I’m thrilled to have our campus buzzing with students as we prepare for another exceptional semester. Our students bring a renewed energy and a truly one-of-a-kind atmosphere back to our campuses. We have so much in store for this fall semester: W.O.W. Week, Family Weekend, Homecoming, Texan athletics, fine arts productions, and so much more! I can’t wait to experience another great academic year with all of you.
New degree plans, internship opportunities, student organizations, as well as research, athletics and arts fill this storied university with unprecedented optimism. Tarleton State is truly a place for all Texans to learn, grow and innovate.
Our preliminary enrollment numbers show fall 2023 could exceed 17,000 students, up 13 percent from last year, and the Class of 2027 – north of 2,700 (a 10 percent increase over fall 2022) – is the largest group of incoming first-time students in our history. We’re enjoying overwhelming response to our new dual enrollment program, Tarleton Today, with over 2,000 students signed up to earn credit in STEM and agricultural classes while completing graduation requirements at Texas high schools.
We will debut three market-responsive and innovative majors this fall, and final approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges will add a PhD in animal and natural resource sciences – the first doctorate for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the third for the university. More doctorate-level degrees are in the planning stages.
Despite those 100-degree days this summer, we powered on with new construction, improved amenities and upgraded facilities.
Three brand-new, well-lit paved parking lots are ready for use, and the crane soaring above North Saint Felix and West Washington streets marks construction of a multilevel parking garage, set to open in 2025. Come October, ADA-compliant sidewalks will make navigating Heritage Park smoother, and new benches and tables will offer the perfect place to study or hang out with friends. We’re also adding sand volleyball courts behind the Aquatics Center for intramurals and in preparation for our first season of NCAA Division I Beach Volleyball, where we’ll be competing against some of the best teams in the nation as an affiliate member of Conference USA starting this spring.
In Fort Worth our Interprofessional Education Building is taking shape and is on schedule for a 2024 move-in. At more than 100,000 square feet of classroom and specialized laboratory space, the facility will address the region’s pressing need for healthcare experts and educators.
Last but certainly not least, we recently broke ground for our $110 million Event Center in the heart of the Stephenville campus. With space to seat nearly 8,000, the two-story multipurpose arena will serve as the new home for our NCAA Division I basketball teams with room for academic symposiums, conferences, conventions and concerts. Convocations and commencements will have a permanent indoor home, and Stephenville will enjoy increased revenue from community and regional events.
We’re making bold moves, and we have big plans, but the calendar is not full yet! Make sure to mark yours for some of the biggest events our fall semester has to offer:
- W.O.W. Week (formerly Howdy Week) has begun, the perfect time to reacquaint with old friends and make new ones.
- Texan football’s home opener is a “Purple Out” on Sept. 9 against North Alabama. The newly-named student section will be open on the east side of Memorial Stadium.
- Family Weekend gets underway Sept. 22 with the annual Ring Ceremony and three days full of events for our students and their visiting families.
- And the grand finale — Homecoming 2023 — brings a week (Oct. 15-21) of festivities, including Lighting of the Smokestack, Silver Bugle Hunt, Beating of the Drum, Launching of the Ducks, Purple Pancakes, Yell Contest, Snake Dance, Bonfire, a parade and a packed Memorial Stadium for a battle against Morehead State.
As Kindall and I enter our fifth year of service at Tarleton State, I’m so thankful for our dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends who continue to push this incredible university ever forward, ever onward. I can’t wait to see you this semester. Let’s make fall 2023 the best one yet.
As always, bleed purple!
Dr. James Hurley