If today’s actions by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents are any indication of our future among America’s great public institutions, Tarleton State University is rising to the top impressively quicker than anticipated.
Creation of the Biotechnology Institute, within the Division of Research, Innovation and Economic Development, puts us in the middle of one of the largest, fastest growing life sciences hotbeds in the country. More than 5,000 biotechnology manufacturing and research and development firms call Texas home. Think Novartis, Alcon, AstraZeneca.
Part of the new Texas A&M-Fort Worth campus, the institute will focus on multidisciplinary discovery and workforce training. We’re driving research and innovation in bioinformatics and computational modeling of microbiomes, and this profoundly impacts everything from agriculture to medicine to energy to our environment.
The regents approved our fiscal 2024 operating budget, $289 million (the largest ever), providing a 3% merit pool. Increases will be effective September 1. Endorsement of our fiscal 2024-28 capital plan means additional housing and parking for students in Stephenville. Planning is underway and construction will begin soon for a 1,000-bed residence hall on our main campus.
That crane soaring above North Saint Felix and West Washington streets marks progress on the university’s first multilevel parking garage, and we break ground at 10:30 a.m. next Tuesday for our $110 million Event Center (Sloan and Saint Felix), with construction beginning next spring and move-in planned the following year. I hope to see you August 22 as we celebrate this tremendous day in Tarleton history.
In addition to NCAA Division I basketball facilities, the two-story multipurpose arena will sport room for academic symposiums, conferences, conventions, concerts, convocations and commencements. And Stephenville will enjoy increased revenue from events. As a major university we have a moral and social obligation to deliver an outstanding higher education while spurring community prosperity and improving regional quality of life. We’re doing just that.
In faculty news, I am pleased to announce the approval of Tarleton’s tenure recommendations for Dr. Raj Aroskar, Dean of the College of Business, and Dr. Edward Webb, Professor of Animal Science. Regents honored Dr. Ann Calahan with the title Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction following 31 years of service to the university. A Tarleton alumna, she retired in May 2018.
I wish you all the best as we begin a new semester committed to excellence, integrity and respect. Thank you for allowing me to work alongside you as we build a world-class, first-choice institution where students embrace their dreams and reach for the stars.
May you forever bleed purple!
Dr. James Hurley