95° Fort Worth
All TCU. All the time.

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. 

TCU’s first Black cheerleader receives the Plume Award

Ron Hurdle receives the Plume Award given by the Race and Reconciliation Initiative (Photo Courtesy of Jenay Willis).

A desire to become more actively involved led TCU’s first black cheerleader to try out for the squad.

Ron Hurdle spoke about his experiences as part of TCU’s earliest cohorts of Black students on Wednesday when he received the Plume Award at the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center.

The annual award is given by the Race and Reconciliation Initiative to recognize people “who have made a significant contribution to TCU and its goal of fostering a campus community that is welcoming for all,” Marcela Molina, the RRI student intern, said while presenting the award.

The Race and Reconciliation team honor Ron Hurdle with the Plume Award  (Photo Courtesy of Jenay Willis).

Hurdle said the idea to try out came from a casual conversation with friends in the student union.

“I did not think that, ‘hey, you’re breaking some barriers,’” Hurdle said. “We were just trying to fit in.”

At the time, the Students for the Advancement of African American Culture offered Black students a spot to meet on Friday nights and have social gatherings that they were not able to have during normal school days, Hurdle said.

Still, there was a desire to get more actively involved in the campus life, Hurdle said.

“I was naive,” Hurdle said about becoming a cheerleader.

Once he made the squad, he had to partner with another cheerleader. Susan Beard offered, and her support and companionship helped him.

Alumni were concerned about Hurdle interacting with white female cheerleaders in the field. The chancellor talked to the squad and asked that Hurdle not perform any contact drills, Hurdle said.

Hurdle was also the first Black cheerleader in the Southwest Conference, a college athletic division composed primarily of schools from Texas. At a basketball game against Texas A&M, the basketball team walked him to his car as a precaution after a guy showed aggressive behavior toward him, Hurdle said.

Hurdle’s voice cracked while receiving the award, and he thanked the Race and Reconciliation team for the honor.

Jenay Willis, Ron Hurdle and Amiso George celebrate Hurdle’s accomplishment. Willis and George hosted the event by sharing a conversation with Hurdle (Courtesy of Jenay Willis).

Hurdle graduated in 1971, earning a degree in theatre. He enrolled in the Navy, earned two master’s degrees in management and business administration and earned a law degree. He then started his own law company.

“An unexpected highlight was by the honoree himself in which he shared that he worked closely with the late Thurgood Marshall, a former associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” said Jenay Willis, one of the hosts of the night.

“I had only read about these cases in books so to see one talking about what it was like to be there was fascinating,” senior Vanessa Winders said.

More to Discover