A digital rendering of the McAllen Higher Education Center. (Texas A&M University)
By Texas A&M Office of the Provost staff
Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas A&M University will dedicate the $40 million Higher Education Center at McAllen on Thursday, Oct. 25, and school officials said the endeavor marks a lasting commitment to the people of South Texas that will provide unique educational opportunities for generations to come.
The 2 p.m. ceremony at the facility, located at 6200 Tres Lagos Blvd., will include remarks by Texas Gov. Abbott; Charles Schwartz, Chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents; John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System; Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young; McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, and other distinguished guests.
“This partnership between Hidalgo County, the City of McAllen and Texas A&M University represents a significant investment in the future of the Rio Grande Valley and the entire state of Texas,” said Gov. Abbott. “I am proud to be a part of this historic investment that will chart a brighter course for students, and make a lasting impact on the economic future of this region.”
Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System since 2011, praised the tremendous support from community leaders across the region and the team of Texas A&M personnel who delivered this project in record time.
“When we signed the letter of intent in fall 2015, we placed this project among our top priorities and I challenged our team to have it available for students by fall 2018 semester,” said Chancellor Sharp. “A mere 36 months later, we have achieved this goal and nearly 200 students are now pursuing their degrees from Texas A&M University right here in the Rio Grande Valley.”
The project has included community forums, and consultation with K-12 education, industry and community leaders to identify the initial degree programs to meet high demand for an educated workforce. Aggies at McAllen are pursuing a course of study in either engineering technology, interdisciplinary engineering, biomedical science, public health or food industry management – all in fields of particular strength for one of the nation’s top public universities, said school officials.
“I am proud to formally welcome the students, faculty and staff of the Higher Education Center at McAllen into the Aggie Family,” said Young, president of Texas A&M. “These students are Aggies in every way. As part of the flagship, students in McAllen will be eligible to receive the coveted Aggie Ring and their diploma from Texas A&M University. McAllen is one of the fastest growing cities in America and increasing access locally helps our state, the nation and the world by educating future leaders there.”
The dedication ceremony will complete the two-year construction process for the 65,000-square-foot facility which features state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and collaborative work and learning spaces. A large auditorium and full complement of parking, connecting roads, green space and a separate engineering technology lab facility rounded out the project, which Texas A&M officials announced as “on time and under budget.”
Chancellor Sharp said the McAllen Center is very much the result of a community-wide effort aided by the region’s legislative leaders and Coordinating Board representative.
The City of McAllen provided the 100-acre tract as a ground lease to the A&M System, and the City of McAllen and Hidalgo County facilitated local financing of $10 million toward the $40 million construction cost as well as $24 million in infrastructure (streets, utilities and drainage) that will benefit the higher education center.
The new facility complements Texas A&M’s presence across the Rio Grande Valley, said school officials, with engineering research partnerships near Boca Chica Beach, an engineering academy transfer program at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, the AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, and community health and nursing programs at S. McColl Road in McAllen.
Texas A&M consistently ranks among the nation’s best public universities in numerous measurements and as a tier-one research institution, has a nearly $1 billion in annual research expenditures.
Sixteen faculty and staff members have joined Texas A&M at the Higher Education Center and are providing the approved coursework, with support from their home departments at the flagship university’s primary location in College Station.
McAllen students are counted among the 69,000 total student enrollment Texas A&M reported earlier this month.
Admissions applications are now being sought for freshman for fall 2019. Students interested in these programs and course of study at the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen should review criteria and deadlines at http://admissions.tamu.edu/HECM.
Promotional materials will be sent to all school districts in the Rio Grande Valley, and individual student consultation is now available at the Texas A&M University Prospective Student Center at 5277 North 23rd Street, McAllen, TX 78504 or by calling (956) 271-1300.
Media contact: Lesley Henton, firstname.lastname@example.org