw some of MSU’s achievements during his time as a student.

“It’s definitely something to be proud of. It’s kind of crazy that it has been 100 years because it doesn’t feel like long. I just think it’s phenomenal that we’ve been able to do what we’ve been able to do and achieve for the past hundred years,” Wolf said.

A milestone Wolf remembers during his time at MSU was the new doctorate programs. Wolf says it showed that hard work has to be put in and that hard work does pay off.

“I’d say, MSU turning 100, I think it’s just an example of what the Wichita Falls and MSU community can do. MSU has been here now for 100 years and you look at that and you look at how MSU started, with I think it was 30 students total, now where we’re at and how involved we are within the community so I think that’s going to be awesome for MSU and reaching out and getting more community involvement,” Austin Strode, student government association president and economics senior, said.

MSU staff get food from a snack table at the Century of MSU Kick-Off Celebration, Jan. 27.
MSU staff get food from a snack table at the Century of MSU Kick-Off Celebration, Jan. 27. (Casee Harl)

MSU was initially called Wichita Falls Community College. The college was located on the third floor of the Wichita Falls High School. Not only was the facility shared, but the faculty as well before moving to the present-day campus.

“Oh, I think there are probably people out there that wonder how we ever made it this far but it’s a testimony to all the little pieces that have come along the way. We’ve gone through what, four or five name changes but we’ve held true to our mission and it’s actually kind of cool that here we are, West Texas, and we profess to be and push the limits of being a liberal arts institution. We don’t fall into a lot of the traps that other universities have fallen to and we’ve held true to our mission and stayed unique that way,” Bradley Wilson, associate professor of mass communication, said.

After relocating to Taft Boulevard in 1937, MSU has continued to expand. Over the years, the campus has grown throughout Wichita Falls, and in 2018 opened a campus in Flower Mound, Texas to help adult learners and community college students complete a bachelor’s degree.

“There’s so many opportunities, there’s so much work we’ve done this academic year. Seeing these opportunities going forward being a new member of the Texas Tech university System and just all of the things that we have to offer. It’s just exciting to stand at this milestone and look at the next 100 years,” James Johnston, interim president, said.

Interim president leads the audience in MSU's alma mater, Jan. 27.
Interim president leads the audience in MSU’s alma mater, Jan. 27. (Casee Harl)

The 2021 academic year saw the West College of Education launch the university’s first doctoral program in educational leadership. Another change was MSU becoming the fifth member institution to join the Texas Tech University System.

“Obviously longevity is great. I love the past at Midwestern but I’m excited about the future of Midwestern now especially with Texas Tech. I think that’s going to hopefully push us to grow in the future because I think really Midwestern needs to grow… for the area to grow and I think Tech is going to help with that and I think there’s real excitement that there can be some growth in the next couple of years,” James Frank, state representative for house district 69, said.

Frank hopes MSU’s future continues to be excellent academically and with more students. Similarly, Mario Ramirez, director of Student Leadership and Involvement, hopes the next 100 years are filled with growth and positive change, a great time for faculty, staff, students and the Wichita Falls community.

“I’m excited that the university has reached this age and excited for what brings the partnership with Texas Tech. This year [we have] the exciting different events we are doing to celebrate the centennial years,” Ramirez said.

TTU System Chancellor Tedd Mitchell speaks to the audience, Jan. 27.
TTU System Chancellor Tedd Mitchell speaks to the audience, Jan. 27. (Casee Harl)

The centennial celebration began with the kick-off, but it is far from the end. The celebration will continue with the Centennial Bash on campus and a display of the history of Wichita Falls and MSU at the Moffett Library throughout the month of February.

“I think it unifies a sense of unity to come back, especially if you’ve attended MSU or you’re just native to the Wichita Falls community. It’s a chance to get connected with each other and build a stronger community outside the college and inside Wichita Falls as a whole. Really it’s just unifying the community, bringing everyone together and trying to help each other out,” Nuñez said.

The centennial celebration paid tribute to the past and looked towards the future. It brought together the communities of MSU and Wichita Falls. 

“It’s a milestone, so a testament to the community and to the alumni and 100 years that counts. It’s been fun to see it, even in the time I’ve been here, to grow and to kind of expand its reach within Texas, join COPLAC and attracting the faculty that were able to attract now so its a solid place,” Samuel Watson, dean of Prothro Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said. “I think MSU has proven that it can adapt and that it can evolve. Who knows what the challenges ahead may be but based on the track record we’ll be okay.”