Thanks to Legislators, Texas A&M System Has Record Session

The Texas A&M University System News Release

$157M in new money plus addition of another state agency approved

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Legislature approved a record $211 million in new funding for institutions of The Texas A&M University System, and it passed legislation to transfer the Texas Division of Emergency Management to the A&M System as its eighth state agency.

Governor Greg Abbott now reviews the appropriations bill and other legislation, and the Comptroller’s office must certify there will be funds to cover state appropriations for the next two years.

“We are grateful to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker and state lawmakers for considering positively our requests,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “They have made a huge difference in resources for the Texas A&M System to carry out its critical mission of education, research and service to our great state.”

The $157 million in new money included $55 million to address per student funding equity between Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin. Two years ago, state officials awarded UT an extra $55 million to address potential funding losses that would have been based, in part, on its capped enrollment. Typically, increases in higher education funding are based on growth.

Texas A&M University found itself educating more students but with less state money per student. The Legislature corrected that inequity this year.

Lawmakers also approved a package of recommendations presented by Chancellor Sharp, acting as the leader of the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, in the report, “The Eye of the Storm.”  It included transferring the Texas Division of Emergency Management from the Texas Department of Public Safety to the Texas A&M System.

The transfer, which Gov. Abbott supports, will allow for better coordination between the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas A&M System’s disaster response operations such as Texas A&M Task Force One, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Nim Kidd will now oversee all of the state’s emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation activities as the chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Vice Chancellor for Disaster and Emergency Services at the Texas A&M System. He will still answer to the governor, who by law is in charge of responding to disasters.

“The state of Texas already has the best disaster rescue operations in the country,” Chancellor Sharp said. “We believe this will make the state’s efforts seamless from disaster rescue through disaster recovery and mitigation.”

The appropriations bill includes $10.4 million for a state disaster recovery task force, plus $6.8 million to use Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents to perform disaster readiness work for the state, building on the county agents’ experience in helping coastal communities recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Other “Eye of the Storm” recommendations winning approval included the creation of a Texas A&M Institute for Disaster Resilience as well as the establishment of a $3 billion fund to support a statewide flood plan similar to the statewide water plan.

Another priority for the Texas A&M System was increasing formula funding – based on growth — for higher education. The Legislature added $201 million to universities statewide, including $19 million to support universities with enrollments below 10,000. That Small Institution Supplement will help A&M universities in Galveston, Texarkana, Central Texas, San Antonio, Laredo, Kingsville and Prairie View.

Other notable items in the appropriations bill:

  • $12.8 million in new research funding for Texas A&M University.
  • $3.3 million in new money to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, thanks to the growth in Public Health and Nursing programs.
  • $4 million for West Texas A&M to establish a food animal production initiative to serve the Panhandle, including the hiring of additional professors.
  • $3.6 million for Texas A&M University-Texarkana to create a “Better East Texas” program, including five new academic programs to respond to the region’s educational, workforce and health needs.
  • $3 million to support Upper Level coursework at Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
  • $3 million to support the continued expansion of Texas A&M University-San Antonio as a four-year institution.
  • $2.3 million for engineering programs at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
  • $2 million for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Brighter Bites program to promote better nutrition and overall health.
  • $2 million for the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University.
  • $1.7 million for Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s workforce training program at the NASA Space Center in Houston.
  • $1.5 million for Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Nuclear Power Institute.
  • $1.2 million for poultry labs, which are operated by the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and provide critical protection to the poultry industry from infectious diseases and other threats.
  • $400,000 to restore funding for the Citrus Center at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

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 153,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $996 million in FY 2017 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

 

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Governor Abbott Appoints Student Regents

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Governor Also Names Student Representative to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

May 23, 2019

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has appointed 10 student regents to their respective universities for terms set to expire on May 31, 2020, effective June 1, 2019. Additionally, the Governor appointed the student representative to serve on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for a term set to expire on May 31, 2020, effective June 1, 2019.

Texas A&M University System

Levi McClenny of College Station is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. He serves as a pilot and platoon leader for the United States Army Reserves. He received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University.

 

Midwestern State University

Andrew Wolf of Wichita Falls is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry in the pre-medicine track from Midwestern State University. He is a member of the Pre-Professional Health Science Club, Biology Club, and the McCoy College Mentor Program.

Stephen F. Austin State University

Zoe Smiley of Kingwood is pursuing a Master of Arts in student affairs and higher education from Stephen F. Austin State University. She received a Bachelor of Science in animal science from Stephen F. Austin State University.      

Texas Southern University

Ashley Pleas Johnson of Kansas City, Missouri is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Texas Southern University.

Texas State University System

Katey McCall of Orange is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in political science and a minor in legal studies from Lamar University. She is a student assistant to the Departments of Psychology and Political Science, and also volunteers with the Humane Society of South East Texas.

Texas Tech University System

Sean Lewis of Detroit, Michigan is pursuing a Juris Doctor degree from Texas Tech University Law School. He previously served as Student Government Association (SGA) Director of Outreach, SGA Chief of Staff, and Student Body President. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Texas Tech University.

Texas Woman’s University

Lexi D’Abrosca of Carrollton is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology with a minor in government from Texas Woman’s University in the honors college.

University of Houston System

John Fields of Houston is pursuing a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston Law Center. He is president of the Federalist Society and is a member of the Mock Trial Team. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and management from the University of Houston.

University of North Texas System

Alexandra “Alex” Harrel is pursuing a Master of Education in higher education student affairs from University of North Texas. Harrel received a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where she restarted and led the Islander Catholic Student Organization and served as a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

University of Texas System

Daniel Dominguez of El Paso is pursuing a Doctoral degree in educational leadership and administration from The University of Texas at El Paso. Dominguez, who was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and became a naturalized citizen in 2014, has 26 years of private sector work experience. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juarez, and a Master of Science in economics and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at El Paso.

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Lauren McKenzie of Montgomery is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in education from Texas Tech University. She represents the College of Education and chairs the College of Education Committee and is vice-chair of the Academics Committee in Texas Tech Student Government Association. 

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High seas, higher salaries for Texas A&M Maritime Academy grads

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Merchant Officers earn $100,000 or more right out of school, get to see the world.
Patrick Zimmer

GALVESTON, Texas – Few places offer the opportunity to get seasick without ever leaving dry land.

Surrounded by moving images on high-definition monitors, students at the prestigious Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston train every day aboard ship simulators. They offer realistic and stomach-turning experiences from the bridges of several types of huge ships as they sail through various kinds of weather conditions and into dozens of ports.

Texas A&M’s maritime students earn bachelor’s degrees like other college students, but they also graduate with steel stomachs and Third Mate (or Third Assistant Engineer) licenses from the U.S. Coast Guard, allowing them to embark on careers that pay upwards of $100,000 a year right out of school. Plus, they get the chance to see the world, said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.

See a video with students from the Galveston campus and Chancellor Sharp here: https://www.youtube.com/user/tamusystem

“Few places offer the chance to nail down exciting careers that make such good money,” Chancellor Sharp said. “Texas A&M Maritime Academy offers one of the best and most exciting career paths of any institution of higher education.”

Simulators like the ones at The Texas A&M Maritime Academy are important — and cost-effective — since it would be impractical to take a training ship out on the water every time a student wants to practice docking in a crowded port, navigating through a major hurricane or resupplying an oil rig. The Texas A&M Maritime Academy is one of just six maritime academies in the United States.

Students from the Galveston campus take advantage of the simulators to try out different kinds of vessels such as: tugs, tankers, offshore services vessels, container ships, car carriers, U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, fast rescue boats and high-speed passenger ferries.

They also can experience the world without leaving Texas, as they explore each of 42 ports that include: Hong Kong, New Orleans, Houston/Galveston, Corpus Christi, San Francisco, Sydney and the Straights of Gibraltar.

Maritime Academy students (who also are members of Texas A&M’s Corp of Cadets) must put in 225 hours of simulation before graduation, much of which is in the bridge simulator. And once they graduate, Maritime Academy students are ready for jobs on the high seas.

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 153,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $996 million in FY 2017 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Texas A&M Has Best Financial Legislative Session Ever

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M University is poised to have a winning legislative session, according to preliminary estimates of actions taken Friday by Texas House and Senate conferees who are negotiating the final touches on the FY 2020-21 state budget.

The conferees approved approximately $91.5 million in new money for Texas A&M University for the next two-year budget cycle, as compared to about $20 million in new money in the 2017 legislative session. The conferees’ final report must be approved with floor votes by the House of Representatives and the Senate before going to Governor Greg Abbott for his consideration. The session ends May 27.

“This is the best financial session that Texas A&M has ever had,” said Chancellor John Sharp.

The additional money can be attributed to Texas A&M’s growth ($24.5 million increase in the funding formula), an estimated $12 million more in a special research fund, plus $55 million to help correct a disparity in funding between the state’s two flagship schools, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

State lawmakers typically fund higher education institutions on a per student basis, rewarding universities as a school grows. In 2017, however, the Legislature awarded UT-Austin additional money over and above what they gave Texas A&M, even though the Austin flagship had capped its enrollment at slightly over 50,000 students. Texas A&M has continued to serve more students with about 64,000 on the College Station campus and about 69,000 when satellite campuses in Galveston, Qatar and McAllen are included.

Correcting that unequal funding was the top legislative priority for Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M System.

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young thanked state lawmakers, adding, “This is a game changer.

“These much-needed funds will allow us to fulfill vital programs such as the Student Services Initiative and Faculty Reinvestment Program. I believe this is an acknowledgement of the hard work that faculty, staff and students at Texas A&M are undertaking. They deserve the credit for securing these funds, which will be put to great use.”

The Student Services Initiative helps students to graduate faster, and the Faculty Reinvestment Program allows for the hiring of more professors.

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 153,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $996 million in FY 2017 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Elaine Mendoza Elected as Chairman of the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Mendoza is first Hispanic to serve as A&M Chairman

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Friday elected Elaine Mendoza ’87 to serve as board chairman and chose Tim Leach ‘82 as vice chairman. The board also welcomed three new Regents.

Mendoza is the second woman and the first Hispanic to serve as Chairman of the Board of Regents for the Texas A&M System.

“Elaine Mendoza is a distinguished alumna of Texas A&M whose professional achievements in science and healthcare, as well as her service to her community, truly embody what it means to be an Aggie,” said Governor Greg Abbott.  “I extend my congratulations to Elaine, applaud the Board of Regents on their decision, and I look forward to continuing to work together to take Texas’ higher education system to even greater heights.”

Mendoza is founder, president, and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks Inc., a biotechnology and medical informatics company in San Antonio. She was first appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Rick Perry ’72 in 2011 and reappointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2017. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Mendoza, whose term as a Regent expires 2023, was elected to a two-year term as chairman, replacing former Chairman Charles W. Schwartz.

“I am grateful to Governor Abbott for my reappointment to the board in 2017 and am most appreciative of my colleagues for their support and vote of confidence,” Chairman Mendoza said. “Serving the Texas A&M System as a Regent is an honor and a great responsibility. I know our Board will continue the legacy of always putting the interest of our students, faculty and the state of Texas first.”

Leach of Midland, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, has been Chairman and CEO of Concho Resources Inc. since it was formed in 2004. He was appointed as a member of the Board of Regents by Governor Greg Abbott in 2017.

The board also welcomed new Regents who are taking the place of Schwartz, Tony Buzbee and Morris Foster.

Appointed by Governor Abbott and confirmed by the Texas Senate, the new regents are Jay Graham, Mike Hernandez and Michael J. Plank. Their terms are set to expire on Feb. 1, 2025.

Jay Graham of Houston is chairman and CEO of Spur Energy Partners.

Mike Hernandez of Fort Worth is owner and CEO of D&M Leasing, and owner and dealer principal of Four Stars Ford, Four Stars Chevrolet Buick, Four Stars Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, and Four Stars Toyota.

Michael J. Plank of Houston is chairman and CEO of The Plank Companies, Inc. and three affiliated companies; National Property Holdings, Rail Logix and Speed Shore Corporation.

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 153,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $996 million in FY 2017 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

 

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