Messages from the Office of the President
M. Katherine Banks, President
I was honored to speak to the Student Senate last night. There were many thoughtful and insightful questions posed. One senator asked if I would share my thoughts with the wider student body, and I am pleased to do so. My statement to the Student Senate is below.
I care deeply about journalism at Texas A&M. That is why I decided in December to rebuild a strong journalism degree program here. I also believe that we should return to the very successful model which existed at Texas A&M previously when The Battalion was associated with the journalism department.
The reaction to this plan makes it clear that I should seek additional community feedback on the role of The Battalion and the rebuilt Department of Journalism, while also getting feedback about industry trends and future workforce needs.
In my response to the MGT report recommendations, I announced the creation of a Vice President for Faculty Affairs position with a selection committee of Interim Provost Tim Scott, Vice Presidents Greg Hartman and Jack Baldauf, Faculty Senate Speaker Dale Rice and me. Over the last few weeks, five applications were submitted from candidates interested in this new role. Three candidates were interviewed by the selection committee. I am pleased to announce that the committee unanimously selected Professor N.K. Anand as the inaugural Vice President for Faculty Affairs, effective Feb 1.
I am so pleased to welcome everyone to the fall semester of 2021.
Since taking office as president on June 1, I have looked forward to Friday’s commencement ceremony. I am extremely disappointed to learn that I will not be able to attend in person to address the more than 2,000 graduates who have earned their degrees.
Texas A&M University is scheduled to continue in-person classes at full capacity for the fall semester. Considering the continued infection rates in the nation and recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the university is asking the campus community to do its part by taking important steps to keep Aggieland healthy and safe.
The last few days have been challenging in many ways, and I recognize that change in college athletics often is unsettling for those who love their institutions. Rest assured, the chancellor, our athletic director, and I, and everyone involved in this matter are focused solely on what is best for Texas A&M University. Since 2011, we have been a proud member of the best intercollegiate athletic conference in history and we look forward to continued success in our SEC partnership for many years to come.
Two hundred and forty-five years ago, our founders signed the Declaration of Independence. More than a defining moment in our history, it stands as a symbol of sacrifice.
Texas A&M is proud to join the rest of the nation in finally proclaiming Juneteenth as a federal holiday. In doing so, we mark a moment in history and recommit ourselves to working together to create a brighter future.
Earlier this week, I announced that I am conducting a comprehensive review of the university’s operations with the goal of developing an administrative structure that is effective, efficient and flexible, while directing our valuable resources toward our mission: the success of our students, faculty and staff.
First and foremost, it is with immense pride and enthusiasm that I begin my service as president of this great institution today. It is truly an honor to be part of something so respected and admired around the world.
Messages from John L. Junkins
Interim President January - May 2021
The Association of Former Students will hold a reading of the 2021 Worldwide Roll Call for the Absent, and I hope you will find a way to join in commemoration with our students and former students, families and friends, across Texas and around the world.
This week we were thrilled to receive exciting news about a prominent member of our faculty. In the span of less than a week, Distinguished Professor Karen Wooley was awarded two prestigious honors from the Southeastern Conference - an SEC Faculty Achievement Award and the title of 2021 SEC Professor of the Year.
Thank you for your continued resilience this spring as we move into the last part of the semester — the home stretch. Recent COVID-19 testing at the Bryan-College Station campus included more than 24,000 students and yielded a 2.1 percent positivity rate. Testing continues with Student Health Services doing a tremendous job administering tests and vaccines to faculty, staff and students.
For more than a century, it has been a longstanding tradition to welcome our treasured families back to Aggieland for Family Weekend. This event is always a wonderful way to express our gratitude to those who have raised and shaped our extraordinary students, and who comprise the extended Aggie Family.
It’s official! Today The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents voted unanimously to name Dr. M. Katherine "Kathy" Banks as the 26th president of Texas A&M University.
Last year, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Big Event was canceled. This year we are delighted to say it's officially back, with a few modifications.
When the campaign was launched, we had high hopes of raising $4 billion. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the entire Aggie Network, we are very proud that we not only achieved our initial goal, but also surpassed our greatest expectations, raising a record of $4.25 billion.
Messages from Michael K. Young
We are pleased to inform the campus community that Dr. Annie S. McGowan has been named interim vice president and associate provost for diversity at Texas A&M University effective Dec. 1. She brings to the Office for Diversity noteworthy leadership experience.
While "gratitude" may not be the first word that comes to mind when thinking of 2020, it is one I have been thinking about a lot, especially as we approach Thanksgiving.
Thank you, and to each and all of you, a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!
I am pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new way to generate support for schools, departments and organizations at Texas A&M. The Spirit of Giving is a crowdfunding effort that will increase the opportunities for deans, administrators and student leaders to raise essential funds for special projects, programs and initiatives.
A century ago, our nation marked the first anniversary of the announcement of Armistice Day, which we know today as Veterans Day. In small towns and large cities, Americans joined together to commemorate the moment when the Allies signed the historic agreement that brought an end to "the Great War."
In America, voting is a right and a privilege. Democracy works best if we all participate in the process.
At Texas A&M, we have many faculty members with impressive CVs, filled with long lists of impressive accomplishments. Some of their innovations and advances are so extraordinary that we could truly call them works of genius. However, at the moment there is only one professor at our university who can claim that he has officially been recognized with a “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Week 8. You did it! This week is officially the halfway point in the semester and our campuses remain open and operational, with in-person and remote classes.
Today we announced the membership and charge of a comprehensive Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as indicated in a recent message to the Aggie community accompanying a list of other specific actions underway to contribute to the climate at Texas A&M and combat racism.
I, along with my leadership team, have worked hard over the past few years to address so many of the challenges our campus and our community have experienced with regard to racism. But we know it is not enough and never has that been more clear than at this moment.
Our leadership team is aware of heart-wrenching stories posted by Aggies who have experienced racism first-hand on our campus. Your stories are painful but important for us to read and, of course, we know that they are much more painful for you to experience and share.
August In-Person Commencements Postponed; Virtual Graduation Celebrations and Conferral of Degrees PlannedMay 29, 2020
As the semester draws to a close, I cannot thank you enough for your flexibility and resilience, especially over the past six weeks. Just thinking about how you – the largest student body in the nation – rapidly responded to so many changes is both humbling and awe-inspiring.
During this extraordinary moment for our university, we are dedicated to continuing our most sacred and solemn tradition. Throughout the university’s history, Muster has been an important way to remember and revere the lives of every individual by holding them in our collective memories.
In recent weeks, our news feeds have been dominated by stories about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Behind the scenes at Texas A&M, many other stories are unfolding.
These are the stories of hope and healing, of triumph over tragedy, of great compassion and selfless service. They are stories of faculty and staff who have risen to the occasion, of scholars and researchers creating innovations - sometimes by the hour - to meet emerging needs, of students who serve, of leading experts providing essential advice, of Aggies going above and beyond the call of duty.
Today we launch a new site, Texas A&M Responds: COVID-19, created to house these exceptional stories in one place, to include some featured globally. Many more stories will be added here.
As loyal members of the Texas A&M community, I wanted you to have the latest information about our response to the coronavirus situation, which you can find in great detail at the Central TAMU COVID-19 site.
Dear A&M Community,
Please see this attached message as leaders from across the university join me in relaying the importance of living our core value of respect in person and online now more than ever.
Yesterday, Governor Abbott held a news conference to brief on measures that he and other state leaders are taking to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including not leaving home unless necessary. He did not order a state-wide shelter in place of residence to allow counties the option to do so on a county-by-county basis.
Given that Dallas and McLennan Counties have announced their own shelter in place of residence orders, and others may follow suit very soon, all students may want to consider returning to their family home residences.
I would like to express my tremendous gratitude to everyone helping us mobilize the entire university in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a matter of days, your heroic efforts have helped us fundamentally change everything we do – from educating our students, to conducting research, to maintaining essential business operations.
As a valued member of the Texas A&M community, I want to inform you about a change in policy that will be taking place on our campus in the New Year. To make our university a better environment for everyone, beginning on January 1, 2020, we will become a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus.
Thank you to everyone who attended the State of the University Address. It was wonderful to see so many students, faculty and staff there to celebrate our many accomplishments over the past year.
Last week, during a trip to San Diego, I looked down from the deck of the JOIDES Resolution and was reminded that an incredible treasure trove of our research and discovery is conducted deep below the surface.
I appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to speak with faculty, as their experiences and insights are so valuable. I always learn something. As July Fourth approaches, I asked our outstanding Professor of Communication Jennifer Mercieca, a world-renowned expert in political rhetoric, to give us her take on this quintessential American holiday.
It saddens me to address our Texas A&M University community about racist remarks made by two students in a 37-second social media video that went viral over the weekend. This behavior is abhorrent and against the core values that we share and to which we aspire in all we do, including those of respect, excellence and integrity.
Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young has released the following statement regarding Director of Athletics Scott Woodward:
I am delighted to announce that the recipients of the 2019 President's Meritorious Service Awards have been selected. These awards recognize and award staff for their commendable service to Texas A&M.
Texas A&M is returning to the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) March 10-13 to showcase our remarkable research, innovations and thought leadership on a global stage.
Our university suffered a loss last week with the passing of scholar, author and renowned Aggie historian Henry Clay Dethloff, a professor emeritus of history at Texas A&M who literally wrote the book (among many works) on our institution – A Centennial History of Texas A&M University: 1876-1976.
Last summer we heard from many inside and outside of the Aggie family about the issue of sexual assault on our campus. In response, I ordered two reviews – one internal and one external – to examine our existing processes and policies and to research examples of evidence-based practices. On August 20, 2018, we announced a set of approved actions, including eleven actions put into immediate effect, and four areas of continued work related to enhancing our Title IX (TIX) investigations.
I would like to provide you with a status update, nearly six months on, regarding the announced actions and areas of study and continued work.
This month, we were very pleased to see that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) awarded Texas A&M its highest rating for free speech, making ours one of only 45 universities nationwide — and the only in Texas — to achieve such a designation. FIRE's "green light" status means the organization has determined our written policies fully align with the First Amendment.
It is my great honor and pleasure to write to you today in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Aggie War Hymn, one of Texas A&M's most valued and well-known traditions.
This week you will hear the Albritton bell tower play the song every day at noon.
Thank you to all those who were able to attend yesterday’s State of the University Address. It was a pleasure to see so many Texas A&M students, faculty and staff there to celebrate the many successes of our great institution.
This month, Marti and I, along with a group of Aggies, had the distinct honor of placing U.S. and Texas A&M flags upon the graves of 15 Aggies buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, as well as flags for three Aggies listed on the Wall of the Missing. It was my first trip to that cemetery and it truly was a life-changing experience.
I would like to update you on actions taken since last week’s announcement regarding two comprehensive reviews – one by an internal task force and another separately by an external third-party – related to sexual assault cases reported on our campus.
The safety and security of students at Texas A&M is our number one priority. As many of you are aware, the serious issue of sexual assault involving college students has intensified in recent online discussions, highlighting a problem that plagues universities across our country and here on campus as well.
It is my pleasure to congratulate all Aggies who have completed the academic year, especially our spring graduates. Your hard work and dedication during your college career has come to fruition.
Muster is one of Texas A&M’s most solemn traditions and as we approach the event this weekend, I am moved to share with you just how proud I am to be a part of the university community.
Aggies have heavy hearts at the passing of Barbara Bush.
By any standard, Mrs. Bush was a role model, dedicated to the betterment of our nation through public service, along with her husband, George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States.
Staff Appreciation week is around the corner, April 23-28, with daily events. Marti and I invite you to join in the festivities and we look forward to visiting with you!
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I invite you to learn more about Texas A&M's award-winning program, Step In Stand Up so you can join in our efforts to prevent sexual violence and support survivors.
I am pleased to announce the 2018 winners of the President's Meritorious Service Awards. This prestigious award recognizes the extraordinary work and dedication of Texas A&M staff members. Please join me in congratulating these superb employees for their outstanding service to our university!
As you may have seen, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) announced today that the first football game for Texas A&M will take place on August 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Kyle Field against Northwestern State.
The spring semester is under way and it is wonderful to see you back on campus ready to learn, explore and enjoy all our great university has to offer.
This spring at Texas A&M means many exciting events, opportunities and new places to visit on campus.
One of the core missions of our great university is service to the state of Texas. Three months following Hurricane Harvey, there are still many people struggling to recover. We want students and their families in this situation to have renewed hope for the future, including the option of attending a world-class university like Texas A&M.
As the day of your graduation approaches, I would like to personally congratulate you on obtaining your degree from one of the nation's finest institutions. What an outstanding accomplishment and one of which you should be so proud.
I ask all Texas A&M University students, faculty, staff to pause and remember the 12 fallen Aggies who lost their lives 18 years ago on Nov. 18 at 2:42 a.m. in the collapse of the Aggie Bonfire.
For several weeks, Texas A&M has engaged with members of Congress and their staff regarding the effects of the proposed tax legislation.
On this Veterans Day on behalf of the entire Aggie community, I want to recognize all of our current and former veteran students, faculty and staff, as well as all of our nation’s veterans, for their service to our nation.
What a wonderful honor it was this weekend to help host all five living former U.S. Presidents Carter, Bush 41, Bush 43, Clinton and Obama here in College Station for the One America Appeal concert to raise money for hurricane victims. I am so proud of the staff throughout campus who worked tirelessly in support of this historic event and am proud of the unity, love and selfless service that the event represented in general.
I am eager to share exciting news with you all. Dr. Carrie L. Byington has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
We have been able to assist more than 175 Aggies to date through the University Disaster Relief Fund and are so grateful to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Commissioner Greg Sankey’s leadership for providing initial funding, as well as many of you who responded with donations. As mentioned, these are one-time payments to assist with the cost of books, food or clothing.
Thank you to many of you who have stepped in to help our students and employees facing hardship from Hurricane Harvey. Your contributions – in addition to help from our friends at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) – are being processed quickly to get funds into the hands of those who need it. We were able to distribute funds over the weekend.
We are announcing a student and employee disaster relief fund to help with small-but-essential, one-time immediate needs. We are calling on the power of the Aggie Network to assist by contributing to the fund to help fellow Aggies.
The announcement yesterday by the U.S. Attorney General on plans to rescind the executive order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) unless Congress acts to pass the legislation has generated a number of questions among our students, faculty, staff, former students and community.
Texas A&M University is committed to providing equal opportunity and access to the programs, services and employment offered through our university. A top priority of this administration is to create an environment which supports diversity campus wide and increases awareness of the globally connected world in which we live for faculty, staff and students.
As the citizens of Texas continue to deal with the effects of Hurricane Harvey, I speak on behalf of the entire Aggie community that our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this devastating storm.
It is a great relief to see you all returning to campus and my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
On behalf of everyone here, we are delighted – and relieved – to welcome you to campus for the first day of classes! My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey. I am so very proud of how so many of you are responding to this disaster, from heroic efforts to save lives, to being kind to our visiting students evacuated from our Galveston campus, to joining together in groups to fulfill our wonderful core value of selfless service.
It is a great relief to see you all returning to campus, and some faculty arriving to campus for the first time! My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
At Texas A&M, our mission is to provide students with the highest quality programs and transformative experiences inside and outside of the classroom in order to prepare each individual for roles of responsibility in service to society. We have outstanding faculty and staff who mentor and support our students in this regard and a student body that demonstrates a firm commitment to discovery, innovation and service. It is an honor to witness this daily.
Texas A&M University plans to launch a new initiative this fall: the School of Innovation, or “I-School” to further enhance the transformative learning, discovery and impacts of our efforts in creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation across our University. Dean Andrew Morriss of the Texas A&M School of Law has agreed to lead the initiative.
We are pleased to announce, based on the recommendation of the search advisory committee, feedback from faculty and staff who participated in the search process and personal evaluation, Dr. Carol A. Fierke, a noted scholar and academic leader from the University of Michigan, has been recommended to the Board of Regents to be named provost and executive vice president at Texas A&M University. The Board will meet in a telephonic meeting later today to discuss this recommendation and other items.
This was an exciting week as we formalized a partnership at Fort Hood with the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center for our College of Medicine students. Beginning in the fall, students will have the opportunity to engage in clinical rotations onsite at a state-of-the-art facility opened just last year and learn from physicians who treat soldiers, veterans and their families.
I want to affirm my career-long, unwavering support for academic freedom, an essential element to enhance understanding and allow us to come to a closer approximation to the truth.
I am writing you tonight with a message that may seem ill-timed given our wonderful graduation ceremonies taking place this week. At the same time, this is a message about Aggies and that for which we stand. As such, I cannot think of a more appropriate time in many ways to write to you in this regard.
Real Aggies have been committed to protecting and looking out for each other for over 140 years. When we come together to accomplish something, we give it our all and we become a force for positive change. This spirit of togetherness has certainly been reflected in the significant growth of Step In. Stand Up, our sexual assault awareness and prevention campaign.
In support of faculty members who are rising stars in their fields and personify these commitments, President Young and Provost Watson have announced the inaugural class of Presidential Impact Fellows. Twenty-four faculty members from across Texas A&M University's 16 colleges and schools, two branch campuses and comprehensive University Libraries are being honored with this award.
You deserve to be thanked, and thanked profusely, every day for the work that you do on behalf of this great university. Together with the Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness, the University Staff Council, SSC Services for Education and Chartwells, I invite you to attend Staff Appreciation Week.
I am delighted to announce that the recipients of the 2016-2017 President’s Meritorious Service Awards have been selected. As you may recall, a nomination period was held this fall. From the nominations submitted, an anonymous committee, comprised of representatives from across campus, had the difficult task of selecting the award winners from an extraordinary group of nominees. Many thanks to this dedicated committee for their service.
Texas A&M University for decades has welcomed students, faculty and staff from countries around the globe. This is a core tenet of who we are and has enhanced our academic excellence immeasurably. The recent news of a travel ban issued by the White House regarding seven countries – Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen - has understandably ignited concerns within our university community.
I am excited to announce that Texas A&M University will be featured through strategic, multidisciplinary programming at South By Southwest (SXSW), March 10 - 15 in Austin, Texas.
For Texas A&M, 2017 is not about changing who we are. Our responsibility to uphold the institution’s core values remains unwavering. Our mission of selfless service is stronger than ever, ensuring that our founding land-grant heritage remains inextricably part of who we are. And our quest for excellence, fueled by an unparalleled commitment to transformational learning, discovery and innovation, continues to uplift this world-class institution for the benefit of people in Texas and beyond.
I wish to thank Dr. Mark Hussey for his years of leadership as Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which included a period as Interim President of the University, following his announcement that he will not seek a third term and will transition to the faculty. He will remain in his current roles as we launch a national search for his successor.
Last week, the entire university came together to send a message to the world that put into words and actions the feelings that we share, and did so in a manner better than any few sentences that I could write here.
Your support of each other has captured the national narrative today and placed hate speech firmly in our shadow. Look forward to seeing you tonight at the Aggies United event at 6 p.m.
In recent days, there has been a significant outpouring of concern by members of the Aggie community and beyond regarding an individual scheduled to speak on campus next week. Students, faculty, staff, former students and members of the community expressed their outrage over the speaker's previously-expressed views and have roundly condemned everything for which he seems to stand.
I strongly agree with those sentiments. I find the views of the organizer - and the speaker he is apparently sponsoring - abhorrent and profoundly antithetical to everything I believe. In my judgment, those views simply have no place in civilized dialogue and conversation.
Some of you have expressed concern about protection of students regardless of race, religious preferences, sexual orientation, and/or immigration status in light of the recent election. We want to take the opportunity to reiterate that one of our mandates has been and continues to be just that – to facilitate a supportive, secure learning environment where a diverse student body, faculty and staff can work optimally towards their pursuit of world class education and research in preparing students for their future.
From a personal perspective, the immense respect I have for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces stems not only from the extraordinary acts of heroism they demonstrate and the many sacrifices they make, but also from my own experiences as a child whose mother served as a World War II bomber pilot and whose father fought in the Battle of the Bulge. I am also the proud father of children who currently serve our country as members of the Air Force.
A central purpose of education in a democracy is to prepare future citizens who engage thoughtfully and productively for the good of their communities. Public universities have a particular responsibility to help build students’ capacity for civil dialogue and respectful exchange. Texas A&M University’s 140-year-history is filled with the stories of many people who have worked together—even with those with whom they may disagree—to meet the world’s challenges.
140 years to the day since the birth of this university, I'm thrilled to speak with you about three strategic imperatives that revolve around collaboration. Collaboration not just for the sake of it, but to create a better world.
Recently I announced our new national branding campaign, Fearless on Every Front, which introduces the world to the great contributions that Texas A&M University provides to solving great global challenges.
What do you do when you encounter individuals, groups or guest speakers on campus whose beliefs challenge or even directly oppose your own? What if you are the one who embraces a perspective different from others? Do you contribute to an environment of open dialogue, even when you are challenged or you challenge others? If you haven't yet faced these situations at Texas A&M, you will. And, dare I say, you should!
One of the many things I love about our university is our strong sense of service. Most recently, Washington Monthly ranked Texas A&M #1 in service among more than 300 peer institutions. Whether in our research or when 22,000 are gathered at The Big Event, we are fueled by a commitment to help, create, solve and challenge each other – for the good of the world. We are, simply put, FEARLESS ON EVERY FRONT.
We are delighted to celebrate and acknowledge Hannah Wimberly, Student Body President; Cecille Sorio, Commander of the Corps of Cadets; and Claire Wimberly for their exceptional service to our student body and the greater Aggie community.
We have an incredible opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of many Brazos Valley residents through the annual State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC), which kicks off today and lasts through October 31st.
It is with extraordinary gratitude that I thank Dr. Karan Watson for her many years of remarkable service to Texas A&M University. I know Karan has not made her decision to step down from her role as Provost at the end of this academic year lightly, and we will have big shoes to fill, a task we will immediately undertake with appropriate dispatch and care. But in the meantime, please join me in thanking her for her service. This is a time of unprecedented excellence and opportunity for Texas A&M and Karan has been critical in making it so.
Over the past year, I have learned a great deal about Texas A&M and the incredible scholars, thinkers, builders and creators who position us to do transformational research and teaching, distinguishing this institution as a national model of educational excellence. I have met with many faculty members from across all of our campuses, and listened to you speak about your areas of study. It is abundantly clear that we are not only shaping scholars, but also producing citizens of substance. I am excited to meet many more of you as the effort to do so on my part is far from over.
Over the past year, I have learned a great deal about Texas A&M and the incredible scholars, thinkers, builders and creators who position us to do such meaningful work, distinguishing this institution as model of educational excellence. I have met with many staff members from across campus, listened to your stories, and it is clear that your contributions help make this university so special. I am excited to meet many more of our devoted staff as this effort to do so is far from over.
Howdy! I hope that you are as excited as I am for the year ahead. Perhaps you spent your summer working at businesses, studying abroad, on internship, or found yourself in a lab doing cutting-edge research. I hope that you also had time to relax with family and friends. I want to welcome you back, or for the first time, to Texas A&M University.
As you may know, presentations containing insensitive, disrespectful content were given by two coaches at a football “Chalk Talk for Women” event hosted by the Athletic Department. Like many of you who learned of this, I was and remain dismayed, disappointed and angry. This behavior is not who we as Aggies are and is totally unacceptable. To be clear, this is not a females-only concern, but a human one. In fact, the majority of those weighing in with their disdain have been men who are equally as disturbed by the content presented.
We are deeply concerned by police reports that the Islamic Community Center located north of the Texas A&M campus was damaged by gunfire earlier today and are grateful that no one was injured.
As you know, the 84th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 11, which is effective August 1, 2016, and expands the areas on public university campuses where those with appropriate licenses are authorized to carry concealed handguns. As President of Texas A&M, I am deeply committed to creating the optimal environment for learning, discovery and work. At the same time, as a state institution, we are subject to the demands of the law and will necessarily comply.
As scholars, as teachers, as creators and lovers of knowledge, how do we want to contribute to our world and how do we use our platforms within this university as individuals, and as a collective, to influence the future, our world?
I want to share with the university community the status of the investigations into the racial incident on February 9, 2016, by the Dean of Student Life and University Police Department (UPD). I also want to communicate some of our recent and future actions to further advance and deepen diversity and inclusion on our campus.
In the aftermath of the disturbing racist incident that occurred on our campus last week, I believe that our swift action and ongoing efforts to address this matter make it abundantly clear that racism and hate speech have absolutely no place at Texas A&M.
Tuesday's incident of hate speech on Texas A&M University's campus was heartbreaking and a disappointment to not only me, but also to our students, faculty, staff and the entire Texas A&M University family.
It is our greatest responsibility to provide a safe environment that fosters the development of thoughts and ideas that will ultimately change the world and solve our great global challenges. The behavior that took place on our campus falls far short of these expectations and will not be tolerated. We are now in the process of an expedited investigation of the incident to enable us to take appropriate action as quickly as possible. We have also reached out and maintained contact with Uplift Education, the group whose students experienced this inappropriate exchange.
I am outraged and tremendously disappointed in the behavior displayed by a group of students on our College Station campus yesterday – one in which a group of ethnic minority high school students from the Dallas area reported that racial slurs were directed toward them during their campus tour. I deeply regret the pain and hurt feelings this incident caused these young students. Be assured that we take such allegations very seriously. Our police department responded to the scene following the reported incident and we are currently fully assessing it. In addition, we had administrators and students from campus who met with our visiting guests to assure them that they are welcome and respected by the vast majority of Aggies. This troubling incident will be thoroughly investigated to the fullest extent possible and appropriate action will be taken.
I am delighted to announce the recipients of the 2015-2016 President's Meritorious Service Awards. As you may recall, a nomination period was held this fall. From the nominations submitted, an anonymous committee, comprised of representatives from across campus, had the difficult task of selecting the award winners from an extraordinary group of nominees. Many thanks to this dedicated committee for their service.
As the semester winds down and the holidays approach, Marti and I want to say a joyous and heartfelt "thank you" to each of you for being part of this thriving, warm, generous and extraordinarily capable campus community, vibrant with hands and faces and voices representing hundreds of cultures, aspirations and areas of scholarship, each working fearlessly toward the single goal of making this world better for all.
Faculty and staff across campus have been hard at work for many months on the Lead By Example comprehensive campaign, and I thank you.
This afternoon, I briefed local and state media and informed them of our fundraising goal of $4 billion over the next five years. Eighty-five percent of this amount will be used in support of academic excellence and expansion of research. This goal will be publicly announced on Saturday.
The Association of American Universities, which comprises the 62 top research universities in the United States and Canada, recently released the results of its campus climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct at 27 of its member campuses.
This survey makes clear that, compared to our counterparts across the country, Texas A&M fares very well. Our news release can be found at Texas A&M Today.
Our highest priority at Texas A&M is to provide a safe and welcoming campus where our students can grow and develop as leaders. To that end, we are firmly committed to working together on campus and throughout Bryan-College Station.
This includes coming together to prevent and respond to one of the most serious issues of our time: sexual violence. When one of us is harmed through sexual violence, each of us is harmed. Even one such incident is too many.
As we launch another academic year, I want to let you know how much I have enjoyed getting to know so many of you during my visits to each college and look forward to the few remaining college visits this semester.
Please accept my deepest appreciation for your warm welcome to Marti and me, and for all that you do, day in and day out, to help Texas A&M fulfill our broad missions of teaching, research and outreach.
Howdy! I hope you’re as excited as I am about the year ahead. These are historic times for us, and on this first day of the academic year I’d like to share three reasons in particular with you.
On this, my first day as President of this very important university, I want to convey my deep appreciation for you, and all that you have done to help this institution earn its standing in the world. Your commitment to excellence and integrity are, in no small way, why Marti and I find ourselves here with you at Texas A&M.
It is important to me that you know how much Marti and I value your support and dedication to this great university's teaching and research missions. We understand wholeheartedly and see your commitment to keeping this complex and exceptional institution operating at such extraordinary levels. We look forward to working together with you as we all help this university on its amazing trajectory.
In the early days of our interest in Texas A&M University, we visited the College Station campus a few times. Our first visit was jam-packed with meetings and tours beginning in the very early mornings and lasting until well after dinnertime. It was admittedly exhausting and yet remarkably energizing.