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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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A&M regents approve naming of on-campus hotel, hire new agriculture dean

At+the+corner+of+Wellborn+Road+and+Joe+Routt+Boulevard%2C+the+construction+team+continues+to+piece+together+the+new+on-campus%2C+8-level+hotel+and+conference+center.
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At the corner of Wellborn Road and Joe Routt Boulevard, the construction team continues to piece together the new on-campus, 8-level hotel and conference center.

Texas A&M’s on-campus hotel, currently under construction across from Kyle Field, will now be known as the “Doug Pitcock ‘49 Hotel and Conference Center,” following approval of the name by the Board of Regents on Thursday afternoon.
A long-time supporter of the university, James D. “Doug” Pitcock, Jr. graduated with a degree in civil engineering and went on to become one of the nation’s leading transportation infrastructure developers. Pitcock was in attendance to hear the Board’s decision.
During his career, Pitcock co-founded the major highway construction firm Williams Brothers Construction, became part of the National Transportation Policy Study Commission under Gerald R. Ford’s administration in 1976 and served as president of Associated General Contractors of America in 1984.
“It’s a privilege to emblazon the name of a great Aggie and generous man upon Texas A&M’s hotel and conference center,” A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said. “Doug Pitcock’s support of Texas A&M University and his participation in creating the nation’s roadways will be remembered for generations to come.”
As a first generation college student, Pitcock was heavily involved on campus as a member of the Corps of Cadets, American Society of Civil Engineers, Houston Hometown Club and Saddle and Sirloin Club. Pitcock’s presence in Aggieland has continued through the numerous scholarships, fellowships and research projects he has funded.
University President Michael K. Young said Pitcock stands as one of the greatest living examples of the Aggie core values in action, recounting a specific example of Pitcock’s service to the state and nation.
“When the [Queen] Isabella Causeway was struck by a wayward barge and access to South Padre Island was shut down, our state called out for help nationwide to anyone who could respond quickly and make access to this island immediately available,” Young said. “To restore access and to allow the people to move on and off as well as the good that were necessary for their survival. The Aggie who answered the call with his company of dedicated men and women was none other than Doug Pitcock.”
The Board also approved the hiring of a new leader for the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the A&M system’s agricultural agencies following the resignation of former Vice Chancellor and Dean Mark Hussey.
Patrick J. Stover, professor and division director of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, will step into the role on March 1. Stover said he looks forward to building on the agricultural education and research conducted by the A&M system, as well as getting involved with special projects such as Sharp’s “Healthy Texas” initiative aimed at combating common health issues through early preventative education.
“We can leverage the strength of Texas agriculture with our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Texas communities through our agencies and college faculty,” Stover said in a statement.
Two major construction projects also received the Board’s final stamp of approval, including the student services building on the former site of Bizzell Hall across from the Memorial Student Center. With an approved budget of $42.6 million, the structure will provide a permanent home for the departments of Student Life, Disability Services, Residence Life and Student Counselling services. These departments have been housed in the White Creek student services complex since Cain Hall was demolished in late 2015 to make room for the hotel and conference center. Construction is slated to begin March 2018 with substantial completion of construction expected for September 2019.
The first of phase of an education center on the RELLIS campus in Bryan was also approved, with construction set to begin March 2018 and substantial completion of construction slated for June 2019. The RELLIS Academic Complex, previously known as the Gateway Education Center, will house classrooms and laboratories to be used in the A&M system’s Academic Alliance program with Blinn College. Tuition and fee rate structure for RELLIS’ first group of students in the fall of 2018 was also approved.

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