Student enrollment reached an all-time high in the 1970s, peaking at just short of 10,000 students in 1975. Derby Days, sponsored by Sigma Chi fraternity, was one of the most popular student events during this period. National Pan-Hellenic and College Panhellenic Council sorority members competed against each other in a series of competitions throughout the day. Another signature feature of Derby Days was the traditional Derby Chase, in which sorority members attempted to capture derby hats from members of Sigma Chi. Play Days, an event sponsored by Alpha Delta Pi sorority, complemented Derby Days. During Play Days, fraternity members competed in obstacle courses and other challenges to collect the most points which meant winning the Play Day Trophy.
Other popular events of the 1970s included the Grand Prix Races, Family Day, Black Awareness Week, and intramural sports competitions, as well as jam sessions and other musical events held at the Memorial Student Center.
Perhaps the most outstanding single event established during the 1970s was the Sam Rayburn Speaker Series, which began in 1975. This series brought such notable individuals to campus as Lady Bird Johnson, Speaker John McCormick, Speaker Jim Wright, Congressman Ray Roberts, Liz Carpenter, Mark Russell and Patrick Buchanan, to name a few. The Sam Rayburn Symposium was recently revived by President Ray Keck in 2016.