A Message From
University President Robert R. Furgason
Weathering 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
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
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.