Regents Approve Convocation Center Materials, Naming Opportunities

Dear Colleagues,

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today approved procuring materials for our Convocation and Events Center ahead of construction. Securing switchboards, transformers, cooling towers and elevators now will save money and offset delays, keeping us on schedule for a groundbreaking and construction start in the coming months.

Located in the heart of our main campus (North Saint Felix between West Sloan and West Turner streets), the $110 million multipurpose center will sport NCAA Division I basketball facilities and room for academic symposiums, conferences, conventions and concerts. University convocations, commencements and student activities will have a permanent indoor home, and Stephenville will enjoy increased revenue from community and regional events.

Likely you’ve heard about the A&M System technology and innovation district planned around redevelopment of the Fort Worth Convention Center. In addition to partnerships with several large employers, the three-building complex will house programs from Texas A&M, Tarleton and several A&M System agencies. It’s a BIG win for us.

Our health sciences and biotechnology endeavors were mentioned several times in today’s A&M-Fort Worth discussion. Our presence in downtown Fort Worth is a perfect fit, further strengthening us as a leader in meeting rural healthcare needs, boosting the regional economy and solving real world challenges.

The regents applauded our environmental sustainability expertise in talks on creation of a joint A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife center designed to combat harmful carbon and greenhouse emissions. Research by several of our incredible faculty, along with the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research at Tarleton, already play significant roles.

In other business, the regents authorized an honorary doctorate of humane letters to a longtime supporter and alumnus that will be announced at our annual gala, An Evening in Purple, in March.

The regents granted four naming opportunities:

  • The Jamie Richards-Hogland Auditorium in the Welcome Center. A pre-nursing major, Jamie relentlessly pursued her education after a shooting incident left her a quadriplegic. Her tenacity continues to inspire students who might be tempted to drop their pursuit of a university education.
  • The Capt. Gene Lednicky (USMC, retired) and Mrs. Sheila Lednicky Texan Corps of Cadets Commandant Office in Traditions South. Gene was a proud member of Tarleton’s cadets. Today he owns Neel Fire in Waco, building firetrucks, pumpers and tankers.
  • The Rosemary Tompkins – Professor, Alumnus stall No. 20 at the Doty Rodeo Complex. The mother of alumna Martha Tompkins Wright, Rosemary was active in Tarleton rodeo and served as a faculty member.
  • The Mitzi Lucas Riley Tarleton Student and Hall of Fame Cowgirl stall No. 21 at the Doty Rodeo Complex. The mother of alumnus Kelly Riley, Mitzi graduated from Tarleton in 1945 and was an accomplished cowgirl and famous trick rider. She was a 1996 National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honoree.

Mitzi and Rosemary were lifelong college friends, a true testament to the Tarleton family. Their legacy and the stories of Jamie Richards-Hogland and Capt. Lednicky encourage us all to do more and be more.

From places to partnerships to people, spring 2023 is off to an amazing start. We’re not just gaining momentum, we’re setting the pace for comprehensive institutions nationwide. And Chancellor John Sharp and the Board of Regents are cheering us on. We are so fortunate.

As always, bleed purple!

Dr. James Hurley
Tarleton State University
Box T-0001
Stephenville, Texas 76402

Office: 254-968-9100

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