Hispanic Network Summit
Current and former Texas A&M University students joined with leaders from across the state to delve into issues affecting the Hispanic community at this year’s Hispanic Network (TAMHN) Summit at the Clayton Williams, Jr. Alumni Center on the Texas A&M campus.
Among a long list of notable presenters was Joe Pettibon, Texas A&M associate vice president for Academic Services, who said Hispanic enrollment on the main campus for fall 2014 was 10,355, accounting for 18.6 percent of the total campus population, a one-year growth of 12.1 percent (DARS). Pettibon said this improved yield is due to a combination of factors, including “faster offers, more campus visits, increased financial aid, and better coordination, especially with Prospective Student Centers.” He added the university strives to keep tuition and fees affordable and continues to rank highly in the Washington Monthly “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings in the Top 5 nationally in 2014.
The summit’s keynote speaker was former Texas A&M President Elsa Murano, who now serves as director of the Norman Borlaug Institute. She spoke of the university’s Core Values, chiefly, Selfless Service as it relates to the work of the Borlaug Institute. “In my role at Borlaug, I travel all over the world and especially to developing countries,” she said. “I’ve seen abject poverty…human beings that lack the basic necessities of clean water, food, security. Right now there are 800 million undernourished people; about 790 million are in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”
She spoke of the institute’s namesake Norman Borlaug, known as the Father of the Green Revolution, who spent the last decade of his life as a professor at Texas A&M. “He knew that peace cannot be built on empty stomachs,” she said.
Murano, a Cuban-American, came to the U.S. with her family as a toddler. “We departed our homeland in search of freedom,” she explained. “As a result I’ve become an American citizen by choice and live here in the greatest country on Earth.” On news of the U.S. possibly resuming relations with Cuba, Murano said, “We ache for our brothers and sisters who have lived through decades of tyranny. I long to return under the best circumstances, not the way it is there now. I hope for the best, but I want to make sure we make the best deal.”