TAMU-CC Faculty Pens Book, Ensures 75-Year History of Island University is Not Forgotten

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Institutions of higher learning often possess long and storied histories, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is no exception. However, little has been done to capture and consolidate the story of the Island University – until now. TAMU-CC Associate Professor of Management Dr. Andrew Johnson took it upon himself to collect the university's history and authored a book celebrating TAMU-CC’s nearly 75-year history.

“For my undergraduate and master’s degree, I attended Tarleton State University (TSU), also in the TAMU system, and Tarleton had two university history books. Upon my arrival at TAMU-CC in 2015, I was surprised not to see a more recent history book,” said Johnson, who begins the role of Associate Dean for Student Success in the TAMU-CC College of Business on Jan. 1, 2022.

Johnson said that a book written by Carl R. Wrotenbery focused on the history of the University of Corpus Christi and covered the years 1946-1973, leaving a significant gap in the story of TAMU-CC. In spring 2020, Johnson began conducting research for the book, and 18 months later, “The Island University: A History of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi” is complete and ready to be in the hands of Islanders and historians near and far.

Johnson explained the hurdles he faced writing and publishing the 260-page book.

“While it might sound easy, laying out the book can be challenging,” he said. “The pages and chapters within the book need to be organized, visually appealing, and have pictures positioned near the relevant text,” Johnson said.

Since its founding in 1947, the university has survived numerous hurricanes, underwent five name changes, and has grown in student enrollment and prominence to become the premier institution of higher education in the Coastal Bend of South Texas. Johnson hopes the book will be a point of pride for all Islanders past, present, and future.

Russell Wagner ‘08, TAMU-CC Executive Director of Alumni Relations, believes that Johnson’s book will help build on the legacy of the university.

“I think it’s often overlooked how important traditions and history are to an institution. What happened decades ago on this campus is an important piece of the fabric of who we are,” Wagner said. “Our Alumni Board and graduates across the globe can’t thank Dr. Johnson enough for passing this important piece of history to future generations.”

While the book does provide an excellent record of the university’s history, that isn’t the only purpose Johnson envisions for his book. Johnson’s work contains a wealth of information for campus tour guides, recruiters, and Islander Alumni Association staff.

Johnson also established The Dr. Andrew Johnson Endowed Pride and Traditions Award. All profits from book sales will go to the fund, promoting Islander pride for years to come.

“From the beginning, I wanted this book to be something that benefited the university and book profits to go back to the students,” Johnson said.

The book was created with the support from all corners of the Islander community, including Dr. Robert Furgason, President Emeritus; Dr. Paul Orser, former Vice President for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness; members of Institutional Advancement; the Mary and Jeff Bell Library; and the Department of Marketing and Communications.

“I now have a greater appreciation for TAMU-CC, its buildings, campus focal points, and spaces that we walk through daily,” Johnson said. “More importantly, I have enjoyed learning about the diverse group of people who have been advocates for the university over the past 75 years.”

The book is available for purchase at the Islander Alumni Association website.