A Message from
University President

Dr. FurgasonA 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 the University with their hearts and money. Over the past decade the Foundation has unselfishly and diligently carried out its mission. Clearly, the Foundation is one of the principal forces behind the outward success of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The quality of our University is evident with our consistently high rankings in U.S. News and World Report’s annual issue of America’s 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. Harte’s $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 O’Connor’s 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 women’s basketball, cross-country, women’s golf, softball, men and women’s 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 master’s 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 Foundation’s 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 would 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.


Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation • Annual Report 2001