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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

Breaking barriers: a conversation with Ron Hurdle

Ron Hurdle (left) with cheerleader fellows. (Courtesy of the Horned Frog yearbook 1971)

TCU’s first Black cheerleader joined the squad in 1969, but it would be months before he could perform any routine with the white female cheerleaders.

Less than a decade after TCU officially desegregated, Ron Hurdle’s presence stoked fears of interracial romance. His experience, which included death threats, will be discussed at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center.

Details of Hurdle’s experience emerged during the oral history project started by Dr. Sylviane Greensword and led today by Dr. Jenay Willis. The oral history is part of an effort to collect stories from the community to expound on TCU history, said Dr. Karen Steele, a member of TCU’s Race and Reconciliation group.

“By the end of the spring semester, we hope to have our first 20 or so interviews available to the wider public, as the TCU library is working to digitize and archive each interview,” Steele said.

The Horned Frog yearbook from 1970 displays Ron Hurdle and fellow cheerleaders.

Willis, the RRI postdoctoral fellow, said “Hurdle is a true embodiment of what the work of race and reconciliation stands for. As the first Black cheerleader at the university, we as a team would like to celebrate him and his accomplishments.”

After graduation, Hurdle entered the U.S. Navy’s Officer Candidate School. He has two master’s degrees and a law degree. He founded his own law firm.

TCU’s board of trustees voted to desegregate the undergraduate student body in January 1964. The first cohort of Black students was admitted that fall.

The first Black athlete was James Cash, who played basketball for TCU in 1966. Two years later, Lynzy Cole became TCU’s first Black football player. At the time, TCU had 36 Black undergraduates; a year later, Black enrollment grew to 73 students. Now, there are 518 Black undergraduates.

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