The view from the air of the Texas State campus. Photo by Sean Wardwell.
With another year of classes beginning Wednesday at Texas State, university president Denise Trauth told the faculty and staff that the university is making steady progress.
In her “State of the University” address during Tuesday’s faculty-staff fall convocation, Trauth said enrollment gains in the last year are an indication that Texas State is moving up among Texas universities.
Enrolling a university record 27,509 students in the Spring 2009 semester, the campus expects another record enrollment this fall.
With its record enrollment last year, Texas State was the fifth largest university in Texas, behind the University of Texas, Texas A&M, the University of Houston, and North Texas. Texas State is now larger than Texas Tech University and Texas-San Antonio.
In addition, the freshman retention rate last year was among the highest in the state at 77.6 percent, and Texas State is fourth among the state’s ten largest public institutions in the proportion of minority freshman in the top quarter of their classes. The overall percentage of freshmen ranked in the top quarter of their high school classes was 52 percent, fourth among the state’s ten largest public institutions.
Trauth also said Texas State’s graduation rate is the fifth-highest among public universities in the state.
Because of Texas State’s enrollment gains, the university received a five-percent general revenue appropriations increase from the state for the next two fiscal years. The appropriation increase, along with tuition increases, allows for faculty and staff merit awards, along with the hiring of more faculty and staff.
Trauth said the university came through the last year of tough economic times successfully and is well positioned for more challenges. Among those challenges is the Texas State University System’s adoption of tuition regulation, which limits tuition increases to no more than five percent per year and fees increases to no more than 2.5 percent a year.
“Overall, considering the economic climate of the country, I think we came out pretty well,” Trauth said. “In spite of our stretched resources, I believe Texas State does an amazing job with the resources we have. But, we will prepare for a budget cut in the next biennium, and rejoice if it doesn’t occur.”
Texas State was forced to re-evaluate plans to fund a recital hall and theater center in San Marcos when the legislature did not authorize new tuition revenue bonds for existing universities. Because that facility is a priority, the university will defer a Derrick Hall renovation to free up funds that will be added to an $8 million donation by Patti Harrison, allowing the recital hall and theater center to proceed.
The university also has taken steps to raise its prestige and profile. For example, C-SPAN broadcast the LBJ Distinguished Lecture, given last spring by the daughters of former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Lynda Robb and Luci Johnson. The lecture concluded the Common Experience program, “Civic Responsibility and the Legacy of LBJ,” honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of Texas State’s most famous alumnus.
Texas State continues to make progress towards becoming an Emerging Research University, but Trauth said the number of Ph.D. graduates and research expenditures must continue to increase. Research expenditures already have increased dramatically, rising from $10 million to $19 million in the last year.
The university added 26 net new faculty positions last year, increasing its roster of fulltime faculty by 42 percent since 2003.
Texas State also received a $4 million Emerging Technology Fund grant, which, Trauth said, will propel the university into a leadership role in the developing field of multifunctional materials.
The Ingram School of Engineering also received a boost Tuesday with the announcement of another $2 million gift from Bruce and Gloria Ingram. The gift will support scholarships for the school’s students. The Ingrams gave $5 million in 2006 to establish an engineering school at Texas State.
“Bruce and Gloria have our everlasting gratitude and affection,” Trauth said. “They have been extremely generous with their time and financial support. The Ingram name is on our School of Engineering as a tribute to their philanthropy.”
Trauth said the university also has seen improvements in its physical plant during the last year. Campus Master Plan items such as the expanded Student Recreation Center, a new bus loop, a campus entrance off North LBJ Drive and the realigned Tomas Rivera Drive in front of the student center were completed and opened.
Meanwhile, the university’s baseball and softball teams celebrated the openings of their new stadiums by winning conference titles, which is only the third time in Southland Conference history that a school has won both titles in the same season.
The first phase of construction to bring Bobcat Stadium up to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) standards – which includes new stadium lights, elevators, private suites and club seating – is nearly complete and will be unveiled at the football team’s 2009 debut against Angelo State on Sept. 5.
The Texas State volleyball, soccer and football teams also won conference championships last fall, another Southland first.
The athletics department has received regular infusions of cash, taking in multi-million dollar gifts for two straight years. Last year, Jerry and Linda Fields, co-chairs of the Pride in Action campaign, made such a contribution. The previous year, Darren Casey provided such a gift.Email | Print