The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M infielder Ali Camarillo (2) thros to first during Texas A&M’s game against Louisiana at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Regional Final at Olsen Field on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

A&M education comes to the Valley

Photo by Provided
Rio Grande

Starting this fall, students in the Rio Grande Valley area can enroll in the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center in McAllen with the full rights and benefits as a student at A&M’s College Station campus.
The project began in September 2015 and is expected to be completed by fall 2018. Currently, the only degree to be offered will be an interdisciplinary engineering degree, but the new center will provide many opportunities for the students in the Rio Grande Valley area.
Rick Margo, Center Director Rio Grande Valley and Laredo Prospective Student Centers, said students in the program will still be able to earn a quality education through A&M.
“We will have students that cannot come to College Station, maybe for financial reasons and now they get to stay local, save some money, maybe live at home and get a quality education from Texas A&M,” Margo said. “The hope is that these students will graduate and stay in the Valley, boost the economy and help the community.”
The Higher Education Center will be a three-story, 65,000-square-foot building, and Associate Vice President for External Affairs Chad Wootton said this center will bring the A&M experience to the area.
“Our intention with this project is to expand capacity of some of the existing degree programs that we offer here at main campus, to be able to expand that opportunity don’t have access today to a tier one institution and the brand and experience that is Texas A&M,” Wootton said. “We hope it means expanding that Aggie brand of education and the opportunity to have additional capacity in higher demand fields.”
The center will also open the door for engineering students to potentially come to the College Station after applying for an engineering major once they have completed the first year of the program, according to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering John Hurtado.
“I say transition and not transfer because they are A&M students,” Hurtado said. “All of our engineering students apply for an engineering major after their first year. In that sense, the first year at McAllen is a common experience as a student doing their first year here.”
Margo said A&M is implementing this degree to fill the Rio Grande Valley’s need to an increase the number of local engineers who live in the border area.
“This degree is being implemented down there to help the Rio Grande Valley grow, and Texas A&M is offering this to allow the local community to benefit,” Margo said. “There is a need for more educated engineers to build the economy, the infrastructure and ties with Mexico. This degree was not just pulled out of a hat.”
Wootton hopes the center in McAllen will increase the public’s trust in both higher education and in A&M.
“This gives us a real presence in the Rio Grande Valley as a way to demonstrate that, so that the public trusts not only in higher education but also the Texas A&M brand of higher education is a very good feeling for them,” Wootton said. “They don’t have to come to College Station to experience the value of Texas A&M to their region.”
Hurtado said the Higher Education Center will meet the needs of the state and community and help the College of Engineering accomplish 25,000 engineers by 2025, known as the 25 x 25 plan.
“We need more engineers in this state, and there is an engineering demand in southern Texas,” Hurtado said. “For an engineering student to be able to go to school, graduate with an engineering degree and maybe find internships and employment in the area, that is great.”

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