small South Texas university tucked away on an island is how we were
characterized in 1987 when the Texas A&M-Corpus
Christi Foundation was organized. As a newly-formed nonprofit corporation,
the Foundation vowed to promote the quality, growth and effectiveness
of the University. With initial funding from Paul and Mary Haas, Mrs.
John Allen Topsy King and the late Margaret R. Turnbull,
the Foundation moved steadily forward.
I decided to accept the responsibilities of the presidency of the University
in 1990 largely because I knew Foundation trustees were committed to
University with their hearts and money. Over the past decade the Foundation
has unselfishly and diligently carried out its mission. Clearly, the
is one of the principal forces behind the outward success of Texas A&M-Corpus
The quality of our University is evident with our consistently high rankings
in U.S. News and World Reports annual issue of Americas Best
Colleges. Our graduates from the College of Business have the added advantage
of graduating from a program accredited by the prestigious AACSB International-The
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Less than one-third
of business schools in the United States have AACSB accreditation.
The growth of our campus, in both facilities and programs, is an accomplishment
supported by the work of the Foundation. Over the past decade, approximately
$200 million in improvements have been made including buildings, athletic
fields, a scenic hike and bike trail and landscaping. Ten years ago there
were approximately 18 buildings at the University. Today, we have 52 buildings
and more are soon coming.
Edward H. Hartes $3.5 million contribution for the construction
of the Performing Arts Center will lead to increased opportunity for us
to play a major role in the cultural enhancement of South Texas. When
completed, the Center will house the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra
and be a premier venue for world-class performers and artists. Additionally,
Michael and Karen OConnors recent $18 million gift to enhance
the College of Business will aid in construction of a state of the art
facility with approximately 150,000-sq. ft., nearly twice the size of
the Center for Instruction.
Our enrollment reflects the same type of increase. In fall of 1987, when
the Foundation was first beginning, our student population was 3,670.
Current enrollment stands at 7,369, and our students today also get to
enjoy the college experience of NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics.
Sports programs include baseball, men and womens basketball, cross-country,
womens golf, softball, men and womens tennis, volleyball,
and track and field.
During this same time frame, degree programs have gone from 43 degrees
offered to 60 now available. The newest degrees implemented include a
doctoral degree in education in school counseling and masters degrees
in art, studio art and history.
Opportunities for expansion and development continue to flourish. With
the coming of the Harte Research Center for Gulf of Mexico Studies, which
is funded by a $46 million gift from Edward H. Harte, the University has
the rare opportunity to make a quantum leap forward in growth, especially
in the area of research activities.
Finally, the Foundations pledge to promote the University in its
quest for effectiveness is an encouragement to us all. We must do what
it takes to make sure we are meeting the needs of our students. Surveys
conducted by The Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness show
that students rate faculty high in their preparation for classes, their
knowledge of subject matter and the individual attention they provide.
Also in the top ten for each of the three most recent surveys is my
overall education at this institution. These results speak well
of what goes on in our classrooms.
These many accomplishments have exceeded most of our expectations. Without
the faithful support of friends and donors like you, these successes
not have been possible. As we face the many challenges and possibilities
that lie ahead, I am confident that A&M-Corpus Christi will continue
its ascent to a place of prominence in the world of higher education.