Featured: A digital rendering of the $40 million Texas A&M McAllen Higher Education Center, which will be dedicated at 2 this afternoon (Thursday, October 25, 2018) by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Image Courtesy TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Gov. Abbott to dedicate $40 million Texas A&M McAllen Higher Education Center at 2 this afternoon (Thursday, October 25, 2018)
By LESLEY HENTON
Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas A&M University leaders, including A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, will dedicate the $40 million Texas A&M McAllen Higher Education Center at McAllen this afternoon (Thursday, October 25, 2018), and school officials said the endeavor marks a lasting commitment to the people of South Texas that will provide unique educational opportunities for generations to come.
The 2 p.m. ceremony at the facility, located at 6200 Tres Lagos Blvd., will include remarks by the governor; Charles Schwartz, Chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents; John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System; Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young; McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; and other distinguished guests.
“This partnership between Hidalgo County, the City of McAllen and Texas A&M University represents a significant investment in the future of the Rio Grande Valley and the entire state of Texas,” said Abbott. “I am proud to be a part of this historic investment that will chart a brighter course for students, and make a lasting impact on the economic future of this region.”
Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System since 2011, praised the tremendous support from community leaders across the region and the team of Texas A&M personnel who delivered this project in record time.
“When we signed the letter of intent in fall 2015, we placed this project among our top priorities and I challenged our team to have it available for students by fall 2018 semester,” said Chancellor Sharp. “A mere 36 months later, we have achieved this goal and nearly 200 students are now pursuing their degrees from Texas A&M University right here in the Rio Grande Valley.”
The project has included community forums, and consultation with K-12 education, industry and community leaders to identify the initial degree programs to meet high demand for an educated workforce. Aggies at McAllen are pursuing a course of study in either engineering technology, interdisciplinary engineering, biomedical science, public health or food industry management – all in fields of particular strength for one of the nation’s top public universities, said school officials.
“I am proud to formally welcome the students, faculty and staff of the Higher Education Center at McAllen into the Aggie Family,” said Young, president of Texas A&M. “These students are Aggies in every way. As part of the flagship, students in McAllen will be eligible to receive the coveted Aggie Ring and their diploma from Texas A&M University. McAllen is one of the fastest growing cities in America and increasing access locally helps our state, the nation and the world by educating future leaders there.”
The dedication ceremony will complete the two-year construction process for the 65,000-square-foot facility which features state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and collaborative work and learning spaces. A large auditorium and full complement of parking, connecting roads, green space and a separate engineering technology lab facility rounded out the project, which Texas A&M officials announced as “on time and under budget.”
Sharp said the McAllen Center is very much the result of a community-wide effort aided by the region’s legislative leaders and Coordinating Board representative.
The City of McAllen provided the 100-acre tract as a ground lease to the A&M System, and the City of McAllen and Hidalgo County facilitated local financing of $10 million toward the $40 million construction cost as well as $24 million in infrastructure (streets, utilities and drainage) that will benefit the higher education center.
The new facility complements Texas A&M’s presence across the Rio Grande Valley, said school officials, with engineering research partnerships near Boca Chica Beach, an engineering academy transfer program at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, the AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, and community health and nursing programs at S. McColl Road in McAllen.
Texas A&M consistently ranks among the nation’s best public universities in numerous measurements and as a tier-one research institution, has a nearly $1 billion in annual research expenditures.
Sixteen faculty and staff members have joined Texas A&M at the Higher Education Center and are providing the approved coursework, with support from their home departments at the flagship university’s primary location in College Station.
McAllen students are counted among the 69,000 total student enrollment Texas A&M reported earlier this month.
Admissions applications are now being sought for freshman for fall 2019. Students interested in these programs and course of study at the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen should review criteria and deadlines at http://admissions.tamu.edu/HECM.
Promotional materials will be sent to all school districts in the Rio Grande Valley, and individual student consultation is now available at the Texas A&M University Prospective Student Center at 5277 North 23rd Street, McAllen, Texas, 78504 or by calling (956) 271-1300.
TEXAS A&M SYSTEM REGENTS NAME MARK HUSSEY AS SOLE FINALIST FOR PRESIDENT OF TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-KINGSVILLE
The Texas A&M University System Regents on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, named Dr. Mark Hussey as the sole finalist for the position of President of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Hussey is a long-time leader in The Texas A&M University System, having served as Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from 2008 until 2018 and as the Director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research from 2004 until 2008.
He also was Interim President of Texas A&M University for 15 months during 2014-15.
“Dr. Hussey’s wealth of administrative experience in the A&M System will pay immediate dividends to Texas A&M-Kingsville,” said Charles W. Schwartz, Chairman of the Board of Regents. “He is a perfect fit for Kingsville.”
Schwartz and Regent Phil Adams led a 12-member search committee to find a replacement for President Steve Tallant, who is retiring at the end of January.
“Mark’s breadth of experience spans the most prolific agriculture research in the country, the best agricultural academics in the country and 15 months running Texas A&M University,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “He did a great job in each of these and I predict he will oversee the rise of Texas A&M-Kingsville to a whole new level.”
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Illinois, Hussey finished his graduate work at Texas A&M with a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding in 1983. He rose through the faculty ranks at Texas A&M, becoming professor and department head of Soil & Crops Sciences before becoming an administrator with the A&M System.
As Vice Chancellor and Dean, Dr. Hussey oversaw the construction of the Agriculture Complex that consolidated agriculture’s academic programs on the west campus. As Interim President of Texas A&M, Dr. Hussey identified funding to begin construction of the academic complex at Texas A&M at Galveston and helped initiate the planning for Texas A&M’s campus in McAllen.
Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for president at least 21 days before making an appointment. The Board of Regents will meet again to make the appointment.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.7 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
Roxanne De La Garza and Laylan Copelin contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature.