Texas A&M International University

Sees 1996 as Pivotal Year for Growth

Texas' newest four-year university, Texas A&M International University, has a remarkable year ahead of it, said Interim President Jose Garcia.

"In short order, we will be dedicating Phase II, initiating Phase III, continuing our academic program and services development, working to retain base funding hand in hand with our legislative team, while continuing to secure external financial support for the University," Garcia explained.

The year will also be highlighted by the selection of a new President for the 25-year-old University and ongoing recruitment of faculty, administrators and professional staff," he said.

"As Laredoans look to the northeast horizon, they can expect to see construction underway at their University. The skyline will continue to be dominated by the University's expansion. We expect ancillary growth in housing and services for students to accompany on-campus growth," he said.

Phase II

Phase II, scheduled for opening in the Spring of 1996, will include a 55,682 - square foot Kinesiology building, a 44,685-square foot Pellegrino Business Administration building, the 44,755-square foot Dr. F. M. Canseco Building to include the Dr. F. M. Canseco Nursing Wing and Program, and a 17,272 - square foot Physical Plant Building. Student housing, a privatized function, will accommodate 200 students and is scheduled for completion in the Fall of 1996. Phase II construction costs of $28 million is provided by House Bill 2058.

Phase III

While funding for Phase II is secured, funding for Phases III and IV will require both community and legislative support, Garcia said.

Planned for opening in 1998, Phase III will accommodate a student body that could exceed 6000 students, Garcia said. Phase III will include a Student Development Center, a Fine Arts Complex, Intramural Fields and Courts and an additional Academic Classroom and parking.

Phase IV

Phase IV, projected to lead the campus into the year 2000, will add additional Academic Classroom buildings and, depending on enrollment growth, expand the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. It will also include the addition of intramural athletic fields and parking.

Continued Program, Service Growth

While classroom and facilities construction may offer the most visible indicator of the University's growth, Garcia said development of the University's programs and services continues geometrically.

"This is a difficult time for the State of Texas and higher education is often targeted for reductions in funding. We will look to the able support of our local legislators, our community at large and our leaders in Austin to help us to assure that the University's mandate for continued growth is maintained," he explained.

Degree Growth

"We'll be looking at the addition of numerous degrees in the year to come, given the support of The Texas A&M University System, the Legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. In addition to expanding our undergraduate and graduate degree program availability, we will also target cooperative doctoral programs. We are committed to providing academic programming that meets the needs of our service area," he said.

Community, Economic Impact

Garcia said the University's long-term impact will spread beyond the boundaries of Laredo, and will touch lives in Laredo and beyond. The impact of the addition of the University to the area's economy, education and skills level and overall quality of life will be substantial.

"On the economic front, our researchers show the University's economic impact could reach $63 million. The indirect economic impact is over $18 million. By the year 2000, the projected total economic impact would be over $125 million," he noted.

Mobilizing External Support

In its growth to date, the University has been fortunate to enjoy widespread support from both the Legislature and the community at large, Garcia said. This support is crucial for the University's growth, he noted.

"We will continue to work aggressively to secure the external support necessary and appreciate the generosity that has been provided the University in the past. A great University in this area will come from the finest facilities, faculty and students, and also from the support provided by the community it serves. Continued community support will be pivotal in the completion of Phases III and IV and the ultimate completion of a comprehensive campus for the region," he said.

Student Commitment

The addition of these programs will mean parallel increases in faculty, professional and staff numbers and additional student services to assure all programs are appropriately delivered, he said.

While many have been dazzled by the University's facilities and technological level of achievement, Garcia said the University remains first and foremost an institution deeply committed to an international focus and individualized education for every student who sets foot on campus.

"Working hand in hand with The Texas A&M University System, we have an enduring commitment to the growth and learning of the individual through the gift of a quality, international education. It is an honorable legacy we are all proud to be able to provide," he said.

A New Leader

The University's first new president in over 8 years will be charged with leading the University's educational legacy, Garcia noted.

Former president Dr. Leo Sayavedra, who guided the University in securing its new campus and four-year expansion, was named The Texas A&M University System's Deputy Chancellor for Academic Institutions and Agencies this past November. He assumed his new duties Jan. 1, 1996.

"Naturally, we believe replacing Dr. Sayavedra's keen leadership and enthusiasm for TAMIU will be difficult," Garcia said, "but we have established a national search with a local Search Committee directing the effort. We hope to be able to announce Texas A&M International University's fourth president in the late Spring of 1996."

Garcia said he is confident that 1996 will be a memorable year for the University. "We're looking forward to the challenges of continuing to grow and provide for the educational needs of the global community we serve," he said.