A&M-Kingsville Alumnus Named Sole Finalist to Lead Alma Mater

The Texas A&M University System News Release image header. Office of Marketing Communications. 979-458-6023

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today named Dr. Robert H. Vela Jr. as the sole finalist for the position of President of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Vela, who is currently President of San Antonio College, is a 1994 graduate of Texas A&M University-Kingsville and later received graduate degrees from that institution. He has a lengthy academic career that included leadership roles at Coastal Bend College, A&M-Kingsville, and San Jacinto College before he joined San Antonio College in 2008 as Dean of Student Affairs. He became President in 2014.

He is also President of the National Community College Hispanic Council and served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges.

Under Vela’s leadership, San Antonio College was the 2021 Aspen Prize Winner for Community College Excellence and Vela was named a Distinguished Alumni of Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2015.

On Thursday, Chancellor John Sharp recommended Vela as sole finalist and the Board approved. Under state law, regents name a finalist for at least 21 days before making the appointment at a subsequent meeting.

“Dr. Vela knows and loves Texas A&M University-Kingsville. It will be a sweet homecoming,” said Chancellor Sharp. “With his vast experience, I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes for his alma mater.”

Vela responded to Thursday’s vote: “I want to thank Chancellor Sharp, Chairman Leach and the entire Board of Regents for this amazing opportunity to lead one of the finest institutions. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and community to achieve great things.”

Vela succeeds Dr. Mark Hussey, who resigned in December to return to Texas A&M University where he has held multiple leadership roles.  Hussey is serving as Acting Vice Chancellor and Dean of Agriculture until that position is filled. At that time, Hussey will become director of the Borlaug Institute.


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 $9.6 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.

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

Kim McCuistion to lead A&M System’s Downtown Fort Worth Campus

The Texas A&M University System News Release image header. Office of Marketing Communications. 979-458-6023

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — One of Fort Worth’s most dynamic young leaders is set to direct one of The Texas A&M University System’s most ambitious new efforts.

Kim McCuistion has been named the Associate Vice Chancellor and inaugural Director for the Texas A&M System’s downtown Fort Worth research and academic campus. McCuistion, currently dean of Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus on Chisholm Trail Parkway. She has been hailed by the Fort Worth Business Press as one of the Great Women of Texas and as one of 400 Most Influential Leaders in Fort Worth by Fort Worth Inc.

“Dr. McCuistion has the leadership and vision to grow our Fort Worth research and academic campus into something great,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “We made a Texas-sized commitment to Fort Worth, and we will keep that promise.”

McCuistion will now take on the task of turning the new campus into a hub for collaboration between key Fort Worth industries and top research, education and workforce training assets of the Texas A&M System. Her goal in the new role is to spur business and job growth across North Texas.

“Working with city and county leaders, industry partners and Texas A&M System universities and agencies, we will create an ecosystem of research excellence and robust entrepreneurship — I have no doubt,” McCuistion said.

McCuistion holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in animal science from Kansas State University and a doctorate in agriculture from West Texas A&M University. She joined Tarleton in 2018 as chief of staff after 11 years with Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She had a split appointment there with the Department of Animal, Rangeland and Wildlife Sciences and the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management. She served three years as Interim Dean of Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Honors College.

The new campus will include The Texas A&M System Research and Innovation Center, as well as an Education Alliance Building, which will host conferences and house professional, technical and university courses offered by the Texas A&M School of Law, Tarleton State University, Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and other alliance members.

The innovation center and new education building will form the nucleus of the new, urban campus along with a new, state-of-the-art Texas A&M Law School. The campus will be constructed in phases beginning with the Research and Innovation Center. To download an artist’s renderings of the proposed buildings, please go to https://www.tamus.edu/ft-worth/ .

The campus will house a wide range of initiatives involving the A&M System’s network of state agencies. Discussions so far include programs in emergency response communication, medical technologies, advanced manufacturing, nutrition, biotechnology, medical laboratory science and nursing.

Six notable Fort Worth employers — Alcon, AT&T, Bell, Elbit Systems of America, Lockheed Martin, and Philips — are interested in collaborating in particular research areas. An incubator for business startups might relocate to the center.

The A&M System agencies involved include the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.


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 $9.6 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.

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

Kim McCuistion Head Shot

Nebraska teen plans return to A&M for grad school after Make-A-Wish visit

The Texas A&M University System News Release image header. Office of Marketing Communications. 979-458-6023

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A Nebraska teen whose Make-A-Wish visit to Texas A&M included shooting hoops with the woman’s basketball team and enjoying the Maroon & White spring scrimmage from the sideline with Coach Jimbo Fisher, now says he dreams of returning to campus as a graduate student.

Major Williams, 18, is a high school senior from Fullerton, Nebraska who recently recovered from leukemia treatment. Despite living deep in Cornhusker Country, Williams said he grew up “loving everything about the Aggies” because his late father was a super fan.

“After seeing A&M play football — they were in the Big 12 then, like Nebraska — he became a fan,” Williams said. “He really cared about what A&M stood for. The loyalty to the team. The respect for the university. Of being a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Click link for photos of Major Williams’ Make-A-Wish visit to Texas A&M University: Photo Gallery

Williams’ visit to campus, facilitated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Texas A&M Foundation, “left us speechless,” he said. “It was awesome, it was really great to meet such wonderful, kind people.”

Williams admired A&M’s technologically-rich lecture halls, saw the Bonfire Memorial and toured The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum during his visit, which lasted nearly a week.

“Meeting the Chancellor at the tailgate was very cool, meeting Coach Gary Blair and Joni Taylor and Jimbo Fisher, it was all just very overwhelming,” Williams said. “I am so very grateful.”

Williams, a high school senior, will attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney next, just so he can remain close to his doctors and his family. But he plans to return to A&M when he graduates to earn a master’s degree in pharmaceutical science.


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 $9.6 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.

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

National political leaders, higher education officials celebrate 25 years of Texas A&M’s Bush School

The Texas A&M University System News Release image header. Office of Marketing Communications. 979-458-6023

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. & BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Some of the country’s most influential political figures celebrated the 25th anniversary of Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service at its second location in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others joined Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp and Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks to honor the legacy of President George H.W. Bush and the quarter century of instruction at the Aggie program that bears the late president’s name.

Chancellor Sharp said the new outpost of the Bush School reflects the same commitment to public service that is found in College Station and among Aggies everywhere.

“This new facility honors the absolutely impressive legacy of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush – and especially their commitment to public service. Nobody did it better than George Bush,” Sharp said. “President and Mrs. Bush’s values align perfectly with the core values of A&M.”

Bush School Dean Mark Welsh, a former 4-star general in the U.S. Air Force, talked at the event about some of his grand plans for the Bush School in Washington.

“The goal here is to have all of the colleges of Texas A&M represented in some way in the activity here,” Welsh said. “To take a little bit of George Bush and a little bit of Texas A&M is good for everybody.”

Abby Spencer Moffat, CEO of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation and a generous supporter of the Bush School, also attended the celebration.

“With issues of national security more complex than any time in history we may just defeat the next threat to freedom not on the battlefield but in the classroom,” Moffat said.

See a video from the event here:
Bush School DC


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 $9.6 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.

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

Senate Confirms Texas A&M Engineer for Key Nuclear Safety Post

The Texas A&M University System News Release image header. Office of Marketing Communications. 979-458-6023

Marvin Adams leaves A&M after 30 years of teaching, research and national security service.

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — For much of his career, Texas A&M University nuclear engineer Marvin L. Adams has been considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on nuclear security outside of the federal government.

Now he’s on the inside.

Congress on Wednesday confirmed Adams’ appointment by President Joe Biden to serve as deputy administrator for defense programs within the Department of Energy.

Adams will oversee federal programs that ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

He will help manage a $16 billion budget in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA.) The agency oversees for the design, maintenance, assessment, manufacturing and dismantlement of all U.S. nuclear warheads and related programs that develop and maintain all the associated science, engineering, technology, supply-chain and manufacturing capabilities.

Adams’ position is one of four top jobs in the NNSA that require Senate approval.

“I look forward to working with the outstanding NNSA team––the federal workforce and the workforce at the laboratories, plants, and sites––to deliver our unique, essential contributions to U.S. national security,” Adams said Thursday.

Adams has been the HTRI Professor of Nuclear Engineering, a Regents Fellow and the director of National Laboratories Mission Support for The Texas A&M University System. He started 30 years ago at the flagship in College Station.

His research has advanced the nation’s ability to use complex computer algorithms to help assess weapons’ reliability while explosive nuclear testing is banned.

As an educator, Adams has taught generations of engineers, including many who have gone on to careers at the three national nuclear security laboratories — Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

“After 30 years of research and teaching at Texas A&M, service as an advisor for the White House and now a key administrator in the Department of Energy, Dr. Adams remains as humble as the day I met him,” said Dr. John E. Hurtado, interim vice chancellor and dean of the College of Engineering. “His expertise and reasoned voice will be a tremendous asset to President Biden’s national security team.”

Adams also has served for decades in advisory roles at the nation’s nuclear labs.

“I am grateful to Texas A&M for allowing me to pursue national-service opportunities during my three decades here,” Adams said.

Before joining the Texas A&M faculty, Adams was a physicist at Lawrence Livermore from 1986 to 1992. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan and his B.S. in nuclear engineering from Mississippi State University.

Last fall Biden named Adams among 30 distinguished Americans to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a group from outside the government that he has to resign from now.

Read more about Adams’ career here: https://today.tamu.edu/2021/10/04/texas-am-engineer-devotes-career-to-nuclear-deterrence/


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 $9.6 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Mike Reilly
Office of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6492
(402) 679-0456 cell
mreilly@tamus.edu