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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Buc-ee’s founder’s donation to pave way for academic hospitality entrepreneurship program

Via Buc-ee’s

A Buc-ee’s storefront on September 9, 2019.

Buc-ee’s, a staple of Texas roadside travel, will be coming to Texas A&M, but not in the form of gas and roadtrip snacks.
According to a press release by the university, Buc-ee’s founder, Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, Class of 1980, has donated $50 million for the new “Aplin Center,” which will offer students new opportunities in hospitality based programs.
“The Aplin Center will offer a transformational student experience through new university programs in hospitality, retail studies and food product development involving innovative degree programs including viticulture, … coffee production and food science,” the press release said.
This announcement, however, has been misinterpreted by many to mean that A&M’s campus will soon see its very own Buc-ee’s.
Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications Kelly Brown said in an email to The Battalion that the new location will be more than just a gift shop.
“It is not a store,” Brown said. “It’s a center with learning labs, event space, and there will be some space for branded items for sale but definitely not a store.”
The center will also include recreation space for students, according to the press release.
“The Aplin Center will host corporate training and recruiting programs, along with professional development opportunities,” the email reads. “Workforce training based on industry needs will be a key component of the center.”
The press release also said the center will partner with several different departments.
“[The] primary academic partners will be the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mays Business School, although other academic units will be involved in specialty projects,” according to the email.
Aplin told the university that he wants the center to be a place for everyone.
“We want to create a learning, gathering space on the A&M campus that exemplifies hospitality,” Aplin said. “A place where people come together. A place where the Aggie culture can thrive — a happy place.”
According to the university, the new center will be built at the intersection of Wellborn Road, the Wellborn Road Underpass and Pedestrian Plaza. The center does not currently have an expected completion date.

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