Dr. J. Charles Jennett's tenure as Texas A&M International University president was marked by growth, leadership and progress. Now, The Texas A&M University System has honored him by conferring him the title of president emeritus, the first in the history of A&M International.
Howard D. Graves, A&M System chancellor, introduced the resolution to bestow Dr. Jennett the title at a recent Board of Regents' meeting at Prairie View A&M University.
Dr. Jerry Gaston, A&M System deputy chancellor, explained that the title was conferred in recognition of distinguished academic service. He said that for all purposes of courtesy and on ceremonial occasions, Jennett will have the rights and privileges of a University president.
"Having the title 'president emeritus' bestowed on a president is not automatic. Sometimes, when a president retires, a board may wish to express gratitude and appreciation to the individual by bestowing the emeritus title. He holds the title for the rest of his life," Gaston said.
Gaston said Jennett will be remembered for attaining state funding in the last Legislative session for the new Science Building and overseeing the construction of the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, the Student Center and the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts.
"Dr. Jennett's five years of leadership at A&M International have been a time of amazing accomplishments. He oversaw the transformation of the University from a two-year, upper-level, commuter campus to a four-year, graduate-level University on a residential campus. Student enrollment has grown to more than 3,000; faculty and staff to more than 500," Gaston said.
Gaston said the new programs approved and implemented during Jennett's time at A&M International will have a lasting and profound impact on the University.
"In part because of Dr. Jennett's efforts, the University continues to be a leader in international trade research. He helped increase the University's endowment to more than $12.5 million, and his leadership in institutional advancement efforts resulted in a 2001 Circle of Excellence Award for Fundraising Improvement by the Council of Advancement and Support of Education," Gaston said.
Professionally, Jennett has been honored as 1990 Engineer of the Year and 1983 Outstanding Educator of the Year by the South Carolina Society of Professional Engineers. He also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of New Mexico in 1987.
Jennett retires on August 31, 2001 and will be succeeded by Dr. Ray M. Keck III, previously provost and vice-president for Academic Affairs.
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