On Land and Sea

Chancellor John Sharp: Sharp Solutions Special Announcement

Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

On Land and Sea

Well, I doubt I am beating anyone to the punch here, but just in case, I want to share more interesting news from the Texas A&M University System.

This is that time of the year when those flowers are in full bloom and cars dot the roadsides with families taking pictures with their children and other loved ones. It is a special time of year for all and signals that spring has sprung. Our excellent scientists within Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension developed a new version of the official flower of our state in 2000 and it is fittingly, maroon. This was a great achievement and this year we are really making news with these flowers.

An online publication in Alabama had a great read about a little fun some Aggies may have had with our friends in Austin.


‘Reverse Updyking:’ Is Texas A&M growing its colors at Texas?

By Mike Herndon

What if Harvey Updyke had planted something instead of destroying the Toomer’s Oaks?

Some believe Texas A&M may have essentially done just that at rival Texas, where genetically modified maroon bluebonnets have been popping up in the flower beds near the school’s famous landmark, the UT Austin Tower.

Markus Hogue, UT-Austin’s program coordinator for irrigation and water conservation, told San Antonio television station KEYE that the patches of maroon flowers will “keep multiplying” and spread.

“It is just a weird coincidence that the only place that we have them on campus that we know of is right by the tower,” Hogue said.

Some Longhorns believe the rival Aggies, whose colors are maroon and white, may be to blame.

“That wouldn’t surprise me,” UT student Carly Lissak told the station. “They can’t bring the competition on the playing fields so they might as well bring it with their green thumb.”

The Texas-Texas A&M football rivalry, which stretches back to 1894, hasn’t been played since 2011, as the Aggies decided to join the SEC in 2012.

Fox Sports Southwest columnist David Ubben called it “the most ‘Aggie’ prank of all-time” and came up with a name for it [in a tweet]: Texas A&M needs to copyright the term “Reverse Updyking” for what it did to UT’s campus.

According to the Texas A&M Department of Horticulture Sciences, the “Texas Maroon” bluebonnet was developed in 2000 and was “the culmination of a lengthy bluebonnet selection effort led by Dr. Jerry Parsons, the original goal of which was to enable the planting of the Texas state flag in red, white, and blue bluebonnets.”

Maroon Bluebonnets at UT

On a separate and more serious note, Texas A&M scientists and researchers are also having a very positive impact on the current oil spill near Galveston and cleanup of oil spills in general.  The following article that appeared in TAMUTimes is a great example of how Aggies are making a difference in the world, from land to sea.

Buoy System is Best of its Kind to Detect Oil Spills

When it comes to state spending and success rates, cost savings, and overall bang-for-your-buck bottom lines, it’s hard to beat Texas A&M University’s TABS buoy system that relays vital information all along the Texas gulf coast.

With support from the Texas General Land Office, Texas A&M researchers have developed the only buoy system of its kind in the United States and one of the few of its kind in the world.  The Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS) supplies critical data allowing modelers to accurately predict the movement of oil spills and provides other current data that helps protect the 367-mile Texas coastline.

Now in its 20th year of operation, the buoy system operated by researchers at the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) in the College of Geosciences has proved to be extremely valuable in the fight against oil spill damage.

When two ships collided in the Galveston Bay area several weeks ago, as much as 168,000 gallons of crude oil were soon oozing their way along the Texas coast, threatening pristine wetlands and marshes, the Texas fishing industry and recreational boaters, to name a few.

With the first few hours of an oil spill often being the most critical time, the solar-powered buoys relayed key ocean data such as near-surface currents, wind speeds, water temperature, wave heights and other information that is critical for decision-makers on land who were getting ready to send equipment and men for oil spill cleanup work.  Such data is reported every 30 minutes.

“The buoys have more than paid for themselves many times over,” John Walpert, senior research associate, explains.  “Regarding the oil spill near the Houston Ship Channel recently, we deployed a TABS Responder buoy about 20 miles southwest of Galveston.  The buoy and TABS system did exactly what it was supposed to do – it sent back data, and this is used for decision-making, modeling and projections.

“In the last 12 years alone, they have been used over 50 times for decision-making purposes during spill events and have saved potentially millions of dollars in cleanup costs.  It is the only system in the country supported by a state government with the mandate of helping to protect the coastal environment.

“This system protects the Texas coast better than any other. Any way you look at it, TABS has been a major success story.”

One study shows that the upper Texas coast averages more than 280 oil spills every year, but most of these involve about 100 gallons or less. Still, any spill can mean trouble for marine life, and that’s when the buoys can become lifesavers.

The buoys range in size from seven feet to more than 20 feet in length, each of them floating on the water’s surface.  Prices range from $60,000 to $200,000 each, depending on several factors, among them the amount of sensors on each.

The TABS project is funded by the Texas General Land Office, the state agency that supports the seven core buoys along the Texas coast, while two other buoys located near the Flower Garden Banks – about 100 miles south of the Texas-Louisiana border – are funded by a consortium of oil companies.

“What makes the TABS system so valuable is that the buoys report the state of the ocean at any given moment,” says Steve DiMarco, professor of oceanography who also helps to run and manage the buoys.

“The state of Texas has been very pro-active by using the TABs buoys and all of the information they provide.  They have passed every test with flying colors.”

Walpert says the buoys are updated annually, with many receiving more sensors and advanced technology to improve their data reporting.

“The buoy system has already saved Texas taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Walpert adds, “and they serve as a model for other states that are developing similar buoys to detect pollution and oil spills.”

When the world has a problem (or needs a new flower), Aggies Answer!

Gig ‘em

John Sharp


Sharp Solutions: April 2014 Newsletter

This email is sent to community and business leaders to provide news about the initiatives of The Texas A&M University System by Chancellor John Sharp.
 Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System


What you think matters. And as chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, I am committed to staying personally accessible and directly engaged with you and everyone interested in the future of higher education in Texas.

We are doing amazing things at the Texas A&M System. We are educating the next generation of world leaders; developing biomedical and energy technologies that will change global health and the face of the world in which we live; and leading the nation to innovate the cost structure of higher education. And each month we showcase these efforts by highlighting news, events and accomplishments of several A&M System members.

I welcome your input and encourage you to share this newsletter with colleagues and friends so that they too can subscribe, receive regular updates and participate in the issues that will define higher education for generations to come.

Growing Impact

The Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University, the Health Science Center and other system agencies in the Bryan-College Station area created a $4.42 billion positive economic impact on the local area in 2013, an increase of almost $113 million from 2012 and about double that of a decade ago.

Included in that record economic impact:

  • Annualized average payroll of approximately $889 million for 21,073 employees, including students;
  • Student expenditures of $494 million for food, housing, clothing, recreation and more, from a record enrollment of 50,000-plus on the College Station campus; and
  • Visitor expenditures of an estimated $385 million from Texas A&M athletic events and other campus activities, with an average stay in the community of 2.5 days.

Partnerships with the local cities and county will likely grow those numbers, particularly the enhancement and expansion of Kyle Field.

The A&M System also continues to rank first in the state in research investment. Research totals for Fiscal Year 2013 exceed a record $820 million according to the National Science Foundation. That research often leads to patents and licenses with significant, far-reaching economic benefits not included in local economic estimates.

Texas A&M University also now ranks among the nation’s top fundraising institutions in higher education, public or private, having raised a record $740 million-plus within the past year, over $300 million more than any previous 12-month period. This includes gifts, private grants and contributions to The Association of Former Students, the Texas A&M Foundation, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and the 12th Man Foundation. This historic level of support is attributed to the university attracting record numbers of highly qualified students. The institution’s successful entry in the Southeastern Conference is also a factor, along with more Texas A&M graduates reaching career stages where they are able to make larger gifts to their alma mater.

This growing impact, in the local community, in research and in giving back to the next generation of learners, is a testament to the loyalty of our graduates and their respect for all that being an Aggie represents.

Gig ‘em!

Harnessing Big Data

The Texas A&M University System and IBM will leverage the power of big data analytics and high-performance computing for collaborative research dedicated to advances in agriculture, geosciences and engineering. This partnership brings together the best computer scientists and technology in the world to focus on practical solutions to global challenges, such as improving extraction of Earth-based energy resources, facilitating the smart energy grid, accelerating materials development, improving disease identification and tracking in animals and fostering better understanding and monitoring of our global food supplies.IBM will provide the Blue Gene/Q technology, Power and System X servers and General Parallel File Systems Storage Systems. A test of the Blue Gene/Q on campus found that it ran a material sciences problem that previously took weeks to solve in just minutes with much greater analytical depth. 

Locking in Tuition

Beginning in the fall of 2014, incoming undergraduate freshman to Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas A&M Health Science Center will be offered a single, fixed rate tuition through year four or five, depending on their degree plan and major. This also consolidates all student fees with the locked-in rate. While Texas A&M has historically offered very affordable tuition rates and is less expensive today than many other public, state universities in Texas, this rate guarantee will help students and parents to budget for college and the university to make future decisions based on fixed revenue.

Expanding in Houston

TAMHSC Expanding In HoustonThe Houston campus of the Texas A&M Health Science Center will be expanding in the Texas Medical Center area with future construction of a multidisciplinary research and education building on 2.5 acres adjacent to the TAMHSC Institute for Biosciences and Technology, a research institute that excels at translation innovative discoveries into clinical practice for the benefit of patients.

The Houston expansion will enable even more collaborative research with other acclaimed Texas Medical Center institutions, especially in TAMHSC’s areas of excellence, such as environmental health, cancer prevention through natural products and infectious diseases. The expansion will also provide highly needed educational space for Texas A&M’s medical students and aspiring clinician scientists.

Become involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. There are varying membership levels available. Find out how to join.


The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of Chancellor John Sharp.

Sharp Solutions: December 2013 Newsletter

 Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

And on earth, peace…good will toward men

More than just a wish for this holiday season, peace on earth is a prayer for this world every day of the year — and a goal for the proposed Texas A&M University-Nazareth, Peace Campus.

In a first for The Texas A&M University System and Israel, the Peace Campus will be located where no other American university has a branch campus, in Nazareth, Israel’s largest Arab city.

Currently, there is a law in Israel that restricts international branch campuses from opening in the country. This law is being changed to allow the Peace Campus to be the sole and exclusive branch campus in Israel.

To be financed entirely with private donations, Texas A&M-Nazareth will offer undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. It will improve access to education for the underserved Arab population in Israel that represents 20 percent of the population but only 11 percent of higher-education students. But more importantly, it is hoped Peace Campus will help foster understanding and unity among Arab, Jewish and international students and teachers.

Texas A&M University-Nazareth will be our second campus in the Middle East, joining Texas A&M University at Qatar that has offered engineering degrees since 2003.

We are absolutely dedicated to making this one of the finest international universities in the world and open to all. It truly will be a peace university, a university that brings together students from diverse backgrounds in Israel and around the world.

Many thanks to the hardworking staff in Israel and to the Texas A&M University staff that made this possible.

– Gig ‘em!

2013 Animated Holiday Display at the Reed HouseMany thanks to Jeff and Bridgette Trykoski of Frisco, both 1998 graduates of Texas A&M University, for the gift of their time and the generous loan of their 40,000-light display with coordinated patriotic and holiday music that decorates our home in College Station this holiday season. Tours are available until Sunday, Dec. 15th. Watch the video and have yourself a very Aggie Christmas!

Holiday Lights

Funding quantum leaps

A three-year, $10.8 million investment by Texas A&M University-College Station will provide a major boost to multidisciplinary quantum biophotonics research focused on increasing the speed and reliability of cancer diagnosis techniques, revolutionizing the detection of biological and chemical security threats, and more.

Researchers will utilize quantum laser technology developed by the Texas A&M Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE). The new funding will allow the campus to invest in other cutting-edge laser-based technology and equipment, and recruit internationally renowned faculty members.

Quantum Biophotonics Research

The research conducted at the IQSE is an example of Texas A&M’s “One Health” movement, an interdisciplinary approach to improving the health of humans, animals, plants and the environment by uniting the efforts of faculty members across academic disciplines, including science, engineering, liberal arts, agriculture, and veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences. For more information, visit http://iqse.tamu.edu/.

Feeding the world

The development of new tools for more efficient water use to meet increasing global food demands is  the goal of the new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-scale Irrigation at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, funded by a five-year, $12.5 million award from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Using lessons learned in managing the challenges of Texas’ climate and drought, the Innovation Lab which will focus on methods to enhance small-scale irrigation in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana where smallholder farmers rely on scarce water supplies.

The Norman Borlaug Institute is named for Nobel laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, who led the Green Revolution and is credited with saving the lives of more than a billion people. For more information on fighting global hunger, visit http://borlaug.tamu.edu.

Feeding the World

Sharing the tradition

For many families, A&M is a family tradition — for grandfathers, fathers, sons and daughters. But some students are the first in their family to even go to college, and the transition from high school can be more challenging. That is why Texas A&M System members are focused on ensuring more students find success and share in the family tradition:

  • Texas A&M University-College Station is now a KIPP College Partner. The Knowledge is Power Program is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college preparatory public charter schools primarily serving first-generation college-bound students from low-income families. As a KIPP College Partner, Texas A&M will have access to recruit high-performing students from the KIPP schools in Texas.
  • Texas A&M University-Texarkana is partnering with PEP, the Partner Engage Prepare Project, offering  mentoring and college-readiness programs for sophomore, junior and senior high school students in Texarkana area school districts.

Become involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

2014 Annual Meeting
Feb. 20-21, 2014
College Station, Texas

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. 2013 – 2014 membership renewal is taking place now and varying membership levels are available. Find out how to join.

The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of The Texas A&M University System.

Sharp Solutions: October/November 2013 Newsletter

Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

The Momentum Continues

I am pleased to forward two more pieces of great news concerning Texas A&M University and The Texas A&M University System — one of which has been near and dear to my heart for a long time.

Today, I joined Gov. Rick Perry, President of Israel, Shimon Peres, Israel Minister of Education, Shay Piron, and other key education and administration officials to formally announce that the Texas A&M System has signed an agreement with the State of Israel to open the first comprehensive university of the first class in Israel.

This is one of the most memorable occasions of my career in public service. It is an opportunity for education to lead the way to peace, and one that we are honored to be a part of. If not for the hard work of many, Texas A&M University at Nazareth – Peace Campus would not be a reality. I’d like to thank Gov. Perry and the Texas A&M System Board of Regents for their support in making this dream come true, and look forward to our continued work with President Peres and Minister Piron.

From left to right: Dr. Avital Stein, Chancellor John Sharp, Israel Minister of Education, Shay Piron, President Shimon Peres, Gov. Rick Perry, and Professor Manuel Trajtenberg.

Secondly, as you know, our former students are known to distinguish themselves in companies wherever they live and work. I know this to be true as well, but the London-based Times Higher Education, has now produced the listing, “Alma Mater Index: Global Executives,” that verifies Aggies are some of the best leaders in the world. That study identifies Texas A&M as having the most global CEOs among any public university in the United States. This is truly a sign of excellence that is nurtured through an education at Texas A&M.

It is certainly a great time to be an Aggie! Gig ‘em!

John Sharp

Underlined text are links to additional information online.

Sharp Solutions: September 2013 Newsletter


Boosting National Ranking

The fervor surrounding Texas A&M University reached a high pitch this weekend with the most anticipated college football game of the 2013 season. No longer a freshman in the Southeastern Conference, we’ve shown we’re capable of capturing and holding the attention of the nation, and Texas A&M is now gaining widespread recognition for its excellence in academics and world-class research.

This elevated awareness has helped Texas A&M join the ranks of the nation’s top fundraising institutions in higher education — public or private — with a record $740 million-plus raised within the past year, outpacing every university in the state and most in the nation.

The record results are due in large part to an influx of significant gifts from individuals and corporate donors investing in academics and research, including $31 million for construction of a new engineering complex, part of the 25 by 25 initiative, which aims to enroll 25,000 engineering students by 2025; $20 million to support the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy; and $205 million in estate gift commitments.

This outpouring of private support for Texas A&M reflects a deep commitment to the value of higher education and is the result of the loyalty and respect the university has fostered since its establishment in 1871. I couldn’t be more proud to be an Aggie — Gig ‘em!

Structuring Status

With the merger of Texas A&M Health Science Center with Texas A&M now complete, President R. Bowen Loftin has announced that Dr. Brett Giroir, currently my vice chancellor of strategic initiatives for The Texas A&M University System, will serve as interim executive vice president for TAMHSC, effective Oct. 1, 2013.

An internationally renowned physician-scientist whose work has focused on life-threatening infectious diseases, Dr. Giroir led our efforts to secure the $285.6 million government contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, better known as the BARDA project, to develop the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development & Manufacturing and enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases and other threats.

In conjunction with Dr. Giroir’s move, I have transferred the administration of the BARDA project and the Center for Innovation to TAMHSC. This ensures that all research expenditures associated with the project will contribute to Texas A&M’s national research rankings and dramatically raise the research status of TAMHSC.

TAMHSC’s consolidation with Texas A&M immediately provides a 10 percent increase in the university’s research expenditures. And as the BARDA project unfolds, this move has the potential to propel Texas A&M Health Science Center from a fourth-tier to a second-tier research institution, roughly the equivalent of the long-established University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

I know there was some controversy when I first spoke of moving the Health Science Center to Texas A&M, but I hope that it is now clear how this greatly benefits not only the university, but TAMHSC as well, enabling further collaboration and the integration of academic disciplines required for innovation and new life-saving discoveries.

Conserving Wildlife Habitats with Prescribed BurnsTexas A&M Forest Service aids in the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem with a diversity of plants and trees and improved wildlife habitats through prescribed burns, the carefully planned and deliberate use of fire as a land management and conservation tool. See how prescribed burns actually protected some parts of Bastrop State Park from the devastating wildfires of 2011 in this video, “A Land in Balance: Benefits of a Prescribed Burn.”Conserving Wildlife Habitats with Prescribed Burns



Developing Shale Sustainability

The Board of Regents also recently approved Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s Eagle Ford Center for Research, Education and Outreach (EFCREO), housed in the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering. Bringing together industry and local communities, the Center will help make the Eagle Ford Shale play as sustainable as possible in terms of technological improvements, environmental protection, the social fabric of the affected communities and the overall economic development of the region. EFCREO also will provide students with research opportunities, preparing them for careers in fields associated with the natural gas play and unconventional oil/gas production. The Eagle Ford Shale activity is projected to continue for the next 40-70 years; continuing development will require a skilled workforce. The Center will begin offering short training classes beginning in November to professionals in the field seeking to expand their skill set.

Improving the Health of Animals and Humans

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently approved a new Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics Systems Engineering on the campus of Texas A&M Universityin College Station. A joint project of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the center leverages Texas A&M’s strengths in contemporary engineering systems theory and life sciences, translating the mathematical formulation of molecular-level medicine into diagnostic and therapeutic applications for human and animal health. In addition to the development of improved food and fiber around the globe, the center will train doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, enrolling between 25 and 30 students within the next two years. Read more here.

Offering Firsthand Media Mentoring

Univision, the first Spanish-language broadcast television network in the United States, has signed a multi-year lease for space at Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Educational & Cultural Arts Center. The agreement offers Univision an important presence in the downtown San Antonio area, while A&M-San Antonio communications students will also benefit firsthand from the mentorship of journalism professionals who work at an award-winning, community-oriented newsroom such as KWEX-TV. Univision has a long-standing commitment to educational initiatives and the San Antonio area having also just announced the opening of new, state-of-the-art facilities in north San Antonio.Educational & Cultural Arts Center

Become involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. There are varying membership levels available. Find out how to join.


The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of The Texas A&M University System.

Sharp Solutions: July 2013 Newsletter

Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

Serving Those Who Serve

Aggies have always answered the call, in times of war and in times of peace. The medals we award those who serve are but tokens of our gratitude. It is the service we give them and their families in return that is our sacred duty. This has been at the core of The Texas A&M University System since our land grant flagship in College Station was created in 1876. That is why I’m pleased to share with you the latest news on four veteran’s initiatives underway throughout the Texas A&M System.

  • Together with Operation College Promise (OCP), a national policy, research and education program supporting the transition and postsecondary advancement of our nation’s veterans, we have launched the Veterans Education Support Network. The project expands the A&M System’s extensive Military Friendly Listserv, adding as many as 500 professionals in higher education and the non-profit sector from about 30 states, to become the nation’s largest interactive network of higher education veterans’ support specialists. The project was initially intended for A&M System members when first introduced in 2010, but rapidly expanded to include more than 325 participants from institutions of higher learning as well as a variety of local, state and federal agencies. It is the only Listserv of its kind directed primarily to those who provide front-line support to student veterans and is frequently used by government agencies to share information directly with the higher education community. The new national partnership with OCP will exponentially increase the power of communications on behalf of America’s student veterans, military personnel and their families wherever they study, live or are deployed.For more on the project, read here.
  • To also show our dedication to America’s heroes and their families, to show “we have their back,” the A&M System participates in the national “Got Your 6″ campaign, a coalition of nonprofit service groups, Hollywood celebrities and industry leaders working together to “bridge the civilian-military divide” and enhance support for America’s military and veterans and their families. Our eleven universities were among the first 50 institutions to sign the Got Your 6 Education Pillar pledge of support for veterans. Watch the A&M System’s “Got Your 6 in Texas” video here.
  • Our nationally recognized Veterans Support Office has completed Best Practices Assessment Visits to all A&M System universities as a way to measure and enhance veterans support services across our academic campuses. We’ve now shared the assessment methodology with the Texas Veterans Commission to assist in a new statewide program aimed at measuring and improving veterans services at all universities and colleges in Texas.
  • And, through our close work with the Texas Legislature this session, $30 million in immediate state relief funds were approved for the Hazlewood Program, which is critical in helping servicemen and women and their dependents access quality education. Texas A&M University is expected to bring in about $7 million of these funds. An endowment is also being created by the state and managed by the state Comptroller to help offset future costs of the Hazlewood Act. The program will also be transferred to the Texas Veterans Commission — an agency with which our Veterans Support Office works closely.

At the Texas A&M System, serving those who serve is an ongoing mission.

Biomedical Leaders Emerge

After much planning and coordination, the Texas A&M Health Science Center is now officially part of Texas A&M University, merging two leaders in biomedical education and research for a more collaborative and competitive position nationwide. I requested the move and it was initially authorized in August 2012 by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. Complete execution of the transition is slated over the next 12 months with no plans to move or close any campuses or programs. You can find more details about the merger here.Health Science Center

Gulf Guardians AwardGulf Guardians Award

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has been recognized by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency with a Gulf Guardian Award for its work on an international reseach project. “Gulf 360: State of the Gulf of Mexico” is a collaborative effort involving Cuba, Mexico and the five Gulf states of the United States, highlighting similarities and differences as well as the natural and socioeconomic connections shared by people and nations of the Gulf. Read here for more on the team’s work and recognition.


Tops in Texas

Texas A&M University-Commerce is ranked No. 1 in the Online College Database’s list of“Top U.S. Colleges & Universities for Teaching Education.” A&M-Commerce was the only institution chosen from the state of Texas and was ranked No. 13 in the nation. “Since the earliest days of East Texas Normal College, teacher preparation has been a core element of our university’s mission. To be ranked as one of the best universities in the nation in preparing students for this critically important and noble profession is a testament to the tremendous dedication and excellence of our faculty,” said Dr. Dan R. Jones, president of A&M-Commerce. Read more about the ranking here.

Easier for Einstein

A bachelor of science degree in physics just became more accessible and affordable thanks to the new Texas Physics Consortium, approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The program offers considerable costs savings and expands access to underserved student populations by combining the faculty and resources of Tarleton State University, West Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, A&M-Corpus Christi, Prairie View A&M University, Texas Southern University and Midwestern State University. Traditional in-classroom course work and interactive online video classes will be offered for students pursuing a physics degree or enrolled in a secondary math/physics teacher certification program. Find more information here on the Texas Physics Consortium.

In-Demand Degrees

The work done by students at WTAMU School of Engineering and Computer Science is more than theoretical. Hands-on research prepares students for in-demand jobs in the real world. See how below.

 WTAMU School of Engineering and Computer ScienceBecome involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. There are varying membership levels available. Find out how to join.


The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of Chancellor John Sharp.

Sharp Solutions: June 2013 Newsletter

Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

Howdy Grows Bigger

Education and innovation know no bounds in The Texas A&M University System. We are continuing to grow in influence — across the state, the nation and the world.

The 83rd regular session of the Texas Legislature culminated in the A&M System securing critical funding for many priorities, thanks to many long hours worked by staff and support of Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Speaker Straus and members of the Legislature.

Though as of this date it seems unlikely tuition revenue bonds for still much-needed renovations, repairs and new construction will be added to the special legislative session agenda, I am pleased with the investment in higher education approved, including:

  • $142 million more in financial aid for students at general academic institutions statewide
  • Restoration of nearly $120 million in TEXAS Grants, further aiding Texas students
  • Over $59 million more in funding for Texas A&M System member universities
  • $52 million more than last biennium for Texas A&M agriculture programs and $15 million more for Texas A&M engineering programs
  • Over $44 million in formula funding for the Texas A&M Health Science Center
  • $11 million for general institutional enhancements at A&M System regional universities
  • And added funding for the state’s Competitive Knowledge Fund and the Hazlewood veterans tuition program.

We also received approval for use of Brazos County Hotel Occupancy Tax for the redevelopment of Kyle Field, and for the A&M System Board of Regents to lease land for renovation of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets dorms on the main campus of Texas A&M.

I extend my thanks to all who have worked so hard to promote education excellence throughout the A&M System. A more complete list of these legislative accomplishments and more can be found here.

John Sharp

Google It: Innovation

One reward for all that hard work mentioned above can be seen in our groundbreaking new agreement with Google and Motorola’s Mobility Advanced Technology and Projects. This partnership will accelerate the overall pace of innovation, dramatically streamlining the generation of new joint research projects and paving the way for more rapid commercialization of fundamental new technologies. Texas A&M University is in good company with other premier U.S. research university partners, including Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech. We believe this is one of the first collaborations of its kind with a real focus on fast tracking discovery to consumers for greater benefit, and it could be the national model upon which companies and universities collaborate in the future. Our selection once again proves Texas A&M is one of the premier research universities in America. More details on this partnership can be found here.

Solar Warriors Powered Up

Solar Warriors Powered UpIn another innovative, potentially market-changing scientific and educational collaboration,Texas A&M University-Central Texas, “Home of the Warriors” and one of the youngest A&M System members, will soon help meet all the energy needs of the campus and 20,000 homes in the Killeen area through the new Center for Solar Energy developed in partnership with PPA Partners, a leading solar development company headquartered in California. The largest solar test site in the world, the new center in Killeen will be an incubation program to develop early-stage technologies in solar power with the goal of attracting capital investors and bringing those technologies to the marketplace within two years. The center will create unmatched educational opportunities for students at A&M-Central Texas as well as cleantech jobs, new businesses and substantial additional revenues for the region. Read more on this innovative partnership here.



Maroon Grows Greener: Wind Energy Harnessed

Ground was broken in a ceremony earlier this month by West Texas A&M University for a large-scale wind-turbine testing facility in the Texas Panhandle. The green-energy project, located on 60 acres of school land just seven miles east of Canyon, is part of a five-year contract with an Underwriters Laboratories unit, The DEWI Group, for a testing facility that will also include research and design work. The UL/WTAMU Advanced Wind Turbine Test Facility, one of the largest in the world, will build on the university’s more than 40 years of experience with wind energy and turbines says Don Toplofty, dean of the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering at WTAMU. About 2,400 acres near the new facility will also be available for development and growth. Read more here.

TEEX Delivers MOST: Job Training On-Site

TEEX Delivers MOST: Job Training On-SiteA partnership between Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and M.O.S.T. delivers an intense, fast-paced and customized selection, training and placement program for welders, computer numerically controlled operators, machine operators and maintenance technicians with an on-site mobile training unit for companies seeking new skilled and job-ready employees.

Become involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. There are varying membership levels available. Find out how to join.

The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of Chancellor John Sharp.

Sharp Solutions: May 2013 Newsletter

Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

Bigger and Better

“Some may boast of prowess bold, of the school they think so grand, but there’s a spirit can ne’er be told, it’s the Spirit of Aggieland.”

Kyle Field - East Facade








Kyle Field Redevelopment Project: The brick, glass and limestone facade will exude power, prominence and endurance.

The largest in Texas, the loudest on the planet – these are our goals for the $450 million redevelopment of Kyle Field on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.

The legendary “Home of the 12th Man,” Kyle Field has served the A&M Aggie football team since 1904, when Edwin Jackson Kyle, an 1899 graduate, a professor of horticulture and the president of the General Athletics Association, fenced off a section of the southwest corner of campus. Using $650 of his own money, Kyle then purchased a covered grandstand from the Bryan fairgrounds and built wooden bleachers to create a seating capacity for 500 people.

The 2013-2015 redevelopment plan recently approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents increases the stadium’s capacity to 102,500. This will not only make it the biggest stadium in the Southeastern Conference and in Texas, I’m proud to say it will also create the loudest megaphone on the planet.

The two-phase reconstruction of Kyle Field, designed to minimize the impact on the 2014 football season, will begin in November 2013 and come to a close in time for the August 2015 season. Upgrades will include:

  • Lowering the field and moving seating closer to the action
  • Construction of Kyle Field Park for pre- and post-game gathering
  • New restrooms, concessions and wider concourses for the east side (students)
  • Twelve seats that will always remain empty to honor fallen Aggies
  • A three-story Champions Hall
  • Twelve Founders’ Suites featuring high-end finishes with 20 theatre-style seats each and an exclusive lounge area
  • A club on the second deck of the west side that goes from goal line to goal line
  • Redevelopment of Houston Street, connecting George Bush Drive and Military Drive
  • Twelve maroon victory lights (if funding is secured)
  • And more…

Because at Texas A&M, we don’t watch the game. As The Twelfth Man, we affect the game. See more here in this virtual tour of the new Kyle Field.

Down the road just a bit, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, will be celebrating the opening of the Dr. Jack Dugan Family Soccer & Track Stadium on August 23, 2013. The $9.6 million, 15,300 square-foot facility, which includes a soccer field enclosed by an eight-lane track, will host the inaugural season of the Islanders women’s soccer program and is just one phase of the planned Momentum Sports Complex, part of the campus’ master plan, shown below.

TAMUCC Sports ComplexConstruction of the Dugan Family Soccer & Track Stadium is nearly complete. The Momentum Sports Complex is also home to the Thomas J. Henry Marquee and the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.With new sports facilities like these, we will be seeing even more outstanding performances like this past year:

  • Texas A&M women’s basketball team winning the SEC tournament
  • Texas A&M women’s tennis team winning the SEC championship
  • Texas A&M men’s tennis team capturing the SEC western division title
  • Tarleton State University’s Isabel Jimenez-Perea named the Lone Star Conference’s player and freshman of the year
  • Jeron Robinson of Texas A&M-Kingsville bested the high jump record by nearly three inches, clearing 2.26m (7’5″)
  • Texas A&M-Kingsville pole vaulter Jordan Yamoah claimed the 2013 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships national title
  • West Texas A&M golfers Glory Jangthongsiri and Logan Leggett named to the first and second team all-conference
  • Texas A&M-Commerce junior Sara Diaz named the Lone Star Conference Female Academic Player of the Year
  • Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women’s tennis players Stefania Nicolae, Maider Martin and Mia Matuszak became the first Islanders ever to garner First Team All-Southland honors
  • And Texas A&M’s Nicole Morgan will be competing for a spot on the USA Softball Women’s National Team, June 10-12 in Oklahoma City.

A&M System Leads in Technology Commercialization

John Sharp and Technology Commercialization LeadersGuy Diedrich, vice chancellor for federal and state relations; Michael Baring, Mark Burrow and Charles Simpson, Plant Variety Protection Certificate Award recipients; and John Sharp, chancellor.

Patent and Innovation Awards were recently given to more than 40 system researchers byTexas A&M System Technology Commercialization, which strives to link A&M System researchers and industry partners to bring innovative technologies to life. These awards recognize individuals whose inventions were granted patent protection from the United States Patent & Trademark Office during the previous calendar year. Read more here on the technology stemming from talented researchers throughout the A&M System.

Texas A&M AgriLife Maps Road to End Hunger

As the world’s population continues to grow, the words of the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, “Father of the Green Revolution,” a Nobel Prize winner and a Texas A&M distinguished professor of international agriculture, grow more salient: “The first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind.” For more than a century,Texas A&M AgriLife Research has worked to improve plant, animal and human health. With its current focus on genomic technologies and DNA road maps, AgriLife Research is leading a second Green Revolution to feed the world through a greater understanding of DNA and significant improvements in crops and livestock. For more on how A&M researchers’ genome mapping will help feed the world, read here.

VIDEO: Texas Task Force 1 Answers the Call

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) was activated to assist in search and rescue operations after the April explosion at the fertilizer plant in Waco and after the May tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. The 80-member, Type-1 Urban Search and Rescue Team, consisting of technical and canine search components along with heavy rescue personnel and equipment, is the most active urban search and rescue team in the country, having responded to at least one major disaster each year since its first deployment in 1998, including the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York. Watch more on how the team helps bring closure for those affected by tragedy.

TEEX Texas Task Force One in West, TexasBecome involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. There are varying membership levels available. Find out how to join.

The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of Chancellor John Sharp.

Sharp Solutions: April 2013 Newsletter

Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

Softly Call the Muster … Their Mission Remains Ours

Chancellor John Sharp speaking at 2013 MusterChancellor John Sharp speaking at the 2013 Dallas A&M Club Muster. His full speech can be found here.

We are a family. Though we come from different times and different places, and though we have followed different paths away from here — we are still bound here, by the traditions we share.

More than the 12th Man, where our student body stands ready to enter the game, more than the Corps of Cadets, who remind us of our roots deep in service and sacrifice, more than the ring we wear proudly to show the honor of hard work, the most solemn of all traditions is the Aggie Muster.

James W. Aston, Class of ’33 once said, “No occasion can be more sacred than one where we honor those who have honored us … the Aggie Muster is to remind us of our duty as Aggies to the past, present and future. We are the beneficiaries of the tireless and unselfish sacrifices of those we honor today, but we are also the recipients of responsibilities which, to faithfully discharge, will require the best that you and I possess.”

I could not say it better.

In an era where culture tells us to look out for yourself, Texas A&M still tells us to look out for one another. Whether it is through tragedies, like the bombings in Boston or the deadly explosion in West, Texas, or through the small daily tests of life, we look out for one another.

That is a tradition which makes us different, which makes us stronger, which makes us Aggies.

And we celebrate that tradition, not just on April 21 of each year in more than 400 places worldwide — from College Station to Kabul and back, we celebrate every day: Aggies on the field of battle who have advanced the cause of service; Aggies in classrooms and board rooms; Aggies in factories and mills; Aggies on oil rigs, in soup kitchens, involved in charities and private giving, who have put a love of country and neighbor first.

It is who we are. As we light a candle for a loved one who has passed on, we recognize the giving spirit of Aggies continues on among the living. We are reminded that their mission of making the world a better place remains ours.

And I could not be more proud. Gig ‘em.

The Tradition Begins: Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Texas A&M San Antonio Ring CermonyStudents, families and friends gathered on March 28 for the first Ring Ceremony held on the main campus of Texas A&M-San Antonio. More photos of the ceremony can be viewed here.
[Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University-San Antonio]



New Safety Mobile App Released

HSC Iphone App Walking on campus and feeling unsafe? Need to locate a parking lot? Want to purchase a parking permit? The Texas A&M Health Science Center is launching a new safety and security mobile app, HSC eduSafe, available for both Apple and Android phones and tablets. The app allows users to access information on emergency procedures, request a security escort, conduct regular business and more, all while on the go. Read more on the app here.

Online Engineering Courses Offered

West Texas A&M University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science is one of the first universities to offer two online required engineering courses. Beginning in the fall, the school will offer ENGR 2301—Engineering Statics and ENGR 2302—Engineering Dynamics. The courses are true problem-solving classes and are required for every engineering degree. They will serve as a pilot program for additional online engineering classes in the future. Read more about the online courses here.

Oyster Reef Restored

More than 200 volunteers helped restore an oyster reef habitat one Saturday in April, bagging reclaimed oyster shells, carrying those bags to the water at Goose Island State Park in Rockport, Texas, and creating a habitat where young oysters can attach and grow, ensuring the abundance of the mollusks for future commercial harvests. The project was hosted by the Department of Life Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. Read more on the innovative project here.

Talk. Text. Crash. Campaign Launched

Almost half of all Texas drivers in 2012 admit to regularly or sometimes talking on the cell phone while driving, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, even though 84.9 percent of Texas drivers think driving while talking on a cell phone is a very serious or somewhat serious threat to their personal safety. And a new study by the institute shows that threat doesn’t diminish with voice apps. The Texas Department of Transportation launched its Talk. Text. Crash. campaign, reaching out to Texans through community events, TV public service announcements, and online and outdoor advertising. Watch the video athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjmlv1rbGKE or click the image below. The life you save could be yours.

Faces Of Distracted DrivingBecome involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. There are varying membership levels available. Find out how to join.

The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of Chancellor John Sharp.

Sharp Solutions: March 2013 Newsletter

Chancellor John Sharp from The Texas A&M University System

A&M: First in Texas, First in Nation

I was pleased to join Gov. Rick Perry this week in Austin to announce the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has approved the establishment of a $91 million influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility at our new Center for Innovation and Advanced Development and Manufacturing on the campus of our flagship Texas A&M University in College Station.

It was just nine months ago that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced The Texas A&M University System was awarded the contract to develop one of just three Centers for Innovation. The award followed a directive by President Barack Obama in 2010 to improve the nation’s ability to produce life-saving vaccines and countermeasures in case of a bioterrorism attack or pandemic flu outbreak.

As the first system of higher education to lead one of these Centers for Innovation, we knew the initial $285.6 million public-private partnership would enhance the nation’s bio-security preparedness, continue to grow the Texas A&M reputation for leadership and attract more investments in the Center.

The unique influenza-vaccines manufacturing facility to be developed at the Center with partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, is expected to bring more than $41 billion in expenditures within the state of Texas over the next 25 years, and will add more than 6,800 direct and related jobs to Texas.

The unprecedented public-health collaboration among state and federal governments, academia and private industry means that within four months of a pandemic outbreak, the Center potentially will be able to supply 50 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine. And these vaccines will be manufactured using cell-based technology, an improvement upon current egg-based vaccine production.

The partnership with GSK was founded on a long, collaborative relationship between Texas A&M and the Wallonia Region of Belgium, representing the global reach of the A&M System and our growing role as a catalyst for advancements in research and development.

Video of the event can be seen at http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/18282/.

 Influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility

Celebrating the announcement at the Texas Capitol were (from left): Dr. Brett Giroir, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives; Jason Bienski, mayor of Bryan; Nancy Berry, mayor of College Station; Dr. Robin Robinson, DHHS deputy assistant secretary and director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); Antoon Loomans, senior vice president, GSK Vaccines; and Chancellor John Sharp.

Tops in Research and Rankings:

Texas A&M University’s investment in research now totals more than $700 million annually, ranking among the leaders nationally and first in Texas. Enrollment for Texas A&M surpassed 50,000 last fall and ranks among the top seven universities nationally in size; its graduate programs now enroll more than 10,000 students.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Texas A&M as follows:

  • Affordability: Second nationally in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category.
  • Graduate engineering: Dwight Look College of Engineering ranks sixth among public universities and 11th among universities overall for the first time. No other engineering program in Texas ranks higher.
  • MBA programs: Mays Business School ranks 14th among full-time MBA programs at public universities and 35th overall.
  • Public affairs programs: The Bush School of Government and Public Service is tied for 21st among public universities and once again ranks 33rd overall, tied with three other institutions.
  • Education degree programs: Texas A&M’s College of Education and Human Developmentranks in a 35th-place tie among public institutions and in a 47th-place tie overall.
  • Chemistry programs: Texas A&M’s College of Science ranks eighth among public universities and tied overall at 19th; for inorganic chemistry, places sixth in both categories.
  • Statistics programs: Texas A&M’s Department of Statistics is tied for third place among similar entities at public institutions.
  • Political science: Texas A&M’s College of Liberal Arts is tied for 14th among public institutions and is in a three-way tie for 25th place overall.
  • Economics: Texas A&M’s Department of Economics is in a four-way 21st-place tie among public institutions and in a similar tie for 42nd overall.
  • Psychology: Texas A&M’s Department of Psychology is in a five-way tie among publics at 41st and tied with 11 others at 67th overall.

Making History with Unmanned Aircraft Research Mission

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducted a research mission over the Gulf of Mexico with unmanned aircraft this month. The RS-16 unmanned aircraft carried onboard a multi-spectral camera to acquire images in the visible, infrared and ultraviolet frequency ranges to test its ability to detect oil spills and track algae development in the Gulf. University President Flavius Killebrew says the unmanned aerial systems research and development “promises to be what some are calling the next ‘Kitty Hawk moment’ in aviation history.” Read more here.

RS-16 unmanned aircraftTexas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducted a research mission over the Gulf of Mexico with an RS-16 unmanned aircraft earlier this month.

Another First: Texas A&M Women’s Basketball Wins SEC Championship

Texas A&M women beat Kentucky 75-67 on March 10 to win the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament championship in its first year in the league.  The Lady Ags made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they fell to Nebraska 74-63. Still, what a season this outstanding team has had! Congratulations to Coach Gary Blair and the Lady Ags for an outstanding entrance into the SEC. Watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bExfiuailEQ.

Become involved, join the Chancellor’s Century Council

The Chancellor’s Century Council is a group of individuals interested in the future of Texas higher education who provide the chancellor a means to advance the goals and objectives of The Texas A&M University System. Members participate in various A&M System activities across the state and throughout the nation. There are varying membership levels available. Find out how to join.

The “Sharp’s Solutions” email newsletter is published monthly by the Office of the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System to inform community and business leaders of the various initiatives of Chancellor John Sharp.