University Receives 2004 $500,000 Gift from LBV Trust

University Receives $500,000 Gift from LBV Trust

Trustees of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust presented Texas A&M International University officials with $500,000, the final installment of a $2 million pledge, in ceremonies at TAMIU Wednesday morning.

The funds will support the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center, now under construction.

The Science Center, part of the University's Phase IV expansion, will house a growing science program, labs, classrooms and faculty offices. Some 30 labs will offer both research and teaching components and make possible expanded programming in biology, chemistry, geology, earth sciences and engineering.

Interest in the sciences at TAMIU by students is considerable, with 225 students declaring majors in biology.

The architectural highlight of the 77,920 gross square foot project is an 85-seat planetarium sheathed within a glass pyramid that fronts the Center. The pyramid is reminiscent of that designed by I.M. Pei for the Louvre Museum in Paris.

University president Dr. Ray Keck lauded the efforts of the Trust, represented at the function by Judge Solomon Casseb and J. C. Martin III.

"This Trust's impact on our University and our community is indeed an inspirational legacy of giving. This building will be a beacon to the visionary leadership of Lamar Bruni Vergara trustees who have bettered lives, brightened futures and helped to realize dreams. Their efforts, combined with the support of our State legislators, are redefining higher education in South Texas. I am eager for the day when we welcome our community to the stars and the heavens on our campus," Dr. Keck said.

The Science Center is expected to be completed in January of 2005. Programming at the new planetarium will begin in February of 2005.

Only one other Texas A&M University System campus, Tarleton State University in Stephenville, has a similar, though smaller planetarium operation.

For additional information, contact the University's Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180 or visit www.tamiu.edu

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu