“You’ll see a lot of wonderful thingsthe next couple of days,” Chancellor Mike McKinney said during the kickoff session of the Chancellor’s Century Council annual meeting. “And you’ll get to see what I see on a daily basis.” Throughout the two-day event, CCC members were treated to many behind the scenes workings of the research and teaching taking place in College Station.
The message of the meeting was clear—though budgets are tight and about to get tighter, the determination of The Texas A&M University System to continue to fulfill its mission of education, research and service is unwavering.
This year’s event was held in College Station March 31-April 1. Members heard from speakers who touched on the value and importance of education, as well as professors who excitedly discussed their work. At the first day’s events, CEOs of the system universities and agencies provided updates on the scope of their recent activities and accomplishments.
During a reception later that evening at the Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives Dr. Brett Giroir spoke before a full house on the A&M System’s vision for future research in the Brazos Valley’s biocorridor. “I was drawn here by the power of the students,” Giroir said. “I came here because I felt it was the only place to get important work done. And look what we’ve accomplished in just three years,” he said, pointing to the creation of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing, Texas Plant-Expressed Vaccine Consortium and TIPS.
The second day kicked off on a foggy and blustery Friday morning as CCC members were treated to a performance by the nationally recognized Texas A&M Fish Drill Team outside Reed Arena. Reveille made a surprise appearance during a routine by members of the Corps of Cadets. Texas A&M president Bowen Loftin welcomed the group, even allowing a tour of the national champion Texas A&M women’s basketball team’s locker room following an impromptu request by Chairman Neal Adams.
The tour reconvened at the College of Architecture after lunch, where members had the chance to view a panoramic photo of Kyle Field taken by Glen Vigus, senior visualization production specialist and lecturer at Texas A&M. The photo, taken by a camera mounted on the Mars Rover, can be zoomed in so closely facial details can be seen in a crowd of thousands of football fans. The photos are taken at many Aggie home games and can be found here. See if you can find yourself!
From animation and photos to galaxies and robots, the next stop on the campus tour was the Mitchell Physics Building. Topics ranged from galaxy clusters, to turning garbage into fuel, to rescue robots. The day ended with Dr. Robin Murphy’s demonstration of “Rescue Buddy,” a robot in the testing stages that will help soothe disaster victims as help arrives. Murphy, a Raytheon professor at Texas A&M, is one of the nation’s leading experts in rescue robots.
The meeting culminated with the annual banquet, where Chancellor McKinney announced the first class of the Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators. The Academy significant contributions to teacher education and highlights the role of the A&M System in producing K-12 teachers for the state of Texas.
The night concluded with a trip to the stars as astronaut Rick Linnehan walked the audience through a flight into space. His speech, accompanied by photos shown on the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center’s recently renovated media wall, took audience members on a trip few get to experience.
Emphasizing the importance of learning, especially in the sciences, Linnehan spoke of the need to find ways to engage young students in a lifetime love of learning. “What will light the spark?” he pondered.