TAMIU Looks Back on 2007

TAMIU Looks Back at 2007:
Opportunities Realized

Texas A&M International University looks back at 2007, a year hallmarked by abundant opportunities for higher education, non-credit classes in arts and business, fine and performing arts, mutually beneficial collaborations and generous donations by caring donors


Texas A&M International University offered a variety of arts events for audiences with different tastes. Arts lovers could chose to listen to a Sharkey-Corrigan Organ Recital Series concert, faculty voice recital, the United States Air Force Band of the West, enjoy culture at the TAMIU Folklórico Festival or appreciate art with Penny De Los Santos' "The Tejano Project."

TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck was featured in the national education magazine The Greentree Gazette in the January 2007 edition. The interview, for the regular section "From the President," focuses on the challenges of higher education in South Texas, Keck's leadership style and his enthusiasm for community collaborations.


The TAMIU Dustdevils baseball program launched its inaugural season with a three-game series at Tarleton State University and played its first home game in school history against Schreiner University.

TAMIU enrollment increased to 4,672, up 6.7 percent compared to Spring 2006. Semester Credit Hours, upon which State funding is based, totaled 46,171-up 5 percent from the previous Spring.

Dr. Jacky So, dean of TAMIU's College of Business Administration, was named the first Laredo National Bank/BBVA Group Distinguished Professor of International Finance.

Opera fans were treated to the first-ever student performance of "The Count's Revenge: An Abridged Version of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro" at TAMIU. Other arts performances included a performance by the United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass and an installment of the Sharkey-Corrigan Organ Recital Series and the art exhibit.

TAMIU Celebrated Black History Month with presentations by Chinua Hawk, singer/songwriter, the Davis and Dow Great Jazz Divas Show, Tre Luv the comedian, poet Komplex and a presentation on the contributions Blacks made to jazz by local jazz musician, Joe Guerra.


"Our Journeys/Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement," a national exhibit focusing on Latino achievement developed by the Smithsonian Latino Center, opened at TAMIU for a two-month stay.

TAMIU installed a chapter of the education society, Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International. PDK is a dedicated advocate for public schools and strives to prepare the next generation of educators.

Free speech during the time of war, secrets of the Texas Revolution, implications of global banking, ethical decision making for child welfare and bilingual education were each the topic of various lectures, workshops and conferences sponsored by and held at TAMIU.

The Steinway Series, Sharkey-Corrigan Organ Recital Series and the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra's "String Serenade" delighted audiences with concerts featuring local and guest musicians. Dance students entertained audiences with the annual dance performance, Encanto Español and art lovers were treated to "Bits and Pieces: Digital Translations," by artist Verónica M. Fernández


TAMIU students participated in the College of Arts and Sciences Fifth Annual Guillermo Benavides Z Academic Conference that gives them an opportunity to present their scholarship at an academic conference while providing presenters and attendees greater exposure to other disciplines.

TAMIU celebrated Latin American Studies week with games of loteria, lectures on the clash of languages, dance performances and ¡Viva Latinoamérica!, a presentation of the arts featuring readings from favorite authors, music from favorite artists and a folkloric dance from Colima, México.

The TAMIU Club de Español Siglo XXI (21st Century Spanish Club) joined the world celebration of 40 years of Gabriel García Márquez' Nobel Prize winner "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Students and faculty read from the Spanish original and from translations into English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Persian.

AIDS in Africa, global banking, dark matter, Latino literary greats, digital photography and identity exploration were the topics of lectures at the University during this month. TAMIU also hosted short story writer and Laredoan Carlos Nicolás Flores for a reading/book signing and talk on craft.

This month was also full of events for arts lovers with the annual Spring Dance Concert, International Guitar Concert, student art exhibit, Sharkey-Corrigan Organ Series Recital, faculty tuba concert, TAMIU Ballet Folklórico Concert, percussion ensemble performance and Simplemente Lara keeping audiences entertained.

Two TAMIU undergraduate students received an award at the Texas A&M University Eighth Annual Integration Symposium "From Speciation to Extinction: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Biodiversity." Marc Andres and Monica Treviño received the best undergraduate poster award for their poster: "Influence of Fish on Ecosystem Properties in an Urban Wetland in Laredo, Texas."

The TAMIU Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium celebrated its second anniversary and received a boost from Union Pacific Railroad with a generous donation of $10,000.


Francophiles and film lovers had a taste of France in May with "La Vie En France Film Series." The Series included six films, including "L'Appartement," based on a short story by TAMIU professor of Spanish, Dr. José Cardona-López.

A TAMIU student, Thao Thanh Vu, was named a national recipient of the Award of Excellence from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Dr. Annette Olsen-Fazi, TAMIU associate professor of English and French, was awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture/research at the University of Sousse in Tunisia during the 2007-2008 academic year.

Surrounded by about 5,000 family and friends, 459 candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees celebrated Spring Commencement Exercises at TAMIU's Green facing the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. Commencement speaker for the ceremonies was Dr. Michael D. McKinney, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. Providing the student response was summa cum laude Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing graduate Mayra Jannette Pliego.

TAMIU's Student Counseling and Disability Services for Students received its accreditation by the International Association for University and College Counseling Services (IACS), open only to University and four-year College Counseling Services.

TAMIU initiated its campus conservation experiment to conserve energy and realize cost savings by raising building temperatures during the summer and setting a new summer office and service schedule.

Long-time nursing champion and director of the Dr. F.M. Canseco School of Nursing, Dr. Susan Walker, retired after leading the Canseco School of Nursing for 12 years. Natalie Burkhalter, a founding member of the School of Nursing, was named interim director. Burkhalter was also named an Ambassador for the National League of Nursing.


The King Romance Seminar Room, home to some 8000-plus books that span the riches of Spanish-the King Collection-opened with a dedication and celebration on the third floor of TAMIU's Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. As individuals and life partners, Drs. Willard F. King and Edmund R. King were two of the nation's most respected Spanish literature scholars.

A special matching grant from Laredo National Bank-BBVA Group will enable TAMIU Ph.D. students an innovative opportunity to "give back" to their service community, Laredo, by encouraging collaborative research projects that provide learning and growth opportunities for all involved parties. The original grant was secured with the assistance of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuéllar (MBA, '82).

First Presbyterian Church of Laredo donated a copy of the history of the Church to TAMIU's Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library's Special Collections and Archives to help others doing research not only on the church, but on Laredo history.

TAMIU's arts programs continued to provide art events at the University with a new organ recital series, "Summer Sundays." Flamenco dancers had the opportunity to study with noted dance instructor and Laredoan, Rogelio Rodríguez.  Laredoans now have an award-winning Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). The LPO received a 2006-07 ASCAP Award for Programming of Contemporary Music for its adventurous programming.


ConocoPhillips, an international integrated energy company, presented the University's College of Education with an endowed scholarship in the amount of $25,000. The gift was matched by a federal grant, increasing the endowment to $100,000.

Teenager Allen Treviño performed the second installment of the TAMIU "Summer Sundays" Recital Series. The 10th grader has performed perform in Phoenix and Tucson and has performed at fundraisers for the San Antonio Lyric Opera, Bach Off-Broadway concert and various schools and churches.

TAMIU was named the recipient of a $100,000 "Removing Educational Barriers Scholarship Program" grant from the Greater Texas Foundation. The Bryan, Texas, Greater Texas Foundation supports excellence in education through increased access for all Texans and improved educational quality through public-private partnerships.


Some 54 local residential building contractors had an opportunity to learn about energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy through an innovative series of workshops during the summer at TAMIU. The workshop series was offered by TAMIU in partnership with the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and the assistance of the City of Laredo Building Department and the Laredo Builders Association (LBA) Education Committee.

Alejandro Folk, Joel H. Gutíerrez Jr., Dolores Preciado and Fernanda Preciado won a contest held by the TAMIU LBV Planetarium to perform voice-overs for the new Spanish feature, "The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket."

Twenty-five directors and regional staffs of the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) network of southwest Texas border operations held their quarterly meeting in Laredo. The meeting provides an opportunity for the various SBDC offices, include the newest, the TAMIU SBDC, to complete training opportunities, network with other SBDC directors and explore operations, best practices and network updates.


Laredo and Texas lost a great leader, humanitarian and supporter of higher education in September. Radcliffe Killam died Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007 at age 97 of natural causes at his home in Laredo with family present. Killam and his wife, Sue Spivey Killam, helped fulfill Laredo's long-cherished dream of a campus for TAMIU with their generous gift of 300 acres of prime land in northeast Laredo for Texas' newest four-year University.

TAMIU and Texas A&M University (TAMU) signed an agreement that facilitated the automatic admission and academic transfer of students from TAMIU into certain engineering degree programs at TAMU. Participating students will take the first two or three years of core and engineering courses at TAMIU and if they maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, can be automatically admitted to the engineering program of their choice at TAMU.

TAMIU's Dr. Jerry Thompson, Regents Professor of History, received the 2007 Cleotilde P. García Tejano Book Prize for his book, "Cortina: Defending the Mexican Name in Texas." The biography, over 20 years in the making, was released late summer.

The A.R. Sánchez Sr. Distinguished Speaker Series returned for its 10th year with Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Dr. Martin J. Sherwin and his lecture, "Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project."

The Value-Investing Trading Room and Technology Center opened with a ceremony after its renovation thanks to a generous donation from the A.R. "Tony" and María J. Sánchez Family Foundation. The state-of-the-art room brought the world's financial markets to the University, facilitates the study of the finance world and enhances faculty research.

TAMIU held an art exhibit and treated music lovers with the return of AutMus Fest, the Sharkey-Corrigan Organ Recital Series and romantics' favorite, Simplemente Lara. Audiences at the LPO concert were the first to hear the LPO's premiere of "Battle for Bronsa," composed by Peadar Townsend for the LPO.


TAMIU set a historic first when enrollment topped 5,000 students for the first time. Fall 2007 enrollment was 5,188, up 5.51 percent over last Fall's enrollment of 4,917. Semester Credit Hours (SCH), upon which State funding is based, grew 6.59 percent to 52,176 over 48,951 the previous year.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) signed an agreement to offer a joint bachelor's degree in nutrition and dietetics to help reverse obesity among adults. Graduates from this program will have a diploma with both schools' names on it.

Congressman Henry Cuellar ('82, MBA), together with officials from TAMIU and Laredo Community College (LCC), announced the awarding of a federal grant in the amount of $3.5 million to the Mathematical Department at LCC. The Title V grant was awarded to the lead agency, LCC, and its partner, TAMIU, to improve the academic recruitment and retention of Hispanic students and other low income individuals.

The third annual installment of The International Bank of Commerce Keynote Speaker Series got underway with the presentation of “Politicians vs. Lawyers and the Decline and Fall of the Great Superpowers” by Dr. Stephen P. Magee. The IBC Speaker Series brings individuals of exceptional accomplishment and expertise to lecture at the University, enhancing the academic experience of TAMIU students, faculty and the community at large. IBC graciously underwrites the Series.

The Program for Non-Profit Excellence, a new program directed by TAMIU's Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development (TCBEED), was announced. The program provides professional development for the over 440 non-profit/tax exempt organizations in the Webb County area.

TAMIU celebrated the arts with a concert by vocal students, the Steinway Recital Series and an art exhibit installation, "Bon Voyage Monstromos De Pileon" by artist Richie Budd. The LPO also performed at TAMIU and the featured composer, Heather Schmidt, performed as piano soloist in her own "Phoenix Ascending" (Piano Concerto No. 4).


Rep. Henry Cuéllar ('82, MBA) announced a $1 million funding initiative that will establish a Joint Operations Training Center in Laredo in ceremonies held at TAMIU's Western Hemispheric Trade Center. The program will be administered through a cooperative effort between TAMIU and Laredo Community College.  Both entities will develop the training curriculum.

TAMIU doctoral student Kristan Skylar Powell's research into the effects of international diversification on research and development intensity was selected as the best doctoral research project in business at the Fifth Annual Pathways to the Ph.D. Symposium Conference hosted by Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.

Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson, TAMIU assistant professor of psychology, had his meta-analysis on video games published in Psychiatric Quarterly, Volume 78. Dr. Ferguson's study concluded that playing violent video games has positive effects.

Members of the first bands at TAMIU were recognized at the second annual Band Extravaganza that featured a rousing performance by the TAMIU "Fighting Dustdevil" Band.

Audiences were treated to an organ concert by Austin musician, Dr. Elaine Dykstra; the Sharkey-Corrigan Organ Recital featured guest performer Dr. Larry Smith, professor of organ at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.; TAMIU's Music and Friends featured performances by TAMIU faculty; fine arts students performed in solo and group concerts and recitals; the Combined College Orchestra offered "Basically Beethoven" and Santa visited the TAMIU LBV Planetarium.


Vaswani Soccer Ventures, parent company of the Laredo HEAT Soccer Team and principal owners Shashi and Priya Vaswani, entered into a collaborative lease agreement with TAMIU that will provide the University with much-needed permanent lighting for its soccer game field and practice field. In turn, the University will make its fields available year-round for practice and game play by the HEAT.

TAMIU's College of Business Administration received a $10 million gift from the A.R. "Tony" and María J. Sanchez Family Foundation that will be used to establish an endowment fund for COBA for its support, programming, activities and improvements.

In an historic ceremony, 555 TAMIU candidates for undergraduate or graduate degrees celebrated Fall Commencement Exercises at the Laredo Entertainment Center. Commencement speaker for the ceremony was Diane Auer Jones, assistant secretary for Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. Jesús Reynoso De Córdova provided the student response.

For the second year in a row, the TAMIU "Fighting Dustdevil" Marching Band has taken first place in the 25th Annual Candlelight Posada Parade in McAllen, Texas. TAMIU was the recipient of the "Little Drummer Boy" Trophy, which is awarded to the best marching band.

For additional information, contact the University's Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu or visit tamiu.edu

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