Praising its quick completion and noting that it will be a crown jewel of education in the area, state leaders officially inaugurated Texas A&M University’s Higher Education Center in McAllen and said the $40 million facility will offer new and exciting educational opportunities for the Rio Grande Valley.
“We approved the funding of this center in September of 2016, and in September of 2018, it opened its doors,” Charles Schwartz, chairman of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents said. “We put our minds to open it quickly, and we did it.”
Officials said the new facility is part of a broad commitment by Texas A&M to expand its reach in the Rio Grande Valley and offer more chances for students in the South Texas area to earn their Aggie diploma.
“This is an investment that will benefit the entire state of Texas,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “This Higher Education Center is an investment in the leaders of tomorrow, and these leaders will keep Texas the most prosperous state in the entire nation.”
Abbott said the center is part of his “60 by 30” plan in which he hopes that by 2030, at least 60 percent of young adults in the state will be enrolled in college to meet the demands of a robust Texas economy.
“This new center will be a starting point for many,” he said. “If students want to go to College Station to earn their Aggie degree, that’s great. And if they want to earn their degree down here in McAllen, that’s great, too.”
John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, praised Abbott and the Texas Legislature for funding the new facility, which has 61,000 square feet of space for classrooms, labs, offices, conference rooms, coffee shops and other special-purpose areas.
“This is a dream come true for us,” Sharp said. “Students here in McAllen will be part of the Aggie family and wear their Aggie rings just like students in College Station. I want to thank Gov. Abbott and our Texas leaders for making this day possible and for creating new educational opportunities for the entire Rio Grande Valley.”
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said the new center “represents great vision from our chancellor and our state leaders.
“We have developed a unique partnership with South Texas College and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and together, we can offer students in this region exciting new educational programs,” Young said.
“We have been welcoming students from the Rio Grande Valley to our College Station campus for well over 100 years. We had planned to enroll about 50 students for our first classes recently, but today we have 202 students enrolled here to be Aggies and 18 faculty members. So this is a dream come true for all of us.”
Young said the Texas A&M McAllen Higher Education Center will offer degrees in engineering, public health, food systems management and biomedical sciences to treat both animal and human health needs.
“We are proud to say Texas A&M graduates have the highest starting salaries in the state and they have one of the lowest student debt levels,” Young said. “And students enrolling here will be part of the almost 500,000-strong Aggie Network.”
Adolfo G. Santos, assistant provost of the Texas A&M Higher Education Center in McAllen, said that “the greatness of this new building will be measured by the great minds of its graduates.
“We will make a measurable improvement in the lives of people in the Rio Grande Valley. Our students are creative goldmines who will help solve the world’s problems and who will be recognized as wonderful leaders.”
Media contact: Keith Randall at (979) 845-4644 or email@example.com.