Texas A&M System Board of Regents Votes to Support SEC Expansion

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System voted to issue the following statement Wednesday at its meeting to discuss possible expansion of the Southeastern Conference:

The decision in 2011 to join the Southeastern Conference has strengthened the position of Texas A&M University as a national leader in college athletics.

As college athletics go through the historic changes we are experiencing today, Texas A&M competes at the highest level with many of the top universities in the country — on the field, on the court, and in the classroom.

As members of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, we are proud of the Texas A&M athletic department and its tremendous success over the past decade. We are proud to be the largest university in Texas and in the SEC. We are proud to have rock-solid financials, the best fan base in America and 550,000 former students who compete and succeed across the globe.

We have the utmost confidence in Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks and Athletic Director Ross Bjork to navigate discussions with our SEC conference partners.

Although the Board has concerns about the communication process relating to this matter, today the Board received the information it needed to properly consider the long-term ramifications of a possible expansion. President Banks and Athletic Director Bjork briefed board members after they participated in meetings yesterday and today with the SEC Commissioner’s Office.

The board concluded that this expansion would enhance the long-term value of the SEC to student athletes and all of the institutions they represent — including Texas A&M.

Therefore The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Board directs Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks to vote in favor of extending formal invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas to join the conference in 2025 when the SEC presidents consider the matter.

As developments unfold, the leadership at Texas A&M will continue to analyze our opportunities and make decisions based on what’s best for our flagship university.

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 $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 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

Today’s Regents Meeting on SEC in Bethancourt Ballroom

The Texas A&M University System News Release

PRESS ADVISORY

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System will meet at 4 p.m. today in the Bethancourt Ballroom of the Memorial Students Center (MSC) in College Station, Texas.

The Board will convene in open session and immediately recess to executive session as permitted by Chapter 551, Sections 71 and 74, Texas Government Code.

After executive session, the Board will convene in open session for discussion and possible action on contractual and governance issues relating to Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference.

The Bethancourt Ballroom is on the second level of the MSC, just above the Board of Regents Annex.

The ballroom can accommodate a number of media members, at safe social distance, who intend to attend the public portions of the session. The use of face coverings is encouraged.

Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start to set up any taping equipment. Cameras, other recording devices, bags, backpacks and other press-owned material will have to be removed prior to the start of the executive session. 

There is no press conference or interview availability planned by the Board of Regents after the meeting.  The Board may approve and issue an official statement. Any statement will be shared electronically by this office within minutes of its release.

The open session portions of the meeting may be viewed live at:

https://www.tamus.edu/regents/live-streams/

If the executive session lasts for an extended time period, it is recommended that reporters refresh browsers regularly. If the displayed time-counter stops, leave the site and quickly return.

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 $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 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

Texas A&M System Board of Regents to Meet Regarding SEC Issues

The Texas A&M University System News Release

PRESS ADVISORY

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System will meet for a special telephonic meeting on Monday, July 26 at 5 p.m. CDT.

The Board will convene in open session and immediately recess to executive session as permitted by Chapter 551, Sections 71 and 74, Texas Government Code.

After executive session, the Board will convene in open session for discussion and possible action on contractual and governance issues relating to Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference.

The meeting may be viewed live at https://www.tamus.edu/regents/live-streams/

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 $6.3 billion. The Texas A&M System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts each year. Systemwide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion 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

Military, Defense Industry Gather at Texas A&M To Plan Future of Battlefield Communication

The Texas A&M University System News Release

A&M System Hosts Symposium, Offers Research and Testing Help

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System is wrapping up a symposium of vital national importance here today with 300 military and defense industry leaders.

The three-day symposium, comprised mostly of classified, closed-door briefings, is focused on the challenging goal of modernizing battlefield communications in case the U.S. has to go to war against a high-tech adversary, such as Russia or China.

The goal is that every military branch can communicate instantly and effectively if fighting breaks out the ground, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace — all simultaneously.

“How do you command and control those forces in a way that allows them to accomplish their mission and protect the country?” said Stephen Cambone, Associate Vice Chancellor for Cybersecurity Initiatives at the Texas A&M System and a former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. “That’s what the conference is about.”

The event was co-hosted by the A&M System and National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), a 100-year-old group of defense industry executives and military officers.

The battlefield communications challenge is a great example of why the Texas A&M System is building the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) on the RELLIS Campus.

Among the BCDC features will be the Innovation Proving Ground (IPG), a highly-instrumented outdoor testing range that will serve as an ideal location for experimentation on such a communication system.

Upon completion next year, the IPG will be available to researchers from all across the United States. They can come from the defense industry, or from any U.S. university or from a military laboratory to test parts or all of such a system, which the military calls “Joint All Domain Command and Control” or “JADC2.”

Texas A&M researchers from multiple disciplines are contributing research that could help JADC2 through an agreement with Army Futures Command.

The aim is to sync up autonomous air and ground vehicles and other battlefield assets through a secure, resilient software-based communication network that can interpret situational awareness data and direct or recommend battlefield actions.

“This is mostly about deterrence” said Ross Guieb, Executive Director of the BCDC. Guieb was a U.S. Army Colonel working on military modernization before retiring in 2020. “If you are clearly ahead of your adversaries, hopefully you won’t have to fight the next war. But you’ll have decisive victory if called upon.”

Nearly a third of the symposium participants toured RELLIS on Monday to learn about the BCDC and other innovative A&M System projects with government and industry.

Hawk Carlisle, NDIA President and CEO, is a retired U.S. Air Force General. He said symposiums like this can pay big dividends because they bring together industry, government and academia.

“We want to solve the most challenging problems that our young men and women in uniform face,” Carlisle said. “We want to give them the best technology.”

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 $6.3 billion. The Texas A&M System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts each year. Systemwide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and helped drive the state’s economy.

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

Dr. John Hurtado, Interim Engineering Dean and Vice Chancellor, welcomes NDIA symposium participants Monday.
Hawk Carlisle, NDIA President and CEO, speaks to symposium participants. Carlisle is a retired Air Force General.
NDIA participants include military leaders, defense industry executives and researchers from U.S. universities.

Advancing space robotics: Chasing a new frontier at Texas A&M

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION, Texas —Dr. Robert Ambrose has joined the faculty of the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical  Engineering at Texas A&M University. Along with his appointment, Ambrose is also the recipient of the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI) grant program and The Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI).

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Ambrose will serve as a professor in the department as well as a staff member of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex. Ambrose comes to Texas A&M from NASA, where he served as chief of the software, robotics and simulation division at the Johnson Space Center.

He received his mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

“Investments in our faculty, particularly the recruitment of National Academy members, is vital to a university’s pursuit of excellence,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “I am proud that we have more than tripled our National Academy members in recent years, and the university has benefitted so much from their contributions to teaching and research.”

Ambrose’s research focuses on robotic manipulation and mobility, specifically in relation to space robotics — a field that he said is growing rapidly. Ambrose said he is excited to bring his decades of experience to Texas A&M to explore and address new and emerging challenges in this field.

“The energy we see in space today is exciting, with new companies, new approaches and new challenges,” Ambrose said. “We intend for Texas A&M to become the premier university for space robotics at a time when the field is breaking out. But much of what we need first in space will then create new markets on Earth. For example, the Texas A&M focus on off-road autonomous vehicles is a perfect fit for a guy building lunar rovers at NASA for the last 20 years.”

While space is the frontier for which engineers are innovating, the core areas of robotic manipulation and mobility will also serve to provide technological advancements to daily life here on Earth as well. Ambrose noted robotic applications including construction, food production and logistics for small crews as just a few areas where the needs of astronauts overlap with advances in industry as well — including robots building homes, assisting in food production and delivering packages.

“Imagine a team of humans and robots building a home in a week or a family farmer in Texas with robotic equipment able to out compete massive industrial farms overseas,” Ambrose said. “The implementation will be like a person with a sewing machine able to do more than with a single needle and thread, or a person with a power drill versus a manual screwdriver. Robots are a force multiplier and the ultimate power tools.”

He said a decade of leading robotics at NASA has provided him an appreciation for the rapid speed at which technology is advancing and the critical need to provide a strong education to the engineers of the future.

“It is a competitive world, and I intend to help Texas A&M produce the top talent and new ideas for the field,” Ambrose said. “For over a decade at NASA, I have run a division of more than 500 engineers, helping projects get formulated, helping engineers work through design challenges and urgently fixing problems for astronauts in space. I am excited to teach that problem-solving approach to our next generation.”

An internationally recognized leader in robotics and autonomous systems, Ambrose has recently managed robots on the International Space Station, software and simulations for SpaceX, Boeing and Orion Spacecraft, and the development of exercise equipment, wearable robotics and jetpacks used by astronauts during his service at NASA.

He is a founding member of the National Robotics Initiative, a member of the United States government’s Senior Executive Service and vice president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics and Automation Society.

“The GURI and CRI programs have enabled Texas A&M to recruit some of the country’s top experts in a variety of high-impact engineering disciplines,” said Dr. John Hurtado, interim dean of the College of Engineering. “We are all excited to welcome Dr. Ambrose to Texas A&M and look forward to him sharing his expertise with our students and collaborating with his fellow faculty members.”

GURI was established in 2015 as a tool to aid public institutions of higher education in Texas to recruit distinguished researchers to the state.

“The GURI grant really sealed the deal for me coming to Texas A&M, accelerating my plans for developing new robotic systems and showing the state of Texas’ appetite for winning this new space race in robotics,” Ambrose said.

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 $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Pam Green
Interim Executive Director, Marketing and Communications
College of Engineering, Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
(979) 845-2957
(979) 574-4138 (cell)
p-green@tamu.edu

Texas A&M System to Observe New National Holiday

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN/ COLLEGE-STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System will shut down Friday, June 18, in observance of Juneteenth being designated a national holiday, Chancellor John Sharp announced Thursday.

“This is a special day that originated in Texas and we’re proud to honor it,” Sharp said.  

President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act today, establishing June 19 as a national holiday. In recognition of the historic nature of this event, the 11 universities and eight state agencies in the Texas A&M System will observe this holiday Friday.

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery. On June 19, 1865 Maj. Gen. Gordan Granger arrived in Galveston and delivered General Order No. 3, which announced that all slaves were free in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation. Months later, the 13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery.

Given the short notice, employees should report to work if they provide essential services or whose services are needed Friday to support events and activities involving or serving members of the public. They will be provided compensatory time off.