One hundred years ago on March 22, the university’s former administration building in Waco, Texas burned down. Nearly every building on campus was destroyed, leading to the university’s relocation to Fort Worth, a move Chancellor Victor Boschini said is one of the university’s most defining moments of the past 100 years.
“Six or seven cities vied for TCU, and the people that were then the leaders of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and the people that were the leaders of Texas Christian University felt Fort Worth made the best offer,” Boschini said.
He said that offer included a cash offer of $200,000, 50 acres of land and the promise to build a street car line to the campus. Boschini said the university’s partnership with Fort Worth has been one of the main reasons TCU has thrived during the past 100 years.
“I think one of the big selling points for when a student looks at TCU is Fort Worth,” Boschini said. “It’s safe, has a great downtown, its got a real civic pride about it and those are things that I think you do feel, especially if you’re not from the city, when you come in to look at the school.”
Jenna Hockema, a senior anthropology major, said Fort Worth helped influence her decision to attend TCU.
“It had, by far, the best location of all the places I’ve been,” Hockema said. “It’s a big city, but it still feels like a small town.”
While Boschini said the university has benefitted from the city, Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief said the city has benefitted from the university.
“This community has taken a great deal of pride in TCU and what it stands for,” Moncrief said.
Moncrief said the university has provided well-educated professionals for the work force.
“The results speak for themselves,” he said. “I am proud to serve a city that has such a dynamic university of higher learning, and I look forward to the partnership growing and strengthening over the [next] 100 years.”
He also said the university’s success in athletics, especially last year’s football season, has brought invaluable national recognition to the city. He said his favorite memory of the university was last season’s sold-out Utah game.
“I liked the ocean of purple, and I thought the decibel level of the fans was amazing,” Moncrief said. “There was an electricity that day that I have never felt.”
The City of Fort Worth dyed the Trinity River purple for that game.
Margaret Kelly, executive director of community projects, said the university and the City of Fort Worth will celebrate their 100-year partnership. University officials proposed that historical markers be placed on campus and downtown where the school had its beginnings.
Proposed campus activities include historical tours during Family Weekend, football pre-game events and possible participation in the 2010 Parade of Lights. According to its Web site, the Parade of Lights is one of the best illuminated parades in the country and celebrates family and togetherness with wintry events and the lighting of the Fort Worth Christmas tree.
Kristi Hoban, associate vice chancellor of alumni relations, said the alumni center plans to add to the events that are already yearly occurrences. However, a special event for the 100-year anniversary of the move is still in the planning stages.