In 1951 the Board of Regents approved doctoral requirements. Harold Hitt became the first person to graduate with a doctorate, receiving a Ph.D. in Administrative Services. In 1951 McConnell stepped down from the presidency and J. C. Matthews became the eighth president. During this time the campus began to take on the appearance that today’s UNT students recognize. The Administration Building, Fouts Field, West Hall, the Health Center, and the Physics-Math Building were just a few of the structures built during this decade.
In the late 1950s North Texas was host to two bright literary talents. Prolific author Larry McMurtry and pioneering journalist Grover Lewis graduated from North Texas State College with Bachelors degrees in English in 1958. The two men were friends and collaborators at North Texas, although they grew apart later in life.