A Message From
University President Robert R. Furgason

Dr. FurgasonWeathering the uncertainties of budget issues was not easy for any public institution this past year, but I believe Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has grown stronger as a result. One thing is certain: the nature of higher education at public institutions is changing. Public colleges and universities will be forced to depend less and less on state funding and more and more on private support.

This change and the demands of our ever-increasing enrollment mean that the nature of our University is changing, too, and this change must be for the better. Better requires thinking forward, positioning ourselves strategically to make sure that better is the result of the actions we take today, for tomorrow always starts today.

Today, on campus, we are enjoying two newly dedicated areas. “Momentum” is our new sculpture element at the entrance to the campus. Likely, it is the most prominent entrance structure of any university in Texas. Lee Fountain Plaza is a reconstruction of the fountain area in the main part of the campus funded by our alum, Woo Sung Lee. It offers an attractive “front door” to the interior of the campus.

Construction continues on our Performing Arts Center, and the South Texas Institute for the Arts has announced plans to build the Bill and Maureen Miller addition to the Art Museum. When these buildings are complete, A&M-Corpus Christi will have two structures designed by two world-class architects – Phillip Johnson and Ricardo Legorreta. I might add that we have $1 million already raised for another theatre for our theatre arts program, thanks to the Morris L. Lichtenstein, Jr. Foundation.

Our Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) is drawing well-deserved attention in its tri-national effort to promote the long-term sustainability of the Gulf. More national recognition for the University is sure to come as an HRI director and two of the six planned endowed chairs are selected from among some of the most accomplished oceanic scientists in the world. The $18 million HRI facility is currently under construction and expected to be complete in early 2005.

With our growing nursing and health sciences programs, the University has taken a leadership role in meeting the critical shortage of nurses and health care professionals in our community. We were the first in the state to offer an accredited RN-BSN nursing program, and the innovative Internet e-Line nursing program being developed at our University will make us one of the leading nursing institutions anywhere.

The next academic building likely will be the College of Business building, capitalizing on the Karen and Michael O’Connor gift. Construction on a new classroom building is anticipated to begin this coming spring with a target completion date of August 2005. A new recreation-kinesiology-athletics building is needed to replace the field house now in use, constructed when we had 800 students, not 8,000. A $1 million private commitment for such a building has already been made, but it will cost $15 to $20 million for a quality facility.

Think, for a moment, about where this University would be if all the private money given to make these projects a reality was to suddenly disappear. This year, and in the years ahead, our University’s growth and ability to pursue programs of excellence will be tied more closely than ever to the strength and support of our Foundation.

Yes, the nature of this University is definitely changing. When donors and community supporters like you go “above and beyond” for this University we are able to go “above and beyond,” to give our students the excellent education they deserve. Thank you so much for your commitment to the todays and tomorrows of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi Foundation • Annual Report 2003