Regents to Consider Sole Finalist for President of Texas A&M

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents will discuss and consider possible action in naming a sole finalist for the position of President of Texas A&M University.

The Board will convene at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Century Ballroom, Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center, 177 Joe Routt Boulevard, College Station.

It is anticipated that the Board will recess to executive session for discussion as permitted by Chapter 551, Sections 71, 72 and 74, Texas Government Code.

To comply with state law and System COVID-19 standards, social distancing and face covering requirements will be in effect. There will be limited seating but members of the public may also access the public portion of the meeting at https://www.tamus.edu/regents/live-streams/

Under state law, university governing boards name a sole finalist for at least 21 days before meeting again to consider final approval of the candidate.


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

Texas A&M System brings vaccine to underserved rural areas

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System is giving vaccination efforts in rural Texas a shot in the arm, rushing COVID-19 vaccinations to underserved communities. The vaccine push is targeting homebound Texans 65 years or older.

The effort is part of the State Mobile Vaccine Pilot Program, which has delivered the life-saving vaccine to 10 Texas counties, which include DeWitt, Glasscock, Kenedy, Marion, Motley, McMullen, Real, Sherman, Starr and Terrell counties.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Military Department, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas National Guard have teamed up to make the deliveries.

“The Texas A&M System has people on the ground who are already well-known by the communities they serve, in every county in the state, making us the perfect partner to assist with the State Mobile Vaccine Pilot Program,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “We are proud to be a part of this life-saving effort to serve these rural communities in need.”

The Texas Military Department provides the medics to vaccinate individuals, and A&M System partners coordinate teams and transport vaccines via their “Pony Express” to the rural counties, just as they have done with COVID-19 tests since May.

Governor Greg Abbott first announced the State Mobile Vaccine Pilot Program in January.

“Thank you to our partners at TDEM, TMD, the Texas A&M Engineering Service and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension for working together to ensure underserved counties have access to COVID-19 vaccines,” Gov. Abbott said in a statement. “The State Mobile Vaccine Program is an important part of our work to get more vaccines in arms and ensure the health and safety of our communities.

To download b-roll of vaccine deliveries to rural areas, please click here.


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

Bush Museum Readies for Spring Arrival of UP No. 4141 Engine

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Regents donate acreage for historic train and later landing of Marine One

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The historic Union Pacific No. 4141 Engine, a locomotive painted to match Air Force One, will arrive here this spring for a permanent home at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

On Thursday The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved $1 per-year lease, essentially donating two acres to expand the grounds of the museum. Eventually the acreage will house an exhibit area for a Marine One helicopter as well as the locomotive. They are to be part of a multi-million dollar expansion being planned by the George & Barbara Bush Presidential Foundation.

“Texas A&M is proud to host these icons of the Bush presidency,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “We do everything we can to keep alive the memory and accomplishments of this wonderful president and public servant.”

No. 4141 Engine led the Bush funeral train from Houston to College Station in December 2018, when the former president was laid to rest here alongside First Lady Barbara Bush.

A year later, Union Pacific announced it would donate the locomotive to the museum. The railroad had surprised Bush in 2005 by painting it to resemble Air Force One in connection with a train exhibit there.

Former CEO of Union Pacific Dick Davidson was instrumental in creation of No. 4141. He and his wife Trish have made a significant lead gift to jumpstart private fund-raising for the museum expansion.

“It is fitting this significant piece of history will now make its permanent home at the Bush Center at Texas A&M,” said Max Angerholzer, CEO, George & Barbara Bush Foundation. “The train meant the world to President Bush. We are grateful to the entire Union Pacific team, especially Chairman and CEO Lance Fritz, for this special gift.”

The COVID 19 pandemic has slowed plans associated with the museum expansion, which is expected to also include new meeting space and a restaurant. Foundation officials want to complete the project in time for a celebration they plan in 2024 for the 100th anniversary of Bush’s birth.

Pandemic-related precautions will delay any public celebration associated with this spring’s arrival of No. 4141 Engine.  Due to security precautions, the arrival date will not be announced.

The arrival of Marine One is further in the future, Angerholzer said. Marine One is the call sign for any Marine Corps helicopter carrying the president. Some of the helicopters are being retired, which takes several months in part to remove the classified technology aboard.

In 2005 Bush said that if No. 4141 Engine had been around during his presidency, “I might have left Air Force One behind” and ridden the rails more often.

He had recalled fondly riding and sleeping on trains as a boy. Trains also carried Bush to his service as a naval aviator in World War II and back home.  He also used trains for “whistle stop” campaign events during his presidential runs in 1988 and 1992.

“Union Pacific is proud and honored that the UP 4141 is one step closer to being on permanent display at the Bush Library,” said Scott Moore, the Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President of Union Pacific. “President Bush’s love of trains is well known and we are pleased that we can be a part of honoring his legacy.”

About the George & Barbara Bush Foundation
The George & Barbara Bush Foundation is dedicated to preserving the historic legacies of service best exemplified by President and Mrs. Bush through the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Bush School of Government and Public Service. Find out more about the museum expansion and how to donate at: https://www.georgeandbarbarabush.org/up-4141/

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 exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 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

Regents OK Building Detonation Testing Facility at RELLIS

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Governor and Chancellor Research Initiatives Support Study of Huge Explosions

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A new Detonation Research Test Facility (DRTF) will be built and opened next year on the RELLIS Campus, adding to its array of capabilities for solving complex global problems.

Dr. Elaine Oran

Dr. Elaine Oran

Dr. Elaine Oran, a world authority on the physics and chemistry of explosions, will lead a team at the DRTF examining how flammable gases and other materials interact and sometimes — though not always — detonate on a massive scale.

The discoveries could help prevent horrific mining, industrial and home accidents, predict the path of wildfires and make high-speed engines run more efficiently. It even could improve the understanding of supernovas.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday approved a plan to invest $5 million for construction of what is likely to be the largest university-based facility of its kind in the world.

The centerpiece is a 2-meter diameter, 200-meter-long detonation tube that is made of steel walls at least 3/4-inch thick. It will sit on concrete supports two feet above ground in a secure, isolated and open area near the runways of the former Air Force base.

Funding for the facility is split evenly between the Governor’s University Research Initiative, which Gov. Greg Abbott began in 2015, and the Chancellor’s Research Initiative, which Chancellor John Sharp began in 2013.

“This investment is bound to lead to remarkable breakthroughs,” Sharp said. “We’ll make Texas oil, gas and chemical industries, and the entire world safer from accidental explosions.”

The governor’s and chancellor’s research initiatives were designed to attract more top faculty to Texas, and they both played a role in the 2019 hiring of Oran. She is an aerospace engineering professor and the O’Donnell Foundation Chair VI in the Texas A&M College of Engineering.

She came from the University of Maryland and previously served as the Senior Scientist for Reactive Flow Physics at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. There she led a research team that used a smaller-scale detonation facility in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania (now closed) to measure how gases, liquids and solids interact and sometimes cause explosions. Researchers call these issues “reactive flow problems.”

Oran pioneered computational technology to address reactive flow problems, unifying concepts in chemistry, physics, engineering and computer science in a new methodology.

“We’re looking at explosions: the physics that cause accidental explosions and how to stop them; or in the case of high-speed engines, how to promote them quickly and control them,” Oran said. “It’s all about safety, control and advancing knowledge.”

She said she was attracted to Texas and Texas A&M by the willingness to invest in a detonation facility that could “get us to the next level of discovery and information.”

“It was just an amazing opportunity,” Oran said. “It’s the kind of thing you really couldn’t say no to.”

The DRTF will have a protective earth berm between the steel detonation tube and a control building for researchers. At the opposite end, a concrete wall and berms will surround a muffler pipe to keep the noise down.

The facility will be near two other testing ranges being assembled for the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC), in partnership with Army Futures Command, to advance warfare-related technology. One BCDC range is an enclosed highly instrumented tube for testing lasers and other materials traveling at hypersonic speed; the other is an outdoor range for experimenting with high-tech combat vehicles and their communication systems.

While the detonation facility is not part of the BCDC per se, discoveries there could have applications for the Department of Defense.

Detonation-related discoveries also could advance the work of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, which is operated by the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to promote safety in chemical processes in the oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries.

The safety center was established in memory of an employee killed in a 1989 explosion at the Phillips Petroleum Complex in Pasadena, Texas. The initial blast registered 3.5 on the Richter scale, and an ensuing conflagration took 10 hours to control. In all, 23 employees died and 314 were injured.

The DRTF will be operated by TEES as well. It will join a wide array of new, cutting-edge facilities at the RELLIS Campus on the western edge of Bryan, including the BCDC, the Center for Infrastructure Renewal, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the SecureAmerica Institute.

Engineering Facilities at RELLIS


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

Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp premiers Feb. 4

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN/ COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A new television show, Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp, premiers Feb. 4 on KAMU-TV and will be offered to other public television affiliates across the state, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make Texas like no other state in the country.

The complete first season includes 12 episodes that will be available on The Texas A&M University System’s YouTube page after each episode airs on KAMU-TV at 7 p.m. every Thursday. The 28-minute program provides fresh insight on the Texas A&M System, which has grown to touch the lives of almost every Texan, every day, one way or another.

In Season One of Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp, you will learn about:

  • A real-life spy story of a Cold War CIA agent now teaching in College Station;
  • How crashing cars and trucks at an old Army Air base has made Texas highways safer;
  • Why the Rodeo Team at West Texas A&M in Canyon thrives on community support;
  • And what Texas A&M scientists are doing to make better BBQ…and even whiskey.

“These are just a few of the stories we’ll be telling this spring on Texas’ PBS stations,” said Chancellor Sharp of the Texas A&M System. “On each episode, we’ll explore a story or two in a long-form feature. We’ll also sit down in the studio with one of the amazing Texans we just featured, letting them tell the rest of their story. We hope you will join us on the journey.”

To view a 3 minute promo of Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp, click here: https://vimeo.com/497676555.

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

ADVISORY: Texas A&M System Regents to Meet Thursday

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents will convene in the Century Ballroom of the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center, 177 Joe Routt Boulevard, at 8 a.m. Thursday, February 4. The board will immediately recess to executive session.

The Board will reconvene in open session at approximately 12:45 p.m. in the ballroom.

To comply with state law and System COVID-19 standards, social distancing and face covering requirements will be in effect. There will be limited seating but members of the public may also access the meeting at https://www.tamus.edu/regents/live-streams/

The Board will consider:

  • Authorizing a ground lease to the George & Barbara Bush Foundation to display the Union Pacific 4141 Engine and construct a facility to house a retiring Marine One helicopter near the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
  • A $13 million project to install energy and water conservation measures at 35 facilities on the campus at Tarleton State University.
  • $5 million for the design and construction of a Detonation Research Test Facility at the RELLIS Campus in Bryan.

  • $9.7 million to renovate two floors of the Heep Laboratory Building with 21 labs and support offices as “flex space” for biology research and similar activities at Texas A&M.
  • Reappointing Regent Clifton Thomas Jr. to the Board of Directors of The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), effective April 

The Board also will hear updates on COVID-19 and the System’s finances.

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