Welcome to fall 2017 semester
By Office of the President
Monday, 08 28 2017
Welcome to fall 2017 semester
Dear Members of the University Community:
I usually begin back-to-school messages with an air of excitement and celebration, but today I must recognize the devastating and ongoing impact of Hurricane Harvey. San Antonio was fortunate to experience only mild wind and rain, while other cities including Corpus Christi, Rockport and Houston felt the brunt of the storm. Many are without power and continue to endure heavy rainfall and unprecedented flooding. As the storm continues, I pray for the safety of those affected by this treacherous weather. I am grateful for your safe return and welcome you back to Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
I appreciate everyone who worked diligently this past weekend to ensure the safety of our campus, facilities and University community. Through a team effort across various University offices as well as local, state and national resources, we stayed apprised of the latest weather conditions and made informed decisions about our campus operations. I especially appreciate the staff, faculty and construction teams who worked tirelessly through the inclement weather to prepare for the start of the fall 2017 semester. You embody our culture of excellence.
The beginning of an academic year is always a special time on campus. New students, faculty and staff are welcomed by longstanding members of our University, enriching the diverse tapestry of our campus community. Stimulating conversations shed new light on old subjects, paving the way to new collaborations. The daily progress of construction projects transforms a familiar landscape, right before our eyes. You can visit the construction website to take a look or hear from General the Jaguar in the newly-released video.
Since the end of the spring 2017 semester, we have continued to grow by leaps and bounds. This semester, we are welcoming 37 new full-time faculty, 15 new full-time staff, 601 first-year students and 1,115 new transfer and graduate students. Our student enrollment has increased 20 percent since last fall. What an amazing time to be a part of the Jaguar family!
On August 19, we celebrated the opening of Esperanza Hall with our first Move-In Day. The campus was abuzz with excitement, as nearly 200 first-year students brought friends and family members to help them move into their new home. Although Hurricane Harvey put a damper on the festivities scheduled for our second Move-In Day on August 26, the remaining student residents still experienced a successful move-in. Esperanza Hall will give rise to friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. It is a cool, vibrant addition to our expanding campus.
Two new outdoor facilities: Recreational Field and Kinesiology Academic Pavilion are nearing completion. The pavilion will enhance academic and community life on campus. Both facilities will be completed this fall.
The Science and Technology Building is visibly taking shape. We will celebrate the last beam going into place during a Topping-Off Ceremony on Thursday, September 21. More details about this event will be provided soon.
I am pleased to announce that the Mays Family Foundation has made a $5 million gift to the University that will enhance the Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement. Last week, at the Board of Regents meeting, the board approved the naming of the Mays Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement. The Mays gift, which is the largest in the history of our University, will be used to complete construction of the Center and help fund the growth of its staff and expanded programming. To learn more about the Mays gift, read the University's latest press release.
We had an outpouring of faculty and staff who welcomed the class of 2021 on Friday as they completed their Jaguar March. This beloved community tradition symbolizes the start of an academic journey for our incoming freshman class.
As we begin the semester I am delighted to welcome a remarkable team dedicated to supporting our students on their life-changing journey. Thank you for your hard work, extraordinary talent and steadfast commitment to our noble mission. As we begin a new academic year, please continue to stop by my office, call, email or contact me through the S.H.A.R.E. webpage.