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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M infielder Rylen Wiggins (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies’ season ends with heartbreaking loss to Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 27, 2024

Sharper play in the sixth innings of Texas A&M softball’s NCAA Super Regional series with No. 1 Texas may have been the difference between...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Loftin takes a look back

June 15, 2009, marked a decided change in my world. That was the day the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents appointed me to serve as Texas A&M’s interim president. As any Aggie, when asked to serve, I simply said “yessir.” A lot has happened over the last 10-plus months. We — students, faculty and staff — have successfully completed another academic year.
As I look back, I want to share with you some of the highlights of this time of tremendous transformation and progress over the past two semesters. We have much to celebrate:
Texas A&M gained more national and international recognition for the core values we have embraced since our founding in 1876. In September, The Washington Monthly again placed Texas A&M in the top five universities in the nation for “what colleges do for the country,” and President Barack Obama held a Presidential Forum on Service (hosted by former President George H.W. Bush) on our campus in October. President Obama spotlighted our Big Event for special attention.
We welcomed a record number of freshmen to campus, 8,104, part of a record enrollment overall, 48,702. Our branch campuses in Galveston and Qatar also experienced unprecedented growth. We will likely see continued growth this fall.
Our physical landscape was transformed with the completion of the InterdisciplinaryLife Sciences Building and Mitchell Physics buildings. The MSC expansion and renovation is proceeding on schedule, and a portion of Military Walk will be reopened this week. Many of our academic programs rose in the latest rankings, and Texas A&M moved up among public universities to tie for 22nd in U.S. News & World Report. We also welcomed our newest Nobel Laureate, David Lee, to our physics faculty last fall.
Our local communities continue to gain national attention for offering an excellent quality of life and solid economic growth. On April 20, MSNBC and Moody’s named Bryan-College Station — The Research Valley — as one of just 16 areas in the country that experienced job gains over the past year.
As I told members of the local Chamber of Commerce a few weeks ago, the destiny of Texas A&M is closely aligned with that of Bryan and College Station. We’re all in this together as we transform our region to become nationally recognized in biotechnology with the opening of the Texas A&M Institute for Preclinical Studies and new projects such as the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing with our A&M System partners.
Of course, we also faced a few challenges during this academic year. This spring, we submitted our plans to the Legislative Budget Board for meeting the state’s 5 percent budget reduction ($28 million) over the current biennium.
The budget reduction process that took place this year and will be repeated for the next fiscal year has been difficult, but it also offers us opportunities to advance in key areas, given that we are in far better shape than many of our counterparts across the nation. I deeply appreciate the patience and resolve of the entire Aggie family during this time of economic uncertainty.
Back last September, when I drafted my first weekly e-mail, I thought a great deal about the best way to let readers know more about my personality and leadership style.
I ended with this: “If you see me on campus this weekend or any other time, please say HOWDY. I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible and hearing your feedback.”
When I wrote those words, I was interim president. Now that I am president, I want you to continue to say “Howdy,” either in person if our paths cross on campus or on my Facebook fan page.
If you are graduating in May, I look forward to shaking your hand — not too hard, please! — as you cross the stage, and as I see you at various A&M functions across the state and nation. If you will be here in future years; whether as a student, former student or member of the faculty or staff, I look forward to our next meeting. Together, we will take Texas A&M to new levels of excellence in all areas.
Thank you for an extraordinary first semester as your president. And thank you for making this a great time to be an Aggie.
R. Bowen Loftin is the 24th president of Texas A&M.

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