Texas A&M System Adds Space in Fort Worth

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

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Aggieland North just got a little grander.

The members of the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System voted Wednesday to expand a lease of 10,630 square feet to make more room for the System’s growing footprint in Fort Worth.

The new Texas A&M University System offices will be located in the Burnett Plaza in downtown Fort Worth. Several member institutions will be moving into the lease space this fall. These include Texas A&M AgriLife, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas A&M Engineering, the Mays Business School, Tarleton State University, and others. These Texas A&M System members will be among the first entities to join the Texas A&M University School of Law as part of recently planned expansion into Fort Worth.

The member institutions’ presence marks the realization of the vision to create an urban research campus in downtown Fort Worth, which has been dubbed “Aggieland North.”

Earlier this year, the regents approved $85 million for a Law and Education Building and another $85 million for a Research and Innovation Center in Fort Worth. The campus will be built on several blocks adjacent to the existing School of Law building, which is scheduled to be replaced as part of the campus expansion. The cost of the Law and Education Building, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2023, will be paid with proceeds from the Permanent University Fund. The Research and Innovation Center is expected to be built at approximately the same time.

“We just couldn’t wait,” John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M System, said. “Our expansion into the nation’s fastest-growing large city is a game-changer for the A&M System, the city of Fort Worth and the entire North Texas region, and we want to get going as soon as possible.”

The System has already rented space in the Burnett Plaza, located at 801 Cherry Street in Fort Worth, but Wednesday’s action by the regents allows expansion of the lease to give the System plenty of room to grow.

“We are eager to grow the System’s presence in Fort Worth,” said Kim McCuistion, associate vice chancellor and inaugural director for the research and academic campus. “We have a lot of exciting work ahead, and the sooner we can get started, the better.”

Kevin Starbuck, Texas Division of Emergency Management’s assistant chief of Region 1, will lead his team in the new space as soon as it is ready. TDEM’s people in the area are spread out in different locations, but they will come together in the leased space as they await construction of the permanent facilities.

Under Starbuck, TDEM personnel will work on issues such as mitigation, recovery and preparedness. Region 1, which covers 42 counties from North Central Texas to the Piney Woods of East Texas, will focus largely on flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, drought and homeland security-related issues.

Joining TDEM, Texas A&M AgriLife’s Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Evidence Center also will be one of first tenants in the leased space. The new center will become a leading source for objective scientific evidence on agriculture, environment, natural resources and nutrition. The work of the team will help policymakers reach science-informed solutions for addressing malnutrition and diet-related chronic disease in a way that considers the environment and economy.


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 $7.2 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

Texas A&M Regents Approve Expansion of Business School, Name Roadway after Late Astronaut

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

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A new business-focused education center is coming to Texas A&M University in College Station, and a roadway will be named for a late American hero.

The members of the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System voted Wednesday to approve key items, including an expansion of the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M and the naming of an entrance into Texas A&M-RELLIS in the honor of the late astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom.

“Business education and space exploration are two of the main areas that help define Texas A&M and the Texas A&M System,” Chancellor John Sharp said. “The Business Education Complex Project and Gus Grissom Boulevard represent a couple of ways we at the Texas A&M System look forward while also reflecting on our past.”

Renderings available at: https://www.tamus.edu/business-education-complex/

Business Education Complex Project

At the regular board meeting, Regents added the Business Education Complex Project to the FY 2021 – FY 2025 Texas A&M System Capital Plan. Construction on the project is scheduled to start in September 2022 with substantial completion in October 2024. The total project budget is $84,197,309, which will be paid for through a variety of sources including donations. The project will include a four-story, 82,000 square-foot building and an area dubbed the “Collaboration Plaza,” which will be located on Olsen Boulevard, northeast of the Wehner Building.

The Business Education Complex will provide spaces for active, collaborative and experiential learning. Further, the complex will include areas for research, and it will beautify the campus with stunning, contemporary architecture. It also is sure to attract and retain world-class faculty and students.

Gus Grissom Boulevard

Grissom, one of America’s first astronauts, will have his name on the Highway 21 entry drive into Texas A&M-RELLIS in Bryan. With the Regents’ approval, the roadway will be called “Gus Grissom Boulevard.”

Besides honoring one of America’s space pioneers, the newly christened entranceway will be easier for emergency vehicles and visitors to find on digital maps.

As a young Air Force pilot in the Korean War era, Grissom was familiar with the land that is now Texas A&M-RELLIS.

Grissom, who had flow missions in Korea, was assigned after his time in Korea to become a flight instructor at Bryan Air Force Base. While in Bryan, Grissom was honored for his service in Korea and honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross. A year later, his second son, Mark, was born at the Bryan Air Force Base hospital.

Gus Grissom eventually was chosen as one of America’s first astronauts. He flew missions in the one-man Mercury program and two-man Gemini program. He also was assigned as the commander of the first three-man Apollo mission. Later, Grissom, along with fellow astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee, tragically died in a pre-launch test at Cape Kennedy, Florida, on January 27, 1967.

“We at the Texas A&M System and Texas A&M University have always sought to honor our past and our heroes,” Chancellor Sharp said. “Today, it is a privilege to pay homage to Gus Grissom for his sacrifices and accomplishments.”


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 $7.2 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

NASA Johnson Space Center, Texas A&M System sign Space Act Agreement

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

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — From public outreach to powerful research, The Texas A&M University System has been a faithful partner for years with NASA to explore our place in the universe.

Eight of the 11 Texas A&M System schools are space-grant institutions committed to participating in NASA’s aeronautics and space projects. And on May 3, NASA Johnson Space Center and the Texas A&M System signed a Space Act Agreement, an umbrella agreement that allows the agency to work with organizations that enable fulfillment of its mission, to expand collaborative efforts across all entities within the Texas A&M System.

“NASA employs its share of A&M System alumni, and we have many former astronauts teaching on our campuses,” John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M System, said. “So I think it is fair to say that the Texas A&M System is in a strong position to make a difference in space research and exploration.”

Through the Space Act Agreement, students enrolled in Texas A&M System schools benefit from educational outreach opportunities and gain real world experience through their interaction with NASA subject matter experts. Faculty in Texas A&M System schools will participate in NASA research and technology initiatives, technology transfer programs and have access to unique NASA facilities and laboratories.

“NASA’s Johnson Space Center has a long history of working with colleges and universities since the early days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs to help us achieve our human spaceflight missions,” said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We are eager to partner and collaborate with the Texas A&M System in vital research and technology development initiatives that will enable us to meet our nation’s exploration goals and advance human spaceflight as we work to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis.”

This agreement will also allow the Texas A&M System and NASA to work collaboratively to facilitate joint research, technology development, and educational and outreach initiatives. These goals will be pursued through undergraduate and graduate programs and joint research programs focusing on science and technology topics of interest to NASA.

“We are proud of our long history with NASA and the Johnson Space Center and look forward to an even more productive and mutually beneficial collaboration,” said Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks.

By bringing together the best minds in the Texas A&M System with the best minds at NASA, this collaboration supports NASA’s goal to be an established global innovation leader in science and space exploration.

For more information about NASA Johnson Space Center’s University Relations efforts, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/external_relations/university-collaboration.


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 $7.2 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

Marine veteran Demetrius Harrell, Jr. appointed as Texas A&M University System Student Regent

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

Demetrius Harrell, Jr.BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Marine veteran Demetrius L. Harrell Jr. as student regent for The Texas A&M University System.

Harrell, who is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice with a double minor in Sociology and Legal Studies from Texas A&M University-Commerce, will serve a one-year term to expire on May 31, 2023.

Harrell previously served honorably in the United States Marines, where he was a corporal responsible for an amphibious assault vehicle and crew.

“We are honored to have Mr. Harrell on the Board of Regents for The Texas A&M University System,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “Military service is a foundational aspect of the very character of The Texas A&M University System, and I am sure Mr. Harrell will do an outstanding job of representing his fellow students’ interests.”

Harrell currently is serving his second term as the President of the Campus Activities Board at Texas A&M University-Commerce, where he helps provide high-quality entertainment to promote unity among the students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater Commerce community. He also served as the President of the African American Male Mentorship Program, where he was devoted to the retention of African American males at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Harrell is also a brother of The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and serves as Polemarch, or president, of his chapter.

In 2005, the 79th Texas Legislature authorized the governor to appoint nonvoting student regents to each university system’s board of regents. The chancellor of each university system recommends at least two students to the governor from applications submitted by participating universities.

The Texas A&M System’s Board of Regents meets quarterly with special meetings arranged as needed.

Harrell replaces former student regent Mati Rigsby, a Texas A&M University student from Gainesville.


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 $7.2 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

Savell Named Vice Chancellor and Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences

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’s Board of Regents today named a much-decorated professor, Jeffrey W. Savell ‘75, as Vice Chancellor and Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences for Texas A&M.

Dr. Savell is a University Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor and the E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Texas A&M.

His appointment is effective June 6.

“Dr. Savell is a great Aggie who is well-respected within academia and the agricultural community,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “An added bonus – he makes pretty good barbecue!”

Dr. Savell teaches the introductory course in meat science as well as a freshmen class on Texas barbecue. He also leads a graduate course in carcass composition and quality, and team-teaches a graduate and undergraduate course in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.

A past president of the American Meat Science Association, Dr. Savell is a member of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

“Dr. Savell is a highly recognized scholar who has been identified among the top 2% of most-cited researchers in the world,” said Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks. “His impact and long tenure at Texas A&M includes teaching 12,000 Aggies and producing 150 graduate students who have become leaders in academia, industry and government.”


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 $7.2 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

Buc-ee’s Creator Giving $50 Million For Hospitality Entrepreneurship Program At Texas A&M

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

 The Aplin Center will be a unique experiential educational facility merging two iconic Texas brands. 

 BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, June 1, 2022 – Texas A&M University has announced that former student Arch “Beaver” Aplin III — one of the university’s most successful entrepreneurs — is contributing $50 million toward establishing an academic center that will serve as an immersive learning laboratory for students.

“When Beaver Aplin does something, it’s never halfway!” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “The love he has and shows for Texas A&M and Aggies is inspirational and appreciated. This is an awesome gift and will position Texas A&M to become the top hospitality program in the nation.”

The Aplin Center will offer a transformational student experience through new university programs in hospitality, retail studies and food product development involving innovative degree programs including viticulture, fermentation processes, coffee, and food science. The facility also will house product development laboratories and food tasting centers which can be utilized in partnership with related industries.

The center will include outdoor and indoor student recreational space, as well as retail and food service areas managed by students and faculty through the educational programs.

The Aplin Center will host corporate training and recruiting programs, along with professional development opportunities. Workforce training based on industry needs will be a key component of the center.

Primary academic partners will be the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mays Business School, although other academic units will be involved in specialty projects.

Texas A&M President Dr. M. Katherine Banks said the Aplin Center will allow for more entrepreneurial activities for students across disciplines.

“Arch ‘Beaver’ Aplin is a true visionary and one of the most creative entrepreneurs I have known,” Banks said. “He remains connected to his university, speaking to many students who share his passion for business and product development. Through this generous gift, he is creating a living, learning laboratory that will provide transformational opportunities for our students. The Aplin Center will positively impact Aggies for generations to come.”

Aplin said Banks’ vision of a world-class hospitality entrepreneurship program is “just what Texas A&M needs and I’m proud to have an opportunity to be involved.”

The 1980 graduate, who earned a construction science degree from A&M, opened his first Buc-ee’s in Lake Jackson, Texas two years after commencement. He built the iconic, multi-million-dollar business on several promises: pristine restrooms, scores of fuel pumps, a vast selection of food and consumer items, and well-paid employees.

“We want to create a learning, gathering space on the A&M campus that exemplifies hospitality,” Aplin said. “A place where people come together. A place where the Aggie culture can thrive – a happy place.”

Aplin’s tenacious work ethic isn’t just reserved for his business: He serves as chairman of Texas Parks and Wildlife, is on the ERCOT Board Selection Committee, is a lifetime member of both the Coastal Conservation Association and the 100 Club of Brazoria County, and is on the Lieutenant Governor’s Transportation Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of The Association of Former Students.

Porter S. Garner III ’79, President and CEO of The Association, praised Aplin as a genuine and humble leader who cares deeply about others.

“Beaver is a tremendous asset to The Association’s board and to the worldwide Aggie Network,” Garner said. “Everything he does is top of its class, and I know the Aplin Center will be as well. This unprecedented gift is further testament to his deep love and affinity for Texas A&M and Texas Aggies.”

The former Brazosport Independent School District board president has received many accolades from his alma mater, including Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Architecture and the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award from the Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies. This fall, Aplin will be honored by the Mosbacher Institute at the Bush School of Government and Public Service with the McLean Leadership in Business Award for his “inspiring entrepreneurship and business leadership and commitment to serve the critical needs in the communities he serves.”

While the Buc-ee’s empire initially stood out from its competition based on clean bathrooms, quirky advertising and a strong brand, it grew into a powerhouse by consistently applying excellent customer service with the Buc-ee’s brand. His mantra: Exceed customers’ expectations.

His stores offer health insurance to employees and pay more than twice the amount of minimum wage, both evidence of a healthy business approach that further pushes Buc-ee’s into the convenience store stratosphere.

Aplin’s $50 million contribution to build the center highlighting his namesake is one of the largest gifts A&M has received from a single donor.

The center, which will highlight co-developed products, will be built across the street from the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center at the intersection of Wellborn Road and the pedestrian tunnel that functions as the main foot and automobile traffic corridor on campus, in the shadow of Kyle Field.

July 28 marks the 40th anniversary of Aplin opening the first Buc-ee’s. His business has expanded into five other states and development is under way on another five.

Aplin returns regularly to his alma mater to talk to students. While at the Mays Business School for a lecture in 2012, Aplin read from a letter written by a Florida Gators football fan following a visit to College Station. It relayed how the fan experienced genuine friendliness and hospitality during his stay.

“It was pervasive and natural. It was culture,” Aplin told the class, adding that he returns to the letter for inspiration during pivotal moments at work. “I have to remember — I’ve gotta stay Beaver. I’ve gotta stay Buc-ee’s. I’ve gotta stay Aggie and I’ve gotta stay who I am.”


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 $7.2 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