State of the University Invites Community to make A&M-Corpus Christi ‘their Island University’

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 600 community members, including representatives from industry, non-profits, elected officials, alumni, donors, faculty, staff and supporters attended the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi State of the University on Sept. 12. The sold-out crowd was treated to an exciting program emceed by two top Islander students along with a keynote address by Dr. Kelly M. Quintanilla, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi president and CEO.

“I hope you will say ‘yes’ to my invitation of making this your Island University,” President Quintanilla told the audience, “because together, we are an unstoppable force.”

President Quintanilla began her dynamic address by highlighting the University’s unparalleled commitment to every student’s success, which is seen in its nationally recognized academic programs, Division I athletics, innovative research, creative activity, student scholarship, new programs, and dedication to first-generation college students – none of which would be possible without community partnerships.

“There are many ways for the community to engage with our campus, including offering internships to our students, increasing student scholarships, supporting our goal of becoming an Emerging Research University, hiring our outstanding alumni, following our progress in innovation, and attending our incredible events,” said Quintanilla.

Key statistics emphasized by President Quintanilla included that of the 2,388 students who graduated during the last academic year, 40 percent were first-generation college students, 50 percent were Hispanic, and a 59 percent were minority.

“What these numbers mean is that our institution reflects the demographics of our city, not just in enrollment, but where it really counts – in graduation,” said Quintanilla. “We are proud to make education attainable for all and to raise the profile of Corpus Christi with an educated workforce.”

Quintanilla also pointed out the Island University’s 30 percent Hispanic graduation rate in engineering, which is 300 percent higher than the national average.

For the first time, Quintanilla publicly announced the naming of the Center for Engineering after A&M-Corpus Christi’s 9th president, Dr. Robert R. Furgason due to his legacy of service and longstanding support of the Island University. A dedicated ceremony will be held in December.

Student emcees for the afternoon included Alyssa Eppard, senior marketing major, and Hayden McLelland, senior theatre major who is also minoring in dance. Pre-event entertainment was provided by the Steel Drum Band, an ensemble of music students led by Dr. Matthew McClung, and the luncheon ended with a surprise performance by Mariachi de la Isla, led by Dr. Rai Morales.

This is President Quintanilla’s second State of the University address. Quintanilla joined the Island University faculty in 1994 and became the University’s 11th president in August 2017.