On Taking the Tide at the Flood
Near the end of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brutus pronounces what has become one of literature’s most stirring calls to action: "There is a tide in the affairs of men/ Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…" Even at this moment of national introspection and international uncertainty, it is clear that at the University, today, we too mount a wide and generous tide. But unlike the unfortunate Brutus, we are taking it at the flood.
Behind the beautiful language of our mission statement, the University’s charge remains a simple one: we are to serve as a catalyst to transform Laredo and South Texas. A continuing array of new buildings offers the most visible manifestation of this transformation. In the fall of 2001, we began moving into the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade; a gala opening is planned for this spring.
In early March, 2002 we should be moved into the Texas A&M International University Student Center, a 90,000-square-foot-complex housing all full-service bookstore, complete food services, student organizations, health and counseling services, career services, international programs, pre-college programs, and enrollment management. The Student Center will also boast a ballroom capable of handling 575 persons for a formal, seated dinner and a lecture hall/theatre seating 175.
The Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, including music recital hall seating 900 and a theatre seating 500, will be ready in early 2003. And the first week of January, 2002 we met with the architectural firm of Kell-Muñoz of San Antonio, designated by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents as the firm to design our new 77,000-square-foot science building, complete with a planetarium, to be completed by the summer of 2005.
Most important, the programs which fill these buildings are worthy tenants for beautiful structures. Highly motivated students who wish to purse careers in engineering, medicine, or law will benefit from recently articulated or expanded agreements between our University and schools of engineering, medicine, and law. Through an arrangement with the Look College of Engineering in College Station, undergraduates may begin at TAMIU and move to the engineering program at Texas A&M University after two or three years without loss of credit or support.
For our pre-med students, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston holds places in its entering classes for our graduates, students identified when they enter our University as participating in the Early Medical School Acceptance Program. Similar agreements are being finalized between TAMIU and the A&M Health Science Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Four pre-law students entering class next September may be selected for a full scholarship to the law school at Texas Tech; two may enter law school after three years as undergraduates, and two may finish their baccalaureate degree and then continue for their doctor of jurisprudence. In the month of February, teams from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (formerly AACSB) will come for campus visits, a final stage in the accrediting process for the Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing and the College of Business Administration. And our new program in social work has begun its accreditation process.
For students needing special help in their transition to University work, we have designed a support system which includes a course stressing study skills, a writing center, expanded counseling services, and an online advising/planning program to help all students chart their course of study.
In the Laredo community, the University is aggressively pursuing a number of initiatives and partnerships. With a generous gift from the Killam Family Foundation Trust, our International Language Institute created a program, Sí Se Puede, to offer courses in English to persons of limited means. When the current cohort finishes in August, more than 500 men and women, mostly residents of South Laredo, will have benefited from this program.
Our Youth Entrepreneurship Summer Camp, designed and administered by the University’s Texas Center for Border Enterprise and Economic Development and now planning its sixth year, since its inception has offered 143 high school students an opportunity to study and then design a business plan.
Partnering with both local school districts, 20 University faculty members now mentor Advanced Placement (AP) teachers in three high schools, assisting in the design and delivery of AP programs.
Since its 1986 founding, our Tex-Prep has served 950 pre-college students, of whom 76% have continued to finish a university degree in the sciences, mathematics, engineering, or technology.
In the next year, your University will undergo significant expansion of both facilities and programs. Much has been accomplished, but more remains to be fulfilled. Like Laredo, the University will continue its vertiginous growth. Together, we will take the tide at the flood and together reap the fortune its blessing brings.
¡Manos a la obra!
Ray M. Keck III
Professor of Spanish
Texas A&M International University