No Tuition Increase for 11 Universities in Texas A&M System

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 will not increase tuition for Fall 2022, Chairman of the Board Tim Leach said today.

“The Board is very focused on making a college education affordable for all Texans and pledges to make accessibility and fairness our highest priority,” Chairman Leach said.

The decision impacts all 11 universities in the Texas A&M System.

“We recognize there is inflation for running universities, but there is inflation on families and students as well,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “We’ve decided to manage our costs rather than raise tuition.”

Chancellor Sharp credited the A&M System’s ability to manage its costs to the state’s elected officials who appropriated more money for higher education last year as well as the A&M System’s conservative fiscal management.

The Consumer Price Index peaked at 8.5 percent for the year ending in March 2022, the largest 12-month advance since December 1981, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Annual inflation rate slowed to 8.3 percent in April, but some economic sectors continued to see higher increases than the overall inflation rate. In April, energy prices were up 30.3%, food at 9.4%, new vehicles at 13.2% and shelter at 5.1%.


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

5G Research Testbed at RELLIS Opens for Business of Innovation

The Texas A&M University System News Release image header. Office of Marketing Communications. 979-458-6023
Experts Demonstrate How Testbed Will Enhance a Variety of Research Areas.

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — 5G is likely to improve your life even if you don’t binge-watch videos on your smartphone.

The Texas A&M University System on Thursday opened one of the nation’s largest 5G research testbeds on its RELLIS Campus. About 100 industry and government leaders were there to learn how 5G is poised to enhance daily life in countless ways.

Video footage from the event available here:
https://vimeo.com/714144922
Photos from the event available here:
https://tamus.photoshelter.com/gallery/RELLIS-5G-Testbed-Launch/G0000hGqcAiAB1Jg

A series of demonstrations by experts from Texas A&M and AT&T showed how 5G can help power a wide range of innovations:

  • Food prices could drop as crop yields grow and costs are trimmed through use of data-gathering drones, deep-learning algorithms and robotic farming practices.
  • Emergency health care could improve as paramedics at a scene continuously stream and share video and vitals to consult with ER doctors.
  • Veterinarians could use similar techniques to inform the triage and treatment of livestock and pets after natural disasters.
  • Businesses could address staffing challenges using immersive, remote forms of augmented-reality training, collaboration and management.
  • Soldiers and field commanders could gain advantage over adversaries by using lighter, faster, smarter, nimbler and more resilient communication systems.

“And we are just getting started,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “We’ve built RELLIS to tackle the world’s toughest challenges. This giant 5G testbed extends the horizon for university researchers, government and industry.”

The term 5G is shorthand for the fifth generation of wireless network. It is the first generation of wireless to rival wired network quality in reliability, consistency, data capacity, ultra-fast peak speeds and ultra-low latency. (Latency is the time from initiation to completion of an action.)

AT&T worked with RELLIS and the System on the new testbed’s installation. One mile of contiguous area just opened for testing research projects. An additional 1.5 miles will be opened by the end of this year.

Chancellor Sharp christened one of the 5G towers with champagne after speaking at the gathering.

Sarita Rao, AT&T senior vice president for integrated and partner solutions, also spoke.

“Texas A&M is one of the premier research entities in the world, fulfilling its mission across a wide range of industries and public service areas,” Rao said. “AT&T believes it has a key role in innovation, and that requires great relationships. We are excited about the possibilities that can come from working with Texas A&M at this one-of-a-kind 5G testbed.”

The testbed adds to the impressive array of new Texas A&M System research facilities at RELLIS. The 2,300-acre campus features a million square feet of labs and offices. With financial support from the State of Texas, the U.S. Army and others, the System has invested $900 million there since 2016. Key research facilities include the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the Center for Industrial Renewal (CIR), and the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC).


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

Regents Add Fort Worth Urban Campus to Capital Plan

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

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday gave initial approval to $1.5 billion in future projects, including the first two buildings for an urban research campus in downtown Fort Worth.

Meeting in Fort Worth for the special occasion, the Regents approved a new five-year Capital Plan, including $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 Texas A&M University’s School of Law building, which is also scheduled to be replaced in 2024.

The cost of the Law and Education Building, which is scheduled for 2023 construction, will be paid with proceeds from the Public University Fund. The Research and Innovation Center is scheduled to be built in 2024.

To download new architectural renderings or b-roll of the meeting, please go to https://www.tamus.edu/ft-worth-2022/

Texas A&M System officials briefed the Board on the Fort Worth project in front of an audience of dignitaries and reporters. The urban campus was announced in November, but including the buildings in the Capital Plan is the first step toward final Board approval and construction.

“This past decade has seen a historic construction boom for the A&M System around the state,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “But 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 whole Metroplex.”

Fort Worth government and business leaders invited the Texas A&M System to create a research campus to spur innovation and business development. Working with Fort Worth leaders, the A&M System has identified programs in emergency response communication, medical technologies, advanced manufacturing, nutrition, biotechnology, medical laboratory science and nursing as areas of interest.

Thursday’s vote comes just days after Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering announced its intention to offer the first two years of engineering courses at Tarrant College. Students at the Engineering Academy would be co-enrolled in Tarrant County College and Texas A&M. They would take basic courses from Tarrant College faculty while A&M professors would teach the engineering courses. The students then would transfer to the College Station campus to complete their bachelor’s degree.

The Fort Worth project is part of a 5-year, $4.2 billion Capital Plan that includes $2.7 billion of projects that already are in design or construction, plus the $1.5 billion of newly proposed projects.

Other new proposed projects at Texas A&M University include:

  • An $118 million addition to the Clinical Veterinary Teaching & Research Complex, including almost $70 million from PUF proceeds;
  • $175 million for a Visualization, Fine and Performing Arts Building;
  • $40 million for Phase II of The Gardens at Texas A&M University;
  • $75 million for an Aggie Band Residence Hall;
  • $100 million Museum of Natural History.

Other significant proposed projects include:

  • $370 million for new Austin headquarters and State Emergency Operations Center for the Texas Division of Emergency Management;
  • $110 million Convocation Center at Tarleton State University;
  • $58 million for a new event center at A&M-Commerce;
  • $20 million for an addition to the Nursing Education & Research Center in McAllen;
  • $15 million to finish out the EnMed Discovery Tower Labs & Offices in Houston;
  • $11.5 million for a Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital in Galveston;
  • $20 million for an addition to the Arts and Media Building at A&M-Corpus Christi;
  • $10.8 million to expand the Western Hemisphere Trade Center at A&M-International in Laredo;
  • $9.4 million for addition to Fine and Performing Arts at A&M-International;
  • $10 million for a research annex at A&M-Central Texas, including $5 million from PUF proceeds.
  • $35 million for Phase III of students housing at A&M-San Antonio;
  • $30 million for the Amarillo Research Extension Center at Canyon, including $20 million from PUF proceeds.

In other business, the Board of Regens approved an operating budget of $7.2 billion, $2.4 billion less than the current operating budget because of a decrease in COVID-19 federal dollars flowing through Texas Division of Emergency Management to other Texas entities.

The Board also authorized Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks to negotiate and execute a ground lease for construction of up to two research and educational buildings on the new TMC3 campus in Houston.

In 2020, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, the Texas Medical Center, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the MD Anderson Cancer Center agreed to construct a Collaborative Research Building to anchor the new biomedical research campus. That building is under construction.


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

Texas A&M-Kingsville Alumnus, Robert Vela Jr., Named President

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

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today confirmed Dr. Robert H. Vela Jr. as the 21st President of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Vela is a 1994 graduate of Texas A&M University-Kingsville and a holder of two graduate degrees from that institution. He was named a Distinguished Alumni of Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2015.

He is coming from San Antonio College, where as President he led that school to the 2021 Aspen Prize Winner for Community College Excellence,

“President Vela has demonstrated he is an academic leader who can turn around an institution,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “He also has a deep, abiding love for his alma mater. He will be a great asset.”

Vela has had 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.

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 the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 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

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