Tarleton State University President James Hurley today received the North Texas Commission 2022 Education Leadership Award. He was one of nine individuals and organizations the commission recognized at its annual membership lunch for their lasting impact on the region.
“On behalf of the entire Tarleton family, it is an honor to receive this prestigious award,” Dr. Hurley said. “It is a tribute to the boundless energy of our faculty and staff. Their dedication means so much to our students and our region.”
A public-private partnership established in 1971, the NTC works to ensure that state and federal policies promote strong local governments, support excellence in public schools, increase the skilled workforce pipeline and safeguard a thriving business environment.
Dr. Hurley’s signature initiatives include powerful enrollment growth, creative student funding, vigorous partnerships with high schools and community colleges, innovative discovery, robust partnerships with businesses and community stakeholders, and a move to NCAA Division I as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
Under his leadership, Tarleton earned the elevated designation of Doctoral Universities High Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, putting it among only 132, or 4 percent, of universities across the country so recognized.
And this fall’s invitation to join the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities underscores Tarleton’s place among the top schools in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It’s an offer Tarleton didn’t expect until 2026 as outlined in the university’s 10-year strategic plan, but the tenacity of faculty, staff and administration made it happen now.
This spring the university broke ground for a second building on its 80-acre campus in Southwest Fort Worth. With 100,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space, the Interprofessional Education Building will help expand Tarleton’s nationally recognized health sciences, kinesiology and education programs. Move-in is set for 2024.
The newly realigned College of Health Sciences in Stephenville is set to improve access to quality healthcare in North Texas. The rebranded college includes Tarleton’s School of Nursing and School of Kinesiology and the inaugural School of Health and Service Professions.
While enrollment at many colleges nationwide remains depressed, Tarleton set another all-time high for fall 2022 at just over 15,000 students — up nearly 14 percent from 2019. The Class of 2026 is approaching 2,500; it’s the largest, most diverse and best-prepared group of incoming students in Tarleton history. Ninety-six percent are Texas residents, giving the university bragging rights for a student body with the third highest number of Texas counties (233) represented.
Dr. Hurley’s creation of partnerships with regional school districts and two-year colleges — Distinguished High School Partners and Distinguished College Partners — deepens the university’s 123-year commitment to educational opportunity and affordability. Both programs provide guaranteed scholarships for students meeting qualifications. More than 200 school districts and nine community colleges participate, with others expected this year.
In his nomination letter, John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, wrote: “From the moment James Hurley accepted Tarleton’s presidency, I knew that the university was destined to become a national prototype of student success and a regional engine of economic and cultural development. Because of his leadership, his heart, his dreams, Tarleton State University has a very bright future.”
A first-generation college graduate and lifetime educator, Dr. Hurley is Tarleton’s 16th President.