Time of change
R. Bowen Loftin: Many reasons for excitement in A&M’s future
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 01:08
Howdy, Ags! As we get ready for a busy fall semester, let me share with you a few reasons why this is a great time to be an Aggie:
Texas A&M brand
PayScale continues to rank Texas A&M first among the state’s public universities and in the top 10 public institutions nationally on what graduates earn in their careers compared to their college costs, and Texas A&M is the only public university in the state to make Newsweek’s recent ranking of the nation’s “most affordable” universities. In addition, this year’s gross collegiate licensing revenue is a record $3.2 million (based on more than $60 million in merchandise sales), ranking us 19th nationally.
Our campus landscape is changing dramatically with construction of the Physical Education Activity Program building and renovations of the Jack K. Williams Administration Building, Lacy Hall and Scoates Hall. Nearing completion are the Liberal Arts and Humanities building, the renovation of Corps Dorm 8 (Harrell Hall) and the attached Buzbee Leadership Learning Center, the Player Development Center, and Joe Routt Blvd (which will be ready for the Florida football game on Sept. 8). We also are assessing various options for Kyle Field. Additional Corps dorms will be renovated with another Leadership Learning Center to be constructed. Next year, we will start construction of a new educational facility for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The excitement is building as we prepare for our first season as members of the Southeastern Conference. We’ll celebrate College Colors Day on Thursday as we prepare to BTHO Louisiana Tech in Shreveport. In addition, we’ll gain national exposure with the ESPN GameDay commercial that was filmed last month at Kyle Field, based on a fan vote. The commercial will run throughout the fall on all ESPN channels.
Out of the 33 athletes from Texas who competed in the summer Olympic Games in London, a record 23 had ties to Texas A&M. Our athletes (and two coaches) represented 15 countries in four sports, and brought home four medals, including three gold.
We are in the process of bringing the Texas A&M Health Science Center under the University’s administration as part of the strategic strengthening of our education and research we call “OneHealth.” While timing is uncertain, we expect that the soonest the realignment could be complete is January 2013.
In addition, we have entered into a letter of intent with Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth to make its school of law school part of Texas A&M: the Texas A&M School of Law at Texas Wesleyan University. This is a major step forward in our goal of becoming known as one of the nation’s 10 best public universities by 2020, and significantly increases our presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
What the future holds
The Aggie Family is strong. We have welcomed more than 8,200 freshmen, almost 2,000 transfer students and over 3,000 new graduate students this fall, and the special qualities that set us apart from all other major research universities are also strong: the Corps of Cadets, our traditions and the Aggie Network of more than 360,000 former students worldwide.
I’ll do my part to keep you informed through my weekly emails. You are also invited to “like” me on my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter at @aggieprez, and email your questions and comments to me at email@example.com.
Good luck in this new academic year, and Gig ’em, ggies!